Interview with Adam Zaars of Tribulation

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Interview by Jason Guest

Tribulation - band2Jason: Hi Adam. Thanks for taking time out for this interview. The Formulas of Death is the band’s second full length, and it’s been four years since The Horror. Why did it take four years to write and record another album? What have you guys been up to in the time between the two?

Adam: It has been six years since the recording of the album, so it’s actually even longer. It took time because we had a lot of other things going on in our lives and we were living in different parts of the country. It also took a long time because of the way we put the songs together. We always waited for everything to come to us. I guess we are the exception to artists saying that you “can’t wait for the inspiration to come to you”. That’s probably why so much crap art, be it music or whatever, is created. We couldn’t work in that way because we demand something more from ourselves, we want the art to come from a place we can’t fully control, from somewhere else, and we can’t force that. I’m pretty sure that we will put a new album together a lot faster though. We did some touring in between the two albums, but we sort of went away after a while because we didn’t want to perform only old songs when we had something new coming.

Jason: For you, how does the Tribulation on The Formulas of Death compare to the Tribulation on 2009’s The Horror?  Does the album mark a significant progression for Tribulation? And how long have you been working on the material for the album?

Adam: I see them as two separate creations from two separate eras that happen to have the same mother. They are obviously connected to some extent, but they took on different forms. We are obviously older and have new perspectives on life in general and that of course changed the music. It is a progression; it’s one of our never ending “first steps” from something old to something new. But I wouldn’t say that the music is progressive, as a musical term. I don’t really like the term since it pretty much only makes me think of a bunch of crappy bands. We made music this time; music that morphed into metal. The most intense time for the making of the music was the last year before we went into the studio, but most of the music has been with us for quite some time. We even have riffs from before our first album that are maybe eight years old that never really fit anywhere else before.

Jason: Can you tell us about the lyrics? Who writes them and where does inspiration come from? Is there a theme or a concept that links them all?

Adam: I wrote most of the lyrics to this album. I also had some help from my special other Susanna and our friend Konstantin also helped out. They deal with that which is unnatural. They deal with liminal states and beings, where they come from and where they can bring you. The album is mostly about the alchemical pursuit for immortality and the decline of what you used to know, the quest for the sharpening of the teeth that grind the pillars of a certain worldview that we cannot connect fully to. It’s about initiation into a new worldview. The lyrics are also tied up with some Swedish folklore that is incorporated into the general themes.

Jason: Can you tell us about the album title, what it means, and how it relates to the music and lyrics of the album?

Adam: The title can be compared to a certain Hindu proverb saying that there are many paths up the same mountain. There are many formulas to reach the spiritual goals that one sets out for oneself.  These are our musical formulas, our expression of art, the outcome of a religious pursuit.

Jason: Are there any tracks on the album that stand out for you? Are there any that you think mark a significant development for the band or indicate where you see the band heading in future?

Adam: I would say that Rånda, Ultra Silvam and Apparitions are the peaks of the experience. They may show glimpses of the future.

Jason: How does Tribulation work to create the songs? Is it a collaborative effort or do you write individually? Do you discuss ideas about what you want of each track or is it an evolutionary process?

Adam: I’m not keen on saying too much about that. I find that it’s quite personal and something that should be kept inside the band as much as possible. I guess I see it as a kind of formula that should be kept inside the creative sphere of the people involved. Who knows what would happen otherwise? I already answered this to some extent in the first question. It’s basically like that, but then in the end we still remain a metal/rock band and that’s why it’s sounds the way it sounds.

Jason: What has new drummer Jakob Ljungberg brought to Tribulation?

Adam: Apart from a creative spark and his talent he has also tied the band together again. He is a great addition to the band and it sort of feels like he was always in the band.

Tribulation - FormulasJason: Can you tell us about the artwork for the album? What does it represent and how does it relate to the music? Who’s the artist? Why did you choose to work with him/her? And how much direction did you give him/her in its creation?

Adam: The image was created by Jonathan (Hultén, guitars); he drew it while we were in the studio to make it as much a part of the music as possible. The inspiration to the image comes from an old fin de siècle art magazine. It’s really the perfect image for the album as it really represents the whole album. The lady is a force, a divine force, Shakti, and she is beneath the surface, that is on the other side. She is the already transcended. It also has a folkloristic vibe that goes hand in hand with the album, she can be Rånda, or her watery equivalent, if one chooses to see her that way. It’s obviously dark and menacing as well signaling the uncertainty of the situation and “the unknown”.

Jason: What’s your opinion of the internet and its impact on the music scene? Do you think that because of the ease of making music available, the internet has affected the quality of music? With the impact of illegal file-sharing on music sales, do you have any concerns about survival in what seems to be an increasingly difficult market?

Adam: The internet is probably an advantage, or at least we use it to our advantage. We’re not concerned with “illegal downloading”, there’s nothing you can do about it, it is what it is and I don’t really see the harm in it anymore. The whole music industry has changed because of it and it will have to adapt to it. We’re still very underground and at this point I can only see the advantage of the tool as a means of reaching more people that can possibly like our music. This is just a change that had to come sooner or later. Historically speaking the “music industry” is extremely new and it’s obviously in its very childhood. No need to moan about that, things change.

Tribulation - bandJason: What does the future hold for Tribulation? Is there more music in the pipeline?

Adam: Sure is, we have new stuff already! We’ll see where this ends up. At least more people know we are about now than prior to the album.

Jason: Will you be touring in support of The Formulas of Death? If so, will we be seeing you in the UK?

Adam: We will, yes, and we already did actually. We passed London a couple of months ago on tour. Hopefully we’ll make it back soon again!

Jason: Thanks again for taking time out for this interview.

Adam: Thanks for showing interest in the band and for the interview.

  • And you can read our review of Tribulation’s Formulas of Death here

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