Borne out of Australia’s Blue Mountains in 2007, dream-pop duo Castratii forged for itself an aesthetic shrouded in hazy, haunting wonder. For three years, visual artists Beauvais Cassidy and Jonathan Wilson crafted textured soundscapes of doom and gloom that, combined with ambient and shoegaze undertones, seemed to reflect the expansive wilderness that surrounded them. Yet in 2010, the addition of The Duke Spirit’s Leila Moss and her ethereal vocals only enhanced the group’s already complex and haunting sound.
Forged in an ethereal, ghostly sound, Australian dream-pop group Castratti began life in 2007 when visual artists Beauvais Cassidy and Jonathon Wilson joined forces. In 2010, they were joined by vocalist Leila Moss of The Duke Spirit, who now provides another haunting layer to an already deeply textured style.
The trio’s ’80s-influenced electro-ambient sound, which is performed live in complete darkness, captures the eerie, volatile qualities of the Australian wilderness that is the group’s backyard. The high-contrast video for “Kingdom,” the first single from the band’s debut full-length, creates a stark and sensual experience with Moss’ dreamy vocals, industrial undertones, and dissociated imagery.
Cloaked in darkness, the Australian electro-ambient trio known as Castratii exerts a mysterious gravitational pull. Together, “spiritual brothers” Beauvais Cassidy and Jonathan Wilson — along with new addition Liela Moss — create an ethereal, otherworldly sound. For the group, darkness is the antithesis of information overload caused by technology. “People are definitely more interested in not knowing right now, particularly as everything is so easily found online,” Wilson says. And for many fans, Castratii’s allure lies in its mysterious movements; by revealing little, the band invites speculation.
Based in rural New South Wales, an hour and a half outside Sydney, Castratii draws inspiration from the untamed environment of the deep, dark bush. “Australia is beautiful and haunted and scary as fuck, and we want our music to be its soundtrack,” Wilson says. The band formed in 2007, when Cassidy and Wilson, both 30, were going through personal crises. “The project was born from sheer desperation and our limits being tested,” Wilson explains. One was physically ill and the other lost and confused. “We found each other in this sound,” he continues. “It was something we had to do to find a way out of the depths.”
Cassidy and Wilson’s first gigs were performances for friends in their lodge. Surrounded by spooky yet comforting sounds of night animals and insects, the band felt at home. “The remote nature of the space, and given [that] ideas appear when light is limited, it made sense for us to play completely in the dark,” Wilson says. “It was like playing to the things that had inspired the music in the first place.”