As an introduction, can you expand on the history of Zebulon Kosted and what makes for such an interesting take on Ambient Black Metal?
Zebulon Kosted was created in Bozeman, Montana in 1999. For many years I recorded albums alone using four track tape recorders, and for the first six full lengths drum machines. In 2007 I learned how to play drums for purposes of recording and this was also the first year that I started playing solo live shows with Zebulon Kosted, using guitar, a 1982 Yamaha synthesizer, and drum machine with vocals over top, which was difficult to pull off with one person. In 2009 I moved to the Missoula area and started paying for digital recording in a variety of studios and the more modern Experimental / Avant-Garde Black Metal sound that evolves and changes with each full length and split developed into what Zebulon Koste sounds like now. I have also had a revolving line-up of session musicians for domestic and international shows since 2009, which solidified into two separate permanent line-ups for recording and live performances since 2015.
Whilst absorbing your ‘Murderous Kleptocrat Francisco Macias Nguema’ album, I was struck by the passion you were aiming at. Is there a kid of spiritual connection between Zebulon Kosted and the music you write?
Absolutely not. There is a focused, driven, obsessive devotion to the discipline in my art both musical and otherwise, but I would never say that it is spiritual. My life is consumed with art, but it is intentionally kept separate from my beliefs and the more emotional sense of “spirituality” which is in my life. When an artist or group of musicians channels their spiritual connection into their music I very much enjoy the product that comes from this, and respect the musicians involved even more for this, but this is something you will never see from Zebulon Kosted.
Whilst the main body of lyrics and themes in Black Metal are of a spiritually satanic nature, you strive for a different path. Let us all know what the term ‘martial’ means for Zebulon Kosted.
Zebulon Kosted has been incorporating Martial Industrial themes, dress and music into our live shows and recordings since 2015. For us this means a paramilitary ethic and attitude, while using oil drums, chains, wrenches, sheet metal and pig iron bars to create what we think Martial Industrial music should sound like alongside Black Metal. Our influence in this comes almost solely from the recordings and live performances of Einstürzende Neubauten. We do however enjoy listening to and in a very small way mimicking more modern Martial Industrial acts like Anenzephalia, Ke/Hil and Am Not.
What gave you the idea of a one track album on ‘TMKFMN’?
In 2013 I recorded a one track fifty minute full length album called The Corrupt Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, which was the second record in a five part series focused on African dictators. TMKFMN is the third part in the series.
Can you give us a run down on the instruments you play and just how long you’ve been at it?
I play the guitar, bass, drums, synthesizer, keyboard, sing and scream and play a variety of metal objects for live shows. I started playing bass viola in orchestra when I was 10 and was in choir for the same four years I was in orchestra. Immediately afterward I started playing in Metal bands when I was fifteen. I am now 38. I have been in between twenty five and thirty bands since then, depending on what you define as a band.
How long have you been signed to Fall of Eden Records and how did that come about?
Zebulon Kosted released the full length Between This World and the Next with Fall of Eden Records in 2010. We had always talked about releasing more material but that didn’t happen until 2018. I have had a very solid relationship with Hammerkrieg Productions for the past six years, while also releasing cassettes with our local label here in Montana Tetraktys Media. Now I am working with HKP and FOE together on future releases, including the full length that will come out this summer Never Return Again, a Black Metal re-recording of our Folk / Ambient full length from last year To Leave and Never Return.
Have you any plans to tour in the future?
No. I toured the Western United States in 2009 and played ten shows in ten days completely alone. It was a successful tour and I have no complaints. I have done two other tours with two other bands over the years, but I really do not like touring in general. It is something Zebulon Kosted really doesn’t need to do, and our live shows would not be appreciated in many parts of this country, for many different reasons. We have had two interesting offers to tour Germany, but they have not come to fruition.
I have a brief understanding about your next musical adventure but please expand and tell us more.
When I was 12 years old I lived in a trailer park. I used to visit a boy who lived seven trailers down from me and hang out with him after school. This was the first place I ever heard Heavy Metal and we used to watch Beavis and Butthead together. After getting involved with drugs and gangs this boy somehow got a gun and killed his father. He was taken away and I didn’t see him again for many years. I talked to my school counsellor for months about what had happened. One day she was murdered by her lover who then killed himself. I am currently writing the first album in the twenty year history of the band about my personal life, detailing this experience, the experiences that ultimately brought me into the world of Heavy Metal.
It’s rare thing for me to hear ambient music, however dark. Have you any recommendations for us as listeners from within the scene?
As a Black Metal fan I would start with H418ov21.C by Beherit. This is a criminally underrated ambient masterpiece and I know this may sound crazy but it may also be Beherit‘s best album. I really enjoy the music of Lustmord, Arktau Eos, Tomhet and obviously Stormhammer. Black Metal and Dark Ambient / Space Ambient have more in common than many people may think. The atmospheres created in both take you to another world all together.
Final words are always left to the artist – take it away, Rashid:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, what is the point of making music that sounds like the music that you listen to or the music that came before you? If all the pioneers of the Black Metal genre did the same thing we would have no variety or progression whatsoever. I have friends who are orthodox Black Metallers, I have friends who are inventors within the genre and I have friends who are musicians who hate Black Metal and never listen to it. I see this from all sides because I have had many discussions on the topic and many arguments as well. My mind is made up however, we need less clones and more risk takers. If you are in a Black Metal band and you are reading this please consider being a risk taker if you are not already doing so. Thank you Sonovmi and Antichrist Magazine for the interview, may this fifteenth year of your existence be your best.
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