Luc Mertz has been doing raw underground metal for a long time. His earliest records are timed as far back as 1983, when drum machine-powered one-man black metal projects weren't nearly as usual as they are today. In the 21st century Luc started a project, which has turned into one of the most prolific ones in black metal.
To this day, ZBT has made 90 demos in addition to various other releases, and it's surely a respectable amount.
Hi Luc, and thanks for giving us the opportunity to interview you. What was it that originally made you pick up the guitar, and what bands were the most important ones to you back then?
LM > Hi! Thanks you for this interview... Sorry in advance for my very bad English and short answers...
I have chosen guitar instrument but i like guitar hero... Important bands are for me BLACK SABBATH/MOTORHEAD/EXPLOITED/DISCHARGE...
In '83 you made home recordings under the name Skullface. You employed a drum machine back then, too. What was it that originally made you choose drum machine instead of real drums?
LM > In ' 83, I played guitar alone in my home. I would've liked to create musical project and I found no musicians because I have a raw and underground spirit.
I hadn't real drums and i can't play the instrument. This is for this reason i use a drum machine. This is no fun on this epoch, but this is the only solution for me. I like employing minimum material for maximum result...
What gives you the ideas for your lyrics, and what are they more specifically about?
LM > For lyrics' ideas,i have some influences... necronomicon book, satanic bible, horror movies, life, death, torment inside, and my fucking nightmares. My lyrics are very personal and i will not give by shyness.
What are the bands that have influenced ZBT's sound and style?
LM > BLACK SABBATH/MOTORHEAD/DISCHARGE for the style, BATHORY/BLASPHEMY/BEHERIT/ILDJARN for the sound. I like all bands with raw and underground sound and I will with ZARACH BAAL THARAGH create the ultimate raw sound in the world.
Has ZBT taken influences from outside the field of metal music? I think some of your releases have clear psychedelic and experimental elements.
LM > Yes, I'am big fan of psychedelic British band called HAWKWIND... This band is fantastic and has existed since 1969/1970. Lemmy from MOTORHEAD played bass and sung in this experimental project during anno 1970. "Space ritual" double lp is very good influence for me.
There are many people who don't take drum machine-backed bands seriously. How serious are you about your music yourself?
LM > Real drums is better, but when we don't have anything else, drums box is cool. Drums box gives a very interesting mechanical sound. A creation with a really dark atmosphere. My goal was to create a different sound and style of all other bands. I'm not a clone or a copy. ZARACH BAAL THARAGH and all my other musical projects are my personal vision.
How is the songs' birth process? A fast or slow one? Do you often use improvisation as a compositional method?
LM > Process of composition method is really fast. 80% is total improvisation. The first is always the best and I like this. I don't like to work my music. Too much work gives me a fucking headhache.
How big a role does the computer-technology have in your music? Are your releases moreso analogue or digitally produced ones?
LM > I used simple four tracks tape recording. But since 2 or 3 years ago, computer exclusively. This is very easy with a computer and a basic program.
What kind of (guitar,vocal) effects do you use in making your music?
LM > I use d.i.y fuzz and delay for guitar. Reverberation for vocals. I like to "work" with minimal material. Give me 1 micro, 1 fuzz, 1 guitar, I connect on my computer, open AUDACITY program and I make with this a really raw black metal demo 666% underground. I can make the same with 4 tracks recording.
You have some other active projects operating parallel to ZBT. Could you tell us more about them, please?
LM > I have some born dead projects, also a side project with other member... also some participation with other band... For more info, you can look in Encyclopeadia Metallum.
Your wife and daughter also have their projects. What are they like, and what's their situation at the moment?
LM > My wife and my daughter make dark ambient music. My wife has recorded 3 demos. The name of this projekt is HERZ TOD. My daughter has made four demos and the name is EWE. These two projects are on stand by for this time...
If I've understood correctly, you're a talented illustrator in addition to being a musician. What inspires your drawings, and is drawing something you do often, be it logos or other pictures?
LM > No, I'm not a talented illustrator. I like drawing, painting... I make it in my method, the same as for my music. I have a lot comics which influence me a bit. French illustrators...CAZA/DRUILLET/FOERSTER/FRED... Also the Masters RICHARD CORBEN/GIGER/BOSCH...
Have you made all of the ZBT's artwork yourself?
LM > Yes, for all self-releases. For label releases, sometimes it's them.
What does satanism mean to you, and are you a satanist yourself?
LM > Satanism is cool, but satanism is sect. Sectary movement is not for ZARACH BAAL THARAGH.
France has a really strong extreme right wing-movement. What're your thoughts of neo-nazism and white power-ideology?
LM > ZARACH BAAL THARAGH makes no politics... ZBT hates all politicians. Politics and religions are two shit concepts. In my life I try to be right. So I can't agree any political movement or religion. I prefer to think by myself.
ZBT has upkept an insane releasing pace right from its start. Will this situation stay the same in the future as well? Do you already have some releases planned, and if yes, could you tell us something about them?
LM > Yes, ZBT will release more and more demos in the future. Only death or sickness can stop my "mission"... In september 2011 is coming some splits with other bands. Also ZBT 93rd and 94th demos.
Thanks for the interview, Luc!
LM > Thanks you so much man for your cool questions... see you soon... friendly...