Greetings to you, Sir Noktu! I hope things go well with CELESTIA and Drakkar. Let's start with the first question. When I think of CELESTIA, words like "aristocracy", "dark romanticism", "apparitions", "nostalgia", "melancholy" and so on come to my mind. Which single word, be it French or English, does symbolize CELESTIA in your opinion the best way?
Greetings! I do believe that things are going well for my old wandering corpse. Thank you.
Do you think that a single word can symbolize Celestia ? I am sorry but I'm having some difficulties to define the aura of the Celestia entity. Celestia shine like an astral ethereal presence in the sky. The radiance and the rays are like impulsions I am receiving. I interpret ate them toward Celestia. There's things that cannot be really defined. But well, you evoked some themes that can be linked with Celestia. But to choose just one is too difficult for me.
Words and lyrics of CELESTIA are carefully chosen and created. I think the lyrical aspect of the group is tighter bound with the music compared to other acts. You once stated that you try to write English which is as close as possible to French. Why don't you write your lyrics in French in the first place? How do you manage to let your English be more French?
I have always composed my lyrics in English but I think my texts have this "French touch". Well, mostly because I am French I guess and my English level is not that good since it's not my native language. But I took this as an advantage because these lyrics reflect my own person. I like this imperfection. So, my way of expressing myself is completely natural and impulsive. Celestia is an ethereal act based on feelings and emotions. Difficult to caress the fog and define what you can perceive, isn't it?
The word "apparitia" stands not only for your first full-length album, it became also the moniker of CELESTIA's website and label. Older photographs of CELESTIA have been taken in houses which seem to breathe the spirit of gone centuries. Have you yourself ever been confronted with apparitions in such obscure buildings? What was the atmosphere during the shootings?
I use to live in an 18th century castle. This place had a strong history. I had the feeling that the walls had things to say. I have been confronted several times to apparitions. I saw a floating spectre in the huge attic we had there. This was in the middle of the night. Very impressive I would say. We also faced some poltergeist phenomena too. I think that this inspired the writing of the Apparitia-Sumptuous Spectre album quite a bit. During that time, I discovered that there were some other dimensions around us. Is this ability or a failure of my own perception? I will not be able to answer you. But some events influenced my way of perception.
I can still put some of these old pictures in a table and feel the atmosphere of the night we took them. All was Black Metal Magic…
There was not question of feeling of cold or warm, time stopped, the time was seemed to be never-ending. It was like a sensation of time travel and resurrection in one different corpse.
The 19th century was a time richly filled with remarkable art. A prominent topic among writers was the subconscious which authors such as Nietzsche, Henry James and Edgar Allen Poe worked on. A milestone of the literature became James' novel "The turn of the screw", a ghost story ("roman noir" in French) in which the reader never knows whether the ghosts and apparitions are real or bare imaginations and figures of the subconscious. The mystery remains, even when the novel has ended. Is this something you find interest in, the subconscious and its power(s) over man? Do you think that certain people have the ability to create spirits with their mind (and I do not think of imaginations...)? Do you like to read such literature which deals with the depths of the human nature?
The power of the subconscious is still a vast mystery today. There must be some rational explanations I am sure but I like to leave things in their own context. For me literature is one thing and the feelings one human creature can feel is something else. Two vast interesting subjects for sure. Some authors may have been approached those subjects in a more or less interesting way…
To answer to your questions, I am someone really curious by nature, so I tend to be interested by many subjects, so, yes, I'd like to read some things about such subjects.
You said about your position towards the BM sheep of nowadays "scene": "I took a certain distance from the modern world and I am now surrounded by old medieval ruins, insects and deep dark forests. An adequate place to compose Black Metal and feel inspirations for lyrics." I guess you have lived in cities before, so I can ask you how it feels to write songs while being surrounded by the things one hates most compared to your creative process in your recent situation...
This is interesting. I noticed that the place where you live can have a certain impact on your music but also your way of thinking. People who live in big cities such as New York or Paris tend to play brutal music. Someone who will live in Iceland will play a calm/ambient music. Well, there are of course always some exceptions but I think that your environment has an impact in your creative expression. I am today living in a city. Composing some Celestia music is almost impossible there. The album was recorded in the right place at the right moment but for some reasons we had to move to a city. This may change sooner or later since I plan to forever escape where I am feeling the most comfortable. I mean far from human presence. Then there will be a third Celestia album.
An author which is quite often quoted within (French) Black Metal is Charles Baudelaire. The atmosphere of his poems is described with words like "disillusion", "pessimism", "melancholy", "obscene" and "blasphemic" - terms which are also tightly connected with Black Metal. Baudelaire illustrated the ugly and disgusting side of human nature, another parallel to BM. Do you feel some sort of connection to authors and thinkers like Baudelaire and their time, the 19th century which confronted man with the rise of the industry and a rapid exploitation of the environment? I sense a hint of the spirit of "fin de siècle" in CELESTIA, too and your music may be a modern setting to music of "le mal du siècle". What do you think?
Baudelaire is for me entertaining high school literature. I used to study him in the past. I am not really attracted by him today. I think that Black Metal has nothing to do with literature or poetry. I mean the already written literature. Those who use texts of Baudelaire are not able to express themselves, so that's why; they need to steal the texts of someone else. The guy who was doing Mortifera with me used some texts of Baudelaire but since he composed and sang on these songs, I let him doing this. But I was never really happy with this idea. Since was not really representing the face of Mortifera I want to expose.
Black Metal interpretation, to be pertinent, must be something personal and intellectual. Taking texts from others is something I will never be able to consider for Celestia or any other musical projects I could have in the future.
You must be right about the "fin de siècle" thing. I do not think that Black Metal in general can be seen as something that can represent our actual world.
Celestia cannot be represented in this actual world where the filth and mediocrity are glorified. Our way of thinking and expression is outdated. We are standing with values that do not longer exist in this world. Of course, I cannot say that I am feeling alright in this actual Europe. I am someone from the time where the white man still had it own dignity.
Nowadays we suffocate with those politically correct Judaeo-Christian values. We do not have the right to express. We have to think like they want us to think. Otherwise, we are put in the list of those antifas hustlers. Modern world consider homosexuality as something normal. I consider this as a strong mental disease. There is also many other disgusting points I cannot accept in our actual world. In fact the list of things I dislike will be quite long I'm afraid. I do not want to give a bad image of your publication while leaving myself using my freedom of speech in these pages. I'll abstain…
Another interesting point of the 19th century is the so called "salon-culture" where intellectual groups met in a salon owned by one of them. These sessions inspired some of the most important creations of those times. Have there been similar sessions in the history of CELESTIA or do your strongly prefer to work alone? Are there persons outside the band which have been/are inspiring for you?
There was a time where we had a lot of discussion within the core of the band. Especially with my ex-drummer Astrelya who is sadly no longer in Celestia anymore. I do think we can easily compare those discussions with those 19th century "salon-culture". I think that to exchange points of view and ideas is a good way to spend some time. It is indeed better than to watch television brain washing machine or play stupid video games.
There were also many persons outside the band who had an influence on me. I used to travel a lot and I had the chance to meet very interesting entities.
Today, I am a bit more isolated than I was in the past. I have evolved and I have difficulties to have real intellectual discussions with others. This frustrates me quite a lot since I think I suffer most of the time from a superiority complex. People I use to meet are most of the time victim of symptom of this modern decadent world. Having real exchanges with them is difficult.
A thing you seem to have left behind is the use of corpse paint. Many older BM activists feel that it has lost its meaning nowadays as so many bands took use of face paint. Do you share this opinion? What did it mean to you when you used it?
Let's say that we took pictures with and without corpse paint. It depends of the mood. I think that the use of corpse paint still have a lot of meaning. We always used this on stage for example. But there were some photo sessions where the use of corpse paint was not appropriate. Corpse paint belongs to the Black Metal culture.
I can easily understand the point of view about those activists who think that using this is nowadays ridiculous. Well, I have to admit that 99% of the people using corpse paint today are just parodies of parodies of their Black Metal heroes.
I use Black Metal corpse painting as a key to another world, an ethereal world that has the colour of Blood. This led me to escape from reality. It has also it ritualistic meaning.
Black Metal concert must be like a magical luciferian ritual. A kind of communion with an obscure world that provide positive energies.
Today, many usurpers took the control of the Black Metal movement; they play Black Metal like a circus show. They just want to impress kids with inverted crosses and the use of blood on stage. Black Metal is more than a show for me. Black Metal is a personal intellectual elevation. At least this is how I consider Black metal. A kind of music and way of thinking who lead you to evolve to superior spheres of thoughts. Black Metal is not primitive Satan worshiping. Satan is an invention of the holy bible. Reversing the bible like those "religious" activists are doing is also a wrong interpretation of the Black metal cult. Black Metal is neither a suicide yourself kind of music.
Black Metal has been usurped and this noble movement became something highly pathetic.
On the "Delhÿs-cätess" Demo and also on the new opus "Frigidiis Apotheosia : Genèse De L'Abstinence" you got help from Malefic. In my opinion it was a good decision to include his talent in the new songs as his participation helped to create an even more intense and "full" atmosphere. As I think that Malefic's XASTHUR and CELESTIA are quite different I wonder how you worked together. Did you give unmistakable instructions to Malefic or did you grant him some freedom in composing the keyboard parts?
We are in touch since a long time. I like the works of Xasthur and Malefic like Celestia. Our cooperation appeared as something natural. I gave a total freedom of expression to Malefic. But I haven't used all the parts he did. I didn't want to have too much keyboard on this album.
I read that you prefer attending a classical concert instead of watching an ordinary Metal gig. Metal musicians say very often that they feel inspired by classical music even though they might come up with poor keyboard watered shit. What I find to be a possible inspiring aspect of classical music are its dynamics. While Metal is most of the time very loud, classical music has a wider range of loudness. Even if it might be challenging to manage to create dynamics in extreme Metal it seems to be a possibility. What is your opinion about this idea? Is there another sort of inspiration which you draw from classical music?
I like to listen to classic music in order to relax myself. I must say that I particularly enjoy classical music. I fail to see similar points in Black Metal and Classical music. For me, they are two different things.
Maybe there are some similarities in terms of loudness like you said. Well, I have difficulties to define music. I think that classical music is a heritage from the glorious white Europe that cannot be forgotten.
Discomfort with the Modern World is often symbolized by the USA which is presumed guilty of waging a cultural imperialistic war on the rest of the world threatening also "Old Europe". One can say that it was World War I which changed the forces in the world. As Great Britain had been the super power before the Great War America became it afterwards. How do you consider World War I and its consequences? Do you share the opinion that it can be recognized as the main catastrophe ("Urkatastrophe" in German) of the 20th century?
Every wars have consequences on the future of the involved nations. USA/Israel seems to be the rulers of the world nowadays. We live in a world were some values have no more reasons to exists. The world is ruled by some companies who only care about their own profit.
The situation in France is actually really bad but I guess it is more or less the same in the entire Europe. Since the beginning of the Euro currency, prices in Europe raised. But pay-cheques haven't risen. So, it was becoming more and more difficult to have a decent life in France.
Many factories closed their doors because they were not more able to pay the huge taxes we had to pay to our government. Meanwhile, many immigrants from Africa landed here.
Most of these people came here for the social advantages our country was able to offer them.
But the main problem is that many companies who used to pay those social costs are disappearing days after days. This situation is not better with the arrival of the new French president Sarkozy. As always, we had nice promises but all was only lies and one of the only thing our president did was to multiply his own salary by 3!
So more and more immigrants not working at all taking advantages of what we can offer us and many factories or other companies closed their doors. I do not see a pleasant future in our country.
I do think that this situation will be similar to the whole Europe. What will be left then?
Very few things in fact. Soon we'll have to eat made in china burgers and die from cancers.
This is Urkatastrophe !