PRIEST is an electronic act that specializes in cyberpunk and industrial music. The group — originally from Sweden — consists of vocalist Mercury, keyboardist Salt and programmer/keyboardist Sulfur and banded together in 2017.
Originally, Mercury and Salt played for the group’s predecessor, GHOST. And while they share some of the same DNA, acoustically the bands diverge. GHOST was inspired by horror and ’80s rock, while PRIEST has a sound all its own.
ED Magazine spoke with Mercury, courtesy of Bob Chiappardi of StripJointsMusic.com, about their single “Techno Girl”, defining cyberpunk and touring plans for 2022.
ED: How conscious are you when making music to differentiate yourself from GHOST — is that something that took getting used to when you were starting out in 2017?
PRIEST: I always wanted to play in a synth/goth band so it was a no-brainer really. I always thought that programming and sound engineering is cooler and more sophisticated than riffing away on a wooden plank.
ED: For the uninitiated, how would you describe cyberpunk as a musical genre?
PRIEST: It’s not really a musical genre, it’s a mix of literature, movies, music, video games and comics depicting a dystopian future where mega corps rules and man merges with technology. That’s the cyber part. The punk-part is the grittiness of it.
ED: What’s the key to a great live show — what’s your most memorable live show (either performing or attending)?
PRIEST: Connection with the audience and a belief in what you’re doing. Then a lot of practice and preparation of course.
ED: How would you compare how European audiences consume your music to American audiences?
PRIEST: I really don’t know the difference, I only know that we have a lot of fans waiting for Priest to come over and play!
ED: What’s the most humbled you’ve been meeting a fellow musician — can you talk about how that interaction went?
PRIEST: I met Paul Hartnoll from the band Orbital. Been a fan since early adolescence so it felt pretty weird.
“It’s not really a musical genre, it’s a mix of literature, movies, music, video games and comics depicting a dystopian future where mega corps rules and man merges with technology. That’s the cyber part. The punk-part is the grittiness of it.” — Mercury
ED: Have you found during the pandemic you’ve relied more on music than usual — either as a means of escape, combating boredom, having more time to experiment, etc.?
PRIEST: Yes, we definitely written more music than usual, so now we have a buffet which is a luxury to have. Frankly, it’s been pretty nice hanging out in the studio instead of going on tours. But now we’re ready for the road again!
ED: What do you have planned as far as live shows for 2022?
PRIEST: We just did a run in UK/IRE which was well received. We have Subkult festival in Sweden in July and hopefully we come to the states in the fall!
ED: StripJoints services DJs at gentlemen’s clubs nationwide, so, in your words, why would “Techno Girl” be a good choice to play at a gentlemen’s club?
PRIEST: If one of our songs should be played at such a club, it would definitely be Techno Girl. It’s an upbeat jam with a lot of confidence and attitude. I would like to hear it myself in one of your joints when I get the chance!