Interview Susanne Dahle Johansen

“We have a passion for 90s gothic metal and that is what we want to bring to life again.''

I know a good majority of fans that miss the classic sounds of gothic metal with female vocals or “beauty and the beast type” like Theatre of Tragedy and The Sins of thy Beloved, but bands that came from the genre have started to slip away from the genre, going more for a heavier or mainstream.


In 2015, ex-The Sins of Thy Beloved drummer Stig Johansen was in Savn, a folk metal band formed with Carmen Elise Espanæs of Midnattsol, not long after, they parted ways. But before leaving, he had met with Susanne Dahle during the filming a music video for “Hang On’, got married, and formed a new band Mørke, in the veins of classic 90’s gothic metal. Mørke has already an album titled ‘Death Embraces You All’ in 2018, and a second already on the way for a January 31st release. Being a fan and well-acquainted with Susanne after my review on their debut, I wanted to ask question to Susanne about their debut, their hard work being unsigned to a label.

“Hello Susanne, and welcome to your interview with Lyrical Spell Magazine! How are you at the moment?”

Susanne: “Hi, thank you so much for having me! I’m doing great at the moment. It has been some busy couple of months with working on finishing our album, but it has been an amazing process!”


“That's great to hear! You and Stig are now about to release Mørke's second album ‘Melancholia’, are you two excited?”

Susanne: “Yes, we are both very excited! We are really looking forward to show our new music to our fans.”


“So, the release date is set on January 31st, which is the day after on what will be 1st anniversary of ‘Death Embraces You All’. Any plans to celebrate the two achievements?”

Susanne: “Yes. We have planned to do the same thing that we did when we released our debut album. As soon as the album is released we will run away to the mountains. It has actually become a very funny tradition.”


“Interesting way to celebrate it, haha! Speaking of which, ‘Death Embraces You All’ was my very first review for Lyrical Spell Magazine, definitely a great honour for you two and I can’t wait to review the next one! 😁”

Susanne: “Thank you! We are very grateful and it is an honour to be your first review! We do hope that you like our second album as much as you liked our first one!”

“You're welcome, I'm sure excited for another review of your music! So back to ‘Melancholia’, no doubt that the album is going to carry the classic gothic metal sound to that of the debut, but will there be any new elements to which the first didn’t have? Like in terms of lyrical contents or production.”

Susanne: “It will still sound like it was made in the 90s with the production, we do want to take our fans back in time when we make our music. We have experimented with some different synth and string sounds, which has made a cold feeling to some of our songs, which we like.”


“May you tell us why you two chose ‘Melancholia’ as the next name?”

Susanne: “It just came to me. It is the perfect word to describe our music and lyrics.”


“And what about the artwork, how does it reflect the title and who designed it?”

Susanne: “The artwork was made by the lovely Frozen Mistress Art, she is very talented with her art. We wanted to have this unfinished 90´s edited look, many gothic metal bands in general usually use this perfectly edited album artwork, which looks fine but it is something more interesting when it looks a bit raw and unfinished. Nothing looks interesting when it is perfect does it?


As for the cover art itself I wanted it to look sorrowful first of all, I didn´t want to wear any expensive fancy dresses or clothing, so Stig suggested ‘Why don’t we just use a picture of you naked?’ And I thought that was a really good idea. I did not want it to look sexual, just natural, and you can also see that there’s some ivy that has started to grow over my body, which is a very strong symbol of the story of the picture itself. It is very thought provoking and makes people think.”

''Promoting ‘Melancholia’, the band has already released 3 new songs along with 3 music videos, how do you two manage to work so proactively?”

Susanne: “I think me and Stig just get over excited. Especially him, haha! When we’re  first done with a video, we usually are not supposed to release it before a specific date, but they always persuade me to release it before, that what happens with musicians like us. We are so passionate for this project and Mørke is our baby.”


“Glad to how much dedicated you and Stig put into Mørke. The music you record are produced in your home studio, and as well without a label, correct? How do you manage to create and distribute with such little resources? It must be pretty exhausting.”

Susanne: “Yes, it is hard work with blood, sweat, and tears, but it's the passion that drives us. We have turned many record labels down because we do not want other to interfere with our musical process.”

“It is better to have creative freedom rather than being pressured for what labels want, which brings my next question. You mentioned on a livestream that Mørke is a husband-wife project, but have there been plans of including musicians such as guests or a live lineup for the band?”

Susanne: “No, Mørke will always just be a husband and wife band. But we have had some contacts with different musicians lately who are possible options for playing with us live, because we really want to play live soon!”


“Speaking of playing live, if it was possible, where would you like to perform? Whether it be a country, city, venue, or a festival?”

Susanne: “Oh everywhere, anywhere!  We want to play live for our fans and give them the gift of playing live, because of their amazing support. And we have fans all over the world so it wouldn’t matter where really.”


“Glad to see a there's worldwide support for Mørke! How has the reception for the band have been since it's bringing back the 90s gothic metal?”

Susanne: “Mostly we have only had positive and  supportive reactions. There are some younger people who thinks that our music is a bit too dark and heavy, but they have never heard 90s gothic metal before.”

“I hope the younger generation can give the genre another go, haha! So despite being a two-person project, who usually deals with the songwriting? Or are you two equally involved in the creative process?”

Susanne: “We are both involved with the songwriting. Stig makes the music, but I often make some changes here and there and come up with ideas. The same when I write the lyrics, I always read them aloud to him and we both always need each others approval.”


“I like seeing how much unity you guys have for the band. As mentioned a few times above already, you two are married, has the relationship help inspired lyrics of romanticism like it for songs in example ‘A Rose on Our Tomb’ and ‘From Dusk to Ashes’?

Susanne: “Oh, yes, most definitely! We are both hopeless romantics and are very dependent of each other.  And the romantic lyrics does have elements from our daily life and conversations as husband and wife.”

“What has inspired you and Stig to become an musicians?”

Susanne: “My husband really inspired me, he’s given me support like no other. I was actually an active singer from I was 13 but had 7 years of silence when I met him due to health issues. It was terrifying to go in to the studio and sing again, even to start practicing my voice after 7 years was scary. But he knew my passion for music and singing, and really wanted me to start again and here we are.''


Also we have a passion for 90s gothic metal and that is what we want to bring to life again.”

“I can see Stig really takes good care of you! In addition to that question, we're all influenced by different things as we get older and experience more. For you, what has changed as a musician and how you approach the music?”

Susanne: “A lot has happened this year, huge life experiences, both ups and downs, the downs has really made us stronger. I think that influenced our music and lyrics, and I think you will hear that on our second album.''


“Before moving to the last question, is there anything else you would like to add? Something I might have missed?”

Susanne: “We do want to announce that we have been fortunate enough to work with the very popular gothic clothing brand, Punk Rave. But that is all that we will reveal for now, but we are very excited!”


“That’s really awesome, thanks for the heads up! Okay, here's my last question: what are your goals and dreams, personally and professionally?”

Susanne: “Living a long and healthy life with my husband is my biggest wish really. When you meet the one, that is mainly your number one priority in life. I know that sounds cliché but it is so true!

And also I want to create more music with my husband. We have so much fun when we are in studio and filming music videos.”


“We’ve reached the end of our interview, is there anything you would like to say to your fans and our readers?”

Susanne: “We want to thank you and all our fans for the amazing support and love you have showed us! We are truly grateful!”


“Thank you Susanne for your time answering to our interview!”

Susanne: “Thank you so much for having me!”

Follow Mørke online:

Facebook | YouTube


Follow Susanne on Instagram


Interview conducted and edited by Joshua

Questions sent on 09/01/2019

Answered by Susanne on 15/01/2019

Published on 24/02/2019