Moloch Conspiracy is a relatively new born dark ambient, ritual ambient, horror soundscape project from the mind of Julien. Just a few months ago, he released his full-length debut, The Burned Temple, on Cephalopagus Records. From his residence in a quaint city east of France, Julien crafted a deep and dark tale of conspiranoia related to the Old Gods of Persia. It’s one steeped in ancient mythology and runs rampant with irrational fear that blasphemous sects of yore continue their sacrilegious rites in modern times. The Burned Temple is chilling story telling shrouded in reclusive horror.
After asking Julien to contribute a composition from The Burned Temple to the FCU Compilation, I found his passion for ancient mythologies to be deep and inherently compelling. And as a result from curiosity, I cobbled together a handful of questions to learn more about Julien, his project Moloch Conspiracy, and his fascination with archaeology. Below is our exchange. Thank you for reading.
What was your impetus for beginning your dark ambient project, Moloch Conspiracy?
It’s a long story. I have been making music for a while and a part of that work sounds very dark. It wasn’t dark ambient music but more close to experimental and drone tunes. I’m a dark ambient listener and I enjoy that style of music. I just decided to begin that project to be in that specific way.
Did you see a particular niche in the realm of dark ambient music to begin exploring ancient mythologies that other artists have not touched on?
No. History, myths and archaeology are passions for me and also an obsession. That’s a theme I explored in a lot of projects. I don’t see that like a possibility to distinguish myself from other musicians. By the way, ancient mythologies is into dark music but also in literature or movies and games a stencil of horrific stories. That’s often a synonym of mystery and occult. I don’t have the feeling to make something exclusive. The shapes of art change over time but the stories are often the same.
Where did your fascination with archaeology and ancient mythologies begin?
It began during childhood. I was fascinated with history very young. A visit of a church or a cavern make my passion growing up. I grew up in the 80’s. I think movies like Indiana Jones have an important impact on me. I can remember watching a VHS tape of “Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom” more than 50 times when I was a child.
Is there a particular era or lineage of mythology that really speaks to you?
I love myths from all over the world. I appreciate to know how they evolve in space and time. I appreciate Sumerian and Babylonian mythology too much because it’s the first ones. I’m sensitive to the expression of something archaic and primary. So, I can say my preference is for Orient. It’s also origins of European myths and religions.
Your debut record, The Burned Temple, focuses on the old Gods of Persia. Why did you start here in your first full auditory endeavor?
I worked on 11 tracks for that debut record. It wasn’t a concept-album at the beginning but when I finished the mixes I wanted to order the tracks and I adjusted them to tell a story. It’s wasn’t an epic tale or something directly related to that pantheon. It was more about a conspiracy. I wanted to make something paranoiac with an exploded storytelling about the destruction of a Temple. I was thinking more to what the actual conspirationists are believing: the existence of sects still living from the dark ages. The Moloch Conspiracy is living in that place, that’s why I chose that name by irony and not to be locked up in old eras of mythologies only.
You employ a multitude of dark ambient styles and textures in The Burned Temple—it’s rather cinematic with touches of piano movements, organic field recordings, ritual ambience, and swathes of reclusive, barren horror. How would you characterize your sound?
I’m happy that someone can catch that. I like rich textures by mixing digital instruments for the basis and harmonic structure and recordings of sounds or instruments. I got a little collection of ethnic instruments. I don’t use them on that recording as they’re often a special touch. I’m seeking original sonorities by treatments to. Not to hide the original sound but to find a complementarity with the whole sound. I’m searching for a way to produce sound effects with instruments or recordings. In fact, for each project, I try to organize a classed sound library with instruments, sound effects, etc. It permits me to use it through synthesizers, for example.
A simple sound may have a meaning. Dark ambient could be used as functional music to run with support for media like a movie or a game. To make it autonomous and distinct of drone, it needs to add events to it. I explore more of that idea in what I’m making for the next album.
Where do you begin when composing a track in relation to a specific god, story, or ancient location? Does it require a specific state of mind to dig so deep and craft these immersive soundscapes?
There is no rule. It could be a melodic pattern, pads or experiments on acoustic recordings. The meaning of the track comes with the building of the music. My music works by addition of layers so I can add or erase what I did before. I’m often fast to make the structure, to build the different parts and I know proportions I want. But it becomes hard work when you mix it or want to make it coherent with other tracks. That’s the most immersive moment. Sometimes I’m listening the track during hours while I mix and fix effects and levels. At the end of that moment I can’t have advice on what I did. I need to listen to shit before I come back to it and have a clear view on how it sounds.
What light—or shade—are you casting on these mythologies with your compositions that you want listeners to observe and experience in The Burned Temple?
I have a lack of comprehension to understand how people perceive that music. That’s why I like to have feedback on it. I wanted that album to have a powerful sound but something lyrical too. I observed people like different tracks. That’s a good news: each person had their point of view by the filter of emotions. So, I can’t expect they catch what I would wanted to express when I did the music.
Is there a deep, personal connection you possess for mythologies?
It doesn’t go beyond the scope of my passion and my thoughts. I don’t serve any ritual or satanic practices. For me, myths are a symbolic mirror of different steps and categories of our humanity. I’m dreaming to see the places where myths were born, in Iran and Caucasus… Mythologies make my travels into different cultures I want to explore in real life.
From where did you procure the field recordings you used on this record?
I recorded with a little mobile recorder. As I told you, I sometimes record long moments like the rain in “Rainy Ruins” but I’m also searching to make effects sometimes. The crunches sounds of “Memory of the Burned Temple” was made artificially. I rubbed my foot on sand of a beton floor. I don’t like to use sounds from the internet. It’s too impersonal for me because I like to record that sound by myself. Mike (Earthborn Visions), transforms the voices from a file he got on the internet on “Voices From the Adytum”. In that case, it’s very justified and useful. He made it very discreet as paranoid murmurs. I appreciate to plan that record sessions in different places. For my next record, I went into forts from the First World War. I’m not involved into any urbex operation. I’ve never done that kind of thing.
What did you learn about yourself—both personally and as a dark ambient composer—and the old Gods of Persia through your writing and recording of The Burned Temple?
I’m learning a lot of things. First, I like to discover and verify a lot of words I use. I’m inspired a lot by esoterism and occultism but via the historic point of view. I got a “historic dictionary of magic and occult sciences”. It’s been a big bedside book for years. As a composer and producer I’m learning from other ones. I like to exchange about music on the internet. I like to make music with other people. It’s wonderful to be connected with people all around the world. I’m living in a small city and a very limited number of people know that I’m doing music because it’s hard to exchange about that. I’m a bedroom composer so the internet is the only place where I can express myself. Each collaboration with a musician is interesting. All musicians have their own protocols. Those moments are very precious mostly when you rework what you did several times and you find what you searched. Sometimes, the collaboration doesn’t work. In that case you learn too. You have to understand why it didn’t work. Personally, I can express myself. That’s very important. I would be unbalanced in my life if I can’t. It gives me stability.
Going forward, will your sound and compositional approach shapeshift to match the tone of the mythology you explore?
Absolutely. I’m working on the mix of the next album. It’s more close to mythology than the first one. There is a link with origin’s myth and the track “Tiamat” of the first album. I’m working on “Apsu” which is the other part of it. The story of that album is different but it’ll sound more ritual and cavernous. I got a project about the war too. I’m living east of France and have some interesting readings about First World War. I would make an album with German musicians I know from the network but I don’t know if the project will emerge. I don’t know if it’ll be a Moloch Conspiracy project too. I want to preserve it from my noise and industrial experiments I do an other name.
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Thank you so much for reading this interview with Moloch Conspiracy (Julien). You can acquire a digital copy of The Burned Temple for $5 over at the Cephalopagus Records Bandcamp page (where you can also stream it to your heart’s content). Be sure to follow Moloch Conspiracy on Facebook for news and information related to upcoming releases. Thank you again for your support; take care for now.