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Interview

Zebulon Kosted Talks Upcoming Black Metal Album, Spontaneous Recording, And Russian Meteors

Channeling the very essence of the underground is Rashid of solo act Zebulon Kosted, who has put out over 100 releases and been a champion of his local metal scene for years. Covering everything from dark ambient to extreme black metal, Rashid's discography covers a wide swathe of the musical spectrum.

The latest in the Zebulon Kosted line of albums is now nearing release, bearing the unusually distinctive title of "The Corrupt Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko." In his typically a-typical fashion, Rashid recorded this album without writing a single note prior to entering the studio. Commenting on the gamble, he stated "I was very stressed about it the last couple of days before I went into the studio, but I was excited as well, it was a new personal challenge and test. The end result was a single 50 minute long black metal track that far surpasses my old releases."

Read on to see what's been happening with the band over the last few years, Rashid's new label Al-Hadid Records, and some interesting shows that can only be experienced with underground local bands.

xFiruath: It’s been a looooong time since our last interview – what’s been happening with Zebulon Kosted since the way back land of 2008?

Rashid: Since 2008 I have traveled to Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Namibia, and Turkey. I have had my first extended gallery showing of my drawings and oil paintings. I started and am now eight issues into a cryptid themed magazine which I write, draw, and recorded a companion disc for called “Olgoi Khorkhoi.” I own a new record label (Kapustin Yar Records called it quits after 108 releases) named Al Hadid Records which will be releasing its twentieth album this month. Oh, and I put out a few Zebulon Kosted albums as well, haha! The entire “Die Nibelungen” trilogy, “Between This World and the Next,” and “Earth Liberation Front” were the most noteworthy of many full lengths. I've done tons of splits with great bands like Black Autumn, Arcane Asylum, All The Cold, Modern Dark Age, and many other amazing artists in the last five years as well. It’s been a busy five years Ty.

xFiruath: Tell me a bit about how Al-Hadid records came together and your part in it, along with what sort of releases are coming down the pipe.

Rashid: Al Hadid started in October 2011 with the mission statement of, "always representing groups who are strange, nonconformist, unique, and abrasive." We primarily work with black metal, experimental electronic, dark ambient, and harsh noise groups. My role in the company is that of talent scout, webmaster, and production manager, but many other people are involved in ensuring that AHR functions properly. Watch for new full-lengths by False Teeth, Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt, Xurzoq, Talib Aziiz, and Hydroheliosphere available from Al Hadid Records in the next few months.

xFiruath: How did recording for your new full-length “The Corrupt Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko” go?

Rashid: It went very smoothly, it was a new way of recording for me that I think will take some explaining. I decided this record that I was not going to write any music before I entered the studio, and just see what I could create while I was there spontaneously on the spot. I was very stressed about it the last couple of days before I went into the studio, but I was excited as well, it was a new personal challenge and test. The end result was a single 50 minute long black metal track that far surpasses my old releases. I still am proud of albums like “Dragons Blood” and “Between This World and the Next,” but “The Corrupt Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko” blows them out of the water. A big shout out to Clark Grant and Ben Weiss at House of Watts Studio for their part in this process, and it was a huge part! The album will be released April 5th in North America by Hammerkrieg Productions based out of Las Vegas.

xFiruath: What’s been happening as far as live shows for you lately, and do you have any upcoming performances?

Rashid: I have been using a rotating lineup of session musicians for the last two years, with unusual and rewarding results. A lot of the shows have tended to be in the black/doom realm, but a few other once in a lifetime gigs have occurred as well. One set about a year ago sticks out in particular. I had programmed my drum machine to a sort of martial music vibe, recruited two women both named Cate, one to play violin, and one to sing, and I played guitar. The resulting twenty five minute track we created blew the audience’s mind, with super dark ambient violin and puma style female black metal vocals, it was insane. I also played a show with grindcore and harsh noise bands while I was in Indonesia that was spectacular. Shouts out to my brothers in Argot and Proletar, thanks for my first international gig my friends.

xFiruath: What are you listening to lately and what’s coming out soon you are most looking forward to?

Rashid: I've been listening to mostly black metal lately, but that's fairly obvious, so I'll list some of the other influences that have been helping me stay creative over the last couple of months. Back in December I bought an incredible French cassette for one dollar at my local record store, Ear Candy, of Bulgarian folk music called “Le Mysterie Des Voix Bulgares Volume Two.” It;s mostly female choral ensembles performing super haunting dirges. I've also been listening to a lot of material from a modern minimalist composer named Steve Reich. The way his compositions build and build for half an hour is awe inspiring. The albums “Post” by Bjork, “From Her To Eternity” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “Vradizei” by Vradizei, and “Maxaad Isku Buuqsan” by Talib Aziiz round out the list.

xFiruath: Random question – I know how interested you are in space topics and conspiracy theories, so give me your take on the recent Russian meteor event.

Rashid: My Cosmonaut space ambient band Korolev Zond's first record was based on the events that happened in the Tunguska region of Russia back in 1908, so when something similar happened again in the same part of the world I was pretty curious to read what was going on. According to estimates the blast was thirty times larger than the nuclear event at Hiroshima that ended World War II, and the asteroid took thirty two seconds to make it from the atmosphere to impact. Twelve hundred people were injured, which I wasn't as excited about, but nonetheless it was a significant event in recent history, that’s for sure. I wish I could have seen it with my own eyes, without serious physical repercussions of course. I haven't been as obsessed with conspiracy theories lately, but is it possible that this was a nuclear accident or precursor to an alien invasion, we can only hope.

xFiruath: How many releases do you have at this point as a musician?

Rashid: The best I can do is to give you an educated guess, since you asked about all my releases, not just Zebulon Kosted releases. I've been in more than twenty bands in my life, and most of them have some sort of physical release, many of those with multiple releases. I would guess somewhere between 125 and 150. ZK releases account for almost two thirds of that number. It’s crazy to think about actually, that means in the 15 years I've been recording music with bands or on my own I've averaged 8 - 10 releases every year.

xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to mention?

Rashid: According to theoretical physicists 74% of the universe is an unknown zone currently being called dark matter. Many of the same physicists also say that there are 11 dimensions, 4 of which we know about. If I'm to believe these well established scientific theories, I wonder what the other three quarters, if not much more, of what is going on around us actually is!

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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