"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Interview

Interview With Rachid Of Zebulon Kosted

Musician Rachid, using the name Zebulon Kosted for his solo material, has performed in thirteen different bands and released numerous solo albums on both cassette and CD. Corresponding via e-mail, Rachid explained his views on extreme metal, the inspiration for his music, and his goal to record one hundred separate albums during his life. He is also currently in the process of recording a new album titled "Cavernous Quiet."

xFiruath: Did you first start out recording solo material, or did your musical career begin with a band?

Rachid: I started playing music in Orchestra, and Choir when I was 10. Although I enjoy Classical music and Opera now, I didn't then, so after 3 years I quit. I started a band in my parent’s garage when I was 15 called The Carrion Nation. There has been about 3 years in the last 12 that I wasn't in a band. I started recording solo material when I was 18, 6 months from now will be my 10 year anniversary as a solo artist.

xFiruath: A lot of your solo material is clearly influenced by space and various heavenly bodies, what about these topics makes them such a source of inspiration for you?

Rachid: I've been fascinated by astronomy my whole life. I am particularly intrigued by the moons of all the different planets in our solar system. My first album "IO" is a good example of this, as well as my third album "Triton", both being about moons of Jupiter and Neptune respectively. To explain in a broad sense, I am fascinated by the unknown. Secret societies, ancient history, even lost cultures are fuel for my songwriting process. Space exploration and Deep sea exploration are the new frontiers of science, and I intend to study the discoveries that are made.

xFiruath: You have stated on your MySpace page that you don't use satanic lyrics and you don't support National Socialist black metal. Those are both pretty big staples of black metal, so what leads you away from these aspects of the genre?

Rachid: I have clearly stated that while my newer material sounds like black metal, I would not classify it as such. I saw an interview with Enslaved where they explained that "because our lyrics do not have to do with Satan, we don't consider ourselves black metal". I hate to steal this comment from them, but I couldn't have said it any better. Pagan Metal, Viking Metal, Extreme Metal, these are all different names for similar types of music. I think most of the thought that goes into the classification of bands, has to do with their lyrical content, and their visual artwork. NSBM is racism, I am against that, but in the U.S. we have freedom of speech so I can't say that these people should stop saying what they think. I also strongly believe in freedom of religion, which is why I have no problem listening to and supporting Satanic bands.

xFiruath: Are you working on any new solo material now?

Rachid: I am ALWAYS working on new solo material. I have 20 hours of material I've recorded and never released. Right now in particular I am very inspired to make music, and if all goes according to plan, I will have recorded 4 solo albums and 5 splits in 2008. I will be in the studio this month recording my new album "Cavernous Quiet", besides the name of the album, all other details are secret until its release.

xFiruath: You've played with some different styles of sound and a good deal of your music could be labeled "experimental". Do you set out to do things beyond the boundaries of your previous work, or does it just happen as you start writing the material?

Rachid: I do consciously try not to record songs which sound like previous material. It can be quite difficult actually to constantly be pushing myself to create something unique and different with every new album or split. I am ambitious beyond belief with my career, and I want to be remembered as a musician who never sold out, and never could be easily understood. My close friends know that my spontaneous nature has a lot to do with the strange, experimental, and almost otherworldly sounds I create.

xFiruath: You recorded an album on cassette tape that you won't release until after your death. What prompted you to want to do that, and why do you only want people to hear it after you're gone?

Rachid: I guess you'll have to be at the funeral to find out!

xFiruath: You have been a member of quite a few different bands in addition to your solo material. What did you take away from your experiences with these bands, and are you still active with any of them besides The Trenches?

Rachid: I've been in 13 bands in my career. I've learned something which I have used in my solo career from each and every one of them. Black Metal, Death Metal, Political Crusty Punk, Rock & Roll, Industrial, Ambient, Noise, the list of genres I've dabbled with over the years is long. All of these bands though meant compromise. The reason for the abstract sound in my solo career, is the fact that I've never had to compromise for any reason. The people you meet, and experiences you have together while in bands, are just as important as the music you make. I've become a better musician, and learned many things I never could have learned on my own, being in bands. I am currently in The Trenches, Sephilrot, Korolev Zond, Chernozem, Kallaalit Nunaat, and The Isolated.

xFiruath: As a strong supporter of the underground metal scene, how do you feel about topics like music downloading and file sharing?

Rachid: I have to be honest, I miss the old days of mail order and tape trading. The digital age has, and is, passing me by, and it can make things difficult for me in my career. There is nothing I can say or do to stop downloading and file sharing, but I have never engaged in these activities, so I wouldn't know much about them. I am a big collector of music and to me that means buying an album by a band or artist, TO SUPPORT THEM! I know that the bigger the band is the less money actually goes to them, but the tangible music in your hand in whatever format its released, still means a lot to me. I guess on these topics I will remain in the past, happily! Underground for life, posers will never understand.

xFiruath: Many bands that start out in extreme underground metal end up playing material that is much more mellow or progressive, such as Samael, Tiamat, Amorphis, and even to some extent Opeth. Do you think this is a natural progression, or would these bands have been better suited not going in that direction?

Rachid: This is a question I have thought about for the last decade. When I was younger I would be QUITE ANGRY when I bought albums from super heavy, intense bands, and their sound had suddenly changed into something more hmmmmmm.....what’s the word for it.....mature, I guess. All of the above stated European bands I believe reached the peak of their careers quite early, and serious metal collectors would agree that their best albums are far behind them at this point. Changing your style can be career suicide when you get huge distribution, and play tours in different continents. Surprisingly enough, even though I treasure "Ceremony of Opposites", and "Tales from the Thousand Lakes", I fully support the decisions Helvetians Samael and Suomi based Amorphis (as well as Sveriges Tiamat and Opeth) have made in following their hearts, and creating what they feel like creating.

xFiruath: As a black metal fan, did you enjoy the earlier works of Emperor ("In the Nightside Eclipse", "Wrath of the Tyrant") or the later works ("IX Equilibrium", "Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire and Demise") better, and why?

Rachid: The real album to study is "Hordanes Land"! I remember it like it was yesterday, hearing Emperor and Enslaved for the first time on the same split. Wow, it still gives me goose bumps! Emperor never put out a bad album, not many bands can say that.

xFiruath: Where do you see yourself going as a musician from here, and what can we look forward to from Zebulon in the future?

Rachid: There has never been music like mine before me, and I will do my best to make sure no one will ever sound like me in the future. I may create songs that sound like other bands, but not intentionally, and not for more than one album. My goal is to record at least 100 albums in my career. I'm not joking, it’s possible, but I'll have to work my ass off until I die. Good luck getting your hands on every one collectors, hahaha!!! Thanks for the interview xFiruath, its Zebulon Kosteds first one, and hopefully the best!

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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