Interview with Imperial Triumphant

Interview with Zachary Ilya Ezrin – Vocals & Guitar

Interview by Lee Carter

Life as Imperial Triumphant began with a sound akin to those early black metal bands – how did the band take on the more avant-garde nature it has today?

Slowly we matured. Most new bands start out sounding like their influences and then focus on finding their own sound. We just grew into our own world. Also having Kenny and Steve join the band brought a lot of madness into the fray.

Who or what would you say are the biggest influences on the band?

New York City. This is the main well that all of our grandest ideas have flowed out from.

For a band that writes such technically complex and aurally dense music, how do you keep proceedings coherent?

We spend more time scrutinizing the songs than even writing them. Tweaking and adjusting the piece until it feels like something somewhat comprehensible to a first time listener.

With such a frenetic and eclectic sound, how does the band come to choose parts for songs that work, and those that don’t?

It’s easy, we just work really hard. And we really give a shit about every aspect of the song. And we collaborate with each other.

How have you found the initial response to ‘Alphaville’?

It has been overwhelming. At the same time it is also a great feeling to be so passionate about something and to finally feel people “getting it”.

How did the music for ‘Alphaville’ come about? Do you write individually, or jam together to come up with songs?

Both. Some are written by one band member and some are written jammed out in the studio. Some are completely written out on sheet music before we even play them.

Has this process changed over time at all?

Originally, I wrote all the music and with Steve and Kenny joining, the process became more collaborative.

Going into the writing and recording process, did you have any preconceived ideas about what you wanted to achieve? A theme, or overall sound?

Dystopia was the overall goal.

How did some of the guest musicians that appear on the album (i.e. Tomas Haake, Colin Marston, Phlegton to name but three) come to be involved in ‘Alphaville’

They’re all friends of the band. We love to collaborate with fellow artists.

Were there any that you wanted to feature but couldn’t for whatever reason?

Well it’s really all about synching schedules so sometimes it doesn’t work out. If it doesn’t then it doesn’t. No big deal.

If you could have anyone, past or present, feature, who would be your dream guest appearance?

Krzysztof Penderecki or Scott Walker.

Onto the topic of appearance, the band plays live in golden masks reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ – what was the inspiration behind this?

A lot of it is Metropolis. Also Eyes Wide Shut. But mostly NYC. We wanted a visual appearance that matches how we sound.

Do you find that playing in them affects your performance at all, as opposed to playing without one?

Certainly. It’s a ritualistic experience. When the mask goes on, the show starts and we cannot speak to each other. We can only communicate with our instruments.

How do most people who have not seen the band perform before react to them?

They lose their minds. Many say that the performance is more intense than the album.

Of course, as we all know, live shows are off the table at the moment, but have you anything planned for the future?

Yes. There are a few interesting things coming together.

You have played live in the UK a few times now – how has the UK taken to you guys?

The UK loves us and the feeling is mutual. London is a sister city to NYC. We can’t wait to get back.

Will there be any future appearances on these shores once live shows are viable again?

There are things in the works.

If you could tour with anyone and go anywhere in the world, who would you want to share a stage with and where would you most like to go?

Led Zeppelin in 1974. Touring Neptune and Mars and the UK.

How are you and the band doing during the pandemic? How are things in New York?

We’re doing great. Obviously hit hard by the pandemic but we’re working hard to stay busy. Things in New York are changing but the city is always changing. This is how things are.

Has it affected the release of the album at all, or has that been smooth sailing?

The release has been great. The only negative thing was that some vinyl pre-orders were delayed because of covid.

Of course, there will have been plenty of negatives, but have there been any positives from the whole situation?

Perhaps people can understand the dystopian sound we present on ‘Alphaville’ now that we’re all living in the dystopian present.

What has been keeping you entertained through it all? Are there any new bands or artists that have caught your attention recently? Any recommendations for the readers?

The new Pyrrhon record is really great. As well the new Krallice record is splendid. Can’t wait to hear the new Mr. Bungle.

Thank you for your time, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Thanks for the support! Can’t wait to return to UK.