“Fukk no! This is CHAOS!!!!”
– Sabbac, ZOM
Interview by Jason Guest
Jason: Hi Sabbac. Thanks for taking time out for this interview. To begin, can you tell us about what drew you together to form ZOM? Did you have an idea of what ZOM were to sound like?
Sabbac: ZOM was formed initially as nothing more than a bedroom project between myself and CTHON (bass/vocals). He wanted to get better at singing and playing and I wanted to learn how to play the drums. It was as simple as that really. We shared similar interests within the Death Metal genre and had a basic template as to what we were going for but as time went on it became apparent that a full time guitar player was needed so we drafted SODOMANIAC (guitar/vocals). Things just took on momentum from there really.
Jason: Musically, how has ZOM developed since its inception?
Sabbac: Well, like I said it was initially a bedroom project. We were both writing riffs and I’d try and drum along to them in the practice room. When SODOMANIAC joined things obviously shifted up a gear given we had another writer on board and I could just focus on the drums. Musically, we haven’t really developed per se…but our playing is getting ever so slightly better…I think!?
Jason: What does the band name ZOM mean/represent?
Sabbac: ZOM is an ancient being from the Marvel Universe created centuries ago with the sole purpose to destroy. He is chaos incarnate. We felt his character and backstory was more than adequate in fitting with our general themes and outlook.
Jason: How does the band write? Do you jam ideas out together or is there one main writer?
Sabbac: All of the above really. I mean, one member could write a full song, maybe we’ll collaborate, occasionally but only very occasionally there’ll be a bit of a jam but really it boils down to the three of us in the room grinding shit out until we’re content to move on to the next song. There’s nothing intelligent about this. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here.
Jason: When writing, do you have an idea of how you want the songs to sound or do they take shape as they are being developed?
Sabbac: Usually there’s a very clear idea and by that I mean, we all know what we want to hear and how we want to hear it. We all share a multitude of similar and not so similar interests. As individuals we draw on what we know and like but collectively, there’s usually always a very clear direction as to where the song(s) is/are going. Of course, every now and then there’s a bit of magic and something unexpected will appear but generally we have a very no nonsense approach. We know what we want and how to achieve it.
Jason: Is there a theme, concept, or a philosophy that underpins ZOM’s music?
Sabbac: Fukk no! This is CHAOS!!!!
Jason: What are the lyrical themes and what inspires them?
Sabbac: Lyrical themes range from cosmic horrors to Lovecraftian tales of dread. Anything from human perversion to the occult is fair game.
Jason: Are there any particular bands or albums that have had a direct impact on the band’s sound?
Sabbac: Mental Funeral, Altars of Madness, Seven Churches, Morbid Tales, Beneath the Remains…I could go on but they would be the general influences.
Jason: ZOM’s sound is raw and primitive, tending more toward the dense and atmospheric rather than the technical. Can technical ability have an impact on music?
Sabbac: Yes, most certainly when utilised in the right setting. However there is nothing remotely “technical” about ZOM, nor do we strive for “technical” perfection…again, this is CHAOS!!!!
Jason: The two tracks on Multiversal Holocaust EP first appeared on the 2012 demo, Hells Pleasure MMXII. Did you re-record the material for the release? Did you make any changes to the tracks?
Sabbac: No, and this has led to much confusion for some people. We recorded three songs for the EP on Iron Bonehead but due to simple time constraints the record wasn’t going to be ready in time for Hell’s Pleasure. Patrick kindly offered to release a small run (50 tapes I think!?) of the three songs to help us out financially while we were abroad. When we returned home and got to work on the EP it became very apparent that all three songs wouldn’t fit on the record so we decided to put Multiversal Holocaust and Terror of the Cosmos on the EP and kept Ethereal Frost as a kind of “bonus” track for the demo vinyl repress.
Jason: ZOM’s artwork is fantastic, it’s very striking. Who designs it? Do they have complete control over the designs or do you give guidelines for what you want?
Sabbac: I drew the logo by hand, SODOMANIAC takes care of layouts and what not as I am a complete luddite when it comes to technology in any shape or form. I mean we all pitch in ideas and concepts and what not but most of the art has been done between the two of us. As for the Multiversal Holocaust cover, that idea was conceived by CTHON and executed by the incredibly talented Costin Chioreanu of Twilight13Media. I would urge everyone to check out his work.
Jason: How did you come to be involved with Invictus Productions and why did you choose to work with them?
Sabbac: Dublin is a very, very small city when you break it down. We knew Invictus…Invictus knew us. I guess it was a timing thing. ZOM appeared and it seemed a breath of putrid air to the Invictus HQ so contact was made and that was that really. I’m sure there were countless drinking sessions as well but…well, the memory is a little hazy.
Jason: Why have you chosen to re-release the 2011 demo (Ed: reviewed here) on vinyl? What does this demo represent for ZOM?
Sabbac: Again, just to reiterate…there was never a grand plan for ZOM. World domination was and still isn’t on the cards. That’s not how we operate…but when Invictus explained the actual demand for the demo (the tape itself was repressed twice after it’s initial run), we figured why not!? Of course, the demo vinyl repress was supposed to be released the following year but things got side tracked, reality got in the way etc. Regardless, the demo is now available on vinyl format which we are all very happy about.
Jason: Which do you prefer, vinyl, CD, or digital downloads?
Sabbac: Each have their merits in this day and age and I view all as being just as important but for me personally, vinyl every time.
Jason: Is there more music in the works? Do you have any plans for an album?
Sabbac: We are slowly nearing the completion of our debut album, which should be out just before summer thanks to Invictus Productions and Dark Descent Records. Again, we all play in several other bands and are quite busy outside of ZOM so something that was supposed to be recorded last summer only got started mid-December 2013.
Jason: Do ZOM have any plans to tour? Will we be seeing you in England any time soon?
Sabbac: We have some small plans here and there, and there’s things being talked about but I prefer to wait until they see actual fruition before announcing them to the world. We have just been confirmed for this years Wings of Metal Fest in Montreal though, which we are very excited about so who knows what else will follow!? If people want to get in contact regarding such matters they are more than welcome.
Jason: Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
Sabbac: Yeah, I’d just like to say thanks for YOUR time and interest in the band and check out the following acts… Slomatics, Disguise, Contort, Cat Piss Brain Rot, Tome, Nomadic Rituals, Wolfbait, Malthusian and Venus Sleeps.