Zaum has been a real phenomenon in the entirety of music for me ever since I discovered them two years ago with the release of their sophomore effort, “Eidolon”. The record went on to adorn many year-end lists, including my own, and its sound has become something that I’m constantly searching for. Yet, only the powerful duo of Zaum manages to make it work without fail.
Now, as we edge ever closer to the release of the band’s third full-length album, I desired to poke at the minds behind this psychedelic group. Fortunately, the man behind the vocals as well as the bass, synths, and even the sitar was open to answering my questions! The third volume in Zaum’s discography has already raised many questions from me even as we go without so much as a name at the moment. Many thanks to Kyle and Chris who were kind enough to help during this process, and I simply can’t help but wholeheartedly recommend everything about this band.
Once again, thank you so much for thinking to answer my questions! It’s a true honor to be able to pick your brain about everything regarding Zaum and to see what we fans can expect to see in the future.
- Personally, I’ve always been a bigger fan of “Eidolon” over “Oracles” even though both are tremendous achievements of the psych-doom world. Is there a certain style that we can expect to see in Album #3 that can be compared more to “Oracles” over “Eidolon”? The opposite? Or something else entirely?
Kyle: Thanks so much for the praise of Eidolon. It was an entirely natural progression for me, though I had many moments where I wondered prior to its release if I was straying too far away from the ideas and creations we had presented with Oracles. With respect to the next album, it’s really hard to gauge as often when we go into album pre-production with an intention, it ends up in an entirely different place. My best guess would be maybe some sort of combination of the two, however, it seems my guesses and even intentions are often wrong – it’s a bit of a beast on its own in a sense.
- The lyrical themes of Zaum have almost always seemed to revolve around that of Middle Eastern content in one form or another. At least, for the full-lengths, that is. Is that something we can come to expect from Vol. 3?
Kyle: It’s a good question. It’s difficult to predict – though I think thus far the Middle East does tend to tie into everything we’ve done somehow, even if it’s just a glimpse of a vision etc. “Eidolon” was also quite heavily influenced by the curiosities surrounding the Aztec/Mayan civilization. I wouldn’t be shocked if there were some other old world cultures and vibes explored.
- I feel it’s very safe to say that Om is quite the big influence on the overall entity that Zaum turned out to be. What are some other major influences that really help bring the bands unique sound to your minds and thus to the studio?
Kyle: I think soundscapes tend to play a role. My top influence going into “Oracles” was Peter Gabriel – Passion and “Eidolon” was Lustmord – The Word As Power. It’s difficult to predict what will play the top influential role on the next record, I suppose it will depend on what I get locked into early this fall. The new Ugasanie album “Ice Breath Of Antarctica” is a really great one.
- One of my favorite things about Zaum, in general, has to be the stellar use of extraordinary instruments that truly bring an otherworldly feel to the already magnificent doom. From synths to a sitar to several different types of flutes, there aren’t very many flavors that Zaum seemingly can’t do! What are some other instruments or sounds that you’ve always wanted to try on a new album whether it be the upcoming one or something just in your head?
Kyle: It’s difficult to predict what will end up happening on the new record in terms of instrumentation as I’ve often gone into recordings with full expectations only for the ideas being canned for the greater good of the angle or vibe. That having been said, in terms of new instruments we haven’t touched on – I do have an initial interest in having the new album feature finger cymbals, bouzouki and jaw harp. I’m also eyeing some really less common and bizarre instrumentation, we shall see how things develop!
- With the massive, massive amount of touring you guys have done, what are some of the best memories you’ve had on the road thus far?
Kyle: Our first experience playing two shows in Russia was really fascinating, was really everything we could have hoped for – would have loved to spend some more time there. We once played a show on the 3rd floor in a 7th-century bastion located in a small eastern town in Slovakia near the Ukraine border; open stone windows, electricity run into the building with extension cords, and bats flying around toward the end of our set. Our first experience at Roadburn (2017) we will certainly never forget. The bands we have toured with the most – who have become very close to us personally have probably had the biggest impact on us both personally – Firebreather, Earthship and Telepathy, massive love to these 3 in particular.
- The number of bands that manage to push the boundaries of each and every style of metal is at an all-time high. Do you have any modern bands that stand out amongst the norm that really grabbed your attention?
Kyle: I really love Rope Sect, who aren’t really metal (more gothy I suppose) though there are some definite metal influences you can pick up on there. Bong is a fantastic drone metal band. I’m a huge Torche fan in the realm of Stoner Metal – hooks, melodies, and tones are all off the charts. Lustmord has a side project called Dread which is incredible, kind of like drone/dark-dub. Anything released by the Cryo Chamber record label – top shelf quality art/soundscapes in its purest form.
- Just considering the massive comeback of vinyl, the reintroduction of other forms of media outside of digital and CDs have become a new fan favorite, especially in metal. Zaum, as you know, is no different as you’ve exploited vinyl without hesitation and I’m a proud owner of one of them! What are your personal thoughts on the resurgence on physical media?
Kyle: It’s mandatory. I’m a giant vinyl collector and spend a lot of money on it supporting other musicians, there’s just nothing better than having a deadly album LP or Cassette. Streaming is convenient and cool and has its place. To me, it’s there for you to decide if you love it – and if you do, you should always buy it.
- Easily, one of my favorite things that doom has ever produced are super long, single-song albums. Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” is the most famous but Bell Witch’s “Mirror Reaper” and Inter Arma’s “The Cavern” show that the rare form of music is still employed every so often. Do you think Zaum could ever be capable of such a feat?
Kyle: I wouldn’t rule it out 😉
- Zaum has been known for songs that are longer than “normal” as it’s not unusual to see a fifteen or twenty-minute song here and there. Is that difficult to play live or do you trim down the music to have a more varied set?
Kyle: I wouldn’t say they are difficult to play per say as much as they are a sincere investment in effort and time. Very long songs give you less opportunity to fix or adjust something if you need to, or even take a drink or grab a towel etc. We play our songs in full as they are presented on the recordings for sure!
- This third album has quickly become one of my more anticipated records be it released either this year or in 2019, and I’m sure other fans who are keeping their eyes on things have mutual feelings on the matter. What’s something that you can just give us fans who are dying to hear some sort of news; something to look forward to?
Kyle: We have a video being released for “The Enlightenment – Part I” very shortly, which was written and directed by Seth Smith and produced by Nancy Urich – a duo who have a company called CUT//OFF//TAIL Pictures who are really incredibly renowned within the independent film industry in Canada. Their latest film titled “The Crescent” was featured in Cannes Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, among a pile of others. It’s a very different idea that ties in quite nicely. The video is very deep and as with our music, the intention is to inspire deep thought rather than give literal answers. Beyond this which will be the last Eidolon related activity, we’ll be heading into the studio most likely within the next couple of months and the plan is for a spring 2019 release. From that point on, we’ll be presenting a much more complete and vivid live experience at our shows for people to soak in. More news on that to follow late this fall 😉
Thanks an absolute million yet again for agreeing to answer my questions, and I absolutely cannot wait to hear the new album! I’m more than positive it’ll be no less than stellar and I’ve no doubt it will sweep over the world of doom and beyond just like both of your albums have.
Kyle: It was sincerely my pleasure. Thanks for your interest in experiencing and spreading the thought of ZAUM. See you in the USA in 2019!
Zaum has managed to remain a personal fascination of mine in recent years, and I will do my damnedest to see these guys on tour next year no matter what, and I suggest you do the same! As I said, the new album is highly anticipated for me and I truly can’t wait to surely add the record to my Tops of 2019 list when the time comes as I’m more than positive it will fit the bill. For now, please do check out the wonders that are “Oracles” and “Eidolon” as well as support this phenomenal band.
LISTEN to Zaum on Bandcamp here.
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