Interview with Adam Zaars of Tribulation

We were able to catch up with Adam Zaars, guitarist of Tribulation before they set off on their European tour with Ghost. Here’s what he had to say about the inspiration behind Tribulation’s sound, aesthetic, and other things behind the scenes.

Adam Zaars – Tuska 2018

What is the band up to at the moment?

We are just about to go on a European tour with Ghost, as you mention further down, and after that we’re heading to Russia for the first time for a couple of shows in St. Petersburg and Moscow. After that the Down Below touring cycle will have come to an end, which means that we’ll be going back to the studio for another album. When and how will be revealed in due time.

Tribulation‘s music has become quite a mix of genres and sounds. Does that reflect the diverse music taste of each member? If so, who is inspired by what? How has it changed (or not) since the first album?

I think that could be an accurate observance, it’s at least one of the reasons for the sound of the band. We’ve always been quite “open” when it comes to music. If it speaks to you, it speaks to you regardless of what genre it is. For what ever we’ve brought into the sound of the band I think our influences are quite similar and not too difficult to spot. It’s what we used to call the music of death, which could be of any genre, but we chose to express it via the medium of Death Metal in the beginning, and then that just evolved into something else. Swedish folk music, certain death and black metal, heavy metal, heavy rock, dark wave, neo-folk, ambient music, horror movie soundtracks and so on. It had both changed and stayed the same. If you look at the influences from our first album that stick out it’s bands like Morbid Angel, The Misfits, Iron Maiden, Repugnant, Watain, Mayhem, Deathspell Omega, Kaamos, Popol Vuh, Fabio Frizzi, Philip Glass and Goblin pretty much, and some that I forget. And most of those bands and composers are still very much influential to what we do, then other influences come and go.

Can you think of the most unusual thing you have been inspired by musically or in life?

A lot of different things, actually. Most of the time it’s not music that inspires me, personally. It can be anything. The texture of a wall, a painting, a sound that I hear from the restaurant in the building while walking up the stairs, literature, a comic strip, a movie, a trip to a museum, a walk during the day, a walk at night. Anything.

What are some differences and similarities between Down Below and The Children of the Night in regards to the writing/recording process, lyrical and music inspiration, themes, etc.?

The similarities are that both me and Jonathan are the main composers for both, and they are closer to each other in sound than what has been the case in the past. Down Below was more hectic in getting it done since we had to get Oscar into the band to rehearse old songs for shows at the same time. The lyrical inspiration was pretty much the same as well, but we were aiming at a different feeling. I find Down Below a bit warmer than Children. “Down Below” doesn’t necessarily mean “hell”, just the underworld in general, but that warm feeling is still there somewhere, I think. While Children is more blue, or even black and white, Down Below is more red and “old” to me. Difficult to explain! We’ve made the comparison to Children being contemporary Stockholm by night and Down Below being our idea of Paris at night in the 19:th century. Abstract, I know, but that’s how it works. Down Below is, also, even more Italian-horror-movie-score-sounding than Children.

Would there ever be Tribulation songs written in Swedish? Why or why not?

We’ve actually tried before, and would want to do it, but it hasn’t worked. If it works someday it’s gonna happen!

You guys have unique stage presence and overall aesthetic. Where do you get your visual inspiration from?

Aesthetically and conceptually it’s everything from the Victorian obsession with death and the supernatural, western esotericism in general, medieval Catholicism, medieval Jewish mysticism and folklore, Swedish folklore, the (particularly) Swedish forest, (the idea of) French 19:th century devil worship, 1960’s witch craze and psychedelia, silent movies, art nouveau, 1980’s black metal and 1970’s and 1980’s heavy metal. If you combine all that what you might get is Tribulation.

Tribulation – Tuska 2018

Can you tell about any unexpected or memorable experiences you’ve had this year? Anything you’re looking forward to on the upcoming tour with Ghost?

We had a really good festival summer. A lot of great shows! The most unexpected and memorable experience was unfortunately when we went by sprinter (instead of flying) down to Germany in order to the get the full production with us for Wacken, only to get there when a storm just hit the festival forcing us to cancel the show. The storm that is, not the festival. Very unfortunate! Hopefully we can do it again with the full production in the near future. Luckily, we got the opportunity to watch Slayer one last time!

Is there any special or unique item you bring with you on tour?

I always bring a bunch of books, most of who I never have the time to read. Kind of like teddy bears for a grown up I suppose.

What musician, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?

Good question. It would be really cool to get Diamanda Galás to do something on a song. Though at the moment I don’t think I, personally, would like to write something together with someone, but to have someone, like Diamanda Galás, join in on a song would be amazing.

If you had to pick an animal that symbolized Tribulation, what would it be and why?

I suppose it would have to be the bat. No surprise I guess.

Thank you for the interview Adam!

Adam Zaars – Jonathan Hultén – Oscar Leander – Johannes Andersson

Catch them on tour with Ghost and All Them Witches!

Nov. 16 – Nottingham, U.K. @ Motorpoint Arena
Nov. 17 – Cardiff, U.K. @ Motorpoint Arena
Nov. 18 – Glasgow U.K. @ SSE Hydro
Nov. 20 – Dublin, Ireland @ 3Arena
Nov. 22 – London, U.K. @ SSE Arena Wembley
Nov. 23 – Leeds, U.K. @ First Direct Arena
Nov. 24 – Goes, Netherlands @ ’T Bees
Nov. 25 – Leiden, Netherlands @ Gebr. De Nobel
Nov. 26 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Black Forum Box
Nov. 28 – Helsinki, Finland @ Hartwall Arena
Nov. 30 – Katowice, Poland @ Spodek
Dec. 01 – Prague, Czech Republic @ Universum
Dec. 03 – Budapest, Hungary @ BSA
Dec. 05 – Mantova, Italy @ Palabam
Dec. 06 – Zurich, Switzerland @ Halle 622
Dec. 08 – Barcelona, Spain @ Palau Sant Jordi
Dec. 10 – Lisbon, Portugal @ Altice Arena
Dec. 11 – Madrid, Spain @ Palacio Vistalegre
Dec. 13 – Eckbolsheim, France @ Zenith Of Strasbourg
Dec. 17 – Esch-Sur-Alzette, Luxembourg @ Rockhal
Dec. 18 – Saint-Herblain, France @ Zenith Nantes Metropole
Dec. 19 – Toulouse, France @ Zenith Toulouse Metropole

Live photos taken at Tuska 2018 by Serena Solomon