Celeste | Interview with Johan


Celeste, the name alone would suggest something blissful and angelic, yet for a rising extreme metal group from Lyon, France who’ve chosen the Latin word to name themselves, Celeste stands for cruel, savage and abrasive sounds. Citing influences as far-ranging as Neurosis, Amen Ra, Meshuggah, Wolves in the Throne Room, Nasum and Black Sabbath, the four young and talented musicians known as Celeste have recently issued another feast of vitriolic and malevolent music intriguingly titled “Misanthrope(s)”.
Intrigued by the nature of this singular and exciting collective Scratch the Surface took the opportunity to exchange a few words with vocalist Johan to find out more about Celeste’s origins and their latest creation “Misanthrope(s)”.

The music of Celeste clearly draws influences from a wide variety of genres and artists, yet if you were asked to single out a style or artist whose influence prevails over the new record what would it be?

“At the beginning we were influenced by bands like Shora, Neurosis, Breach, old Cult of Luna… but honestly when I write it, I’m not sure that I mean it unless for Shora, I honestly don’t know by who we could be influenced. Maybe our particularity is that each one of us doesn’t listen to the same kind of music, and actually we’re not big music listeners, so we can’t really be influenced…
It’s really hard to put us in a particular category. Some people say that we are a Black Metal band, others think that we are post-hardcore, and some still think that we do screamo. That’s weird. But finally the interesting thing is that our audience is extremely eclectic.”

How did you all get together as a band? It’s not everyday that you hear about a French collective blending strands of Hardcore, Sludge, Black-Metal and Post-Rock into a whole and there’s precious little information regarding Celeste’s origins available on the band’s official sites.

“Actually, we’re active for almost 4 years now and we are from Lyon. I was singing in Mihai Edrisch before I met the other guys from Celeste. The band already existed, not as Celeste, but they hadn’t released anything. When I joined the band things went pretty fast. As Mihai Edrisch disbanded a bit later, Celeste became my only band, so I really got involved into it. We have 2 albums already released “pessimiste(s)” and “nihiliste(s)”, and we’re currently releasing the new one called “misanthrope(s)”.

Your latest work “Misanthrope(s)” is available on Denovali Records’ website for free, as it occurred with Celeste’s previous two releases “Pessimiste(s)” and “Nihiliste(s).” The band along with their record label seem to have an inclination for doing this, is there any particular reason for that, do you think the album will eventually be available for downloads from illegal sources?

“I always thought that sharing the music was a good idea. I was thinking about asking Timo and Thomas from Denovali about that, but they came to me with the proposal before I had time to ask them. I think that it helps us a lot to catch the audience during our shows. Thanks to downloads we know that more people will know our songs, so the ambiance will be better. But I think that people are not aware enough about the issues behind this. I think that too many people see this as a free gift. But the real point is: This is a way to discover us. Then if you like our music, it’s important that you get a real release from us to support the label and us. If you don’t care about Cds or LPs, you can simply donate a few bucks. I hope that in the future, people will understand that more and more.
And yeah, of course, it doesn’t stop people sharing it in some other ways than from the label site. If you type “celeste misanthrope(s)” you’ll find something like 50 different blogs which put our stuff online via websites like rapidshare or mediafire. In some ways, I don’t care, but I don’t get the point of this behaviour… they could simply put the official download page link.”

“Misanthrope(s)” can be seen as a scarring experience with sludgy and crusty riffs creating a tension that is disturbingly menacing and heavily tormented Black-tinged singing, cleverly juxtaposed against more unwinding moments provided by more hypnotic and dissonant guitar chords.
In your opinion what is the biggest difference between “Misanthrope(s)” and “Nihiliste(s)?”

“It wasn’t made on purpose but I think that the biggest difference is that the Black Metal hints are more obvious. To get us, you just have to know that our goal is to do the darkest music we can, without being just brutal. Years after years we try some different tricks o find the best solution. With ‘Misanthrope(s)’ it seems that it came with Black Metal riffs, and some heavier and sludgy parts, but maybe for the next one it will be something else. We learn more and more how to be darkly effective.”

Celeste sing in their mother tongue and although I haven’t had the chance of reading the lyrical content of “Misanthrope(s)”, song titles such as “Il y aura des femmes à remercier et de la chair à embrocher” and “Une insomnie avec qui tout le monde voudrait baiser” reveal that the band have a penchant for metaphors.
Can you shed some light on what kind of themes “Misanthrope(s)” deals with lyrically?

“I always sang in French, I feel more confident with my mother tongue, furthermore it simply seems normal to me to sing this way. I’m glad that you appreciate it, I’m always wondering how it sounds for someone who doesn’t know a French word… I just hope it doesn’t make people hate our music.
The translations are unfortunately not available. My English is not good enough to translate my lyrics, and I didn’t find someone to do it correctly. As our album titles let you guess, I only deal with dark topics, mostly about rape, paedophilia, and incest… the other main topics are Religion and War. I also deal with our contemporary way of life. What inspires me is mostly hatred.”

More info at: www.weareceleste.com

1 comment:

  1. My name is Celeste. :) It's awesome that your guy's band name is "Celeste" Do you have a link for them on youtube?