What is common between Satan, religion and politics? Interview to Brazilian webzine

Read interview for Brasilian webzine Tempestade Conservadora.

– Introduce the band for us?

Nick: Every gig starts with these words: we are Zarraza from Almaty, Kazakhstan, we are here to raise some chaos!

We are four-piece band. Drummer Ruslan Konon and me on vocal and guitar were in the band since its inception. Dan Eternal (guitar) came in at beginning of 2018. Bass player Adil Aliakpar joined us in the 2019, right after recording of Rotten Remains was finished and previous bass player Eugene Hablack left the band and moved to another city.

From left to right: Adil Aliakpar (bass), Nick Khalabuzar (vocal/guitar), Dan Eternal (guitar), Ruslan Konon (drums)

-Tell us about the composition work on “Rotten Remains”?

Nick: It’s hard question because the EP is new, but the songs are old. They were written years ago and released on self-released demos Bullets & Beliefs (2012) and Cutting Meat. Fast & Loud (2013). We decided to re-record it fully because we still play some of this shit live. So we carefully dig these remains, inject them with new viruses and put out as EP. Also it is our way to honor ex-mates who helped us start ZARRAZA: guitarists Max Saklakov and Damir Yunussov, bass player Alex Filatoff. Guys! Though you escaped from the band you are still infected and keep rotting with us!

-How the band choose singles for the album?

Nick: It was easy to choose The Grudge as first single because of kobyz – Kazakh ethnic instrument. Kobyz sounds specifically so we want people to see it – not just to hear. During shooting a video we even put camera inside of kobyz to catch vibration of strings.

Second single choice was easy too. Most of our songs are fast but Failed Apocalypse sounds little bit different and demonstrates slow, dark and groovy side of the band…. I always thought the song is underrated – somehow it was erased from our live set. So I want to re-introduce it to people.

The same reason worked for Bullets and Beliefs. Groovy song with speed changes was forgotten by us – so we should to remind everyone about that banger. To be honest its not my favorite but other guys like it.

And Chaos… On every gig we try to create as much chaos as possible. So live footage is the best way to expose the song. Thankfully people on the show were crazy and it was great to shoot the crazy live video.

– Tell us about the idea to work with guest musicians Anar and Azim on this album?

Nick: Azim is a friend of Eugene – former bass player for Zarraza. During record sessions for Rotten Remains I asked Eugene to experiment with sounds on intro to Failed Apocalypse. And he brought Azim to create some keyboard pieces.

Anar is a different story. When I decided to recreate The Grudge with kobyz I called to my friend Nurzhan from ethno rock band Aldaspan. He told me about Anar. Recording session was easy and very intense. Not only she recorded the line I wrote – she also brought her own ideas which make the instrumental so special. Its one of kind – you cannot find music peace with kobyz like this. Its dark, mesmerizing and heavy.

-What´s the difference between Zarraza and your previous bands?

Nick: On our short tours we drink much more… And work little bit more.

Dan: For me, the most different is approach to music – obviously its more serious. Detail planning, discussions, technical skills. We always leave our characters outside the rehearsal space and trying to grow above ourselves. Some people in the band are more experienced which turns working process into pure pleasure. We are all listening to extreme metal, and, be-all and end-all: we want, we can, we do, and we will play it. Almost all my past bands broke up – some didn’t receive enough feedback, some don’t believe they can reach success with metal. Some people from former bands decided to change their life. For me, it doesn’t matter so much anymore, and I’m trying to focus on Zarraza as much as I can.

-Why the band have this name?

Nick: Because it is ironical and can be explained in two ways. First – its Infection, not bad for metal band I guess. Second meaning is annoying, unbearable but sometimes funny person, kind of a joker.

-What about upcoming shows?

Nick: No more shows in 2019 – we are working on new songs. Of course we will play in 2020 – we have ideas for one-off shows but we also think about short tours. Lets see what future brings.

-What is reaction to the album?

Nick: Its positive – we got review even from Metal Hammer. The whole reaction surprised me – all songs on EP are old so positive reviews was unexpected. Personally I think our previous effort and first full-length release Necroshiva is better – Rotten Remains consists of re-recorded old songs and I tired of them… And more important we dont want to be judged by these songs. They are good but we can do better so we are working already on new material and to me its much more interesting.

– What is differences between lyrics and sound on “Rotten Remains” and your previous effort Necroshiva?

Nick: Lyrically both releases are connected. Song 150 words in some way is continuation of Wrong song, More than Hate develop ideas of Zombie Kids. But musically Necroshiva is a little bit more complicated. Its faster which I like the most about the album. We worked with same studio on both releases so the sound is similar and I like it. The main difference for me is a change in my voice. I recorded vocal tracks for Necroshiva right after laryngitis – my voice at the time was just recovering. I have much more time to work on vocal tracks during Rotten Remains recording sessions.

-What´s the lyrical theme for this album?

Nick: Resistance to any rotten ideas which are flying around and infect your life.

– So do you thinks this EP is conceptual?

Nick: Its not a concept but as I said the EP is dedicated to rotten ideas which turns our life into chaos, making people believe they should spread their beliefs with bullets. Ideas that converting people into zombies holding the grudge. These ideas often intertwined with religion and somebody becomes a bulldozer destroying everything on its way. With ideas like these we dont need Satan to bring Apocalypse closer. Surprisingly we are still alive – and it opens new possibilities for us to rot more and more.

-Tell us about the idea behind artwork´s album?

Nick: The monster on cover is Rottenshiva. Everything is in green because the release is full of rotten materials, its toxic and contains a lot of viruses. Thats why he is in a gas mask but it cant protect him as it is corroded by acid. Letters and numbers on the banks are acronym of the demo names where these songs were released originally in their raw unpolished form – Bullets & Beliefs (2012) and Cutting Meat. Fast & Loud (2013).

– Why the band labeled new work as EP though it has 8 consists of 8 songs?

Nick: Duration of the release is about 25 minutes, it hardly can be positioned as full album.

– What do you know about Brazil metal?

Dan: Except Sepultura, I listened to Sarcofago, Violator, Krisiun, Angra. I love Brazilian scene for aggression, pure emotions and technical stuff.

Nick: I should mention Chico Science. I love guitar work of Jackson Bandeira on first Soulfly LP – after he exit the band Soulfly lost a lot of magic to me.

-Compare the Metal scene in Kazakhstan with Brazil?

Dan: In Kazakhstan we don’t have even 10 really interesting and active metal bands for all our metal history. And today there are… Less than 10 bands, that are really active. Scene is growing, but very, very slowly. On positive side – there is a lot of a new people on concerts, its really cool.

-Give a message to the fans,guys.

Dan: Just worship metal! It will improve your life.