Interview: MØL Guitarist Nicolai Hansen Dives into New LP, ‘Diorama’

As though finding lighthouse beacons amid a blinding storm, Denmark’s MØL head through demolishing intensity before landing on a place of resounding triumph within their new record Diorama, a November release from Nuclear Blast Records. 

The album centers on blackgaze, tempering the raging torrents of black metal ferocity with forcefully elevating atmospherics. On Diorama, MØL intricately interweave these elements, amplifying the force of the searing majesty once they arrive at the grandly surging peaks standing within their music. Neither side of the equation feels tacked on— instead, the crushing heaviness of Diorama also features a remarkable beauty, lending the whole experience a subtly surreal feeling. It reflects moments of sudden self-realization, bringing a sense of hard-fought victory into focus. 

“It’s difficult to say if there are any specific emotions that I’m trying to elicit when writing the melodies,” guitarist Nicolai Hansen shares. “It’s a very ‘in the moment’ kind of thing for me. But normally, what I’m trying to go for is something that has some melancholy to it—especially in the leads. I also quite like the music to be uplifting. I find that both melancholy and an uplifting character in certain passages of the music will contrast really well with the brutality of metal.” 

The churning music seems to itself reflect psychological furor—there’s volatility, encapsulated by the shifts throughout Diorama from heavier moments to something less intense, but self-assuredness also covers the trek. Instead of feeling oppressive or threatening, Diorama sounds confident—even if blisteringly so. 

Hansen feels as though his “subconsciousness” tends to guide the songwriting.  

“Creating and writing music is for me something that happens in the moment or simply emerges out of playing my instrument,” he says. “So, I’m not trying to elicit any specific sort of emotions or be like, ‘I’m angry now, so I want to write angry music.’ I think that when I write music, it’s probably much more about letting my subconsciousness speak to me and kind of guide what happens on the guitar. But I guess I always kind of gravitate towards a sense of melancholy when composing.” 

MØL implement an at times staggering level of “brutality” across Diorama, which proves invitingly lush but utterly pummeling. The album combines comfort— hints of it, anyway— with fiery abrasion, like settling into a sense of security, and maybe even peace, while standing against destructive onslaughts. The poignant immediacy of the music ties its experience to real-world themes, as if adding a level of cinematic drama to efforts to preserve well-being, which leads into a sense of adventure as the energy stays up. 

“It’s something that I spend less and less time thinking about the more that I do it,” Hansen shares, discussing the contrast between heaviness and gentility as contained within Diorama“It’s something that tends to flow more naturally for me the more experience I’ve accumulated writing this sort of music. I try to be mindful of dynamics in the music and not let it be loud and aggressive when it doesn’t need to be. Likewise, I try to be aware that the music is not always atmospheric and bathed in reverb and delay. It makes the moments when it actually becomes atmospheric much more memorable.” 

Hansen indicates that MØL have enjoyed the opportunity to bring their music outside of Denmark.  

“I don’t think we feel particularly plugged into a blackgaze community, or at least not in Denmark,” the guitarist says. “I think we’re one of the only bands doing what we’re doing in Denmark. There are other bands and artists in Scandinavia doing something akin to us, like Sylvaine, SIBIIR, or Spurv. These at least are all bands and artists that I’m really into. Other obvious choices would be bands like Alcest, Lantlôs, Les Discrets, and so on.” 

The band’s involvement with Nuclear Blast Records, though, has helped with furthering broader connections, Hansen explains.  

“It was an amazing experience,” he comments, discussing their signing to the label. “They’re professional, but you can still sense they’re fans of music. So, we felt that they really wanted what was best for us and our music, and that they’d definitely work hard to make sure that our music gets out there into the world.” 

Hansen describes himself as “anxious and excited” surrounding the release of the new album.  

“It’s been a long journey after releasing our debut record, JORD, three years ago,” he says. “Composing the album took some time when you need to fit it in between your touring, work, and private life. But we’re super excited to see how the world reacts to it. Hopefully, people will love it as much as we do. I feel that the material that I’ve composed for Diorama is some of the best material that I’ve achieved. Different but still a natural progression from the last record.” 

Watch the video for “Vestige” here:

For more from MØL, find them on Instagram, Facebook, and Bandcamp.

Photo courtesy of MØL and Cornelius Qvist 

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