Interview with Zack and Kenny of Imperial Triumphant: Spirit of Ecstasy is the most enigmatic record we’ve ever made!

19/06/2022 Video Interviews Share


This is it! Imperial Triumphant did their very first gig in Belgrade, Serbia! We were honored to be able to conduct an interview with Zachary Ezrin(guitar, vocals) and Kenny Grohowski (drums). Imperial Triumphant is about to release a new album called Spirit of Ecstasy. Zack commented: 'It’s gonna sound like the craziest album you’ve ever heard in your life. Or not. But, either way, I think we worked really hard on it and did something that if you’re into Alphaville and Vile Luxury, this is the next step down to the rabbit hole, deeper into the chaos and we hope you will all enjoy it.' Kenny continued: 'I think Zack summed it up perfectly. You know, it’s probably our most enigmatic record we’ve ever made as a band, as this trio. So I think the fans are gonna dig it.'

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Zack then explained how he managed to do a collaboration with Kenny G for the song Merkurius Guilded. 'That happened, basically, his son, Max Gorelick was a member of Imperial Triumphant for about a year. He did a couple of tours with us and he is a good, close friend of mine. Last summer or something, I asked him: would you and your dad be down to do a dueling solo on this track Merkurius Gilded, because I am imagining some real chaos there. And they were both down. It worked out really great. I am very, very happy with what they made.“

We then moved on to discuss the guest appearance of Voivod’s Snake in the song "Maximalist Scream". Zack explained: 'Snake got into our music I think through the Voivod cover of "Experiment" that we did on the last album and we’re both on the same record label, so the label was able to connect us and he was into collaborating with us. And again, I am very, very lucky to work with him and I am very happy with what he laid down. I think it’s fantastic.' He also said that he is a 'very big fan' of Dimension Hatross album.

Since the band did the cover of The Residents’ „Happy Home“ I asked who within the band was the biggest fan of mysterious eyeballs. I asked Zack if he managed to go through all of their albums and he replied: "I don’t think anyone ever has“.

We then talked about the term "dissonant black metal" or "avant-garde black metal" and whether Imperial Triumphant fits it. Zack stated: 'Sure, you can call it whatever you like. It’s gonna be us at the end of the dayIt’s such a cliché to be like: we can’t put a label on our music (laughs).' Kenny joined the discussion: 'It’s all those things and then some. I mean, what is a genre other than a way of codifying and boxing and describing something that may not have a same (?) way of describing it. So music is music. It does not matter the genre, the subgenre, the hyper context…None of that sh*t really matters. It really only matters how you sell it. And so if, for people to dig what we do, it  needs to be called a certain thing, so be it.'

After that, Zack talked about the lyrics of the song Deus est Machina: 'It is more of an allegory that religion is like a machine and machines break.' Kenny added: 'Now the new religion is science, which South Park kinda predicted.'

After that, Zack and Kenny discussed some of their jazz influences.

We then moved on to discuss the song "Chernobyl Blues". Zack said: 'It’s a simple song about the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown.' Zack explained that he didn’t write the lyrics: 'I didn’t write the lyrics myself. All of those songs that I’m singing in Russian are written by someone else, because I wanted to be perfect… the grammar and everything. My Russian is not that great. But yeah, that song came out cool'. Our discussion then went on about the song "Atomic Age" - back to the Cold War nuclear arms race between the superpowers and futuristic robot technology. Zack stated: 'Atomic Age is pretty much about the atomic age, which is like the 50s and yeah, everything you said pretty much hits the nail in the head'. I also mentioned the song "Rotted Futures" which is about the nuclear holocaust and asked the band whether they think that we are closer to nuclear war now than 30 years ago. Kenny stated: 'Absolutely not. That’s if we look at what the narrative is right now. Just like the Cold War. You could watch the Fog of war (2003 documentary), you have Robert McNamara talking about how it was a hot war. But then, when the reality was is that the Sr 71 Blackbird was flying over Russia, realized, oh, there’s really not as many nukes as these guys said they have. They’re just trying to call a bluff. Meanwhile, the other countries are stockpiling shit all over the place, for essentially no reason, and wiping out resources, wiping out money that we had, set aside to build our nation up and here we are again. Doing it again. I mean, this is all smoke and mirrors. Like a lot of things that we’ve been sold for many decades now. So, are we closer to nuclear war? We are as close to that as rock coming from space, or a volcano erupting, or any myriad of things that could wipe out life. And to worry about such things is fruitless…To create art, and to create music about such things, that can bring catharsis, that can bring edification, that can bring some pleasure out of the insanity of life, but to worry about this sh*t is exactly what they want us to do. They want us to live in fear, and that’s bullsh*t.' When I commented that the USA had 10 times more nukes than the Soviets during the Cuban Missle Crisis, Kenny stated: 'But they did a very good job of scaring the sh*t out of Americans and people all over the planet. It’s like, oh, this big thing that’s gonna happen…I mean, if you step back and think about it it’s like: is that really the best way to go about this, knowing what these detonations look like…?'

Our discussion then switched to the concept behind Alphaville. Zack asked me what I thought about it and I said: totalitarianism and transhumanism. Kenny agreed: 'That’s pretty close' but Zack said that he is more interested in hearing what the fans think about Alphaville.


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Imperial Triumphant - Live in Belgrade, Serbia (Photo Gallery 2022)

0:31 New album

01:25  Kenny G Collaboration

02:28 Maximalist Scream – featuring Snake of Voivod

4:14 The Residents

4:46 Dissonant black metal/avant-garde black metal

5:43 Deus est Machina

6:06 John Zorn and Jazz influences

6:30 Chernobyl Blues

9:50 Alphaville

10:40 Serbian show

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