Holocaust might have started their career way back before I was born, preceding even the birth of what would become known as the NWOBHM by an odd year, but forty odd years later, they are still around and they remain focused on creating heavy metal that adheres only to John Mortimer’s standards. As their leader’s and sole original member, he’s always been the person responsible for creating all those “weird” and “heavy” noises up in Caledonia (Scotland). The post millennial form of Holocaust returns for another album, this time looking for an answer to the deeper meaning and the sources of life. John, offers a deeper insight...
Holocaust band pic
So, what’s up with Holocaust? You released a follow up to predator in four years, while it took you three times that long to follow up “Primal” (incl. changing the bandmembers). Why did it all take so long?
J: There were many contributing factors to the long break. So far as I could tell, at the time “Primal” was released, nobody was interested in Holocaust. I had no money, no resources. My son was about to be born and I wanted to put most of my time and energy into family life. Like I say, there were many factors... I myself was a total wreck at that point and I had to pull myself back up. Linking up with Scott and Mark changed everything for me because not only were they great people and great musicians but Scott had a recording facility at home. We started a huge musical project around 2002 which is still not quite complete. Eventually this project will be released and it represents a journey to healing and transformation – a profound evolution to a higher level. That project was worked on regularly up to 2011 and it was then that I came back to life in terms of desiring passionately to get Holocaust back on the road and performing live. The first “Predator” songs were written then (also “Children of the Great Central Sun” and “Benedictus”, which feature on the new album), so in fact the “Predator” album did not take so very long. After that, I think the “wait” for the new one wasn’t that long. Was it?
Well, you were missed! But at least you seem to have found steady musical companions. Were you at any time tempted to add an extra guitarist, to allow you to play some “songs” and to add an emphasis to the sound?
J: Yes, for sure. But there is a unique musical dynamic that has evolved between the three of us and it just feels right to be a 3-piece.
Why did you name the new album, “Elder Gods” and why is there such a big focus on occult themes? Was it something that always fascinated you, was there a specific reason that prompted this shift from socio-politics into that?
J: The truly big questions have always been a priority for me... the only things that really matter. What is all this? What is existence? What am “I”" really – and why? What is real? What is God or a god? These types of questions. The “Elder Gods” are those that were known before the god of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). That is why I refer to them as “elder”.
How do you feel it compares to past works?
J: All my works are like children to me, so I don’t compare them in terms of, “this is better than that”. But the songs on “Elder Gods” are certainly more radical and more confident than most of the older songs. There are many things I express on this album that I have never been able to express before. There are dimensions accessed on the album that were never accessed before.
Are you happy with Sleaszy Rider as a company?
J: One thing I’ve learned is that it is unprofessional to say anything as an artist about that which is purely business.
“No Man’s Land” the missing piece in your discography (on CD) – got a release last year, how did that come about?
J: I honestly don’t know. I have no control over anything that happens with the catalog up to and including “Primal”. I get no royalties; I had no involvement at all with it.
Also your early EPs seem to just have been released by No Remorse Records this past week. Would there be a plan to also do a compilation of the later ones (“Sound of Souls” & “HMM”)?
J: Likewise, must have been licensed. See previous answer.
You’ve received some acclaim and have some popular tunes, that were covered by the likes of Gamma Ray and Metallica. Do you think the band ever reached its potential  Would you change things in the past if you had the chance/foresight?
J: The band has never really got off the ground. We are on the runway – there has been a severe delay, that’s all. There is only one thing I would change in the past – I would believe in myself.
You have been doing this for more than forty years.... did you expect that when you started?
J: Yes, I did. I wanted to be a musician.
Do you see yourself giving it up at some point?
J: No. After so many years… I still got it in my blood!
Are there plans to tour and could we expect a performance in Greece at some point?
J: We have just played Chania in Crete and that was wonderful. At the moment we only have 3 shows scheduled for November, 2 in the Netherlands and 1 in the UK. Sooner or later we will be touring in Greece though. We have many great supporters in Greece and we appreciate them deeply.
Salute Greek and international fans & the Grande Rock readers. Thx for talking to Grande Rock!
J: Hello beautiful people! I hope you get our new album and that you enjoy it! Cheers!