Over the last decade or so, there has been a rather fascinating phenomenon seething deep within the confining walls of experimental music, gnawing away at the usual boundaries set by – as usual – three-legged gatekeepers who have somehow made the impossible possible by applying boundaries to genres that should not have any, through various methods of validation and a kind of inexplicable righteousness. In other words, this particular crowd of faceless men have gained a status to oversee what can be done and by whom, based on nothing more than their assumed position as superiors, reflected in the history of humanity. Finally, the time has come to push these stubborn cunts aside, as the phenomenon I mentioned, made up of women and all others who do not identify as men, are taking their rightful place on the scene. I am delighted with this development, as most people are (or should be), and as a result the field of experimental music has never been more alive and vibrant.

One of the artists dilapitating the accustomed patriarchal bullshit is Denmark’s Mouth Wound, a one-woman entity brought to flesh by Trine Paaschburg, whose latest album Nothing Will Belong To Us came out this April via the Italian Brucia Records. Mouth Wound is a vessel for personal catharsis putting into use aural leanings ranging from dark ambient and chamber music to harsh noise and black metal, with no nook in-between being left undiscovered. The act is an embodiment of artistic expression, that joins the likes of Pharmakon, Lingua Ignota, and Ana Fosca amongst plenty of others, to introduce a new wave of brisk and thrilling cacophony to the ocean of musty and stale conventions. Still, Mouth Wound can’t and shouldn’t be lumped into any existing category due to its unstinted nature, and that’s precisely why we’re digging into the act and its author today.

Mouth Wound‘s signature value lies mostly on encapsulating a combination of purification, malaise, and dread, in a heartfelt and gripping manner. The artist represents the type of haunting and substantial anguish that comes a little bit too close to make you uncomfortable, yet giving you means of absolvement in the process. I’ve personally always gravitated towards something that I can feel rather than hear, so it’s no wonder that Mouth Wound properly both utterly captivated me as well as fucked me up on a psychic level when I first encountered it. There’s really nothing like seeing a piece of artwork and going ‘hey what’s this’ only to hit play and instantly have someone invade your mental personal space to tear your heart out and render your being into smithereens. Sounds a hair masochistic perhaps, but it is what it is, isn’t it?

Conceived ten years ago, what was it that eventually led Trine into creating the moniker to begin with, where did the desire to perform and the inclination to learn multiple instruments originated from? I was fortunate to be able to ask these questions and much more directly from her, so let’s take this to the source and go back to the beginning. As Trine explained, the interest towards certain instruments, delivery, and genres, evolved over time;

I wrote music mainly for piano and voice when I was a child, just very simple songs. As I grew up I got very into choir, various branches of contemporary art and found sound collage, sound poetry, ambient, through that. Those things were probably what led to finding artists like Monte Cazazza, Throbbing Gristle, Galas etc. As a teenager I got my hands on a Swans compilation album, because I liked the cover artwork and that music really did something to me. The name Mouth Wound was created  from a couple of lines in one of the songs on that record. So MW was a result of being exposed to various forms of art, films and music that just seemed right despite being different genres and modes of expression. Material that felt unwavering for a lack of a better word. I simply liked how it made me feel, and I wanted to do something where I could conjure up that feeling on my own I guess, and the combination of various genres I have landed on so far is what ended up feeling like the most natural vehicle. After starting to play live I started wanting to fill a room with that feeling, try to make it translatable for people without having to explain it.

And while on the subject, what drives Mouth Wound; where the does inspirations and influences stem from?

It’s an accumulation of aforementioned things I am exposed to that kinda sticks for some reason, and the need to investigate what makes all those things feel important. It is just as much images, paintings, history as it is music that I find influential. The foundation has not really  changed through the years, but the aspects I choose to focus on probably have. There are new additions and fixations that are thrown onto the pile but it aids in deepening the initial concept rather than change it. Looking for the same things you always do, but in other places. Production wise I like to piece things together like a collage and work with contrasts in sound, texture and ambience. Originally it was a more song structured approach, it has become more loose through the years.

One of the reasons I like to write about artists who already have a history or a longer career behind them, is that thes features give me a unique chance to reflect on any given artist’s past, present, and future, in a holistic manner. Even though my questions aren’t usually very specific in order to give the artist all the space and room they need to go in-depth with anything their souls desire, one overarching point of interest for me that persists from one article to another, is the project’s artistic evolution, and by extension how I view it as a member of the audience, and how they view it as the originator of said art.

Depending on how you look at it, or how old you are, a decade is either a blink of an eye or an extravagant period of time. If you compare Mouth Wound‘s debut Above The Trees and compare it to Nothing Will Belong To Us, chances are you’ll make similar remarks as I do. Namely, the general undertones have stayed as dismal as ever, while the bigger leaps are made with the production and overall dramatic epicness in mind. The sombre thematics have become even more horrendous, as Mouth Wound‘s inner world has expanded to noticeably more colossal proportions.

I think it is a part of growing up and the experiences that come with that. nothing stays the same for long, so it would be hard to stay the same in your reaction to life and creative output. The only conscious decision was allowing myself to express rage, joy and desperation instead of wallowing in introspective sadness. I still wallow from time to time, but only a little bit as a treat. So yes, the results of a natural evolution mostly. I also have a habit of collecting and trying new instruments, so that definitely plays a part. Becoming obsessed with a certain instrument has dictated this evolution as well.

I mentioned about the less-than-jolly themes and the evocative aesthetic that colours Mouth Wound‘s existence. The album artworks mirror the moniker, while the song titles and lyrics carry a strong and heavy, often rooted in harrowing and discomforting tones, with an equally visceral approach as the music itself. Together these components build the essence that Trine conveys with an immaculate attention to detail and a uniform delivery. The unfathomable coherence with which she purports all of this, from the sonics to visuals and scribings, is simply fascinating, and not in the least responsible for why Mouth Wound is such a pervasive and excruciating entity. It comes very close – even too close at times – depicting perceivable honesty and leaving a memory imprint behind it.

I kept noticing that the concepts of physical and existential malaise alongside the search for tranquility keep getting mentioned in her albums’ promo texts and also in other articles about Mouth Wound, so it was only obvious to ask about the collective thematics and the thought process that goes behind them;

I think the approach is a continual  examination of life and a desire to find or create some transitory meaning, maybe just finding enjoyment in the search for anything really. On the other side there is a balancing act between avoiding and indulging in the emptiness and anger that follows uncertainty. I try to utilize these things in an affective manner, sound wise as well as aesthetically.

I read about philosophy and art history. Those things definitely shaped what material I write and collect. That, along with dialogue from movies, dreams, magical thinking  and late night wikipedia binges. I like to implement whatever I am drawn to, and attempt to make an abstract image with the words. The words themselves are often not that important to me, but the feeling and space they create is.

I chose to not include lyrics for the new album, as well as drown the words out a lot production wise. I want things to be as open to interpretation as possible, but it might also be a way to avoid it becoming too vulnerable. I might change my mind on that at some point.

I am very well aware that I’m going in circles about things being interesting this and fascinating that, however I’d like to underline that one of the main reasons I write these articles is to seek comprehension and understanding of things, whatever they may be. I’ve covered plenty of artists from differing sonic worlds, and while the subject matters and motives vary to a great degree, the unrelenting passion towards creatiok and self-realisation seems to be continuously brought up one way or the other. Given that I also gravitate towards music that lies miles below the surface in the raw and uncharted bottom murk, it does make sense that on some profound level, the artists operating on that region share a notion or two between each other.

Speaking of operations, it goes without saying that live performances carry plenty of value still today, even though all the live streams and enhanced realities and whatever fucking AI showcases have started to bury a lot of that value under an inconceivable pile of dogshit. The times have changed a lot during the past years, and now one just has to dig through all that rubble to get to where being matters more than viewing. I’m not daft, mind you, and understand how big of a wrench the pandemic threw to the wheel of all that business, so artists had to adapt to keep going, as they do. However physically attending an event is something completely else, and everyone with something akin to a brain can understand that. Due to the mentioned circumstance these activities were pushed back and smothered, with the performing artist getting hit with the shit end of the stick. Lately things have gone back to a relative normal, and a lot of people have found live events anew, with a new kind of appreciation towards them.

The frames and goals of live performances vary on a case by case basis, and while others are in it to have a good time and party, others seek to experience a bodily and mental rapture. Both have their own groups and purposes, of course, but generally you also know which crowd you belong to, or at the very least, which experience are you hoping to get from any given night. I’m not saying one would be better than the other, but I am saying that I find more worth, however personal, from the latter.

It did not feel natural to play music live until a couple years ago. Originally It was meant to just be bedroom productions where I could find a certain feeling and let off steam, in the best case scenario share it with a few friends. I think Mouth Wound grew more experimental because I felt more comfortable performing if the sound is not confined to a predefined structure all the time. I am not a ‘performer’ so I need a space for things to exist and materialize naturally some of the time.  At least that is how it works at the moment. An ideal live show for me, is one where you discover something new while playing, through a horrible accident or a happy coincidence. The audience discover and make it with you or watch you make a fool of yourself, both cases result in a strong communal vibe I think.

What Mouth Wound is now has largely been shaped by live experiments and how I modified the way I do things for it to make sense in such a setting. I feel things come easier when you are forced to just get up and try to do something, it has made me more productive and less of a perfectionist. Of course there is a loose idea of where i want to go but thinking on the fly diminishes the chances of thinking things to death. Playing live has also become a place to let off some steam now. It feels beneficial like a kind of meditation but with screaming and such. A lot of sound can have the same effect as complete silence sometimes. quieting the inner noise with outer noise.

With the fact that Trine didn’t initially feel natural to perform as Mouth Wound live in mind, it’s intriguing how integral part of the act’s existence it is today. The promo for Nothing Will Belong To Us notes how the album is based on improvised live recordings and ideas that accumulated during her performances within the two years. I don’t think that it’d be that much of a leap to say that this is probably why Nothing Will Belong To Us feels so human, and has very imminent undertones on it. Listening to the album and thinking about how it translates to and was translated from live appearances, I find myself envying those who have had the pleasure to experience it firsthand. Hopefully that chance isn’t too far out of grasp for me, either, as the nearer future looks to be forming up very nicely in the Mouth Wound camp via touring and new music;

My booker and management is working on putting together a tour this fall/winter. So I am looking forward to visiting new places and meeting people.I have a split release with my dear friends from Demonologists coming up, with three new MW tracks. Details will follow soon. I have also been gathering new field recordings and looper bits the last couple of months that seem to be turning into an album, which I am quite excited about developing further over the summer.

This is where the regularly scheduled programming ends, and we return to where we started this journey underneath Mouth Wound‘s artistic skin. As mentioned in the opening paragraphs, recent years have seen a surge in women populating the experimental/noise scene, and it’s nothing if not a welcome development. Too long, these unbelievably important and meaningful voices have been stifled, and it’s about fucking time for old practices and random gatekeeping to finally end. These ridiculously potent and powerful people have been a part of the movement always, absolutely, but never in the spotlight in the same way as currently. It does speak volumes about how messed up the standards have been for a long time that we even need to emphasise it. But here we are, working towards and hoping for things to change and continue their upward trajectroy, to create an inclusive environment. If you have a problem with this, or the fact that I keep bringing women up especially, then please, get properly fucked.

Obviously I’m only speaking from my own perspective and the way I see it, so of course I asked Trine how she feels about all this, and how she sees herself as a part of the niche industry;

I am overjoyed to see all the beautiful music that has come as a result of the increasing number of women that have stepped forward. They were always there, but there are more opportunities now to circumvent barriers, acquire knowledge and create new communities that foster diversity. I think digital platforms have helped a lot. I see a great deal of support between artists where people can bounce  ideas off each other and gather courage if that is needed. That being said, I am not well versed in those communities enough, to feel I can speak on behalf of these things. I have been very privileged in the way that people have somehow found me and picked up on the things I put out, as well as having smaller local experimental music scenes in my town where we can all exist. So my viewpoints are colored by that, purely  subjective observations. There are definitely still a lot of things left to unlearn and to break down.

I am enamored with the heaviness that exists in female rage and all the powerful art that springs from that, but I don’t see my expression as being inherently feminine. It is just grappling with the human aspect of things. I do not see myself as a female artist but I identify a lot with artists who are generally curious and non judgemental in their approach as well as their work, and people who find joy in experimenting and acknowledging the absurdity of everyday things.

This last portion is unbelievably important; we should never have to underline anyone’s gender when it comes to music (or ANYTHING ELSE for that matter), and it’s about time for the ‘female-fronted/led/whatever’ nonsense to die off. We’re simply humans, on the opposite sides of the lenses, creating, experiencing, and living our lives the way we see fit. Do not submit under the weight of the old days, do not willingly bend to anyone else’s will, do not abide to or encourage the habitual oppression no matter of what volume, but work your way through the dense fog of all fucking folly constructs, and be better. You have every needed resource available at your disposal to catalyze change, so why wouldn’t you do it? I can’t hear any solid excuse as to why not.

So bit by bit, support the underground scenes the way you see fit, and one rather optimal way would be to go follow Mouth Wound on Facebook, Instagram, and go devour those wonderfully suffocating sonics on your earliest convenience over at Bandcamp (with the newest album being available over here). Thank you for your time.

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