Nekrasov Interview

Bob Nekrasov is the (one) man behind the Australian black metal band Nekrasov. Nekrasov's sound is sometimes placid, often very noisy and chaotic, but always on the edge and quite bleak. After emailing back and forth for a few weeks, I finally got around to putting down some questions for this interview that Bob was kind of enough to take time out of his schedule to grant me. He is as thoughtful as one who has listened to his music would expect, obviously spending time to consider each question. Despite the often disturbing textures found in his band's work, he comes across as a very pleasant guy; that, in combination with the fact that I am big fan of Nekrasov, made it in every respect my absolute pleasure to do this interview.

Harold/HSS: Nekrasov was formed in 1997, yes? The first releases came about a decade later, so does this mean that there is a shit load of Nekrasov material that from the earlier days that might someday see a release?

Bob Nekrasov: That’s correct. But there will not be a release of previous work. Most of it has been lost or just not good enough. Most of those years were dealing with ‘perfecting’ the line between sonics and nothingness – developing something that I could justify releasing. Being this is a very personal beast it took a long time to really sort out where I was going ‘on all levels’. I was a self tyrant back then anyway. Most stuff was recorded, enjoyed for some time then deleted. Process of creating and destroying back then was very important to keep digging into the deep emptiness/ void.

Also, it’s very important to use that time to limit any other outside influence – to work alone as some sort of self investigation as opposed to being some ‘cool’ brutal BM project. I was extremely withdrawn during that time, abandoning any form of contact with ‘scenes’ etc… not for any reason other than that I just felt that I needed to.

The music that you’ve created has always been bleak, chaotic, and downright harsh at times, yet for whatever reason I’ve always sensed some kind of purpose driving the music. What is your music about, from your perspective? Is there an overarching purpose driving you to create the dark art that you usher forth, or is it more about exercising personal demons and emotional release?

There is an overwhelming ‘purpose’ to do it, yes. But the aim/ direction is purposelessness. I do not want to add to the ever flowing stream of human emotional release – it gets nauseating and at this point in time embarrassing.

I do not believe in unleashing inner demons or any form of thought or emotion – nor even the spiritual or non-spiritual. The process is much more about the total black space – that is unknown, undefined but ‘there’. Ridding oneself of thoughts, feelings, associations etc. So when you speak of the bleakness with a ‘sense’ of something without being able to define it totally but it’s there, it’s a successful Nekrasov track! Haha. It’s very much a compulsion, obsession for me and on an ‘expression level’ (even though limited) the result is just ‘a result’; what you hear/ experience. So, it’s not for everyone.

But to say it’s about this or that is a hard one. I tend to fall into states of where I cannot comprehend a direction or point/purpose – disillusion. A continual process of self deconstruction….

Since the self-released first record, Into the No-Mans-Sphere of the Ancient Days in 2007, you have been remarkably prolific, and even though it appears that your work has been generally well-received, a great deal of it has been self-produced and self-released. Forgive me for being so frank, but what gives? Considering the amount of crap that gets put out by respectable labels these days, why do they seem to have an aversion to putting out Nekrasov’s music? Is any of the self-released stuff put out that way by design?

I have no idea. They just didn’t want to release it. So, I just went ahead and did it. But to be honest, there’s so many labels these days, a lot of shit that it’s better that I just deal with it DIY until a label I trust takes on Nekrasov. And I should say that even though the labels were not releasing stuff they were very supportive when it came to distro, write ups, recommendations etc. Labels I have huge respect for, mainly Hospital Productions, Crucial Blast, Total Holocaust etc. were ultra supportive from the beginning.

But these days, labels are starting to release Nekrasov. There is Siege of Power records that put out ‘The Form of Thought from Beast’ on LP and is doing the third full length on CD. Crucial Blast will be handling the fourth full length. Siege of Power has been great to deal with. And Crucial Blast goes without saying… I am fucking honored!

Also, it has been quite cool that there is some beasts enjoying and ordering the releases. It’s a great bullshit sorter and fairly cut and dry – you get it or you don’t. It’s for the outsiders in/‘on the outside’.

Anything you’d like to say on the current state of black metal, particularly the underground? Any bands/artists that you find particularly inspiring?

Yeah, there’s a lot to say about it. But, I choose not to. I’ll try and stay out of the gossip.

There’s quite a lot that I find, well ‘found’ inspiring but not so much as a direct reference to what I do with Nekrasov. I try to keep direct ‘influences’ out of Nekrasov. Of course, there is influence in there, that’s going to happen with what I grew up with listening, what resonates etc.

I would have to say that Bastard Noise have always been a big inspiration. The usual references of Hellhammer, Beherit, Profanatica, Mercyful Fate, Bathory, Grunt, The Cherry Point, C.C.C.C, Merzbow, Whitehouse, Grey Wolves, Discharge, Crass, Maiden and fuck loads more apply but make boring reading.

Oh, Fred Cole is fucking inspiration! Bolt Thrower!

There has always seemed to be a visual element to your work. The artwork and packaging has always been top-notch, even on the self-released stuff, and there was even a video accompaniment for The Form of Thought From Beast’s title track. How important is this visual element to you? Are there any plans for more visual accompaniments to upcoming releases?

The whole Nekrasov ‘package’ is taken very seriously with a lot of effort whether sonically or visually. I do some of the artwork but mainly it’s done by Brent of Exotic Corpse. He is a fucking genius when it comes to putting together something ‘special’ for the album. And it’s important to always have something that’s not so typical, that enables Nekrasov releases to stay on the outside and give it its own ‘form’.

No plans as such for current recorded material to video but Emile (video creator for Form…) and I are planning a collaboration piece at some stage.

The split that you did with Moon and Nekros Manteia on Fall of Nature Records In 2008 was supposedly a conceptual work. I personally love that album, so I’m interested in knowing what the concept was behind it. Did you work with the other bands in developing that concept and theme, or was it a matter of three bands finding common ground on individually concocted musical expressions?

I was asked by K from Nekros Manteia and he originated the idea of a ‘final ghost’ – in terms of what it would be like to be a solitary spirit etc. I liked the idea to a degree but at the same time I became obsessed with the idea of that which hunts ‘the soul’ or ghost – the spiritless infinity, that which ends the soul or spirit. bSo, I did tend to move on my own way a little bit on the idea but within the boundary of the concept – well, I couldn’t really create a Nekrasov track without some sort of reference to the end of the soul! Haha. Each band basically worked on their interpretations for this release and the tracks were written especially with that idea in mind so it was a really great ‘state’ to be in.

You once confirmed to me that ”harsher times demand harsher meditations.” This was very revealing to me, as I had never thought of your music in the context of a “meditation.” While your music has always been harsh, some of the earlier stuff, such as The Form of Thought From Beast, seemed a lot more rhythmic at times. Have you intentionally set out to make the music more caustic?

Nothing comes out intentionally; it just comes out as it comes out – and from where? I don’t know. It’s always intuitive, not ‘what’s the next step’ etc. Just what feels ‘wrong’ in the correct sense. But I guess the deeper one goes the more caustic things become. In regards to meditation there is no such thing as truth through ‘stillness’ – stillness seems extremely harsh to me, not ‘peaceful’ – anyway, these are just temporal states. There is no truth (excuse the dramatic nonsense) and that is a lovely horrific meditation. Meditation is not about sitting and connecting with a state but a complete destruction of all states – the navigation of that is some harsh shit. Haha.

Without getting too intellectual about this, I think it interesting that you keep returning to the ideas of void, emptiness, black space, etc. I’ve never been much of an artist myself, but I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of pulling something from nothing, or “constructing deconstructions.”

If I am asked what Nekrasov is ‘about’ etc… those terms come to mind even though in ‘essence’ they are not terms. I mean, who the fuck came up with the ‘idea’ of the infinite with a finite mind? How could you masturbate after such a thing?

We are all constructed from deconstruction.

Have you considered doing something a bit more “minimalist” or stripped down, I guess in terms of your more ambient material?

I don’t really consider anything when it comes to albums or recording. It’s just how the beast comes out, really. There is never an intention other than staying within that ‘space’ – to dissolve not to ‘attempt’ etc. I have recorded heaps of minimal stuff but, they always get butchered, added to etc. But, I would say that the stuff on the Aderlating split and the, as yet unreleased, ONDO split LP is quite minimal for Nekrasov. As far as a full length release is concerned, I have no idea…

2010 is barely two months old, and you’ve already seen the release of the split LP with Aderlating (on Chrome Leaf), and a self-released EP called On Certainty. The third full-length, Cognition of Splendid Oblivion , is due out soon (on Siege of Power Records), while the fourth full length is supposed to be issued by Crucial Blast in the summer. Can you talk about what these releases hold in store, and anything else that might be planned for the coming year?

There was also a split cassette release with Joshua Norton Cabal. And most of these releases were recorded between 2008 – 09. Cognition was finished ages ago, I just could not find anyone to release it as that one is an extremely harsh one – I doubt if anyone will even like it but it is my favorite so far and one I worked the hardest/longest on. We should be getting the cds back any day now so it’s pretty much ready to go…

2009 was a year of fuck loads of recording. It was an intense year for me so productivity was high! Haha. The fourth full length for Crucial Blast is complete, art work being ‘thought out’ now and should see a release in July. There’s supposed to be an lp split with ONDO which was finished a LONG time ago. So, with all these releases I am going to keep at that for this year – it’s just too fucking much!

My sincere and utmost thanks to you for doing this – it really means a lot to me for you to spill all this stuff out, as I’m sure it’s not exactly easy to put a lot of this stuff into words. How the interview closes, then, I will leave entirely up to you.

I find the interview process extremely difficult man! Fuck, I hope the information does not help in understanding the Nekrasov releases.

I am very much honored to be part of the HSS void and appreciate anyone even taking the fucking time to do this sort of thing voluntarily.

I leave the interview needing to go to the toilet.


mories said...

great one bob!

Invisible Oranges said...

Interesting. Thanks for doing this.

Stoneborn Ravens said...

Really nice Harold. Informative, but not too long-winded.

Anonymous said...

Thanx Harold and Nksv. Awesome read.

Krumbled Kookie said...

Thanks guys, I guess I'm getting the hang of this!