How does one imagine his/her individual death? Is it going to be slow and painful? Will it happen during sleep? Zagrob deals with both, fascinations and clichés of what is proposed in the form of "afterlife".
A corpse melting into the ground, transforming itself from fears and misconceptions about dying, in order to find true romance in the posthumous world. Rotting fresh from release on French label Athanor, Zagrob delivers a masterpiece mini-album called "Vječni stan" (meaning "Eternal Tenement"), a menacingly haunting, black-humourous study on traditional and spiritual unnature, once again revealing his a/spiritual self.
SD: What is it with death and decay that you find most fascinating? Z: I've always been fascinated by philosophy of death and afterlife, even as a child I was magically drawn by skull imagery. I can't fully explain this obsession, except to say that it is a manifestation of my curiosity and craving for inner knowledge of the unknown. We are decaying throughout our lives, it's just a transformational process that brings us closer to divine rebirth.
SD: When the time comes, would you prefer to be cremated or buried to rot in the ground?? Z: I never thought about that as something that really matters to me. I don't really care. Maybe a taxidermist could stuff me with bonbons and place me in some cathedral as a suspended saint pinata for kids to play, that would be nice. Just kidding, I couldn't care less, I died and death goes on – my soul will not need my body anymore, this is just a temporary vessel for my entity that will be merged into the whole. I would prefer a shrine though, but during my life, I'd like to be a part of any sacred ceremony… when I am dead it will be too late. Someone should invent a pre-death annual ceremony, like birthdays but more gloomy and heartfelt. Mourning and weeping is totally in this year.
SD: To you, what is the most ironic thing about life on this planet? Z: Most ironic thing is that most people live their entire lives without actually living. Fearing the inevitable, bounded and constricted by fears and traumas which accumulate with ignorance and blindness. Spirituality isn't about going to church and obeying the rules imposed by dogmatic religions, nor is it going to a techno party and having a religious experience on a half of ecstasy. The word freedom is taken for granted, the values have sunk completely and many people live in a herd of this false security. To most people raison d'etre is found in materialistic realm, which has no value to the Grim Reaper. Career, money and assets… none of this really matters. That's just to name a few, but what is the cause of this?! I could write an entire book about wrongdoings of humanity, but that's a battle for helpless cause. I decided to abandon humanity and devote to myself and the people I love.
SD: How black is your humour, how deep is your love? ?Z: I am deeply in love with black humour and brutal sincerity it has to offer.
SD: Are you a mystic? Do you prefer black or white magic? Z: I am an ever changing self-aware entity, my mind manifests in many forms, in many vessels. I really cannot speak about polarities of magic, because I see them as a whole, the universe has no moral boundaries and it is ambivalent in nature. Destruction leads to creation and vice-versa – for me, the word magic just describes the process or bridge of that transformation of energy. I pour the holy water in the grail, then I drink the water… and you can assume what comes next….Some call it the golden shower.
SD: Regardless of religion and its typical dogma, do you believe there is a certain heaven or hell? Which one do you think is more fun? What would your personal "heaven" – or "hell" – seem like? Z: Heaven and hell are right here, right now. Both are equally important – through hell, we learn and obtain dimensionality and through heaven, we harvest the fruits of knowledge. They are two opposed contrasts and one does not exist without the other – just like love and hate – the more you are able to hate, the more you are able to love. Without suffering, we can never reach the heights of heaven and without knowing limitless pleasures of heaven, we can never sink to depths of the abyss. By extending two extremes through exploration, we bite into life with full potential, we extend the palette of life. Embrace the darkness and you will see eternal light.
SD: How far do you go with your music in terms of dismissing society's prejudice, or better, fear about death – is Zagrob's music a wake up call? Like one artist once said – "… there's nothing wrong in dying, after all – it's just a game…" Z: Well, I wouldn't think of my music as a wake up call, because no music can awaken the dormant spirit if the host doesn't have an inner call to do so. I don't see myself as a preacher, I merely make music for my own sake, it has awoken some parts of me. Music can accompany one in his study of self, it can guide one's spirit and even illuminate, but not without one's own effort and will.
SD: With "Vječni Stan" ("Eternal Tenement"), you're addressing the absurdities of the living, who seem to subordinate everything to their traditional beliefs and rituals as "fact" – for you, how destructive is any form of custom servitude? Z: The more we serve the inheritance of humanity, the more we are drifting apart from our core. Everything we were taught has to be questioned, and in many cases disregarded as indoctrination. Humanity is cursed by rigidity of mind and global predominance of the left brain hemisphere. I like to think there is a global transformation on the rise and that many people will be left behind, people who are irreversibly trapped inside their eternal tenement, who are already dead inside. Maybe I am just a daydreamer; let's hope that I am not.
SD: Do you believe in conspiracy theory? Which one is your favourite? Z: I don't believe, I observe from many viewpoints and refuse to know anything as fact. I know that I don't know, which most certainly gives me more space to explore. Will the sun rise tomorrow, you ask? Well, maybe… for some, it won't.
SD: How symbolic is the character of Zagrob, and on the other hand – how real do you believe it is to be? Z: Zagrob is the dark shadow of my psyche, the dark side of the sun, darkness that is engulfed by flames. Zagrob is very real, more real than most things people believe in. I don't have to believe it, I just am – a part of me is, like many other things, that I create inside my head. It is the centre of the universe, a black hole of illumination. Zagrob is more real than Jesus nailed to a cross, I can show you some photos…
SD: Have you ever seen a ghost, or had an unlikely, ghostly experience? Were you aware of it?? Z: I've heard a woman's scream once in the middle of the room, not too pleasant either, but I couldn't be bothered, I have no problem with ghostly creatures even if they exist. I think the presence was offended by my indifference and left the premises. Shortly after, I found a note beside me, that stated written in blood: "How dare you question my existence?! You will never hear from me again!!!"
Zagrob's "Vječni stan" is available from Athanor (ATNR 037, 2011)
Images manipulated from portraits by Nieuw NDG