Earlier today I was fortunate enough to interview the masterminds behind Acedia Mundi and ask them some questions about their record “Speculum Humanae Salvationis” as well as their plans for upcoming releases and touring. The entire interview can be seen below! Enjoy!
How did the name Acedia Mundi come about and what does it mean?
J : Acedia Mundi means “disgust of the world”, and the word “acedia” can also refer, nowadays, to a spiritual crisis experienced by a monk.
W : The word ‘Acedia’ comes from the Ancient Greek substantive “ακηδία”. Its primordial meaning was “lack of care”. If this spiritual disease is very common these days its roots go back to the fathers of the desert. Saint Thomas Aquinas defined acedia as a form of “disgust with activity”. Acedia relates to the fact of doing several things but the one you are supposed to be doing. It is a way to avoid the existential question: “what am I supposed to be doing?”. Some think acedia is the greatest of all sins, probably because of its universality; and I do believe it strikes more people than capital vices like lust or pride. According to Christians, the antidote for acedia is God’s love. To love as Christ did.
Can you tell a little bit about the history of Acedia Mundi?
V : J and I have been playing together for almost 9 years in different death or black metal bands that remained studio projects. After a short break in our musical activities, we decided to reunite and create Acedia Mundi at the end of 2013. We began to put together directly a debut full-length album. Then W (bass) and G (drums) joined us in 2014. Now we are preparing ourselves for some live appearances planned for early 2018.
What compelled you to create the music that you do? What is the driving force behind it?
J : It’s difficult to answer and it can be very different for each of us, I guess. For me, I would say that our songs are a means of expressing feelings and emotions that could hardly find another way out. Everybody experiences extreme feelings, what Spinoza called the “sad passions”, and we need to let it go and to create something with those. It’s a catharsis.
V : Alcohol is also a good way to create this twisted vibe of Acedia’s music.
Your sound is incredibly raw. Is that the sound you intended on going for to begin with or did it happen naturally?
J : Both. We wanted something raw, but you never know exactly how it will sound before you record it. A huge part of the job was up to Andrew Guillotin from the Hybreed Studios (Temple of Baal, Merrimack…), and he did great.
The last two tracks of your album read kind of like a sentence. I believe it to be written in Latin. I may have the translation wrong, but I think it’s, “We have not chosen that we are not the dregs.” If I’m not reading too much into this, what is the meaning behind this and the way that you have the last two tracks titled?
J : Actually it means something like : “We who haven’t been chosen, we are the shit of god”. The idea to link those two tracks occurred when we were writing the last one. There was something common in the riffing, and we just thought about the lyrics of the last song as a sequel to the previous one. Here, we were talking about the absence of transcendence, of mysticism, of divine, confronted to our human need to believe in something more than what we see, need which has to remain unfulfilled.
As for the song “Ceux qui Marchent” I believe it to be “those who walk”. Again I may be way off in translation, but would you mind telling what this track is about and the meaning behind the title?
J : The lyrics are about the violence the weak ones have to cope with. In the song, you hear the voice of a kid explaining how he was raped. To be “those who walk” means to kiss your past goodbye (to quote Aerosmith) and to move form victim to revolutionary. They sow the wind and they will reap the whirlwind (to quote something less cool than Aerosmith).
Each track on your record is something that is unique and doesn’t necessarily bind itself to death, black or doom metal. Was it a conscious effort to not pigeonhole yourselves into a single genre?
J : We listen to many different genres, even out of the metal sphere. So it was natural for us to break free from the expectations of black metal.
There are some spoken word samples that are spread all throughout the release, can you tell where you came up with them and why you decided to incorporate them into your music?
V : The spoken words come from films we like. For the intro, it’s extracted from Harmony Korine’s “Gummo”, David Lynch’s “Lost Highway” for “The Sadist is The Saddest”, “Les Enfants Terribles”, a film by Jean-Pierre Melville for “From Sodom to Magog” and “Song for A Raggy Boy” (Aisling Walsh) on “Ceux qui Marchent”. In Acedia Mundi, the cinematographic aspect is very important. It brings another level of reading, an extension of our lyrics and something that highlight the oppressive atmosphere of our songs. We also have some musical samples, like Gregorian Chants on “The Sadist is the Saddest”, that add an ironic “spiritual” side and an old melancholic and forlorn song from a 20’s French singer called Yvonne George, “Les Cloches de Nantes” at the end of “… Sumus Fex Dei”.
W : These cinematographic influences should help us in the making of a video-clip. We know it isn’t something popular within the Black Metal scene yet our aim isn’t to reproduce a standard and stereotypical exercise. We are tired to see bands film themselves playing their own music. It’s boring as fuck and nobody is really interested in the final product. It ends up being a bland promotional tool to get the attention of the public. Our goal would be to make something aesthetically interesting and strong without falling into the thousands of clichés the mainstream bands do.
France seems to have a large religious presence, and your music certainly is not. Has there been any backlash on that front? And if so, how have you dealt with it?
J : Black metal bands talk about religion because it’s traditional in the genre, not because it’s what they are disgusted by when they get out to see the streets downstairs. More often than not, they are just motherfucking traditionalists, nationalists and so on, and they share the ideology of Christians without the cornerstone of Christianism, that is to say god. We are not like that. God is out my life (and out of yours too, in case you don’t know). There are enough real problems; we don’t need to deal with imaginary ones. I don’t think that a so called “satanic band” can have anything sincere : “hey wanker, talk about what you really feel and what you really see, you are too old to play with supernatural toys. Or maybe you just have nothing to say…”
W : The religious presence of our country is more symbolic than anything else. The halls of our churches welcome more tourists than devoted Christians. I’d say most of the French worship secularity and the great nothing with the same intensity as Christians believe in god. Which means that being antichristian or anticlerical isn’t much of a rebellious nor courageous approach to Black Metal. You don’t fight those who are no threat to you. In the end there is no religious backlash, only some Christians blind enough to be upset that Watain and Tsjuder perform at Hellfest.
As for the sincerity among satanic black metal bands I disagree with J. A lot of bands have turned to occultism and mysticism these past few years. Especially with the eruption of Ritual and Occult Black Metal. I can’t believe there is no sincerity in a mystical approach of the genre as the Left Hand Path is a very intimate, deep and strong approach to life itself. The Left Emanations are connected with black metal and I don’t think they can be separated “for good”. Even some titles of our album could be associated with occult symbols. To some extent, a title like “Sumus Fex Dei” (We are the shit of God) could be associated with Qliphoths, fragments of the evil worlds that preceded ours.
Are you planning on touring soon, and if so where will you be playing?
W : Touring shouldn’t been too hard for us as I have built some connections. It is the benefit of touring with other bands. Unfortunately, Acedia Mundi was initially thought as a studio project and it is not an easy task to find a good and available drummer in Paris. Yet, rehearsals have begun and we’d love to get on stage. I’d like a crushing start : touring within the country plus opening for a festival. We’ll see how that goes. Of course, we’ll definitely try to get out the country as soon as possible.
Your new record didnt come out all too long ago, but have you begun writing more music and what are your plans for future releases?
J: Yes. And it’s fucking crazy.
V: We have already started writing some new materials for the next release. We have two new songs almost ready. It will be probably a little bit different. The songs and the lyrics will be shorter. We want to keep our dissonant atmosphere while bringing a punk/crust side in our music. Even for the imagery, we’d like to evolve towards something more modern and more provocative that break all the clichés. This next album will be less dense and more fitted for the live. It’s still a little early to confirm all this, but it’s in any case the way we’d like to sound in the future.
And last but not least, do you have anything you would like to say to your fans?
J: Frankly speaking, no.
V: We’ve got no fans
W : Send us dick picks we can use for future artworks.