The following interview is done with Dubthach M.

March 1, 2016

1) First, since Aedh isn't a name many are familiar with as of yet, can we get the basics out of the way by you giving us a history of the band?

The idea for what was to become Aedh originated some time in late 2010. I had just left a band called Morgul Vale and had become somewhat disillusioned with black metal and the garbage that the scene attracted. I found myself listening to a lot more neofolk, martial industrial, & RAC (among other less “true” genres such as post-punk, post-rock, electronic music etc). I had long wanted to use black metal as a means to express myself on my own terms, and this distance from the mainstream of the genre helped me develop the ideas I had in mind for Aedh somewhat independently of scene trends. It gave me the breathing room I needed.

I wrote the first demo between August of 2011 and the Fall of 2012, then recorded it within a two week period. In the course of arranging those songs, I received my Awen, as it were. It became clear to me that Aedh would be the conduit through which I could channel my thoughts, feelings, and visions within the context of ancient Celtic traditions and spirituality.

By the spring of 2013, I was already composing the tracks that would become the first Aedh full length which, though recorded since last May, has yet to see the light of day. The latest demo, Torches of the Badb was written between June and July of 2015, and was recorded in a few weekends in August.

2) You've recently released 'Torches of the Badb', an interesting four song opus of Irish-Gaelic inspired black metal. Can you tell us what went into recording it? What inspires you to make music?

I wrote and recorded this demo in a rush mere weeks before a total relocation to the east coast. The concept came to me, along with the riffs, as I was re-reading Kinsella's translation of the Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge, or “Cattle-Raid of Cooley”. The themes largely revolve around Iron Age Irish conceptions of nobility, masculinity, and martial virtue as personified in the hero Cú Chulainn, who single-handedly defends Ulster against the armies of Ireland. His fierce temper and his deep sorrows are both explored using specific episodes from the narrative. His relation to the war-goddess Badb, an aspect of the Morrigan, is implied by the title of the demo itself.

I make music when I feel an inner compulsion to do so. By invoking archetypes that are at once universal in their broadest interpretation, yet inseparable from their cultural context when manifested as mythological and religious entities, In doing this I feel as though I am channeling something beyond myself. A brief communion with the “divine”, whatever that may be.

In a time when we put prices on everything yet value nothing, this musical expression of tradition which draws from the well-spring of ancient Celtic spirituality is my way of both keeping the sacred flame alive while also expressing my particular way of seeing the world.

3) There is a 'Torches of the Badb' on cassette, which I liked. The old technologies seem to capture something that is lost with a generic CD. Explain your reasons for releasing it on this outdated format? Recently I've noticed a handful of other bands releasing stuff on cassette as well. Maybe cassettes will have a big comeback! Hehe. Your release was done professionally. It kind of surprises me there are still places to have cassettes produced. The demand must be incredibly low.

While I'm not quite sure what the demand for cassette tapes is like, it's always been my preferred format for demos. I can't pretend to have been involved in Black Metal since the beginning, I've only been active in the scene for a little over a decade, but I've always preferred the aesthetic of the cassette format. CD-R's just come off as lazy to me.

4) Tell us about the bands you grew up with. What was the first black metal band you ever heard? What were your favorites growing up?

I grew up listening to a great variety of music, and that has never really changed. The first black metal albums I ever heard were Bathory's debut & Satyricon's “Dark Medieval Times”. While I now prefer Bathory's “Hammerheart” era, Dark Medieval Times continues to enthrall me. It was probably the first time that I felt completely enveloped in an album's atmosphere. The ancient, hateful, and solitary atmosphere that permeates that record still gives me chills and continues to inspire me to this day.

As I delved deeper into the genre, some favourites have stuck with me as I've grown into adulthood. Names that come to mind are Graveland, Kristallnacht, Seigneur Voland, (old) Ulver, Pagan Hellfire, Godless North, Geimhre, Forest Silence, Burzum, Hate Forest, Drudkh, Forteresse, Primordial, Walknut, Nitberg, Forest, Branikald, Honor, Kataxu, Dark Fury, Satanic Warmaster, Sapthuran, (old) Mortiis, Goatmoon, Forefather, Temnozor, Absurd, among many others. Lately I've discovered a few more recent bands worthy of great praise such as Nécropole, Caverne, Ulvegr, Ygg, Vald, Nordwind etc.

5) In recent years there has been an incredibly lame campaign for political correctness in black metal and metal in general. Not mentioning any names, but bands have been kicked out of concert line-ups because of something they've said in the past or projects from over a decade ago. These politically correct losers, completely against free-speech and free-thought, lament how 'racist' or 'homophobic' such and such band's lyrics are. It is outrageous! Are we still talking about BLACK METAL!? Should black metal be conscious about whose feelings are going to be hurt!? This has truly gone too far. You can write a song with lyrics about how much you want to rip a baby out of a mother's womb, eat it and then fuck it, and no one will say a word. But if you say 'I'm proud to be white' or something having to do with the good guys lost WWII then it is a CATASTROPHE!!! Hurt feelings and cries galore. Your thoughts?

Black metal has never been about considering people's feelings or pandering to bleeding hearts, and it never should be.

6) Things have gone pretty crazy in recent years everywhere though. Black/death metal has gone very mainstream. Personally, I despise it. Insanity like once common CDs and vinyls now going for hundreds of dollars on Ebay, bands releasing handfuls of CDs a year, etc. What are your thoughts?

I could never justify spending hundreds of dollars on a record, no matter how rare it is. The eBay culture that has developed around metal in general, but more specifically black metal, is in some sense typical of a sub-culture that by it's very nature generates rare and hard to find material. That said, over the last few years I've noticed that labels have sought to capitalize on this. Releasing a record in 5 different colours, with variant covers, patches, stickers, lighters, stained t-shirts etc in order to pander to collectors. Creating false-scarcity by announcing a record for pre-order six months before it's released, then selling left-over stock on eBay at inflated prices. Everyone's got to make a living, I suppose.

7) Aedh deals with ancient Gaelic themes, something not explored often in black metal. There have been a few Irish black metal bands, but the culture has largely been ignored in metal. Nordic/Germanic cultures have been deeply explored in our genre of music, but why do you think Irish culture has been largely ignored? Off the top of my head the only deity mentioned occasionally is Cernunnos -- probably because of the god's association with witchcraft made popular by Gerald Gardner and Alex/Maxine Sanders. Thoughts?

Aedh deals with Celtic themes in general. Torches dealt specifically with Gaelic themes. I think that Black Metal's origin in Scandinavia has certainly played a part in the predominance of Germanic themes. Upon discovering the genre, listeners become enthralled by Nordic imagery and the sublime depictions of Nordic landscapes. I, like many other North Americans of European descent, have quite a varied ethnic background. On my father's side I am of low-land Scottish and German descent, and Québécois & Irish on my mother's. I grew up in a cultural environment that was oriented more towards the latter, and as such have always identified more with the Gallo-Celtic aspect of my heritage than the Germanic.

Further, the Celts once roamed across Europe and beyond, from Ankara, Turkey (known to the Celts as Galatia), to Germany, Austria, France, Northern Italy, Spain, and even the Baltic sea. The ancient Celts have left a significant mark upon the history of Europe, and that is something that I felt compelled to express through Aedh. While I support any sane expression of pre-Christian European tradition, those of the ancient Celts (what little we know of them, anyways), has always spoken to me in a very powerful way.

It would be a mistake, however, to act as though every Celtic tribe shared a common pantheon and language, but there are certain Gods that appear to have been shared across the board, a material culture that remains consistent between geographic locales, and ritual behaviour that despite a few variations seems to have been largely the same.

The stigma created by New Age crypto-Marxist Wiccans and their corruption of Celtic Paganism has likely played a part in people's tendency not to associate with it as well.

8) Speaking of, could I assume you've done a fair share of studying of Irish/Gaelic deities? The ancient culture and religion of Ireland is quite unique and is not as 'accessible' as say, ancient Germanic/Nordic culture. Some believe this is due to never being conquered by Rome.

The pantheon of the ancient Irish (not to mention the ancient Celts) is hard to pinpoint. It is important to keep in mind that all the mythological material we have for the ancient Celts comes out of Ireland, and was written by monks several centuries after the country had been Christianized. While there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that Paganism still existed alongside Christianity, and that both religions bled into each other, especially in rural areas, we have to keep the bias of the authors in mind. The authors of these texts were putting ancient oral myths into writing, and often times they corrupted them to suit their agenda. Gods become heroes, faeries, mystics, and at the very worst – demons.

Certain deities are immediately recognizable, however. The Dagda, whose name means “The Good God”, is one example. His epithet Eochaid Ollathair means all-father, which implies some ancient connection to the Germanic Wotan, though there are significant differences between the two and as such, a comparison between the two is useless. Lugh, apparently a solar deity who is “skilled in many arts” is a God that seems to have been pan-Celtic. In Wales he was known as Llew, and in Celtic Britain & Gaul he was known as Lugus. He is Cú Chulainn's divine father. The Morrigan was a fierce battle goddess associated with ravens and wolves. She appears in many guises & under many different names: Nemain (frenzy), Badb (or Badb-Catha – meaning “crow” or “battle-crow”). Others include Diancecht, god of medicine; Goibniu, the smith; Ogma, god of war and poetry (inventor of the Ogham alphabet); Manannan Mac Lir, gate-keeper and sea God; Brigid, later Christanized as Saint-Brigid, who appears to have been a fertility goddess associated with sheep and milk; Macha, a horse Goddess associated with sovereignty. The list is nearly endless. There are a number of deities who appear to have been major “pan-Irish” deities, but there were countless lesser deities associated with rivers, groves, mountains, and various other sacred spaces within the natural world. The ancient Celtic world was just as animistic as it was polytheistic. The divine existed within nature. This is one of the reasons a proper “Irish”, or “Celtic” pantheon is hard to formulate, because besides a few notable deities, every location had a divinity associated with it. Whether these were simply avatars of other entities is up to the reader to decide.

Outside of Irish material, we have various theonyms from the European continent that have reached us by way of Roman histories (which are just as biased as those of the Irish monks, often associating Celtic deities with Roman Gods that are far from analogous). Some of these echo those of the Irish: the aforementioned Lugus, Ogmios, Gobannus, Cathubodua. Others, less so: Dia Artio, Epona, Cernunnos, Toutatis etc. While I consider myself essentially “pagan”, I am well aware that a unified Celtic pantheon is virtually non-existent. That said, the mythological material and the etymology of these theonyms gives us an idea of what some of these gods represented. It is these archetypal functions that I seek to express with Aedh.

The ancient Celts experienced the divine out in the open air. On the shores of isolated lakes, springs, and streams. In sacred groves deep in the forest, and high up in the mountains. The only real “religious” experiences I've had in my life have been experienced in this kind of setting, in the very heart of nature. This I share with my distant Celtic ancestors, and beyond simply invoking divine archetypes, I have always attempted to translate this feeling into music.

9) Our mother Europe is being flooded by immigrants. Many European leaders are fervently trying to bring even more immigrants to Europe. Personally, I believe this is an agenda to not only destroy Western civilization (or what's left of it) but also the white race as a whole. Not to mention cause hatred between the Europeans and the Arabs. The powers-that-be want chaos. They thrive on hatred. What are your views on all of this madness?

I think we have lost touch with who we are. We can blame others for this as much as we want (and we would be partly justified in doing so), but the fact of the matter is that we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have forgotten who we are, and we are losing touch with our traditions day by day. We need to rediscover who we are in order to be able to make a stand. The late Dominique Venner conceptualized tradition not as what has passed, but as that which does not pass away. It exists apart from politics. It consists of those aspects of our culture that have survived the test of time, that have come down to us beyond all historical ruptures. This tradition has lain dormant since the world changing conflicts that began in 1914. We need to rediscover this tradition. We need to save the sacred texts of Homer, The Táin, The Eddas, and our entire body of heroic literature from the dusty libraries in which they lie forgotten. We need to rediscover the sacred within the mundane. Rediscover the value of identity and ritual. If we want to change the course of history, we must once again tap into the very ancient roots of our tradition that exists within our ancient literature, a literature nourished by the Vedic well-spring that bore it.

I am a results oriented person. Many so-called traditionalists focus so much on the spiritual aspect of their struggle that they fail to understand the value of pragmatism. We need to play to win, but at the same time a victory without a strong spiritual basis is empty. A balance must be found. Further, we need to do more than read. Collecting Evola books does nothing to make you physically fit. We need sharp minds, and sharp bodies.

I am diametrically opposed to blind-hatred and ignorance, be it from the left or the right. That said, I do believe that the Western world is under attack from within and without, and that we need strong hearts, minds, and bodies for the battles to come.

10) Probably sooner than later, something's got to give. The world is growing darker and darker from where I stand. The gross majority of the bands I've interviewed over the years have believed the world will continue to grow worse and worse, and that it will get much worse before better. Where do you stand on this? Do you see the world slipping deeper into an abyss? Do you see any chance things will get better?

I am pretty pessimistic by nature, though it is peppered here and there with the odd dose of optimism. The “system” has been on life support for a very long time, and if there is an end in sight, I predict it will be a slow burn. A whimper, not a bang. When I hear people talk about the impeding crash of the modern world, it sounds like wishful thinking to me. “The fall” is the same as the Marxist “revolution”, or the Christian “apocalypse”. It is an excuse to do nothing. Nietzsche referred to these types as "afterworldsmen". By abstracting the fight, and placing it in the distant future, it frees them of any responsibility to do their part, it frees them of having to exert themselves beyond simply waiting for the “fall”. As cliché as it sounds, change starts with the individual. We need to reinvigorate our minds and our bodies, and inspire those around us to do the same.

11) A few philosophical questions to end the interrogation... first, our ancient gods and goddesses have been deemed 'mythological' since the coming of the Christian god, even though many of these deities predate the conception of the Judeo-Christian god by thousands of years. Do you hold any sort of belief in the Old Gods? Do you believe that there is anything after death but oblivion?

As I said above, I am nominally “pagan”. The best way to describe my faith would be as a “Nietzschean Pagan”. I strive daily to become a better person. I don't believe in the gods in the same way the cult of Abraham believes in Yahweh. The Gods simply represent a value system that I feel is more organic. I have no interest in metaphysical abstractions of good or evil in the vein of Plato, whose morality was used to justify the Manichean dichotomy of the early Church. The gods of our ancestors, be they Germanic, Latin, Slavic, Hellenic, Baltic, or Celtic, never moralize. Our myths and literature simply give us living examples of a value system, an honour based society. In the Iliad, the Gods are simply natural forces personified, be they environmental or psychic. From time to time, a mortal angers them and is struck down, but this is not divine retribution for acts of “evil”, but rather a natural outcome of man's arrogant behaviour depicted archetypally.

Myth was pre-rational man's way of describing the world he lived in. This is how I approach the Gods. They are archetypes representative of a certain value system. I do not know what happens after death, and it certainly does not keep me up at night.

12) Thus far in your life, what things regarding this existence do you find worthwhile? What elements of life are never worn of their splendor, as great and mysterious in their 1000th time as in their first?

True friendship, self-sufficiency, self-improvement, honest companionship, the quest for knowledge, and the creative process all make life worthwhile. A few years ago, some close friends and I went on a camping trip in the Laurentians. After a long, arduous hike, we found an isolated lake surrounded on all sides by thick forest. We spent the day there fishing and enjoying the silence in awe of our surroundings. On the way back to the camp, as the sun sank low beneath the horizon, we looked up and gazed at the milky way, which is much clearer in the country than it is in the dull glow of city street lights. This has become a yearly tradition for us. Every time I go out into the woods, whether alone, or with those I consider my kin, the feeling is the same. To quote Dominique Venner yet again: “To me, going into the forest is far more than just a physical need, it is a spiritual necessity”

13) Sometimes I daydream about how nice it would be to have a spaceship and be able to get in it and just fly away. All of the unending insanity of humans and their pettiness -- gone. Watching Mother Earth get smaller and smaller out of my window would be an exhilarating feeling. Maybe there are other worlds out in the celestial darkness? Do you believe that there are other intelligent civilizations out there? If so, do you believe as others do that the earth has been visited by aliens?

I am open to the possibility of life on other planets. Considering the massive size of the universe, it only seems probable that life has developed elsewhere in the great void of space. I don't know if aliens have visited our planet. I am inclined to say “no”, but if provided with solid evidence to the contrary I may consider it.

14) Again, hypothetically, if the earth was visited by an advanced race of alien beings, and after studying the earth and its history, what do you think they would be impresssed with? What part of our history would they despise?

If they were to arrive tomorrow, I doubt a civilization capable of interstellar travel would find anything we have accomplished impressive. At best they would treat us as “noble savages”, at worst they would completely obliterate us without a second thought.

15) Lastly, what can we expect for the future of Aedh? New recordings?

I plan on relocating back to the Ottawa Valley by early 2017, however I intend to at least begin composing new material before then. As mentioned earlier, there is a full length that was actually recorded before Torches of the Badb that should see the light of day sometime in the near future. I have made a few attempts to put a live line-up together with little success, so while such a thing is not possible at the present time, it is not completely out of the question. All my copies of Torches of the Badb have names attached to them, but it shouldn't be too hard to find. The first demo is still available in a few distros as well.

I thank you for the interview, it is quite an honour to be featured by a publication with a reputation such as yours. Keep the ancient Celtic flame alive.


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