Zombie Shark

Cybergrind act ZOMBIESHARK! discusses his genre-blending beast of an album ‘Die Laughing’

6 mins read

In our interview today, ZOMBIESHARK!, the cybergrind maestro hailing from Philadelphia, shares the intense journey behind their latest opus, ‘Die Laughing.’ Emerging from the depths of a three-year-long creative process, this album marks a significant evolution from the artist’s 2020 release, “I Will Destroy You, Myself, And Everything I’ve Ever Loved.” ZOMBIESHARK! reveals the monumental effort and emotional labor invested in ‘Die Laughing,’ describing it as a “time capsule of captured moments” during some of their darkest times. Despite the hardships, the artist views the album’s release as a moment of “pure bliss,” highlighting its therapeutic essence.

ZOMBIESHARK! touches on the collaborative spirit and the friendships that have bolstered their musical journey, emphasizing the album as a collective achievement rather than a solitary endeavor. ‘Die Laughing’ is a “challenging listen,” but one that rewards those open to its chaotic, genre-defying explorations. At its core, this album is a testament to the power of support, creativity, and perseverance, dedicated to the fans and supporters who have been there every step of the way.

This interview offers a glimpse into the soul of an artist who has navigated through darkness to craft his new offering.

‘Die Laughing’ is out now on Theoria Records, inviting listeners into the complex, tumultuous, yet ultimately triumphant world of ZOMBIESHARK!.

In the crucible of creation, what alchemical processes did you undergo to forge ‘Die Laughing’ into existence? Was there a singular moment of revelation, or did the album morph organically from the ether of cybergrind’s chaotic realm?

Even from when I was working on my last LP “I Will Destroy You, Myself, And Everything I’ve Ever Loved.” in 2020 I was already thinking about its follow up. I had the idea in my head that I wanted to make something big, and bleak that would be the continuation of the world I created in IWDY. I started scribbling out song ideas in 2020 and was just working on it on and off over the course of the years following. I knew I wanted to just take my time with it and write something that was real to me.

Your music has served as a conduit for navigating the murky waters of the psyche. It sure delves deep into the dark recesses of human emotion. With ‘Die Laughing’, how did you channel your personal odyssey into the labyrinthine lyrics and sonic tempests, particularly in tracks like “Does Barcode Man Believe In God?” and “As Beautiful And As Terrible As The Dawn”?

I really just write music viscerally from how I’m feeling mostly. While writing the album I was going through a lot tough things.I would just focus on one particular instance and write about how it was making me feel in the moment.

How do you harness your personal experiences of mental illness, depression, and hopelessness to fuel your creative process without being consumed by these very emotions?

I am not sure. Making art and music is very therapeutic to me, only thing that keeps me sane.

Featuring artists like SOULKEEPER and FIRE-TOOLZ offers a fusion of distinct aural textures. How did these collaborations shape the final soundscapes of the respective tracks, and what was the creative synergy like during these exchanges?

Soulkeeper are my incredible friends, and collaborators. We’ve just know each other for years and i’ve designed a lot of merch for the band! I featured on their 2023 album Holy Design last year which I was so excited for to finally work on music together. I felt it only right to have them feature on Die Laughing, I wanted Eric on the end of Loxosceles because honestly I love his delivery and style and knew that he would be able to write some heart shattering lyrics and belt them out over that insane breakdown.

It was amazing getting to work with Fire-Toolz because I have looked up to Angel and her music for years. She has always been an inspiration to me in he approach to Avant-Garde. I was so humbled and excited that Angel wanted to work with me, and Online garden Of Eden HD is probably one of my favorite tracks Ive ever made.

The visual aesthetic of an album serves as its silent herald. Can you dissect the symbolism and the story behind the cover art of ‘Die Laughing’, and how it encapsulates the essence of the album?

The original cover was going to be the metal/skeletal face. I had worked on it for months but one weekend my partner and I were going to visit my parents and there is a field In front of their house.

Zombie Shark

Originally my partner and I were just going to take promo pictures in the field, my partner took a bunch of shots but that one in particularly just captured the haunting essence of the whole album more than the face could. It felt so tethered to my home life and honestly feels more scary and intense while also being a bit surreal based on the camera zoom and angle.

I just knew instantly it had to me the cover.I ended up using that photo and used the skeletal artwork for the inside of the vinyl.

The visualizers for your new tracks on Theoria Records’ YouTube profile offer a digital deluge into your take on the cybergrind cosmos. What inspirations and narratives drove the conceptualization of these visual counterparts, and how do they amplify the album’s thematic core?

Huge shout out to Eric Taylor Parker for doing the Heads I Win, Tales You Lose, You Are My Sunshine. He absolutely captured the dark/ horror movie vibes I was looking for, I wanted to create this sort of joker/ The Crow character that would be representative of the the original skeletal face album art and Eric captured it perfectly.. More Bands should absolutely work with him! Beyond that I just wanted to use clips of footage I took on my phone over the years of recording the album. Mostly tethered to where I grew up and I wanted it to translate to the surrealism of the album.

With an average song length of 1:53, ‘Die Laughing’ presents a patchwork of potent, concise audio assaults. What challenges and freedoms did this brevity afford you in the storytelling and sonic experimentation within each track?

Just really like writing music in the grindcore mindset of like 100 song albums and it only being 7 minutes long haha I don’t know I just wanted to pack as many ideas into as many songs as I could.

Cybergrind comes with relentless reinvention and riotous soundscapes. In your view, how does ‘Die Laughing’ contribute to the evolution of the genre, and where do you see the boundary lines of cybergrind stretching in the future?

I’m not sure if it really does! Im not really trying to go into album in the headspace of trying to make something intentionally new, or groundbreaking like that. I just really like writing songs and this is the way I’ve always approached music. Im just happy there are people out here who dig it!

The Philadelphia scene is a petri dish of pulsating, experimental sounds. Besides ZOMBIESHARK!, which emerging artists or bands from the local scene caught your attention in 2023 and early 2024, and why?

Silithyst and Banishment, are both fucking sick, They’re very in touch with metalcore and post hardcore and are just killing it right now.

My friend Mikey Mayo is doing incredible things with his brand of fuck hyper pop, Mikey has always been super sick forward thinking artist and is a tiktok sensation.

Looking beyond the local, which global artists or bands have you discovered that you believe are pushing the boundaries of music in ways that resonate with ZOMBIESHARK!’s ethos?

Yeah there is a whole world of cybergrind artists coming out of the woodwork right now, there are just a lot of young and fresh minds making sick music and pushing boundaries, and people just need to start paying attention. Bands like SissyXO,/ Jisei, Im Letting Unseen Forces Take The Wheel, cocojoey, Bejalvin, Thotcrime, Blind Equation, DEATHTRIPPA, Twink Obliterator, GOT ITEM!, Sleeping On Stardust and many others are just at the forefront of bringing in the new wave.

Zombie Shark
ZombieShark Record Release Show

As ZOMBIESHARK! continues to evolve and experiment within the cybergrind niche, what nascent ideas or themes are currently electrifying your creative circuits for future projects?

I’m doing a country album next.

Haha! Can’t wait. Thanks so much for your time. Feel free to add anything you like that you feel is worth sharing. Cheers!

Support and check out these bands I mentioned before, support Big Money Cybergrind Records.

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