Interview: Rebel Wizard

Rebel Wizard

Hellbound contributor Jason Oberuc recently had a chance to pose some questions to Australia’s Rebel Wizard. Read the Q&A below.

Hey, Bob, how’s it going? I hope all is well with you. Now tell me a little bit about how this project started. I know you’ve had an atmospheric black metal project Nekrasov since 1997 that also picked back up in 2015. What made you want to start a blackened speed metal band?

Hello! There wasn’t a conscious choice to start up Rebel Wizard. It’s kind of something I have always played around with. But yeah, for some reason, I was pulled more into it over the past few years. I tried to quit doing music and abandoned the Nekrasov project for a while but I kept getting pulled back in.

So I guess that time allowed me a little to focus on putting together Rebel Wizard properly. It was a very unconscious process, more so it was just something I wanted to listen to and couldn’t find anyone else doing.

Also from trying to quit so many times, failing so hard and now becoming an ‘old man’ I give up – I gave up to the ‘creative’ or whatnot and let it fucking take over. Haha. The asshole it is! I wish it would fuck off though.

Any particular reason you decided to release a bunch of EPs in 2015 rather than put together a full length? Was Bolzer any sort of inspiration for the way you’ve been going about the band?

It’s just how it happened really. The Rebel Wizard project is its own beast. I find it far more rewarding to release catchy little ditties every couple of months or so than jerk off over a full length album. I am more productive this way. It’s so rare these days that bands actually put out something that is 100% killer album wise, I don’t have the time to waste on boring riffs and ideas – I like to trim all the waste and horrid fat and leave it.

At times I felt like I cannot sustain a full album that would be of interest. Short, catchy little eps are much more enjoyable to do. I kind of need to work on things at the time and then move on. With Rebel Wizard and Nekrasov there is a freedom to do whatever they want – that’s most important, none of the projects are strictly this or that.

I did attempt to do an album but started to feel like I was drowning a bit. I needed to let go and move onto newer ideas that didn’t fit what had already been done. The result was the mini-LP. I agonized over that for soooooo long that I started to hate doing it and almost quit, haha. A LOT goes into these songs. It’s much more difficult doing this solo than having a band.

There’s no inspiration from anyone regarding the releases etc. I didn’t think anyone was doing this kinda thing so I took it upon myself to do it.

On that topic. Are there any plans to release a full album in 2016?

No idea.

Where did you come up with the term ‘negative wizard metal’? It sounds awesome, but what does it mean?

It all goes hand in hand with the Rebel Wizard theme. It’s negative in that it exists outside of the conservative underground. It’s filled with disdain but also conjures the alchemy of triumphant riffs! It’s respectful of the ‘traditional’ attitude and riffs of ‘metal’ but negative to all else in ALL aspects of contemporary human life. It’s also staying true to metal being a ‘mystical’ force (wizard).

It’s a very solitary, non-community based project that is likened to a bitter wizard looking at his worn out crystal ball with an unsurprised annoyance in prophecy, smoke and candles dripping. Ha!

I’ve heard from some people that your sound is like Aura Noir. But I sense a bit more traditional or NWOBHM influence. Any one band or few bands you draw from specifically?

No, not specifically. I have ‘worshipped’ many bands and metal/punk etc for 30 years now. So the Rebel Wizard project is a subconscious conjuring of all the elements that have strongly resonated with me over that time. So whatever has ‘moved’ me will come through. However, I do feel, that I cannot actually sound like anyone else. Believe me, I am NOT showing off here – I would love to be able to rip off so well but it does come out retarded by my own habits.

But inspiration has only really come from, and always in anything I would do ‘creatively’ come through attitudes – the main players being CRASS, Bolt Thrower, Man is the Bastard etc.

Also bands like My Dying Bride – playing a violin back in the day. That was so controversial to people back then but fucking hell it was glorious. I could not understand why people could get bothered by that. When Lee Dorian formed Cathedral and released Forest of Equilibrium after being in Napalm Death. That was incredible. Being raised on Scum etc and getting that LP, the cover, the riffs etc…fucking hell. It was so revolutionary for that time BUT so slammed, at least within my radar – as it wasn’t ‘broodal’ enough or whatever. People fucking hated what Dorian was doing but I could not be more blown away. Funny thing is, ‘doom’ bands are a kind of cancer now. OH, then he turned it into a ‘rock metal’ entity and the riffs where still there; one of the best and most underrated guitarists ever right there. Also, people actually get annoyed and King Diamonds vocals. Fucking hell. So much idiocy to deal with! Those three examples are big ones for me. The metal consciousness can be so idiotic that it needs to be attacked sometimes with, dare I say, different ideas.

Rebel Wizard is annoying to explain as the point is that it’s not this or that (negative). It gets thrown into black metal sometimes, but this is kind of my break from black metal project, haha. I guess I am pretty unadventurous and predictable.

Personally I don’t hear Aura Noir in there, but that’s a fucking huge compliment.

It doesn’t seem that your lyrics are readily available anywhere. Could you elaborate on the ideology or central lyrical themes of the band?

The lyric does not hold much power anymore. The energy and dare I say ‘vibration’ is what matters most. It all falls under the glorious rainbow of negative wizard metal which is a heavy metal kaleidoscope of negative ideologies, contempt for the gloss covering the underground, the illusory workings of being, the false, soaking the social and hipster era with mystical screaming, contempt for banality and idiocy of our evolution into ‘non rebellion’ – and how what used to be a ‘threat’ to the world is a marketed fool but with generous dashings of the mystical.

Getting back to Nekrasov which you ended in 2011 and then rebooted in 2016. Was Rebel Wizard created for a certain style of music that you didn’t feel you could express in Nekrasov?

Yeah, they’re totally different beasts. Rebel Wizard, I suppose, is my social commentary, haha..

Nekrasov is a ‘void’/ nonpresence for me.

I don’t think I like seeing this about me.

Anything you’d like to add or promote? You’ve been releasing stuff like crazy so would it be safe for fans to anticipate plenty more EPs or albums on the way?

Yeah, probably. There’s plenty in the works at the moment. Couple of RW eps in the works, Nekrasov stuff – started laying some bones down on the next album and ideas for smaller releases.

Thanks so much for your interest, I appreciate the support and the time and effort you put into making the questions, listening to all this stuff etc….