It’s often said that dark themes can be the catalyst for some of the best music, and is very much the cause for great songwriting. You wouldn’t necessarily expect this from a 16-year-old singer/songwriter, but Chicago-based Mordian has not only embraced the darkness but also crafted a stunningly good dark rock sound.
Indeed, the themes of one of the songs from her recent debut EP include the Salem Witch Trials and ‘feelings of fear, madness, and betrayal.’
As she tells us: “Mordian came about from many years of ideas, and wishing I could bring my true self to life through my music, words, and imagery. It’s something I’ve always longed to do ever since I can remember, but life hadn’t brought the right people to help me achieve that until recent years.”
Our first taste of this is Mordian’s debut EP Romance In Disguise, which was released back in May. And in terms of what to expect, she tells us: “For this EP, I chose to go with a more classical, romantic sound. It fits the fragment of myself I was passionate about expressing at the time. The first few songs are cinematic piano ballads, and then it transitions into Ninth Life, a symphonic metal track which is my favorite off of the EP.”
Indeed, Mordian sent us closing track Ninth Life to have a listen to initially, and there’s a very good reason it’s her favourite track from the EP – it’s simply stunning.
The six-minute-long track opens up with light meandering piano, then vocals come in over dark instrumental backing. Chugging metal guitars suddenly enter as the vocals intensify, then heavy guitars take over. The vocals return with higher-pitched guitars flickering away underneath, then the chugging guitars return with added ferocity under an eerie piano, then a huge guitar solo.
The song ends on Mordian’s haunting high-pitched vocals over stabs of violin, piano and guitars, then dives into one final powerful chorus. It’s seriously impressive, albeit very dark, stuff.
On the track, Mordian tells us: “Ninth Life was the first metal song I’ve recorded, so I’d say expect more in the future! I took some inspiration from the 1692 Witch Trials, and a relationship turned sour from infidelity, the former event was of course much more horrible and extreme than the latter, but I wanted to try and capture the feelings of fear, madness, and betrayal. The name comes from the superstition around cats, also, many witches may have chosen them as their familiar.” Give Ninth Life a listen below:
The rest of the EP is equally dark yet more somber, with glimpses of the rockiness but dominated by Mordian’s superb vocals. A personal favourite is third track To What I’ll Never Know, which is largely vocals over light piano support, with violins coming in throughout. Give it a listen below:
On the EP’s release, Mordian tells us: “It feels great! I remember looking at my Spotify page the day it came out, and I almost couldn’t believe it. I was just like ‘That’s really me? My music is on streaming sites?’ It was exciting!
“If you haven’t listened yet, please do! It would be greatly appreciated! I think it’s just different in general, there’s a melancholy theme all around, but the EP gradually becomes darker with each song, that’s something I wanted, and ties into why I named it Romance In Disguise.”
Mordian tells us her friends say she has “the oddest, most random playlist they’ve ever heard,” as she listens to everything from Frank Sinatra to The Doors to Death.
And when it comes to what inspires her music, she said: “For me, having some kind of artistic outlet is really important for my wellbeing. I write whatever comes to me, I don’t consciously stick to certain topics, but I naturally gravitate towards darker sorrowful themes, it’s just who I am.”
There’s plenty more to come from Mordian as she hopes to be back in the studio to record a few more songs by the end of the summer and hopes to have some new gigs coming up soon.