Music Is Magic Not Maths
CoC chats to Noktu Geisttmort of Celestia
by: Quentin Kalis
For over a decade Celestia have soldiered on in the French black metal underground, known only to a select few sufficiently aware or lucky enough to obtain one of their numerous but limited releases. Despite an expansive back-catalogue, the band released its second full-length in 2008. Although the band has a somewhat revolving door membership policy, the heart at the beginning was, and still is, Noktu Geistmortt. Noktu has an expansive biography, running two record labels, and has been involved in a number of bands over the years. In the following interview, I was allowed a glimpse into the machinations of this fascinating project.

CoC: Who is in Celestia at the moment? Which members were active on the album?

Noktu: Celestia 2008 is me and Ghaast (guitars). I did the album with Astrelya and Malefic. Astrelya left Celestia after the recording of the last album.

CoC: Almost all Celestia releases have been released by your own label, Drakkar Productions, but the latest Celestia album is the first for Apparitia Recordings. Please tell me more about this label. Why was it established? Is it purely a Celestia imprint or will it release material by other bands? Who runs it?

N: Apparitia Recordings is a label I manage. This label was created for Celestia but other artists are currently signed under this label now. The next releases will be Hakuja - _Legacy_ debut CD/LP, Sacrificia Mortuorum's new album, Celestia -_Apparitia Sumptuous Spectre_ CD/LP and Celestia - _Retrospectra_ CD/LP.

CoC: Celestia's first release was in 1997, but it took a while for Celestia to release their debut album. You have your own label (Drakkar Productions) apart from Apparitia Recordings, which could presumably have released it at any time before then. I mention in my review that this could be because you wanted to develop Celestia's sound, for it to reach a certain level of maturity before unleashing it upon the world. (As you are probably well aware, there are many black metal projects whose albums are released when they are not quite ready to advance beyond the demo stage.) Is there any truth to this theory?

N: The debut album was released when we were ready for it. It took the time needed but we are still not satisfied by the result of this album. Too many bands release crappy albums, that's their problem. The scene is getting less interesting day after day. Celestia do not want to be put in the middle of this over consuming music world.

CoC: The new album is by far Celestia's most mature and advanced work. Was a conscious attempt made to create a more layered piece or was it simply the result of years of experience? Was the composition of this album approached in a different manner than previous works?

N: It must be the result of years of experience, maybe. I am not someone who likes to plan everything in advance. Music has to be performed like an impulse when the right mood for expressing negativity can be felt. I don't think the composition approach really evolved with the years. This is a thing that has a minor importance to me. Music is magic not mathematics.

CoC: This is Celestia's first full-length with all new songs (if the pre-release demo is excluded). How long did it take to write the material? Is it all new, or have some songs been around in rough form for a while?

N: The writing process of the new album started in 2002. It took three years to consider recording this one due to some line-up issues mostly but also a lack of motivation and interest. [Noktu was involved in Mortifera, a solo project at this stage. - QK]

CoC: Celestia's sound has changed, most notably with the introduction of keyboards, which I don't recall hearing on any of your earlier works. Why was the decision taken now to use keyboards? What did they bring to the album that guitars couldn't?

N: Keyboards were used on the debut demo tape of Celestia in 1997 but also in our MCD and our debut album _Apparitia Sumptuous Spectre_. Let's just say that keyboards are now performed by someone much more talented than me, that's why you may have noticed them only now.

CoC: Celestia has been around since at least 1997; in your opinion, how has the French scene changed since then? Who would you consider to be the French black metal bands to watch in the future? (None which you or any other Celestia members are connected with please!)

N: Celestia really started in 1995, I started the recording of the first demo in 1996 and this one was released in 1997. There are few interesting bands in France, I think my new band members all have killer unheard projects, but since you don't want me to mention them... Besides this, I can really recommend bands such as Ephiles, Sacrifiica Mortourum and Noktiis Eterna.

CoC: CDs are the predominant musical format and there is a market for LPs, but why are tapes released? Is this not an obsolete format? I know Celestia released the _DC_ demo on cassette, so I'd like to hear your views on why you chose this format over CD / pro CD-R or even just MP3?

N: I love the cassette format. I have 34 years and I am not obsolete. Until the moment, I'll enjoy listening audio cassettes, we'll continue to produce some. Even if this format is very expensive to produce nowadays.

CoC: Celestia arose in the days before an internet connection was as widespread as a TV. Do you consider the internet to have been an important tool in promoting your bands and your label?

N: Yes, the internet is a wonderful way to communicate and to promote your music. I'd be stupid to deny this fact. I have nothing against this, internet makes life easier.

CoC: Celestia are one of the few underground bands that have performed live. Are any live dates seen for the future?

N: Yes, it seems we will, we are playing our first live appearance with the new line-up in two weeks in Lyon (France). Then, we would like to tour over Europe and USA.

(article submitted 8/6/2008)

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6/23/2007 Q Kalis 4.5 Celestia - Delhyss - catess
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