By Danger Coolidge
Unbelievably Bad Editor
We get the feeling Bob Nekrasov doesn’t get out much. It’s not just the mega-negative noise malarkey he records at home in Ferny Creek that gives us that impression, but the sheer volume of it – as in his level of output.
He’s constantly making stuff. Vile, noxious, extreme stuff. Most of it is self released in small volumes on CD-R and tapes, and now also in copious digital quantities via Bandcamp.
Bob’s had the Nekrasov project going for years – mixing power electronics, black metal and wank tears – and more recently has started doing Rebel Wizard – representing the new ‘New Wave of Australian Negative Metal’.
“I have a solid fanbase of about seven,” Bob tells UB…
Nekrasov has been going for yonks with only a little break in there – how do you see the evolution of the sounds and ideas? Has the negativity shifted?
I am not sure. I guess so. I like to let it be open and come out as it sees fit. It’s very much an important part of living for me. I tried to stop it many times but there’s this urge to keep doing it. It’s annoying actually. Haha. But yeah, there seems to be various forms going on. I think the last couple of releases have been very different in regards to earlier versions. Fuck, this all sounds so vague. I apologise. Yeah the musings are mostly the same to some degree. It just seems to go on and fucking on…haha.
Why does it suit you to be a solo artist? What goes on in your mind at this party for one?
It’s a tricky one to answer as the process is very much an ‘exploration’ or a giving in to that presence without concept. I’d hate to start the interview sounding like such a twat and I cringe at even reading such an answer! I struggle to answer regarding the process as it’s really an ‘attempt/ non-attempt’ at a pure unconscious process of allowing that horrid ‘non conceptual’ feeling that is with us always to come through. It suits as a solo thing as it’s a very personal process. It’s just a processing of this existence, which for me seems so unreal and incredibly layered (beyond ‘I am this’, etc.). It’s always been solo as I started doing this way before noise was hip; and I am very much not trying to ‘show off’ about that! It seemed pretty stupid to others and for a long time I didn’t even bother releasing anything. So the solo approach thing has been mostly habit. I’ve moved around a lot so got used to working on things alone. I enjoy band projects but as I am a sad old man now I like to be free to go where I need to music wise. My background musically was mostly met with disdain from others so I have imposter syndrome in whatever I do and believe it’s best I keep my nonsense to myself.
The most recent Nekrasov release is the 20-minute “As you trace it all the way back” one-track CD-R. Tell us about this… the meaning behind the track, the experiences or reading or research that went into it, and why this track stands to be released on its own and not as part of a suite.
I don’t like to give too much away with any release really. The titles are little pointers to what the tracks are about. It’s important, I think, to have less of the forced ideas and concepts into music; at least for the kind of thing these projects do. I don’t like having anyone to hold onto, it’s important to dive into that abyss. To feel lost, alone and completely abandoned by everything! Hoorah! With this particular EP it really just forced its nonsense out and that was it. There was no need to add around it with other ‘energies’. I actually found myself debating releasing it for hours. Re-listening over and fucking over. I wasn’t sure what it was. It was a strong piece for me, personally, but again, with all releases I assume it wouldn’t go down well in ‘the world’.
What is your recording set-up at home. (What gear makes shit sound this evil?)
I just use what I have at hand at the time. I’ve been doing this kind of thing for so long and have never had any money for gear. I don’t use loads of pedals or gear. The process is pretty simple but there’s loads of layering and pain. It’s all fairly portable, the set-up these days. I started out back in the nineties with samplers that took only two-second bites into 4-tracks, bouncing clips, making tape loops, blah blah. I’ve done it all the hard way for so many fucking years that I enjoy a simpler process but still have fairly traditional approaches. I don’t have anything fancy. I grew up in an era where lots of pedals were embarrassing and I still feel this way. I’ve always been poor so I can’t afford all the hot shit pedals. I blow lots of computers up due to their cheap quality and intense use. Over the years lost two full Nekrasov albums. That was pretty annoying.
What is the most crucial piece of equipment necessary to achieve the Nekrasov sound?
Fuck, I actually don’t know. There really isn’t one. I just use what I have at the time. It changes all the time too. Wank tears, probably.
What inspired Rebel Wizard into existence, and what creative hole does Rebel Wizard fill that Nekrasov can’t?
I’ve always done this and yet again just something I thought others would see as idiotic so it’s never been a project I thought I’d bother too much with. When I stopped doing Nekrasov I was needing a break from what a huge beast that thing is on my being so I guess the Rebel Wizard thing was my therapy for that. I dunno. There’s a ton of reasons conscious and subconscious: pure enjoyment in a world of ever increasing misery and fear, metal being just a fucking stupid energy-drink culture lacking that passionate anarchy that I feel is needed more than ever, songwriting ‘maturity’ sounding like Disney soundtracks, production aims of new releases like lifeless jizz in the middle of a neon bukakke, the underground just a replication of the conservative, a man boy who is not growing up and wasting time make heavy metal music, etc., etc.
The Rebel Wizard album Triumph of Gloom is limited to 30 – it should have sold 30,000 by now. Does it frustrate you there’s only potentially 30 people who need it in their lives?
I still have about 13 left. Haha. Nope. I couldn’t care less. The recent positive response was really nice, though. I don’t want to come off as unappreciative. I didn’t/don’t have expectations anymore. I’ve been doing this nonsense for 20 years now, I just have to do what makes me sane. If I went into the realms of any of the current subcultures to make myself cool, I would kill myself. My experience is 80% rejection and ‘haters’, that’s what I have been up against mostly. It had a boom of a few days. Months and months and months and months of work for a few days of appreciation. I have to laugh, really. As a ‘little guy’ you just get gangbanged by all the intense marketing that goes on these days. I can’t be fucked with all that. It’s very honest work. I am not trying to impress anyone or fit in, so if anything I kind of don’t want people to hear it – I’m pretty nervous even answering these questions and having people react to what a prick this dude is. But that album was a funny one. I honestly thought people would hate it. Keep in mind I have a mostly punk background musically/ culturally so doing guitar solos, etc. were considered ‘gay’ (not my term) so Rebel Wizard is (also) a urination on all the bullshit righteousness I have witnessed in my lifetime; to be utterly free to do as I see fit. I also really believe that we live in an era whereby the underground takes notes similar to how contemporary music culture behaves. They consume what is told to them as being ‘broodal’ and important from the incredible amount of marketing happening. Not many go deep to discover anymore. However, there are plenty who still do. So the project, well, both projects, are supposed to ‘divide’ people. It’s the only way to meet good people and feel ‘OK’ in the world I feel rapidly falling into the pit of turd.
Rebel Wizard – Triumph of Gloom:
Nekrasov – “As you trace it all the way back”: