Necromelancholic Reveries
CoC chats to Noctu Geiistmortt of Celestia
by: Quentin Kalis
France has a long and distinguished black metal lineage, including luminaries such as Mütiilation, Antaeus and Vlad Tepes. Perhaps such notable company would help to explain why Celestia have been unjustly ignored in comparison to the attention the aforementioned acts have received. Their lack of recognition is certainly not due to any deficiency of originality; few bands have created such devastating melancholic grimness, to which Noctu's vocals add an extra depressive dimension. Although Celestia is temporarily inactive, Noctu Geiistmortt is still active within the black metal scene and has recently released an album under the Mortifera moniker. Although I've not had the pleasure of hearing Mortifera, the reviews have generally been positive. My motivation for conducting this e-mail interview is simple: I merely wanted to know more about this mysterious entity. Hopefully you, the reader, will too.

CoC: I notice the band name is hardly your usual black metal name. Why was it chosen?

Noctu Geiistmortt: I think that you will agree with me about the lack of inspiration with these black metal band names. The Celestia name can indeed be seen as something weird for those who are looking for "Forest Throne" band names. Celestia is a simple and an iconic definition of my lyrical concept. I have naturally put that name on my music and texts.

CoC: Black metal ideology is rooted in conceptions of Satanism, with some bands now focusing on the religion of their ancient forefathers. Is Celestia allied with any Satanic or Pagan ideology? Celestia seems to be aiming for a more cerebral black metal experience focusing on negativity and darkness but without any cheesy "Hail Satan Our Master" silliness...

NG: Black metal is negativity for me. At least the negativity I have inside my own self, and that is quite vast since I still feel that awful need to create black metal and to write about my perception of things. There are too many branches in the black metal circus of today. I do not really understand the Pagan black metal scene. For me, nothing negative is evoked in their music. How can they talk about black metal when their references are stories about old heroes from the past? A term that defines their music better, I think, is "Historical Pagan metal" or something of that kind. Nowadays people who are usually lacking in creativity are studying old myths and legends linked with old religious books, such as the Holy Bible. I was fascinated with the last interview of Deathspell Omega by the capacity those people had to misunderstand black metal and religion. For me black metal must be far from every pre-established religious doctrine, and when I read the words of people who wish to reach a 'Judeo-Christian equilibrium' while they pretend to play black metal, I do admit that I have certain difficulties in following them. What I mean by 'Judeo-Christian equilibrium' is more of a justification of evil through the experience of the Christian conception of "good". Maybe they just want to impress people by quoting words of various authors to sell more albums? I don't know. The worst conclusion is when you can compare black metal attitude with a Jewish attitude. That really makes me think that black metal reached a point where any kind of stupidity is able to gather followers that will buy your records. Well, you will tell me also that black metal listeners are usually really immature and I will agree with you on that point. Celestia has fortunately nothing to do with these movements. We are following our own way without really paying attention to what is happening in that defunct black metal movement. We are not really able to evolve musically since the music we are playing is just black metal with a personal touch. An abstraction for many and a reason to hate us for others. Celestia is a male/female vomit, an abstract void gathering all human negations. Some Evanescence of past dead images, some fantasies leading to frustrations. A desire to follow the path of self-destruction. Think about putting all these things into a brain crushing machine and you will maybe be able to understand my concept.

CoC: I've noticed in other interviews that Celestia is at great pains not to align itself with the black metal scene, even going so far as to cast doubts on the authenticity of Celestia's black metal credentials. While there certainly are a lot of pathetic albums and the scene has its fair share of idiots, why does Celestia have such an aversion to being associated with the black metal scene?

NG: Celestia is the only true black metal. We naturally cannot be associated with the nowadays black metal scene, simply because what I'm trying to evoke with Celestia is going too far away from the standards already used in black metal. Sorry, but I cannot copy/paste something already done in black metal. I just want to make the most sincere black metal without taking influences from anywhere.

CoC: I understand that Celestia have played live on several occasions, a relatively rare occurrence for more underground (in terms of style, not popularity) black metal bands. What made Celestia decide to perform live?

NG: Yes, we have performed something like 25 shows in nine years of existence. I don't know if it's a lot or not, but it was already difficult to play in front of stupid humans. Fortunately some shows were really pleasant. The nightmare is over now since we decided not to play live anymore.

CoC: A large proportion of Drakkar bands (in comparison to other black metal labels such as No Colours) such as Watain, Tsjuder, Mütiilation and Abigail have performed live. Having worked at Drakkar Productions, could you comment on this? Is it a part of Drakkar policy to sign bands who are prepared to perform live or is the current state of affairs completely unintentional?

NG: I don't know. Drakkar Productions does not really pay attention to such things. If bands wish to play live, that's fine; if they don't want to, that is alright too.

CoC: The Official Celestia website is rather sparse, to put it kindly. There is a deliberate lack of information on the site, with not even basics such as band history or discography. Why is no information provided on past activities and why are past activities regarded as unimportant?

NG: That web page is dead; Celestia is dead too. So, I don't see the point in going back to past events. Also another important detail is that I don't know how to deal with web pages since our webmaster disappeared into the maelstrom of humanity. Celestia has to remain unimportant, I think.

CoC: Could you tell us more about your side project Mortifera? Are any other Celestia members involved in other projects? Also, why did you form Mortifera? Does Mortifera cover musical or lyrical territory that would be unthinkable under the Celestia banner? Can we expect future Mortifera releases?

NG: Mortifera is indeed my second project. There were more and more riffs or lyrics that I was not able to use for Celestia and I have met a young man called Neige with whom I was sharing common points of view. Mortifera has existed in my mind for several years and since Celestia's work was put on ice, I decided to do something with Mortifera. We first did that MCD (_Complainte d'Une Agonie Céleste_) and we recently released one album. I am quite satisfied of the result; in fact the Mortifera album is even superior to the old _Apparitia - Sumptuous Spectre_ album which suffers from a really bad mix and mastering. Try to check out our Mortifera album and you will not be disappointed.

(article submitted 23/9/2004)

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