There were doors of perception reflecting the outrageous side of philosophical thinking, now I present the band "ZİFİR" who is the sort of doors of chaos, carrying the enchriched cultural influences from east to west under the malicious, dazzling atmosphere that you have never been experienced before!
Musically black metal in utter darkness just like the name the band carries, surrounded by liturgical tunes, but one should also delve into the lyrical side of Zifir as it includes the crushing mockery towards religion in full acridity.
Check out the Zifir's latest album "Demoniac Ethics" released by Duplicate Records on Jan 2020 and come closer for the profound interview done by the drummer Nursuz!
"...With the blood squirting from their crammed bodies
I built a road winding to hell out of their dead bodies.”
769 / Kingdom of Nothingness
"Demoniac Ethics is an altered expression of doomsday."
Zifir band members have had long history in black metal scene in Turkey by contributing various bands. How was Zifir born and have become duo after all and actively flares up the black flame?
Nursuz: Zifir was founded by O.Ö and O.S. in 2006. By December 2007, I joined the band on drums. After the release of second album “Protest Against Humanity”, O.S. quitted the band. Finally, by November 2018, Ilgar has joined the band on bass guitar and Zifir has become a trio once again. And yes, Black Metal background of members have quite long history. Especially Onur’s starting with MayheM’s legendary İzmir concert attendance which had huge influence on him for the rest of his life.
Forth full-length “Demoniac Ethics” came out 24th January 2020. This album has more atmospheric, apocalyptic vibe in composition and by using liturgical vocals and lowering the tempo while sharpening the knives. How do you describe the latest album in musical sense?
Nursuz: Actually, our initial purpose was to push the boundaries, using some elements we have never tried before. I can’t say that composition period was our longest session however the whole process was quite intense. I see in a way that we find a sinister way to create the balance between mid-pace, bleak sound, and the faster eerie mood.
Demonic Ethics / ZIFIR
“Demoniac Ethics” shines out with its production quality as well. Especially the deep, rich drum sound conveys the avant-garde approach together blackest tones which we are familiar to hear from Watain for example. Hence, could you please tell about the mastering, mixing steps and production details of the album?
Nursuz: We really spent hell of a time for mix and mastering. Both were done at İstanbul but by different people. Especially the drum sound took the most of efforts in order to achieve “what was desired”. It is really not easy to judge the sound, when you are heavily working on the record and keep listening different versions over and over again. However, despite long sessions, the result came in a very solid way and we are satisfied with it. To decide sound of individual instruments and whole album is very much related to the identity of the band, even attitude & approach towards Black Metal. We always consider album concept and then define/set the sound expectations accordingly.
The song called ‘Spirit of Goats’ sounds like hailing to the old Darkthrone times while the rest of the album has different vein. As the previous albums are more into second wave but still carrying mystical influences of the east like hymns, what do you want to say about Zifir’s approach overall?
Nursuz: Influences and created atmosphere are for sure in the vein of Darkthrone, Burzum and MayheM. Darkthrone sound is very special indeed. One cannot admit that there is no radiation of unholy vibes and influence from Darkthrone sound coming into the body and penetrate fully inside... We were honored when Fenriz played our song “769” in his radio program where he mentioned that he found the whole album quite solid…
769 / Kingdom of Nothingness
On the other hand, one key element in our music is that we always focus on what makes Zifir unique. This is like the DNA of the band. Within the years, composition structure, atmosphere and feeling may change however this essence – which I call it the DNA of the band – will always be there, to set the basis. This comes from the riffing and drumming structure and the vocals used in different forms.
Black metal has many branches lately and this genre has its own spiritual and philosophical sources depending on the chosen Ecole. What kind of path has Zifir taken? To know more about the creators’ of Zifir, could you name influences from literary area?
Nursuz: When it comes to lyrics and our statement, we are more influenced by the events and happenings. We are not a member of any formation and we do not follow a specific path.,
Zifir has a song Mina related with the religious mountain under the same name. As one of the weird coincidences, I have a horror story book called "Mina" including characters named 'Zifir' and 'Mina'. All I can say that this is another beautiful crossroads of arts carrying dark flame and mocking on religion. What do you want to on this as musicians?
Nursuz: That is a great coincidence indeed. “Mina” has a special place for us among other track titles as it is a direct attack to the enemy. We even plan to build on this concept for the next albums, by using the same mockery and direct attack at the same time.
“Demoniac Ethics” has an influential opening with the track called ‘Sûr’ which is a metaphor of doomsday. What kind of impact did you want to create by this?
Nursuz: “Demoniac Ethics” is an altered expression of doomsday. Opening with the ‘Sûr’ and then you hear the “Chants for Execution” which leads to the “Massacres in Heaven”. The concept is about the forsaken believers which are ending up in the most terrifying form of hell.
“People who are already blind
Now go deaf with their own voices one by one
The promised lakes of paradise
Filled up with the blood seeping from their ears
Massacres have begun in heaven
So that they can be admitted to hell”
The lyrical content of Zifir is sharp criticism and even mockery of the religion from the beginning. Coming from the society, day by day sting into religion more, please share your observations and background of your lyrics more?
Nursuz: Exactly as you’ve mentioned, sharp criticism (direct attack) and mockery is the dual ways we use when writing lyrics. Each and every song, we discuss internally, the idea and the expression way of lyrics. Words are carefully chosen and used by sequence. There are also many “reverse voices” used and these are several hidden messages embedded in the album.
Inspiration comes from the events and happening as mentioned. “769” is a good example, it is the official number of deaths during the pilgrim squash that happened in 2015. The lyrics were written from the mouth of the devil. His victory upon those pilgrims who came to stone him but ended up being dead instead...
“Those that came to stone me
I had them trampling on each other
I showed them their very selves in my own image
I released fire into those who came to become closer to their God
And they flowed before my eyes trampling on each other
They paid the price of stoning me
With the blood squirting from their crammed bodies
I built a road winding to hell out of their dead bodies”
Most of the metal media from EU interests in the music coming from east (according to them) and gives more attention but on the same time they have very few information about Turkey, or let’s say only information coming from the news about the one man, his wingman, his lifestyle, religious intonation. In fact, there has been an alive metal scene, many great bands, magazines, concerts, and godless modern lifestyles as well. What do you want to say about Turkey and the aspects of outsiders?
Nursuz: There are different people. Some of them are not interested to find out what is really happening there so they are quite surprised when they find out about the metal scene in Turkey. In general, many people find it interesting, when we mention we are a Black Metal band from Turkey. So far, this has been our experience.
Kingdom of Nothingness / ZIFIR
Zifir has powerful album titles like “You Must Come With Us”, “Kingdom of Nothingness”, “Demoniac Ethics” that resonates like holding some sort of doctrines. How do you decide album titles? Do they address any ideologies?
Nursuz: Doctrine is the correct wording to describe the way we decide album titles. First of all, it should represent the overall concept and each theme that are covered in the album. We see the album title as a kind of “seal” for our album. It is the ultimate form of our commitment & statement; for ourselves and for the others. Usually album titles come at the very last stage of the whole process.
Black metal has various branches so far, post -black is the trend lately. Zifir having the sharp icy tone still and oldschool approach, how do you position yourself in the black metal scene? What do you think of black metal’s popularization with various sub-genres?
Nursuz: We always find ambient and avant-garde vibes in our sound.
We find a sinister way to create the balance between mid-pace, bleak sound, and the faster eerie mood.
You Must Come With Us / ZIFIR
‘İllet’ teaser just released, when will the video came? Is it the black bile in the video, how does Zifir describe “illet” in its own words?
Nursuz: Actually “illet” was a ghoul of quarantine process. It was recorded and filmed in a very short time. It is very short in terms of its form so not sure if it will continue…
“illet” is something Zifir states in every platform: “Spread the Malady” – illeti yayın. For us it is the unstoppable spread of a thing (virus, idea, any other) that cannot be controlled and destroys the humanity without any discrimination at all.
Cover art was done by Ukrainian artist Vergvoktre who is like a nightmare illustrator. What do you think about “Demoniac Ethics” cover art? Does it refer demons in the unconscious, surrounded by, tearing apart?
Nursuz: Vergvoktre is an amazing artist. Working with him, we always feel there is a lower place than hell. Regarding cover artwork of “Demoniac Ethics”, it represents a scene from the “Massacres in Heaven”. Good and evil are slaughtering each other, and this unique moment gives the chaotic impression with a very special demonstration. Thanks to Vergvoktre, we have a great way of understanding each other and it is a great pleasure to work with him in all aspects of Black Metal.
The pandemic captures all over the world, but still, festivals and concerts are making plans for 2021. What are you planning for Zifir? Is there any plan to play live in the future?
Nursuz: We already started working on live performance rehearsals. At the moment, there is no fixed date however we are working on it and as soon as some dates will be fixed, we will announce it. So far, Zifir haven’t played any live shows since the very beginning.
Please share your last words. Thank you for the interview.
Nursuz: Support the demoniac propaganda and spread the malady!
“illet” is something Zifir states in every platform: “Spread the Malady” – illeti yayın.