I've been in Andrew Weatherall's company for about five minutes, and he has, a little unexpectedly, got on to the subject of the Albigensian crusade of the 13th century, in which the papacy ordered the extermination of the Cathar sect in southern France. I had arrived, been given a quick tour of the quite spectacularly grim Tottenham industrial estate where Weatherall's studio is located - "I thought, this is perfect, it's absolutely horrible," he says, ruefully, "but the first week I'm here, I hear this commotion out in the road and it's a young person's pop group making a video, so there goes the fucking neighbourhood" - and then he started telling me about the Cathars: the siege of Carcassonne, the massacre at Béziers, how the 5th Airborne division in Vietnam adopted their motto from the instruction given to the crusaders by Arnaud Amalric, the abbot of Béziers: "Kill them all, God will know his own."
Weatherall got interested in the Cathars when he started organising a small festival in Caracassonne: it shares its title with that of his new album, Covenanza, which was the name of the ceremony the Cathars underwent when they committed to the faith. "You know, acid house and suchlike are very ritualistic and all about transcendence," he says, laughing. "I like to think I'm aiding people's transcendence. Obviously, the combination of pumping house music and drugs isn't like studying lengthy tomes, but at some point, you realise that the long way round is equally as enjoyable as the short cut."