Zetra: “This has been less ‘in the making’ as it has been ‘in the uncovering’”

Having announced their debut album, mysterious synth duo Zetra give a glimpse into its creation, teaming up with Svalbard for new single Starfall, and growing their cult as large as possible…

Zetra: “This has been less ‘in the making’ as it has been ‘in the uncovering’”
Nick Ruskell
Rebecca Need-Menear

Yesterday, mysterious synth-rock duo Zetra announced their long-awaited self-titled debut album. After two years of building their following through seemingly-endless touring and live appearances with the likes of Ville Valo, Creeper and A.A. Williams to name but three, the corpse-painted pair's first full-length will finally see the light of day on September 13.

To mark the occasion, they've released Starfall, featuring vocals from Svalbard's Serena Cherry. As ever, the band say all of this is merely a vehicle for the spirit of Zetra.

"We consider ourselves chosen by Zetra for our collective skillsets, namely our ability to write, produce, and perform popular music," they say. "All manifestations of Zetra on Earth have been a result of our channelling and interpretation of this inspirational spirit. As the Spirit of Zetra latches ever more tightly onto our psyches, the manifestation of Zetra has become ever more focused: the marks upon our faces become ever more defined; the performances become ever more confident; the songs become ever more linked.

"Until now, Zetra has revealed itself in flashes of individual songs, or in short collections of songs," they continue. "After a long period of focused meditation, we have gestated an opus 1, a first complete work who’s piecemeal birthing shall reveal the beauty of the whole."

Contacting the band to find out more, they were more forthcoming than previous attempts to commune with them, when they sent us a spooky voice recording.

"This album is the musings of observers unfamiliar with the human condition trying to come to terms with how a collective of souls and societies so riddled with contradictions can still function," they say. "In a world where there is such inevitable suffering, why is there hope? Where Chaos reigns in all things, how is there order? Where objective truth seems so practically unattainable, how is there so much faith in falsehoods?"

Prepare yourselves: the age of Zetra is at hand…

Your debut album's been a minute in the making. Care to share details of studio and producers?
"Zetra I has been less 'in the making' as it has been 'in the uncovering'. Speaking as mere conduits of Zetra, its creation is beyond us. The physical act of chronicling the inspiration has been made entirely by the two of us. It is not yet the time to involve outsiders in the channelling process."

Following on from Sacrifice, you've just released a new track, Starfall. How do these tee-up the record?
"Sacrifice, the first piece to come forth, dealt with the terror of desperate need following a perceived divine punishment, and the pyrrhic deals people make to wrestle back some control over their hopeless situation. Starfall, against the backdrop of a similarly cataclysmic event, envelops a study of knowledge and truth within riddle and enigma. Begin to know."

Serena from Svalbard sings on it. How did that come about?
"Serena’s screams are otherworldly. She has the ability to echo across planes and into the void, where Zetra is always listening. The sheer power expelled in her vocal delivery sounds as if it has torn through space and time from another dimension. The perfect opposing force to Zetra’s ethereal melody."

Are there any other celebrity guest stars on there?
"Acolytes of Zetra have answered the call to appear from the far reaches of Earth. From snow covered Iceland we have Solveig Mathildur of the band Kaelan Mikla who recorded her vocals under perpetual darkness of the polar night. And from the Home of The Brave, United States of America, Gabriel Franco of the band Unto Others."

What's the concept behind the record? What does this new chapter of Zetra mean?
"We are the hands, the meaning is yet to be revealed to us. We can attest that the intensity of Zetra's inspiring presence has increased alongside The People's desire for a full-length release. Where Zetra began as fragments of truth, we now find unity in the pieces, a common thread pulling each song together into a whole."

There's a load of people in the Zetra cult already, and the past year and a bit have been really busy. How did knowing people are so into what you're doing affect the record?
"Zetra has always been written in the knowledge that it was only a matter of time. We have spent the last two years recruiting acolytes and followers by sharing the stage with the likes of Ville Valo, Creeper, Unto Others, Skynd, A.A. Williams, Author & Punisher, Employed To Serve and Godflesh, with the sole intention of creating the widest possible congregation to receive Zetra."

Do you worry that growth may shine too much light on the essence of Zetra?
"Zetra exists to grow. Obscurity is not purity. Zetra is a prism; the more light shining upon it, the more brilliant and vivid the colours become."

It's your first album for Nuclear Blast – how does it feel to be on such a massive label and be counted alongside bands like Slayer and In Flames?
"As soon as the first Zetra compositions breached the confines of our studio, people’s reactions were different to anything we had made before. It is not lost on us that we have found ourselves realising our debut album for such a prestigious record label, but it has always felt like Zetra was meant share a home with Dimmu Borgir and In Flames. A rare label where the celebration of legacy equals the anticipation and excitement for the future. The people of Nuclear Blast have opened their hearts to us, and us to them. We forge this path together."

Zetra's self-titled album is released on September 13 via Nuclear Blast. The band are on tour with Ville Valo from April 4, hitting the Royal Albert Hall on May 10.

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