The War Inside My Head: Track Premiere and Interview with Maurice de Jong of The Sombre
Our The War Inside My Head series of interviews was and is meant to break down some of the walls when discussing the contemporary extreme music scene but turning toward the music and albums that have inspired that music. And this current installment is a very special one since it hosts one of the most significant, original, and prolific exponents of the the European underground of the present century, Maurice de Jong, the tireless Dutch creator of such projects as Gnaw Their Tongues, De Magia Veterum, Cloak of Altering, Hagetisse, Golden Ashes, Aderlating, Dodenbezweerder, and many, many more. One of his most recent projects has been The Sombre, an atypically melancholic and melodic ode to the great death-doom albums of the early 90s [incidentally, if you're into reading about 90s death doom you might find interest in our recent interview with diSEMBOWELMENT]. Surfacing last year with its debut Into the Beckoning Wilderness it was just further proof that, basically, de Jong can pull off whatever he sets his mind to.
Now, with a second full-length, Shapeless Misery, is due to come out next month via the brilliant English-Italian label Brucia Records, we have the great honor of not only exclusively streaming stunning title track off of that album but chat a bit with Maurice about his past and current musical passions. Here's the majestic, crushingly beautiful "Shapless Misery" for you listening pleasure – a wall of death-doom sadness propped up by an almost alienated, detached and mechanical drum sound that both pays homage to the 90s classics while adding de Jong's signature dehumanized touch to the mix.
In the meantime, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify and support whatever it is that we do on Patreon, and check out our kinda-sorta podcast, MATEKHET (YouTube, Spotify and all that). On to interview with Maurice.
What was the first album you bought with your own money, and where did you buy it?
The first album, believe it or not, was Reign in Blood and it confused the hell out of me. I was used to heavy metal/hard rock and this was a bit heavier, haha. I almost returned it to the shop (in Drachten, my hometown since I was 14) because I was waiting on [Tom] Araya to start singing instead of shouting. Of course I fucking fell in love with it afterwards. But the first album my mom bought for me was actual a bootleg tape of Scorpions – World Wide Live bought in a store in Suriname.
What 2-3 albums did you hear the most growing up?
Growing up? Michael Jackson – Thriller. I was one of the few albums we three kids had ourselves. My parents played lots of different music from classical music to salsa to Bossa Nova, Beth Carvalho, Harry Belafonte, the Merryman, music from the 60s – the NOT rock and roll type. But Micheal Jackson was very big in Suriname where I grew up. He was the most played artist at parties etc.
What two albums taught you the most about making music (mixing, production, performance)?
I don’t know, but I have come to realize that the sound I mimic/try to achieve is primarily metal records made between 1980 and 1990. Thats why I think lots of modern stuff sounds absolutely rubbish! Working on electronic music probably taught me the most about producing, come to think of it.
What is the last album that absolutely shocked you?
Dødheimsgard– 666 International. It's in my top three of all time favorite albums.
What album relaxes you or centers you the most?
This is different every time but stuff that’s works very well for me: Max Richter – The Blue Notebook. Almost every early Death Cab for Cutie album. The Appleseed Cast – Two Conversations.
What are the 2-3 albums you’ve listened to the most recently?
I’m mixing/mastering three albums at once right now, so those are probably it. For fun I listened most to: Black Sword Thunder Attack – March Of The Damned; Faustian Pact – Outojen Tornien Varjoissa and Sigh – Scorn Defeat (I just got the re-issue on vinyl).
7. What album is grossly underrated?
Lots! I see people hype the shittiest, boring music made for the wrong reasons and ignore absolute modern classics. I think Disharmony's Messe de Minuit is an absolute classic but I don't see people talking about them, haha. All I see is boring atmospheric albums, Mgla and what not but this EP.
What album would you recommend from your local scene?
Hahah, sorry local dudes..I think most local stuff is so boring. But do check out Grim Fate. Heavy Doom/Death from my hometown. The Sombre is going to do a split with them.