SPACE OF VARIATIONS – New Album Imago Is Music "That Can Kick Ass And Can Break Hearts"

September 26, 2022, 3 months ago

By Nick Balazs

feature heavy metal space of variations

SPACE OF VARIATIONS – New Album Imago Is Music "That Can Kick Ass And Can Break Hearts"

Ukraine’s Space Of Variations are blasting off through the sky, taking modern metal to an out of this world heights with their new album Imago, out now via Napalm Records. Their full-length debut features a mountain of influences ranging to metalcore, synth-pop, djent and hip-hop with a futuristic vibe. It may be a bit much for a rugged metal veteran, but the Ukrainians meld the effort with a heavy release that has rightfully earned attention.

Vocalist Dima Kozhuhar and vocalist/guitarist Alex Zatserkovny spoke to BraveWords about Imago, how the war in Ukraine impacted the songwriting, fellow countrymen Jinjer, and their upcoming U.S. tour.

BraveWords: Please discuss the new album Imago. There’s plenty of different influences found on this record.

Alex: “Imago is the quintessence of our previous experience as musicians, as a band, as human beings, as songwriters. The concept of this album is already in the title. Imago is a term taken from entomology, when an insect becomes adult it’s called Imago. Also there is an important and basic conception of Imago in psychology.

“So, obviously, this album is a metaphoric art object that expresses our transformation, expresses our transition to higher levels of life, our growth. During the recording of the album we found these changes in our minds and in our lives.

“Everything in this reality trends to transcendental objects and in the end of times, so do we. This album is a next step in this never-ending life fractal. And yes you are right, Imago is an album that has a great mix of styles and approaches, but globally it’s a heavy music album, music that can kick ass and can break hearts.”

BraveWords: How did the collaboration come about with Denis Stoff and Alyona Alyona?

Alex: “When we released our music video for the ‘Moonlight’ track (Mind Darknet album), Alyona left a comment below our FB post. Literally, she wrote ‘кайфонула’ and that means ‘I really like it’. We understood that it’s a great opportunity to make a cool acquaintance. After that we connected in DM and later we invited her to our live show. We met in person and found that she is a super simple and open person and our connection became stronger after that.

“Later when we started work on Imago we thought about some cool guests on this record, and our vocalist Dima came up with the idea to invite Alyona Alyona. We decided that her part in the song would be in Ukrainian because it’s our native language and it sounds beautiful and exotic for foreign listeners. So, we did a few calls, sent some drafts to her, and she liked the idea! Then, after two or three studio sessions we got the final version of the ‘Ultrabeat’ track. Finally, we shot a music video for this track with Oleg Rooz as a director. That is how it was with Alyona.

“When we thought about guests for this record we were not looking for hype or something like that, we were looking for really talented and interesting people and that is why one of our guests is Denis Stoff. This guy is a super talented person. For example, he was a vocalist of Asking Alexandria when they created one of their best albums The Black. Now, he has his own band, Drag Me Out, you should check them!

“We did not know each other personally before we started working on a joint track, but he was at our show in Kyiv, I remember. He posted a pic on his Instagram where he was wearing our merch after that show, and this was a good sign! Of course, we connected via Internet and offered a cooperation. He said ‘Ok, let’s meet at studio.’ We met and made the first drafts for his part. After that, we finished it in a few next weeks and boom we got another great guest on the album. From that moment, we kept in touch. Also, we have a plan to shoot a music video for the ‘1M Followers feat. Den Stoff’ after the album drop, so I recommend to stay tuned, it’s gonna be cool content!”

BraveWords: “vein.mp3” was an interesting choice as a single and video. What was the concept and inspiration behind this song?

Alex: “We always use abstract and metaphoric approach in our art. We like to create worlds that people can’t see in real life, we like to operate with weird images. ‘vein.mp3’ is one more surrealistic picture from our imagination that talks to you through symbols.

“The main character in the video is a crazy professor that does weird stuff. He is a personification of the Creator. He is mad and smart; he thinks he is God in his dark world. He’s surrounded by these dummies and dead bodies that he uses as blanks for his perverse experiments. You are free to explain this metaphor from many different points of view and map it to your personal experience. It will work.

“At the same time the band members are shown here as creatures that this professor has already developed. All these pipes connected to our bodies and black coloured clothes looks like we are not alive and there is something from the outside that gives us life energy and make us act like that.

“By the way, all the decorations and costumes all the light and location was made by the band members. 90 percent of what you see in our music videos was generated and created by the band, so the video making is a huge part of us as artists.

“As for the song. I think this song, and the whole album Imago, is a protosound of SOV. It is an iteration of our art and it’s a hint that shows the direction of our music. By the way ‘vein.mp3’ is a title taken from one of the first drafts of this song. Sometimes temporary can became eternal.”

BraveWords: How was the recording and songwriting process for Imago? Did the war have an impact in making Imago?

Alex: “Imago was finished before Russia started this big war in our country. I said big war because there has been a war in Ukraine since 2014 in the Donbass region, also started by Russia. So yes, of course this war impacts our record. Sometimes subconsciously, sometimes straightforward. This is our reality and we don’t want to pretend nothing is happening.

“We worked on Imago for almost two years (counting from first sketches) and it was a huge work process.

“On this record we took a new approach. Most of the tracks were created right in the DAW, not at the rehearsal space. Alex (guitarist/vocalist) made the most of the drafts for the Imago on his iPad using Garage Band App and some songs drafts were created by Anton (bass guitarist). For example, Imago was born from Anton’s sketch. Then, when we picked the best drafts, we gathered at the studio and brought the material to the final product.

“From scratch we decided that this album should get huge and massive sound with a lot of experimental details. On this record we tried to expand our boundaries to a new level and I want to believe our listeners will notice this.”

BraveWords: I like the dynamics of the dual vocals between Dima and Alex. How did it come about to go with a two vocal approach to the band?

Dima: “It started in a super organic way back in 2008. It’s an ordinary story. I didn't sing very well then, mainly using only extreme vocals. Alex could sing though and so it happened! Later, my singing got better and better and now we have many characters and voices in the songs. My extreme vocals, my clean voice, something similar to rap and, of course, Alex's voice.

“I believe that people are more interested in watching several actors play in a movie than one. We have this variety of different voices and it's fun to listen to. It’s like several characters start playing their roles on the stage of the theater and real magic happens between them.”

BraveWords: How excited is the band for the upcoming U.S. tour with Jinjer, P.O.D., Vended, and Malevolence? I saw in a press release that Jinjer has “stepped up” for the band many times, how important have they been for your development and reaching a wider audience?

Dima: “Oddly, our career breakthrough has happened during such a horrendous situation at our home. We are more than excited about these shows! Our big dream to go on a US tour is about to come true.

“About Jinjer. We met them back in 2009, when we played a show in Donetsk. Then, fate led us on many paths. Sasha Kardanov - the sound engineer and technical director of Jinjer - is like the godfather of the SOV band or something.

“From 2010 to almost 2015, we were in a break with SOV. The band didn't exist all these years, and it was Sasha who came with Jinjer to our city and said ‘Why the hell you’re not playing as a band? It was magical. I put anyone I could onto your music. You have to play.’

“His energy charged us and gave us a boost to do a band reunion. Sasha is our concert manager for Ukraine and a person who was always on our side to help with advice and more. A unique character for sure.

“We already went on two big tours with Jinjer and this made us even closer. They are wonderful guys and girls. We feel comfortable working and communicating with them. Everyone from Jinjer treats our band very well and believes in us. We are grateful to them for this trust! The Ukrainian train is heading to the States! It’s gonna be huge.”

BraveWords: Anything else you’d like to add about Imago, the band, or anything at all?

Dima: “Friends! Listen to this album Imago. It stands out from what you are used to listening to. Stand with Ukraine. Support Ukrainian music. Help those who need help. We are on the right side of history. And, just try to be the best human being you can. It's hard, but it's the way. Good luck!”



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