viernes, 28 de diciembre de 2012

Interview With Celestia

We who do the blog, love the Black Metal. In recent years, if we have to choose a country to highlight on Black Metal, that country is France. And if we have to choose a particular band to stand out, it gets tricky, because there are too many good bands. Fortunately in the blog is Laura Serviän, my partner and specialist in Black Metal. She was who came in search of Celestia, one of the best groups of French Black Metal, and also the world, why deny it? She was fortunate to contact not only Noktu (father of the child), but also with Ghaast, the talented co-Equiper of Noktu. Between them they managed to shape a great interview.

PR: Hello, How are you? Thank you for accepting this interview
Noktu: Hello, I am doing well. Thanks for your interest in Celestia.
PR: How did it go at the Japanese tour? You had played before in that country?
Noktu: The Japanese tour was a good experience for us. We just played two shows there but all of us will remember these shows for a long time. It was the first time for all of us in Japan and we all hope to be able to go back there one day.
Ghaast: In the short amount of time we had spent in Japan, we had taken quite a liking there. From what we have seen, it was a place that was very clean, safe, and disciplined. Something that is sorely missing in the western world these days. 
The shows themselves proved to be quite successful, and we found the scene there to be quite authentic, without any pretentions. Again, something sorely missing in the western world.
PR: You have two years without getting a full lenght. What have you been doing? Took a break before the Japanese tour? Were composing new songs?
Noktu: We are not the kind of band that likes to over produce music. We recorded 13 new songs in June 2012 and we are still currently working on details for this recording. We’d like to release this new album during 2013, but nothing is fixed yet.
Ghaast: We have been fairly active during this time. Much of this year was spent writing and recording the album. Before this, even if we weren't rehearsing each week, we would always have Celestia on the mind. Whether it be composing new riffs. Or a lyrical idea or concept that would come up. 
In addition, there would be the occasional tour or shows through either Europe or North America. And preparing for this always takes considerable time between the organizing, rehearsing, etc.
PR: Something we love about Celestia, is that your music is so deep and subtle, as romantic as aggressive, and always dark, melancholic and intense at the same time. It was always in your mind the idea of creating something so unique, so personal? Or was happening as Celestia evolving, and therefore you were going to evolve as a musician?
Noktu: Composing was always a natural process, you know like you play guitar and some good riffs are showing up. They are good and then, you forget them. Two years later it happens that by accident you play the same riff and you try to remember this riff that started to sing in your head. Then, you start to consider that using this riff with this other riff you have in mind could eventually be a good idea, but no! One year after you realize that it is not and then during studio recording, you compose some good riffs, better than everything you had ever written. There is no recipe, all is natural, sincere and all is about mood and emotions. It’s indeed personal, what’s the point about playing music like another band. Since the very beginning I wanted my band to sound like my band, not like any other existing bands. There is already enough clones of other band, this even came embarrassing since few years. All these bands who sound/look the same with their Christophe Moyen cover art and the same stupid pose/mimics on their pictures. They are feeling comfortable imitating Beherit and Blasphemy but these bands are not extreme. They are just morons who are looking for credibility using what others bands have done in the past. Celestia cannot be compared with this “scene” that we deeply hate.
As for what you call evolution, well, I do not ask this question to myself. I live my music and lyrics and until the time I’ll felt something when I listen to what I’ve done, I’ll continue (to evolve).
Ghaast: Anything creative should be a personal process for whoever is creating it. So this idea of bands that want to carbon copy another bands style verbatim, is something completely baffling. As time goes on, we've gained a certain experience as song writers, and we have gotten more in touch with instincts. Now writing music in Celestia is more of a natural process than ever. As a result of all of this, i think the music gets more and more introspective. So when you listen to Celestia music, what you are hearing is our actual personalities and perspectives.
PR: What things inspire you when creating music? Rather, what kind of emotions and feelings that take over you when you are creating?
Noktu: Recently, I have taken inspiration in past moments I have lived, atmospheres felt, fragrances and old stones smell. Beside that, dead spirits speak to me in my dreams and they give me advice. Some could call this thing “instinct” since I feel things in advance. I also feel trapped in my own life. I also have the feeling I can’t touch anyone and no one can touch me. I just wish to be left alone sometimes but composing music can be a key.
Ghaast: Personally, inspiration these days are more immediate. There isn't a certain thing or feeling that helps inspiration. Whatever the immediate surroundings and life climates are at that time when the guitar is in hand is what will shape the mood of the music. 
As far as emotions while we are creating, this is impossible to explain. Vaguely put, there is a certain feeling inside which signals that an idea that was created is the correct one to be used.
PR: You can say that there is a way to make Black Metal that sounds 100% french? I mean, you, Peste Noire, Mortifera, Mütiilation, Deathspell Omega, Pensées Nocturnes, have a unique way of making Black Metal. It seems that all these bands can only be born and raised in a country like France. But is best to know your opinion.
Noktu: Yes, there is a French musical identity like there is an identity for bands from Norway, Sweden or Poland. Some countries don’t have musical identity which is sad for them. But here in France, we always had a good scene with individuals who had something to say. Some of them are now in the train of success, signing with shitty big mainstream labels in order to reach success. We will never betray and stay hidden in our misty mountains watching them humiliating themselves by posing in magazines with sunglasses.
Ghaast: So many different factors contribute to a bands sound. Things on a subconscious level and that don't necessarily have anything to do with music. Starting from their living surroundings, to the past and present customs and traditions of their country. Even to some degree, the pop culture of a particular country will contribute to a bands sound. Since many of these aspects are things that are specific to that particular area. 
Therefore a band like Celestia could only have been conceived in the landscapes in the south of France, just like a band like Biohazard could only have been conceived in New York.
PR: The Encyclopedia Metallum says Celestia write lyrics about occultism and sadism. But, is that right? That is, there is too simplistic that information?
Noktu: Simply just read our lyrics and you’ll see that they are completely wrong. 50% of the information about Celestia on Metal Archives is completely wrong. Especially about these people who fantasize about the fact they once were member of the band. This is amusing for me but definitively not a reliable source of information about the band. If someone wants information about Celestia, it is easier to contact me and ask. I always answer when people show some interest.
Ghaast: I suppose you can link occultism to some aspects of cathari thought, which is a theme Celestia touches upon. But that is too far reaching. I'm assuming whoever listed that description on Metal Archives is thinking of occultism in the traditional metal-head sense. which is completely wrong. 
As far as sadism, anyone who can correctly interpret the lyrics on the Frigidiis Apotheosa album will see how wrong that description is. 
Lyrically there was a bit of a loose concept that was followed. At least for the last 2 albums. Frigidiis Apotheosia focused on the discipline and struggle one needed to deny all earthly pleasures and shed "the flesh" of the modern world to ascend to a higher elightenment. 
With Arcanae Perfectii, this goal has been met, and it views the world through the eyes of one who has reached the level of the Perfectii. 
On the next album, the lyrics will be even more introspective and abstract. At this point, we are more isolated and hidden than ever, more difficult to reach than ever. In all reality, I seriously doubt these lyrics will make any sense to anyone aside from us and maybe a few others. Its almost as if the lyrics were written in code.
For the early recordings, its best to ask Noktu for the specifics.
PR: Noktu, you are the owner of Drakkar Productions. Also are the owner of Apparitia Recordings? What is the difference between a label and another?
Noktu: I own these labels but I do not work for these labels alone. My task there is more like one of an advisor than anything else, I also communicate with signed bands, do some paper work etc. The difference between Drakkar and Apparitia Recordings is about the style of the bands we are signing. Drakkar is more old school Black/Death Metal. Apparitia Recordings is more a label for bands like Celestia, Mortifera or Hakuja.
We've reached a point where there were no labels suitable for Celestia so we decided to create Apparitia Recordings. It’s the right label for Celestia since no other label will ever be able to match what Apparitia Recordings is able to offer us.
PR: You find things exciting in the current Black Metal scene? Or do you think that is filled with children who are painted as pandas and repeat till you drop things Vikernes said 20 years ago, hiding his lack of talent?
Noktu: Your definition of the actual BM scene is unfortunately so true. We played with so many pandas; this is even embarrassing to play with such kind of bands. But we close our eyes and put our hands on our ears when they are playing.
The most stressful thing when we do concerts is to avoid listening to these bands play and have minimum contact with them. That’s because we usually arrive before them, leave the place and arrive 30 minutes before our own show. Sometimes it works very well and we can do concerts without having much contact with Pandas. Most of them are uneducated animals who don’t even have a clue about who we are. They just only care about their own band and the handful of friends who play the role of fans while they are playing. They usually play more than one hour, this is the underground scene of today. Narcissism above all, lack of talent and credibility and lack of musical skills.
Fortunately there are some exceptions and from time to time we play with good bands like it was the case in Japan. The scene there seems to be uncorrupted and untouched by the stupidity we can see in Europe, it’s a small scene too. It was really a pleasure to share stages with bands like Infernal Necromancy and Cataplexy there.
Ghaast: Sad to say, but it looks like Black Metal is in its lowest state yet. There are times where the scene will go through waves of productivity where there will be more interesting bands. But now, no. Aside from maybe one or two albums, I cannot name a single good black metal release all year and about the same for last year. These days, its best to just stick to the classics and let the students continue failing.
PR: If you had to make a balance of these 22-year career, what things would you highlight? What things do not come back?
Noktu: I think I have wasted so much time with untalented and stupid musicians in the past. This slowed down the evolution of the band. Thanks to this, I have created Mortifera and I've expressed myself differently with this other band. But still Celestia will have probably recorded 4 or 5 more albums.
Highlight was the return of Celestia with the Frigidiis album, then, I met Ghaast and we started to do concerts again, it was like a new breath for Celestia. Now, we are 4 members in the band and we are all very motivated with this project. Sometimes there is a kind of osmosis between us when we play. It’s more than music, it’s magic. We can feel it from time to time when we rehearse, but this is rare, too rare.
This recent Japan tour was and will always remain as a highlight for Celestia. Same thing for the North American tour we did a couple of years ago. I speak like someone who likes touring but what don’t get me wrong, it is not the case.
Ghaast: Although i've only spent 5 out of the 20 years in the life of Celestia, i have witnessed many highs and lows.
The main thing I would've changed is not work with some of the musicians we have worked with in the past. We were far too patient with these losers, when deep down we felt all along they would fail Celestia. When I think of all that was wasted in working with these people, I can't help but think of all of the productive activities we could have done instead.
But I suppose things happen for a reason sometimes and thankfully, it feels like now is an upswing time for Celestia. Between the very sucessful Japanese dates. Gaining 2 new full time members, who i feel will prove to be a great asset to Celestia in the future. and recording what I think will turn out to be the finest Celestia album yet.
PR: In the album Frigidiis Apotheosia: Abstinence Geneiis, Malefic of Xasthur is as guest musician. How did the possibility of Malefic participating in a Celestia´s album? You like music that Xasthur makes?
Noktu: I was in touch with Scott and I have invited him to play since I know he likes Celestia.
He accepted and did these keyboards on this Frigidiis album, nothing more than that. Getting tired to answer this question too, in about 50 interviews, people mentioned this point. haha
Last week, Scott sent me an email telling me he don’t like Black Metal but still likes Celestia. Then, I sent him a track from our new upcoming album and he loved the song.
I like also Xasthur music. I think that our two bands had some connections in one sense.
Ghaast: Scott does great work with his band and is on the same wavelength as Celestia, so this made him a perfect candidate for the synth work of Frigidiis. He was asked to create a ghostly, sustained atmosphere. And this is exactly what he provided for that album.
PR:  I always felt that the members of Celestia are broad guys when listening to music, not living listening Black Metal all the fucking day. Am I wrong? You're listening varied styles of music? As a musician, do you think it is important not to be caught in a single style of music?
Noktu: I listen and enjoy many kind of music. Not only Black Metal. I try to listen and discover new Black Metal bands but I am most of the time really upset with what I am listening. I think this scene lost a lot with the years; it is now rare to find a real and good band. There are some exceptions of course.
I don’t even consider myself as musician; I just use an instrument to express a sort of language who sounds like music. So, I am not trying listening music to learn musical techniques. For me music must bring some feelings and emotions before technics. 
PR: Ok, let's end. What are the steps to follow in the path of Celestia? There is a goal in the life of the band?
Ghaast: Its a long and laborous path, few have the perserverence to handle. Its part of the reason why we have become so hidden as people. Our path is not one to be followed, and prefer to remain isolated.There aren't any long term goals, we just look short term at this point. With completing the new album as the main goal.
PR: Well, I think that that is all. Many thanks for your time. And hopefully we can continue to enjoy the music of Celestia for a long time more
Ghaast: Thanks for your support of Celestia and for this interview.

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