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Adam Zaarz (Tribulation)

Interview with Adam Zaarz from Tribulation
by Harel Golstein at 25 October 2015, 8:03 AM

Swedish death metal legends TRIBULATION are soon to touch down in Israel for the first time; an event of importance for the Israeli Extreme Metal scene. As such, Harel managed a chat with guitarist Adam Zaarz about their busy end-of-year tour leg, their signing with Century Media, the success of their recent album and the recent boycotting of Israel by prominent musicians.

Hey Adam. How are you expecting your upcoming performance in Israel or is it just another show?

No! It's not just another show actually, we are very much expecting to arrive. I've even been to Israel once, to a family wedding.

And did you enjoy your visit?

I've only been to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem but yeah. They're so different from one another; Tel-Aviv is so liberal! Unfortunately we won't have so much time to for sight-seeing since we'll be finally returning back home to Sweden after almost three months of constant touring in the US.

On the upcoming tour, almost until the end of January, you'll be performing almost every night. How's life on the road and on the stages?

It's something we chose to do. It's a lot of fun; very satisfying; and very difficult. Usually people tend to work 8 hours a day and five times a week. When we're on tour there's always all these things you have to do and barely any free time. So it's all around the clock. But we've got used to it I guess. We'll be leaving sometime the next few days and won't return home up until after the show in Israel.

How has life changed for Tribulation after signing with Century Media?

First, the fact that more people know us and heard of us. Century Media’s done a fantastic job promoting the album and for us it's great to have as many shows as we can. As long as bands are performing the label are usually happy. So it is quite a co-operation. Well I guess that's the main difference but we also get to meet a lot more people now and that's always fun.

Does signing with a major label comes along with any corporate pressure? Any demands or requests to alter you sound and maybe make it more accessible?

No. And we would have never signed such a contract. We would never compromise our freedom of creation and it's fine with them even though it is such a big label. To be honest, they're not even that commercial. I mean, for such a strong business in the rock and metal industry. They really try to act like a platform for underground and all that.

You've recently released your 3rd LP, “The Children Of The Night”, which has been getting great reviews and praises ever since it came out. How was the writing and recording process any different from older Tribulation releases?

Very different. On our 2nd album we still had our old drummer. He wanted to do different things and we had to separate. We're still good friends though, of course. I wrote most that album; about 90-95%. Back then, each of us was living in a different place in Sweden. That made writing and recording very difficult for us. After that it was basicly me, Jonathan, and Johannes. After a while we invited Jacobs to record with us (I've known him from since we were 7) and we immediately started to feel like a brand new band. Eventually everybody moved closer and we were all living in Stockholm too, so “The Children Of The Night” was pretty much written by all band members, and by the time we started recording we already felt like a well experienced group in terms of working together.

On spare time, does it still happen that you pick up the guitar and play for hours to yourself?

Sure! All the time. In fact, we've just returned from performing in Japan (with Watain and Sigh) so my gear's still packed. I write most music in my head anyway so whenever I pick up the guitar I just transform it into notes and riffs and all that. Music's always playing In my head (laughs).

So how's Japan and how's performing with such cool bands?

A very different experience. SIGH were great but unfortunately I didn’t get to hear too much of their show since we performed right after. Japan is very unique but at the same time westernized and familiar. People there are very friendly, the food's great, and the shows went really well. It's a bit weird witnessing a huge amount of fans crying and screaming… I don’t really get that.. (laughing)

So about Israel. As time passes it seems more voices are regarding the subject and asking more artists to boycott Israel. From Deicide's Glenn Benton to Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters. Has anybody talked to you about it? Have you felt any pressure about deciding to come and perform in Israel?

No and we don’t care about the politics in the places we play. We're coming to play our music, perform our art. We're not a political band and the rules are determined by politicians, not even the people – to some extent. So we're not performing in any side of the conflict. We're completely in it for the music and the fans. Slovenian rock band Laibach performed in North-Korea recently and im pretty sure I support them over it.

There's a new documentary hitting the theaters soon, titled “The History of Metal and Horror”. A few big names have already confirmed their participation in it like Rob Zombie, Kirk Hammett and Corey Taylor. Tribulation obviously has a resemblance and connection to that world, so what would you say had you been asked to participate in the movie?

I'd say we're using that medium as a general expression. It has something to do with the aesthetics, the atmosphere and the mood we want to achieve. On our first album, some lyrics are taken directly from famous horror movies like Nosferatu. Well both genres carries similar sentiments, ive always felt that. And I'm a big fan of horror movies, even the bad ones! So we just integrate the two into music. It's a personal passion of mine but it's obviously related to Tribulation. It's that feeling that immediately hits you as a listener or a watcher. And a truly fantastic way of expressing art.

Tribulation exists from back 2001, when you were still known as Hazard. How does it feel like to storm stages around the world alongside some of the greatest stars and bands in the metal world?

It would be a lot cooler if it would happen 20 years ago. I didn’t really grow up listening to some of the bands we've toured with recently. Other than Watain that is. And I'm yet to perform with some of my childhood heroes. But it is inspiring to see how some of those big bands perform live. For instance, Behemoth has a really grandiose performance, with lots of stage settings; while Cannibal Corpse keep the stage stripped to a bare minimum. And both those bands do so in ways that make their shows turn out tremendously fun and professional. So it just works. So it's a lot of fun watching such degrees of professionalism and of course, getting to meet great people.

Which bands did you grow up listening to?

Iron Maiden, Kiss… Kiss was definitely the first. From a very young age. Later on I got to know Morbid Angel and such.

What did you think of the new Iron Maiden, The book of souls?

I really liked it! It was the first Maiden release I kind of doubted at first spin, so I was a bit surprised by that. But a few listens later it totally stuck and I think it's excellent.

Did you read any good books lately? Something you'd like to recommend our readers?

Well it's quite rare that I'd read prose, since I usually don’t. But yeah I read a lot. Lately I've finished the Crusades trilogy by a Swedish author named Jan Guillo. It's about a Swedish guy in the middle ages who became a Templar knight. So.. It's about Israel I guess, haha! (laughing) But I usually read mostly non-fiction. About religions, Hinduism, Ayurveda and yoga. Stuff like that.

Anything else you'd like to share with our readers and the Israeli metal heads who'll attend your show soon?

Come see us! It's going to be an excellent show; especially after 8 weeks of touring so we'll be in top form. It'll also be our first time performing with Marduk. I really liked their latest effort by the way.



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