MARTHE – Furthering down in an unexpected and superior evil

Italy’s Marthe is one of the surprising newcomers from SUNN 0)))’s label Southern Lord. Blending both elements of doom metal, punk DIY attitude, and black metal, with her debut “Further in Evil”, Marthe brought alive a journey into evil. Let’s learn more about it from the artist herself in this interview.

Italy’s Marthe is one of the surprising newcomers from SUNN 0)))’s label Southern Lord. Blending both elements of doom metal, punk DIY attitude, and black metal, with her debut “Further in Evil”, Marthe brought alive a journey into evil. Let’s learn more about it from the artist herself in this interview.

Marthe and her drum kit
Photo by Silvia Polmonari

Hi Marthe, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. Thank you for taking the time to check out this interview. How are you?

Hello! Thank you for your interest in the project. I’m slowly approaching the end of a very tough year in a good and bad way. It has been an exciting ride with a few rollercoasters but I must say I’m pretty good thank you! (PS. I’m a Virgo = never fully content or happy haha!)

Marthe and her debut

Almost two months ago, it marked the release of your debut album “Further in Evil” via Southern Lord Records. What can you say about the album’s production?

The first thing is that, despite being always hypercritical of myself, I love this record. It’s pretty unique in its entirety because it came out within the wildest storm in my head. So, I find it very wide in inspiration, moods, and influences. I think this record is very personal because there are many genre cameos and not just a main music theme.

I would like it as a listener. The composition and recording have been a cathartic moment for me. And when I submitted the single to Southern Lord, I would never expect to release a record with them in my entire life. Not even to get to know such passionate and professional people. It has been a highlight in my life, personally and musically.

The inception of Marthe

Despite the inception of your project dating to 2017 with the first single “Sister of Darkness” in 2018. How the project and your music has developed throughout the years?

I have been playing in bands with people my whole life. So, I never fully realized the artistic journey of a solo act from a single perspective. From the very first song to the very last one, there are huge evolutions, in everything. Sound, technique (I’m self-taught and record DIY by myself), lyrics, song structure, vocals, everything. It’s like a creature growing up.

It needs attention, time, and care. I think the thing that has developed the most so far is myself, getting to believe in what I’m doing. And feeding it anytime I can. I’m shaping a new perspective of myself inside this band, it’s like magic. I took for granted many aspects because I thought I had a big experience. But being alone has been a different circus and I loved it.

“Further in Evil” lyrics

The lyrics are full of rage and the music is full of strength. How is possible to conjugate both such contrasting and conflicting peculiarities at the same time?

I sat alone with a guitar in hand many many many times trying to outlet my feelings when I was more in need. Anytime I felt the urge to open up, I took the time (late at night usually) to write something to give myself the power to let out and self-heal, talking and writing lyrics about my feelings, and it worked since I used to feel better after that.

During the last couple of years, I lost faith in many things I truly believed in, mainly I lost faith in friendship (that’s why I sometimes state “misanthropic”). And tasted the bitterness of being left behind with no care at all. Feeling lonely pictured a new emotional scenario in my head: when I was younger I believed in giving and receiving, that people would have been there for me in case of need. It doesn’t happen all the time.

“Further in Evil” lyrics part 2

The more I grow up the more I realize that people are not there in the end, in my case at least, and of course, this doesn’t apply to everybody, I see a lot of stories of support around me. I felt more and more that the power comes from within.

I don’t think this is a universal feeling of course but in my case, I only had two options: leave my anger breakthrough within my 4 walls, and learn that I was the only one able to save myself. Another option was giving up and being defeated. I accepted my weaknesses and limits too, in “Victimized” I say “I tried to empower myself but I failed” because I realized I was not as strong as I thought I could be. 

Facing your demons

Literally, “Further in Evil” is a journey into evil. In the end, how challenging was it to face your demons? And is it too much confronting to publicly deal with them?

Yes, the title is about facing demons, and in my case I would say the demon is me, since the title depicts my desire to become stronger than I am, inspiring a change within myself in the first place. All the songs are about being hurt. And, I got hurt by so many things in the last part of my life that I wished I didn’t have a heart at all.

I am extremely sensitive and I hate that and I wish I was more resilient. I’d like to be colder and detached, I probably have issues as everybody does, maybe unsolved shit I have no budget to fix with a therapist haha. So I thought it was a good idea to be focused on learning about “giving less”. I pictured this in my mind as “becoming mean” but the main theme is self-care and self-protection first. But anyway it’s not working haha!

Marthe and the cover artwork

Marthe and her musical background

Further In Evil” is a shift in gears from your musical background in the anarcho-punk scene and inspired by riot grrrl, crust, and d-beat. What have your past experiences taught you? And which were the useful life lessons that you used?

I’m still part of all that. Well, anarcho-punk and riot grrrl were my very first identification when I was 14 so time has gone as well as many other experiences in life and music. The biggest ones have been crust/d-beat for 15 years with Kontatto (and others like Campus Sterminii, all around 2003-2019) and post-punk with Horror Vacui (2011). I learned everything thanks to these experiences and the environment/scene. 

The DIY approach

I learned big lessons: the DIY approach, which I truly believe in, in music and as far as possible, in life too. To me, DIY is a matter of options, it was and still is a choice. It’s a matter of attitude towards the world and other human beings. I didn’t choose this approach because I couldn’t reach higher levels or stuff like that. Once again, I would make the same choices forever and I don’t want to change my attitude depending on the context or opportunities.

I never wanted more than what I have, I want to be able to play with my friends and share a message, to share music, to build connections with people around me. I’m so grateful to the whole punk and music community I am/have been part of throughout the last two decades, it has been the best life example possible with amazing people. 

Another lesson is equality, care for minorities, a sense of community, a horizontal mindset, working to achieve goals together, fighting for the right causes even if it requires choices, stay humble and true. 

I give do shit on how popular I can become or about my image or stuff like this if it requires compromises or building up an image, I am what you see 100% (yes sometimes I put more studs for cinematic reasons haha), I’m not a hype person or whatsoever. 

The final, biggest, and final lesson comes from any Wretched lyrics.

The singles

Out of “Further in Evil”, we have two singles: the self-titled song and “To Ruined Altars…”. Which insights can you share about these songs?

The first thing is that it feels extremely weird to me to see myself on screen. And it takes me the same amount of strength that getting used to my vocals did. Indeed, it took me a lot of work to upgrade and accept this aspect of my new project.

The video for “Further in Evil” was self-shot by me in my area in Italy and Iceland. I had the pleasure of riding my bike on a sunny day and spending time at the beach while people looked at me in a weird way. Of course while doing weird stuff in front of kids haha. It was a random idea. But Iceland is so magic that I took videos of anything and tried to fit them in the video I was doing for the single.

The “To Ruined Altars…” video was shot in a day and a night by my friend Silvia Polmonari, a professional photographer and video maker. We take it as our “moment together” because we are both very busy. We plan a video and then arrange it in a tragicomic way with very funny episodes.

I always love the results because we have so much fun doing it. She also filmed the videos for “Embers” and “Sisters of Darkness”. I chose those two songs lately because one was the launch single. And the other is my favorite song along with “Victimized”. I wanted to use some hand fans in the wind and play with the image of night/day. Nothing satanic or witchy. The candle frames are there since they stand for a spell that is depicted in the lyrics. 


Marthe and her introspective journey

What has the introspective journey into yourself (of which “Further in Evil” represents the apotheosis) taught you?

Awwww such a deep part. I’m trying to teach myself to be stronger. Probably it’s me being wrong and too sentimental, even if I don’t look like this from an outer perspective. I’m writing lyrics to empower myself through suffering. And to find strength in being aware of all negative aspects and weaknesses within me.

This journey is allowing me to discover new aspects of my personality. I’m more introverted than I thought, and lonely too. It’s hard to explain because I lead a regular cherished life. I think, go on tour, hang out, have fun, etc. So, I’m not the kind of person who stays in a corner and complains all the time. But I’m discovering a new person lately, maybe it’s just growing up.

Considering that Marthe is a one-woman project, if there is any chance of a European tour, how will be logistically regulated? What are your next plans?

I am considering a live lineup, still an idea, but only for logistic reasons and time. I have a very hard routine, like everybody else of course. It will require a lot of work on my vocals and live skills because I’m a drummer. I’ll give more news soon I hope 🙂

The future of Marthe

So, Marthe, we’re almost at the end. Please be free to say hi to your fans and readers. Thank you so much for this interview.

Thank you all for your interest in this project it means the world. It all grow with spontaneous interactions and please, anybody feeling like it, feel free to get in touch to write emails, etc. I love correspondence and connecting with the people that like my music and ideals.

I hope people will always perceive that I’m 100% true in anything I do, I’m not inventing anything new here. Just delivering what I hope is a good bunch of tunes and some may be useful words. Love you all, Marzia.

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