Profile: Zachariah of Kratornas

Kratornas is a brutal black metal/grindcore band that has been around for over two decades and up until this year has been completely under the leadership of sole member Zachariah. With the addition of a drummer, Zachariah decided it was time to return with a third full length, Devoured By Damnation, which is set for release next week. With song titles such as “Spit On God” and “Archangels of Destruction” they’re not pulling any punches, and this far along they don’t need to. We recently got the chance to ask a few questions and, as you will see, Zachariah makes no bones about their stance on life in general, past work critique, and feeling of the world as a whole. So read on, after the jump.

How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?
Let’s just say that I grew up surrounded by hippies and playing music came naturally. Most of the grown ups back then all played guitar so being exposed to the instrument happens everyday. “Success” has different meaning to each and everyone. If you’re alone doing everything then you don’t think about: “being alone in a band and getting big”, it won’t happen. The only thing being the focus here is ‘getting better’ (at least) in future releases. If you’ve heard the 1st album to the 2nd album then this 3rd album; you will hear that the recent work outdoes the previous work. This is the only important thing to me. Any thing else is not an interest. If you’re just rehashing the previous work then I don’t know what exactly is the point of that…
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.
I can’t remember any embarrassing story regarding “gigs” since I have no interest doing them since 1996. I think in my case, ALL the demos I’ve made from 1995 to 2005(?) were a fucking embarrassment. It’s embarrassing that I couldn’t even listen to it myself. Also the first two albums! They’re just bad but hey… they’re out there. There’s nothing I can do. Moving on and make a ‘better one’ the next time around.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
I was on hiatus for like 6 years and during that time, I’m so away from computers and been busy traveling a lot. I have no idea what’s best and what’s worst now. Why should I care? I have no concern about the ‘environment’ that I am in. I like being detached from the system. I work on my own, do what I want to do and ignore the rest. 
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music? (This question is especially appropriate for you since your music is quite an outlet for your physical and emotional pains).
The issue, or let me put it this way as ‘the theme’ in the lyrics, has always been about the extinction of all things breathing. It was like that since 1999. The only thing that ‘progressed’ is that, I THINK, I’ve written better lyrics from the 1st to the 2nd album and this 3rd one is even better – that is just according to me, of course. And yes, this is important because writing a song without any kind of message is useless. Other than that, I have also embedded hidden messages in EACH of the songs. The first 2 albums, there’s only one song containing that. In this new album, it’s ALL OF THEM! The message is death. 
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
If how old being exposed to metal is what you’re asking, then I got exposed to it at a very young age. Like I’ve said, I’m surrounded by musicians so the transition is natural. First instrumental LP was Jeff Beck’s Wired. It was given to me so that I’ll take an interest on guitars. I guess that’s the start although that didn’t really catch my attention. Then I heard this song “One More for the Rodeo” by UFO, told them if they can give me something more like that. They gave me Scorpions’ In Trance LP and a blank tape with a sticker “J.Priest –Stained Class” on it. I can remember all of these like it was yesterday. They have a lot of stuff but are somewhat ‘commercial’ by nature. There’s no Death SS, Diamond Head, or bands like that. Not even Metallica. I think I got Kill ‘em All on tape like 5 years late. Then… well, I ventured on my own early 90s and that’s it. Family has no reaction. They’re the one who wants me to inherit music in the first place. 
What’s the stickiest you have ever been?
Being stranded in the airport! Been traveling a lot the past few years and there’s nothing more STICKY while you’re in there, sitting, killing time in those benches. Yeah, I got this ‘free accommodation’ once but that’s not gonna cut it because that’s not the destination and I know nothing about the country that I am in. Don’t trust sleeping / eating in there either. Thinking about all the episodes in SAW or shit like that? I don’t have anything to protect myself but a pen! Fuck, I hate traveling!
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
Haha, I am not even interested working hard myself so how the hell should I know? It goes like this : WORK SMART NOT HARD!
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
None of those interest me. However, this is it for me. This is all what I want to do and I’m not doing this because I have to. No obligations. I will release an album whenever I want, that’s it. I’m not into gigs (eversince) and meeting people, standing behind the ‘merch table’ and interacting with anyone just for them to buy stuff. What is that? To each his own. Individualism is the law. By the way, paid session drummers not included!
Finally, when you’re not listening to, writing or playing metal, what are some of you favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
Not much new stuff but at least, music should be FAST otherwise no deal! Non-Metal, I only listen to guitar albums. Satriani, Vai, Jason Becker, Greg Howe, Tony McAlpine, Petrucci (solo). Last I bought was Marty Friedman’s Inferno CD. 
Many thanks to Zachariah for his time!

Devoured By Damnation will be available December 8 on Grathila Records. For more information on Kratornas visit their official website.

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