Zak Bagans Talks "NecroFusion"
Mon, 05 Nov 2012 17:34:46
Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans has helped concoct quite the aural trip for listeners everywhere.
On NecroFusion [iTunes link], he teams up with the legendary Praga Khan of Lords of Acid to build one of the most intense and inviting soundscapes ever committed to tape. Pairing up Praga's inimitable electronic wizardry with recordings of spirit voices from expeditions by Bagans, NecroFusion is truly unlike anything you've ever heard. If you don't believe already, you might after one listen—or at least two.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Zak Bagans takes us into the deep, dark heart of NecroFusion.
What was the initial goal for you musicially?
I don't want to be a rock star. I didn't want to do this album for that. It doesn't serve that purpose. It's something very innovative. I'm a huge electronic music fan, and I always have been. It's very ironic that Lords of Acid was one of the first electronic-based bands that got me hooked on this back in 1994. That's almost 20 years ago. It's something very innovative, and it was cool idea to do. It worked out very well. This is my life. I'm not an actor. It's very serious.
Did you have one vision for NecroFusion going into the project?
Yeah, I did. Ideally, I wanted this music to be a medium to present my interaction with spirits and ghosts. I am skeptical of a lot of the evidence we document, and I have to further analyze it so I know how legit it is for my own wellbeing. Ever since we started using this Spirit Box [SB7], the digital recorders, and have established spirit communication, it's amazing. As a paranormal investigator, I want as many people as possible to hear these voices. What better way to do that through music? When I capture these spirit voices, people don't see or feel what I feel. I want to let people listen to these spirit voices. The music basically sets the emotional tone and the mood of when I had that interaction. Over the course of a year doing the recording sessions for this album, I never knew what questions these spirits would answer. I might do three sessions at a location and ask a total of 345 questions, and only two would get responses.
Out all of those questions, I had to use the ones they answered. Ideally, the spirits chose the lyrics for almost every track out of my intros and outros, which I would paint the picture of the story. For "Sing with Me", I got a female to sing a note. I don't know what she sang, but her voice came through like four times. One time, she was singing. The other time, there was a vocalization and a noise before that singing. Then, she goes, "I sing". You can hear it. When I captured it, I wanted to convey that in our own human bodies we have consciousness. The consciousness is a mystery to scientists and science. We don't know how our consciousness works. I'm making communication with intelligent consciousness that is speaking back to me and responding to questions. How can scientists say ghosts can't exist if they can't prove how their own consciousness works? The spirit voices I'm capturing are intelligent and answering my questions. Outside of the album, I'm doing a lot on the scientific side to take my paranormal research to another level. The voices you hear on the record are overlaying waveforms. They span over 14 or 16 sweeps on a waveform. Through the music, more people can have awareness that there is an energy that was within our bodies which can still speak without a mouth. They're able to manipulate white noise and energy around them and tap into radio, audio, and sub frequencies and conjure up voices. Once I started realizing that through my paranormal research, I wanted to take it to the next level and study the voices more. I want to help people.
In "Room 20", I don't know if that's David Strickland I'm communicating with. I believe it is. I was getting responses from him, but I can't prove it was actually him. I received a male voice. Now, I want to take his voice, run it through audio analysis, and match it up for real. I've already heard how this album is helping and comforting people who have heard it. We lose loved ones. Some commit suicide. I've received tons of feedback, messages, and responses from people saying how this music has helped them. It's given them closure and hope for an afterlife. It's no bullshit. It's no gimmick. That's why we're working with a lot of scientists to prove this. It's more than just a music album. I call it "a supernatural soundtrack experience". I'm not a singer or a rapper. I don't want to be a rock star. This is something new and innovative. Time never stops. With the evolution of time comes the evolution of technology. With the evolution of technology, we're able to better understand things. Will technology prove ghosts exist? Well, it's proving to me that I'm able to have an intelligent conversation with another form of consciousness. Ideally, that's what the album is. Every song tells a different story, which is really interesting.
Music is a direct gateway to emotion. It elicits responses from people, and it comes as a response from them. It's the perfect medium for this.
Absolutely! It is. It's not for everybody. If one person listens to this and it helps them, that's great. Everybody can have a different experience listening to it, and every song puts you in an emotional mood. Praga Khan is awesome. I'd describe the emotions I felt to him. When you communicate with spirits, you feel their energy. You can feel that when you're around other human beings. They have that barrier of skin and bones which keeps their energy in. When you lose the body, it's easier to stick your hand through the energy and feel that emotion. I'd tell him the emotions I felt while I recorded the sessions with the spirit. He and I would find a tone and rhythmic pattern within each song and tempo that would reflect that emotion. Music is usually just a listening experience you take emotion from. You hear the spirit voices and feel it. It's not like you hear other music though. You're feeling it from the other side. Not only am I helping the spirits find closure giving them a medium for their voices to be heard, I feel like I'm helping the living too by giving them awareness of the other side. I've gotten feedback on the songs that tell stories of murder and suicide. For those who have been afflicted by that, it gives them a sense of closure and relief too. Whatever experience they take from NecroFusion is totally based on their own energy and the spirit's energy in the song.
Do you feel it provides a level of catharsis?
Everybody's experience is different. Aside from that, it's got some kickass grooves and beats. It's great music. The music is there to enhance the interaction I have with the spirits.
What was the most intense moment of making that?
Sometimes, I'll get one voice to respond to me when I do sessions. When you have a session where you get five or six intelligent responses in the same voice, you want to stop everything and have every skeptic and nonbeliever you know be there for that experience so they can explain it to you. When I was recording "Room 20" in Room 20 at the Oasis Motel, I was there for about three hours. After three hours, the room got ice cold. I know there was something there with me. As soon as that happened, I started getting these answers in response to my questions. When I said, "Hi David, my name is Zak", the response came back, "Hi Zak". I said, "Can you hear me?" "Yeah". I asked if it could tell me the hotel we were at. It said, "Oasis". It wasn't until I asked this question. I said, "Can you see other dead people?" The voice said, "See the Lord". That was the very first time in my ten years of paranormal investigations that a spirit has really given me a descriptive detail about the other side. I ask spirits what it's like over there, if they see furniture, if they see the sun, if they can see me. I'm always trying to establish visual communication. I can't say it was David Strickland or not. When the voice said "See the Lord", I went from feeling uncomfortable to feeling relief. It gave myself relief because I fear death. That's why I do this. Getting answers from the other side is not only compelling; it's groundbreaking. This album is another way to awareness of the interactions I'm having.
Who do you usually listen to?
I listen to Rob Zombie. I like a lot of electronic music soundtracks. I like the soundtrack to District 9. I listen to that often. I listen to Armin van Buuren. I like a lot of weird music.
What was it like working with Praga Khan?
It's like finding a film director to portray your true life story. Some will nail it, and some won't. We just clicked. Praga nailed it. I've never met him! We did this entire project over the phone. I'd send him the files, and I'd talk to him on the phone. It was like a supernatural connection.
Have you heard NecroFusion?