Russia invaded Ukraine in the wake of February 2022, causing a horrific escalation of the Russian-Ukraine war that began in early 2014. The invasion resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of lives on both sides, leading to one of the largest crises in Europe since World War II. Throughout the year, bands have come together to show their support as charities have opened up for the people of Ukraine. Ukrainian metalcore outfit Space of Variations pushed the release date of their new album, IMAGO, to September 23rd, via Napalm Records. Now with the record out, it brings a bit of light during these harsh times. We caught up with guitarist Alex as he discussed the new record and revealed which charities to donate to help Ukraine.
What was the process like recording Imago?
It was a long process. We worked on this record since spring 2020 and finished in the beginning of 2022. From the first sketches, we decided that this record was gonna be more monumental, more aggressive and more experimental than other records. And also, we decided to use more synth and samples, so the music could be more special and more recognizable. Technically, it was a regular recording process. Guitars, drums, vocals etc. Editing, mixing.
How has the pandemic influenced the writing for the new record?
Actually the pandemic broke our tour plans, but gave us time to work on the record. We spent a lot of time at the studio. I believe this album could be absolutely different if there was no pandemic. You need time to find and create “ideal” harmony. You need time to come up with final versions of all tracks, to finalize them. So yes, the pandemic, in some sense, gave us this opportunity.
What songs were more challenging to write?
Hard to pick one. We worked a lot on all the tracks. So it looks like it’s easier to find the track that was created with less challenge. Maybe one of the biggest challenges was the Ultrabeat track, and 1M Followers (with Den Stoff). But to be honest, it’s still hard to figure out which track was the biggest challenge.
Can you talk more about the songs “NON-HUMAN CLUB 2.0” and “OCEAN OF MADNESS?”
NON-HUMAN CLUB 2.0 is a track that was influenced by some futuristic vibes. You can find many sharp synths in it, and also this weird chorus where the clean vocal part puts on a dissonant, atypical heavy guitar riff. This song is like hallucinations of a quantum computer. I feel this song is like the edge between live matter and digital reality. Something like that… haha.
OCEAN OF MADNESS is one of the “rock ballads” on this album. This song is about simple things that everyone faces in life. Sometimes you feel this emptiness inside, emptiness that hurts. You can’t express this with any words but you know it. A song with a simple harmony but with deep lyrics.
What was your experience creating the video for “vein.mp3?”
It was fun. First of all, of course we made a storyboard and many brainstorms before we started. We found all we needed, made a casting call. Then we found this strange old post-Soviet location in our hometown Vinnytsya. It was winter, it was really cold when we shot it. We rented all the video and light stuff, brought some heaters, tea and warm clothes, and did it. The scene where I (Alex) was laying on the table under cellophane was the hardest for me. It was super cold. There are so many other scenes I could say a lot about, but I want to accent the scene with black pipes. It was just regular pipes from mass market + some imagination + lights. We made all of these costumes by ourselves. Even the “six shining eyes” mask was created by me. I bought diodes and cables, soldered them all together and put this construction under the black mesh fabric mask. It’s one of our favourite processes – to work on videos.
We wanted to create a special atmosphere in this video and I hope we did.
Devastating is an understatement as to what’s happening in Ukraine, your home country, what are more ways people can do to help?
One of the main things that everyone can do is to spread the word about this terrible war. Please do not forget that this hell is happening right now in the center of Europe. The war is NOT over yet. Also, there are many charity projects, people can donate to. For example “Повернись живим”. Or for example “UAnimals” – the project that deals with animals.
Is there anything else you want to say or add about the new album?
Please, when you listen to this album for the first time, be sure you are using a high quality sound system or headphones. Read the lyrics (we worked a lot on it too). Share it with friends and of course, come to our live shows to hear this album live.