Interview: Artaud Seth (Merciful Nuns)

By on 3 February 2011

Egypt has recorded and kept eternally the wisdom of the old times… All coming from time immemorial when gods governed the Earth in the dawn of civilisation.” – Plato

Former Garden Of Delight and Lutherion mastermind Artaud Seth returned to Gothic Rock in 2010 with his new project Merciful Nuns. The sound, heavily inspired by classic bands such as The Sisters Of Mercy and Joy Division filtered through Seth’s esoteric ideas has struck a chord with fans across the world. After the success of the debut Nuns offerings ‘Lib. I’ and ‘Body Of Light EP’, Seth and co. are ready to strike out again with ‘Hypogeum II’. An atmospheric and haunting journey through the collective unconscious and back into the Megalithic culture.

I caught up with Artaud for Dominion online to talk about ancient mythology, the occult, and running his own record label.

Dominion: You’re principally known for your body of work with Garden Of Delight, and Merciful Nuns has been embraced as the successor to G.O.D. Did the fan reaction surprise you?

Artaud: Well, a year ago, when the vision of a new band began to take shape, all I had in mind was to develop it for a small number of believers devoted to real Goth music. Twelve months later I am proud to say: We are one of the best selling artists of 2010 in the so-called “Goth” genre! And… almost entirely without the aid of being plugged in magazines and the printed media in general. The reasons for our resounding success are quite easy to define: Good music, a proper G.O.D. newsletter and the incredible help of the MN Lodges all around the world. G.O.D. is an inseparable part of me, to which I owe so much. Of course, parallels are inevitable since by and large the same producer, songwriter and singer can be found behind both projects.

Dominion: What is the concept behind the Nunhood lodges and is it inspired by Freemasonry?

Artaud: Quite possible. The NUNHOOD goal is the pooling of you out there and for that purpose we endeavour to establish more and more Lodges in Goth-related countries. I’ll be in close contact with these Lodges and will regularly do something special in the respective countries. This may take the form of an interview or perhaps a meeting with us. In the foreseeable future and as soon as time will permit me, a virtual library will be incepted under www.grandlodge.de. Therein I want to offer insight into the subject matter of my lyrics. Only members of NUNHOOD shall be invited to access and enter the www.grandlodge.de. In a sense they become Initiates if they so desire. To answer your question regarding a possible relation to Freemasonry: There is indeed a connection but I wouldn’t attribute too much significance to it; my primary interest in Freemasonry is limited to its visual and coded concepts, no more than that.

Dominion: On the back of the first two releases [‘Lib. I’ and ‘Body of Light EP’] how do you feel Merciful Nuns has been received by the wider Gothic scene?

Artaud: It is simply a good feeling and it fills me with great pride to have such success with a Retro-Goth album. I must admit, it exceeds my expectations. That is very special for me. The Nuns originates in a whim of mine to create something which would return me personally to a time when I discovered my passion for music. The fact that so many appear to accompany me on this path, whether to re-live it or experience it anew, is something, like I said before, that fills me with great pride.

Dominion: How has the latest album, ‘Hypogeum II’, developed musically from ‘Lib. I’?

Artaud: From a production/technical point of view my aim was to generate a fuller and more modern sound combined with typical elements of the latter days of Joy Division. Furthermore strong, solid and unfussy drums and distinct hall effects, a deep bass coupled with fleeting guitars; plus I wanted to have enough room for my vocals. To my mind, I seem to have achieved that rather well.

Dominion: You have a strong conceptual strata to your music that evokes ancient mythology and occult lore. How has this manifested on ‘Hypogeum II’?

Artaud:
There was a simple question which has driven me: Where it all came from? Could it be that there was once a single, highly-advanced group of men that virtually kick-started the world’s first civilizations? Pre-astronauts coming from Planet X? So called ‘Watchers’ were thought of as gods, but it is said that they looked like normal people and they lived and died just like everyone else? Listen to ‘Hypogeum II’ and let us shared the same teacher.

 

Dominion: Are there any plans for promotional videos to accompany the new album?

Artaud: Actually we are working on a video clip for ‘Sanctuary’.

Dominion: You recently covered the Joy Division song ‘The Eternal’ – what attracted you to this song in particular?

Artaud: It’s quite simple: I really like this gloomy atmosphere within the song. And for sure, this song fits perfect to the sound of the Nuns.

Dominion: You have long been associated with Trisol records, but with Merciful Nuns you’ve decided to release the material yourself under the Solar Lodge label. Why the change?

Artaud: I was satisfied with the work of Trisol but had reached a point in my life where I wanted to take charge of it myself. I have pondered long and hard whether or not to re-sign with Trisol. In the end I made a decision in favour of following my own vision. Time will prove me right, in this I am sure by now.

Dominion: Has the added work of operating the label affect your approach to writing for Merciful Nuns?

Artaud: No.

 

Dominion: With Merciful Nuns as your main focus, will there be any further output from Lutherion?

Artaud:
There are no plans. My focus is fixed on the Nuns.

Dominion: Where will Merciful Nuns be going in 2011 off the back of ‘Hypogeum II’ and will there be any UK live dates?

Artaud: Oh I really like to celebrate a gig again in the UK. But in my eyes there’s only one or two possibilities which fits to the Nuns: Whitby Gothic Weekend and Gotham in London. We do perhaps around twelve concerts per year, but no more. A Merciful Nuns concert has to be special and exude a sense of familiarity. I am aware of many believers from the UK who travel 1000s of km to see and experience the Nuns. That makes me very proud! We will be in Greece, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Czech, Portugal and maybe Italy. More information you can find under www.MercifulNuns.com

Dominion: Finally, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Artaud: A typical never heard before question to end an interview. What else can I say as I would like to thank you for this small interview Mr. Palfrey.

‘Hypogeum II’ is currently available to buy through the Solar Lodge records webshop

The album is also Dominion online’s new featured album!

Click here to stream this album now.

www.MercifulNuns.com
www.GrandLodge.de
www.SolarLodge.de

 

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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