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Nekrasov Interview; Ashes of the Lords in my Hands
Sunday, March 15 2009 @ 01:00 AM PDT
Contributed by: drengskap

Nekrasov Interview

Nekrasov is the solo project of musician Bob Nekrasov, based in Melbourne, Australia, who is a former member of doom metal band Whitehorse. Nekrasov’s self-released debut album Into The No-Mans-Sphere Of Ancient Days was released in 2007, winning cult acclaim for its high-octane blend of raging, raw black metal with elements of industrial noise and dark ambient. A second album, The Form Of Thought From Beast, followed in 2008.



Heathen Harvest: You’ve released two albums as Nekrasov so far. How do you feel those two albums compare? Are you happier with The Form Of Thought From Beast? That album feels more definitely like a black metal release than the first one.

Bob Nekrasov: I really haven’t made a comparison between the albums. They are both their own entities. Into The No-Mans-Sphere… took a lot longer to record. There's a lot more complexity in there than on The Form Of Thought…, except for the title track. The freedom of what Nekrasov is, is the choice of how the albums come together. I didn’t intend The Form Of Thought… to be a slant towards the black metal side, that's just what I recorded at the time. Yes, there are black metal tracks on there, but I feel they stand on their own in sound and energy.

I wouldn’t say that I’m happier with either release, but I'm satisfied with both. The 'final' track list takes longer than anything else. That's the most painful part for me. I know that many have said that Into The No-Mans-Sphere… is rather incoherent in structure, but I find it more coherent than The Form Of Thought… Really, I thought that after Into The No-Mans-Sphere…, The Form Of Thought… would be an utter disappointment for others. But as it turns out, it was the opposite!

But all in all, Nekrasov really is about Nekrasov. It's not meant to be a black metal project, or power electronics, or dark ambient etc, or whatever. This is just what I want to record. I’ve always done this, it's what I do. There's no real market I’m aiming for.

HH: What inspired the decision to make the video for the title track of The Form Of Thought From Beast, and having made it, why were only 25 VHS copies distributed? Are there any plans to make this available in a slightly more accessible format, e.g. DVD or posting it online? I'm sure there are more than 25 people who’d be interested in seeing it! And in the meantime, can you give us a short description of the visuals of the video?

BN: It was just an idea between myself and E. Zile, visual genius and long-time comrade. So we did it. I also just wanted to release a VHS tape. I grew up on them and still like them. Most of the best horror films are still VHS only. But mostly, I had the highest confidence that Zile would really create something different with the track.

Well, only 25 were made as it took ages to put together. They all came in special packaging, similar to the special edition CD release; black spray-painted envelopes with a lino-etched print (a different print to the album). Also, there was just a tiny interest in it. I thought the VHS was a pretty good idea. I knew if I heard about it, I would want one! But, yeah, most people were asking, 'Are you going to release it on DVD?'! Ha ha. Soulless DVD fucks. Those that did get it were really pleased with it, it's definitely a special release. I am, however, in the process of doing a small DVD-R run of them. Should be ready in a couple of weeks. But again, I will probably only make about 40 or 50 of them.

The visuals are fucking amazing. I was just utterly moved whilst watching it for the first time. It's really hard to communicate what it 'looks' like...I just do not have a reference point but those interested in that particular track should really check it out; it's 'altering'.

I wouldn’t post it online, it just reduces the quality of this beast to nil. There are some things that I'd like to keep a little 'real'. I'll be cutting my throat and thrusting scorpions into the eye of my penis as I copy them onto DVD-R.

HH: How important are lyrics to you? They haven’t been printed on either of your album covers so far, but obviously you’re singing about something. Would you ideally like to make your lyrics available, if printing costs weren’t an issue, or do you prefer to keep them cloaked in obscurity?

BN: The lyrical content is important to me, but not to the listener. So they remain 'cloaked'. It's part of the process of experiencing the 'void' that there be no semantic reference. I am not one to hand-feed ideas through sound, but to 'form of thought from beast' etc.

HH: Looking at your MySpace blog, it seems as if you have quite a spate of collaborations and split releases due to be released in the first half of 2009. Can you say something about each of these, such as the titles of your contributions, how these collaborations came about, and who your collaborators are?

BN: Not really a 'spate'. There's three splits and one collaboration (that's one of the three splits).

I'll start with the three-way split with Moon and Nekros Manteia. This came about by me receiving an email from one of the beasts from Nekros. Asked if I was interested in being apart of a three-way split (a bad joke could be inserted here, but I'll avoid it). I really had not been interested in the idea of splits etc., but was not adverse to it. K from Nekros Manteia proposed his idea about the split having a theme regarding the 'last ghost' and what 'it' would be about, who would he haunt etc. I liked the idea to a degree, but for some reason I then became a little obsessed with the idea of that which hunts this 'final ghost'. Nekrasov is not about lords and angels, but more about pure dark energy, the eternal black to which all things come and go. So, with all of the human concern regarding 'ghosts', I was much more interested in that which hunts the ghost and so on and so on. So, yes, I was interested in giving that beast a voice. I worked on it and I am 'happy' with the results. The title for that track is: /  That which hunts the oh-so fucking sacred, the superior black void, spiritless infinity finally ends 'the soul'.

The album’s called The Haunting Resonance, and it’s being released on Fall Of Nature Records.

Next is the split with Humiliation but also ended up being a collaboration. I came into contact with this comrade by 'chance', really. I heard about his band via a mutual friend, somehow he heard about Nekrasov and contact began. He sent me one of his projects, the Humiliation demo. Anyway, I felt a certain connection to this beast and what he did. I don't know his story, he could be a split/ collabing slut, but he's a good one in my books, and we ended up slutting some split and collaboration together. It came out very, very well. I occasionally send him some voids for his Joshua Norton Cabal project. That split is coming out on New Scream Industry.

Thirdly, the split with Ondo. His work is really impressive. I am an absolute tyrant to the pissy, half-rate, soulless mess that comes out of this fucking sad illusion… sooo much utter trite, legions of swine sounds. But here is Ondo, and I thought it'd be nice to share an LP with him. This came about through a mutual interest in each other’s work. And that’ll be coming out on Peasant Magik.

HH: Did you actively seek out people to collaborate with? Did you want a break from doing solo stuff?

BN: Not at all. It really just happened. Sounds a bit new age, I know. I was in a position whereby I could do it, and was interested in doing it. It's not a break from doing solo stuff, it's more work doing solo stuff!

HH: Do you miss being in a band at all, or are you quite contented doing your own solo thing? Can you foresee yourself going back to playing in a band at some future point?

BN: I don’t miss it for now. But, yeah, there are discussions of doing something. I am just so busy that I don't have the time for it at the moment.

HH: I gather that the third Nekrasov album is also finished. Are you able to divulge any more details on that, such as the title, possible release date, any guest musicians, or other distinguishing features of the album? Perhaps most importantly, will this one be another self-released album, or are you looking for a label this time around?

BN: Yeah, it's done. But I’m in the long process of getting the ‘right’ track list... again. I’ve rearranged the track list, added and subtracted, for about five months now. It's pathetic. All this thought, and most people will just say, 'There's not enough black metal', 'The album doesn't flow' etc...Ha ha. For Moses’ cock was on fire during the ritual of the mighty Nekrasov track list! And who will give a fuck? ME! I am the worst of myself when it comes to this.

No confirmed title as yet. There are a few possibilities, but that also takes a bit. The title has to come to after a trillion listens and when I 'get it' from the 'beyond'.

No guest musicians on this. I am keeping Nekrasov full-lengths just me...

I am extremely pleased with this beast. Extremely hypnotic and intense (in unnatural ways). I guess the energy of this album is much deeper than previous releases. There's more struggle in this beast, and not much pleasantry. At the moment I cannot stop listening to it. It's become a bit of a drug. It scares me but I am so drawn to it.

Self-releasing is an important state of affairs. It is the soul of the beast against all that rapes our quest and strength in the mighty 'fuck you'. Especially in these nightmarish voids of sell-out DIY fiends and black metal 'all stars'. But, after such a statement of the 'individual', I am looking for a good DIY label to release (and re-release) Nekrasov. I really did not think anyone would give one or two fucks about what I did...EVER. Now I seem to be inundated with distro and label work when I never really wanted to be a label, just record. It's been important for me to start out self-releasing my work....it's all I've really known. I just thought labels put out the 'cool' shit and I never wanted to be on the 'cool' list. If I need to self-release this one, I will, but it may be a CD-R in four or five copies, as I am broke as dizzy roadkill.

HH: I was wondering about your musical background – how your interest in black metal and other forms of extreme metal developed, and what other kind of things you’ve listened to, since it’s pretty evident from the music of Nekrasov that you have eclectic tastes.

BN: It’s too extensive to answer for anyone who’s going to read this. But I’ll give it a shot. I started very young and was fortunate enough to be about ten or 11 when black metal leaked into our void. I was always into music that truly was a disturbing experience or a big ‘fuck you’ at a young age. Whatever gave me nightmares is what I became obsessed with. I remember one night, around the age of ten, falling asleep to a metal radio show. I had not heard of black metal before but I awoke at about 3 a.m. and there was black metal. The impression on me resonates still to this day. There’s nothing like being introduced to something so young, within a dream state and truly believing demons were finally on earth and on the radio. Not long after, I worked in a local music store where I was paid in food and was asked to order music that I liked. I contacted Modern Invasion Music as they were not far from where I lived. They were the only ones putting out BM and distroing BM in Australia, so I got it all and it truly changed my life. I really liked it, because I couldn’t convince anyone else that it was good. Everyone I knew hated it. It was sort of a little secret for me.  Prior to that I was always sort of alone with my interest in extreme metal. For some reason I was always getting cassettes from someone’s friend because I was the only freak in town and was a little dude into some ‘intense shit’. Would have been around ‘86 or so, I was seven and wanted to be a fucking scary little beast. Ha ha. 

Anyway, that’s the story of how I got into black metal. I was in a fucking fever about all types of extreme music. I spent my whole time from 12 to 16 years old hunting this stuff, and also old punk, noise etc. However, at the same time I had a guitar teacher who gave me cassettes of Allan Holdsworth, Mahavishnu Orchestra / John McLaughlin etc, which I was also pretty obsessed with. Then I heard Merzbow and blah blah… And yes, I have a stupid collection of all sorts. Goddamn, this answer is getting too long now. There’s a lot more, but that’s enough.

HH: Were you aware of bands like Vargr, L’Acéphale or  Emit when you started to record as Nekrasov? Was there a specific precedent or inspiration for your blending of black metal with industrial music?

BN: Perhaps I should have been, but no. The style of Nekrasov started when I was about 16 or so. I’d heard nothing like it, and had no idea it existed. It was just what I wanted to listen to. I’d already been in many bands at that stage, but this was a deeply personal beast for me. I never told anyone about it and kept it just for me. It goes back to the previous question, as it became the only music that was ‘personal’. The rest – black metal, punk, noise etc. – became hip. There had to be something, for me, that was absurd, unsettling, and far from the rest. I didn’t make albums, I just recorded track upon track and that was it. I thought I was a bit mental recording this stuff, as it was just so unorthodox in the realms I knew, but this is just what came out.

For the second question; there was no real precedent as I’ve always really done both. I’ve always hated ‘industrial’ music, by the way (the definitions here are terrible). Ha ha. I really cannot answer, as there’s never really been a ‘vision’ to be a black metal / industrial musician. I’ve just always done noise / metal since I was six years old. It’s just what I do. At the time I was doing it ‘secretly’, I had no idea others were doing the same sort of thing!

The best explanation I can give is that Nekrasov encompasses all that I have been within my existence. I would have to say it is something where all my obsessions come into play, and not just black metal or noise. There has to be a communication with the eternal dark void that surrounds all of us. Not soul, spirit, Jesus, Satan, unicorn etc. Absolute black eternal; that is essential. Mix that in with a bit of black metal and noise, and you have Nekrasov.

HH: Have you been personally affected by the horrendous bushfires which have recently devastated your home state of Victoria? And are these events likely to have an effect on your work as Nekrasov, given that these fires seem like precisely the kind of apocalyptic event that black metal often dwells upon, or even celebrates?

BN: Yes, they’re very close, and last Sunday an arsonist lit up Sherbrooke Forest, which is opposite my house. It ended up being around a five-hectare blaze. Ash and embers were falling onto the property, and I thought that was it for all our stuff. I didn't really mind, just had to get out of there.

I would say that these fires had a profound effect on me, and I'm sure it will come up in a Nekrasov track somewhere. However, Nekrasov is not really interested in the apocalypse as an important theme.

HH: Black metal solo projects tend to be the province of loners and misanthropes beavering away within their fortresses of solitude, and I imagine that Australian black metal musicians are even more isolated than most, by virtue of Australia’s geographical remoteness from black metal’s centre of gravity in northern and eastern Europe. Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? Certainly, there are several notable Australian black metal solo projects besides yourself – Striborg and Abyssic Hate, for starters.

BN: To be honest, I haven't really thought about it. I guess with being more isolated, there's less influence and distractions with what's going on in 'the scene' etc., so you can just focus more on what you do. I do find that 'obscure' countries produce more interesting voids. When you choose the 'loner' path, that's what you should abide in. Countries, scenes etc. become meaningless.

HH: I'm interested in the distinctive way you use the word ‘void’ to mean something like ‘zone of potentiality’, as in your last answer. In fact, this is the seventh time you’ve used the word ‘void’ during this interview. Please expound to us the Nekrasov Theory of the Void!

BN: It really boils down to my own use of semiotics to give the 'space' of certain /energy/ a reference point. I tend to really fall into a 'void' when creating Nekrasov music, this is fundamental to what I do. When all is said and done, it is really all emptiness and/or empty. Nothing is 'solid'. 'Experimental' music or sound tries to capture this in a lot of ways. Also, it's just how I tend to experience it. It's an important 'non-structure' for putting together Nekrasov, that at the end of recording etc. I feel an utter void, it just makes me feel so strangely uncomfortable but there is no real purpose or definition as to why the outcome is like this. I don’t have a political theme or whatever, so for me, it becomes a 'void'. My references for others as 'voids' is just that, I believe, everything comes from 'the void' and is being channelled into so many different ways. It's quite amazing.

HH: Thanks Bob, that's all the questions I have for you. Any final thoughts or comments?

BN: Thanks to Heathen Harvest and Simon for your interest and great support in the true underground of the void freaks.


This interview with Bob Nekrasov took place by email during February 2009.


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