If you looked up the word “prolific” in the dictionary, you’d find a picture of NKSV, the lone man behind Rebel Wizard. The one-man entity is like a machine, releasing five EPs in 2015, a full-length in 2016 and an EP in 2017. This year, Rebel Wizard already released an EP called Great Addictions to Blindingly Dark, Worldly Life and will release a new full-length, Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response, at the end of the week via Prosthetic.
Decibel has acquired a full stream of the album, which blends galloping, exciting heavy metal instrumentals with fuzzed-out black metal vocals. After hearing the album and reading the song titles, we spoke with NKSV to better understand Rebel Wizard. The answers may leave you more confused than when you began reading, but such is Rebel Wizard! Read on and enjoy Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response in its entirety.
You’re incredibly prolific, especially considering that you do everything in Rebel Wizard. How do you keep the pace up?
I wouldn’t really consider it ‘prolific’ at all. I wish I had the time to do more! These projects, both Rebel Wizard and Nekrasov [NKSV’s other musical endeavor—ed.] are done in my spare time which is very limited.
This is just what I do, make music, and have always done since a young age. I don’t ‘have’ to keep a pace up as it’s not really something I intend to do. It actually does me! Music has been the biggest and most important realm for me always and creating such things is a wondrous realm for me. It’s really just a life line. I am compelled to do it and kind of ‘have’ to do it to stay balanced in this realm we find ourselves in. I do know that when I don’t do it, I have very not happy feelings inside my guts and the heart urinates tears.
The song titles on Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response seem very specific and intentional. Were you focusing in on certain ideas?
Well, yes, I am. The wizards’ wretched finger points beyond the lies of the tree men.
In other words; the titles and ‘theme’ are important but in a very absurd and obscured way. We are aiming around your head in this era where the poison of self-righteous conceptual yelps and coercion of subjective hollow arrogance are applauded and first kissed to.
I don’t want to give lyrics, there’s more than enough babbling going on, but I like to give titles that point to where the themes are considering in hopes that we are hitting something outside the ‘conceptual’ and more on the ‘presence.’ For example, “Drunk on the Wisdom of Unicorn Semen,” obviously!
This is your second full-length, but you have 7 EPs as well; do you approach writing for the two formats differently? |
Perhaps, but I really don’t know. It’s all pretty spontaneous and, as mentioned, a compulsion to do things. I love doing EPs. When I was a young teen in the early ’90s, 7-inches were the greatest things, but mostly within the punk/hardcore realm. So, this perhaps answers the first question better. Being a huge fan of, say, Man is the Bastard, for example, there was always a split or 7” or something coming out. So I guess that’s how I see things. It’s weird for me to, say, work on one fucking album over 3 years. I have to create new shit all the time. But that’s just me. Life is not a linear process; it’s all over the place so I like to move with it, musically. Now, don’t interpret this as me showing off. It’s actually the opposite from my perspective. My work is polarizing, always has been and always will be, but still, I just have to do it the way it comes out as that’s what music ‘means’ within my subjective intuition.
But I can say, I actually didn’t plan on an album. Albums are stressful. I work with a lot of pain putting together the Nekrasov albums and Rebel Wizard is more about having fun, so initially I just did EPs. Now, Triumph of Gloom, the first album, just happened, unplanned. I, all of a sudden, had all these songs that all just worked so well together, at least in my mind. I didn’t intend on it. I had some ‘personal’ intention with Voluptuous at times but when I did ‘force’ things due to thinking that I was doing an album, it got all messy and, well, ‘forced.’ But really, I have been doing this kind of thing so long now I realize it’s really just about doing it all naturally. I’m not proud of it. I just have to do it! Ha!
Your combination of classic heavy metal and black metal is both unique and polarizing. Where do you draw inspiration for your music?
Oh, I just mentioned polarizing also! Ha!
Well, I don’t consider Rebel Wizard to be black metal at all. Now, I grew up on the early realms of black metal so what black metal is in 2018 is something that makes zero sense to me. It’s definitely not what I consider black metal to be but that’s also what’s interesting about now and also what’s a little sad! [laughs] But really, Rebel Wizard would have been a completely blasphemous endeavor if this were to be claimed as ‘black metal’ during, say, the era of the Norwegian soap opera of the early ’90s.
Now, folks reference the vocals and ‘production’ to be the black metal elements, predominantly. I did vocals in lots of hardcore bands back in the early ’90s and sang like that. Black metal vocals are a bit more ‘grim,’ to me. I would consider my vocals to be like a punk wizard! [laughs] Production? No way, man, good black metal is Iljarn and if you compare Rebel Wizard to that, my shit sounds like Queen. Now, Nekrasov I would consider moreso ‘black metal.’ Rebel Wizard is not supposed to be a black metal band. Never ever. But maybe it is. Deathspell Omega did rip off Queensryches “I Don’t Believe in Love” – but who wouldn’t? Greatest metal song ever written.
I guess, on the production thing, I mostly listen to things I grew up on as opposed to new stuff so for me the production is pretty slick! Hah! So I am confused when folk refer to the recording as being raw and black metal. What fucking shopping centre world is this? But when I do hear contemporary metal production, I can understand. Personally, that overproduced stuff hurts my miserable corpse.
I don’t draw inspiration from anywhere as it just comes as it comes. Rebel Wizard isn’t intended to be this or that. Not a ‘blackened heavy metal’ thing or whatever the fuck. It’s not like I am thinking ‘Imagine Steve Vai playing in Beherit’ etc. It’s just a lifetime of all the major heart punchers of inspiration and transformation bukkaking themselves out of my subconscious. I grew up on metal, initially, but had a long and active input into punk and hardcore but all that shit was about what came out of you back then. So really, it’s about what’s coming out, naturally, as it’s really the only way I know how to do it. I can’t actually follow up on my inspiration as when I attempt to sound like this or that, it’s fucking horrible.
But I would consider it ‘heavy metal’ moreso. It’s what heavy metal should be like in 2018! [laughs] If I were a kid in this fucking bizarre time, I would need this shit in my life. I would need heavy, negative, wizard metal. Actually, I do need it anyway! No one else is doing it nor would I expect them to! There’s a fucking wonderful alchemy to good heavy metal. That’s undeniable. It’s a powerful, liberating force sorely needed in this theatre of conformity and banality and screens filled with Ikea catalogues of faces looking grim.
But I can say inspiration really comes from the ‘presence’ of certain bands growing up, so not so much a metal thing, [since] that can range from Crass to Discharge to Bolt Thrower to Mercyful Fate to Man is the Bastard to Mahavishnu Orchestra to C.C.C.C but then also to other realms that had major impacts that have lingered to this day; philosophy, etc, blah blah.
It’s weird that people find it ‘unique’ as for me it’s the most natural way of making metal and I have been doing this kind thing for a few decades now. Polarizing, I guess so, but only for really obvious and easy reasons, which I totally expect. Polarizing is good, though. There’s a ton of dullards in all scenes, so it’s a safety measure. The line must be drawn! Huzzah!
I actually didn’t think, from the beginning, that anyone would be into it at. I prefer those ‘underground secrets.’ There are lots and lots of subconscious influences in there and it resonates with me really strongly but that’s the thing: metal can be very narrow-minded and most do need comfort and banality and be able to reference easily. That’s not good or bad, just how things are. People are just like that, not my problem and I don’t care. That’s good for them and that’s all fine.
Now, to my surprise, others did seem to resonate strongly to the Rebel Wizard stuff and that was unexpected. The great joy was getting messages on descriptions on the ‘feeling’ they felt that mimicked how I felt upon making the music; that’s quite wonderful. I much prefer that than say someone just liking something due to what’s being coerced to them as what metal is or isn’t. I have always found the better shit to be in the discovery and below what’s being marketed as being ‘the good stuff’ as these days, it really never is. I’ll take old demos of Swedish death metal over what’s being ‘sold’ to me as ‘classic’ Swedish death metal. Not trying to be an underground precious potato here, that’s just what resonates. Sorry, just thinking and typing to myself now…..I’ll stop.
What comes next for Rebel Wizard once Voluptuous Worship is released?
If you can tell me all the thoughts you will have tomorrow then I will inform you of mine! Huzzah!