Mortiis is a project from Notodden, Norway fronted by Håvard Ellefsen. The name is a misspelling of the Latin word "mortis" (the genitive singular form of the word "mors", meaning "death"). Mortiis started in 1993 as the solo project of Ellefsen as a means to convey a story. This aspect was lost over time and Mortiis slowly changed into a band.
Håvard Ellefsen, often referred to as Mortiis, is the only constant band member. He was born in Skien, Telemark. Mortiis began his musical career playing bass for the black metal act Emperor. He stayed with the band just over one year (performing on the seminal "Wrath of the Tyrant" demo and writing the lyrics to "I Am the Black Wizards"), before going on to create his own solo project, though unlike his previous band the music would be dark ambient oriented. Ellefsen was experimenting greatly with music during his early solo career. He started four separate projects, though the focus was always on Mortiis.