Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life are very pleased to bring you an interview with black metal duo, Kosmogyr. We recently reviewed their upcoming debut album & you can read our thoughts on it here.
1. Tell us a bit about the origins of Kosmogyr.
Ivan: Xander and I had been friends for several years due to our involvement in the Shanghai music scene, but we hadn’t yet collaborated on anything together. We were at a dinner one night and got to talking about our mutual interest in exploring black metal – things just snowballed from there.
2. How do you make it work living in totally different countries?
Xander: It’s not an issue for us at all. For all my projects, I compose using tabs, and Ivan and I would discuss the details of each song by sending each other tabs and messages. The best part is how we’re good at different things, and so between the two of us, we’re able to handle all aspects of the band ourselves. I think we contributed equally to this project, and I really appreciate the part Ivan has done. The lyrics were beautiful, and his singing perfected the songs by all means.
Ivan: Even while we were both in Shanghai, we had a very systematic approach to this project, so when I left for Prague, it wasn’t hard to maintain our workflow.
3. What can we expect from your debut album, Eviternity? It’s a hell of a listen.
Xander: Many thanks. I wrote these songs with different elements, but basically I’m a minimalist. Every song has been influenced in a deliberate way by a chosen aspect of traditional black metal, every riff and melody tailored with extreme care. My aim was to create songs that will reveal themselves with multiple listens.
Ivan: For my part, Eviternity represents an effort to create a record that brings together my favorite aesthetic elements and approaches across various black metal subgenres. I strove to build compelling songs with authentic-sounding drum parts and deliver vocal performances with varying singing styles.
4. Who are some of your influences musically?
Ivan: Two of my major touchstones are the Mountain Goats and Coheed & Cambria. John Darnielle is one of my two favorite lyricists, along with The Weakerthans’ John K. Samson. I’ll also never not love Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell.
Xander: I listen to all kinds of music.
5. Do you think streaming services and the rise of YouTube has helped or hindered you as a band?
Ivan: They’ve been nothing short of a blessing for independent bands like us. Bandcamp in particular is an incredible tool. There’s no up-front cost, as Bandcamp only gets paid when you do, and even free users are given a comprehensive platform to distribute music and earn money from it as well as a considerable number of helpful features to aid in promotion. Services like this which cater to indie and small-label artists have done so much to help level the playing field, though of course, having the resources to invest in professional distribution and PR even without label support will give you a massive leg up in getting coverage for your music.
Xander: Without the internet, we’d never be able to put our music out into the world. Streaming services help a lot of good musicians, though they also indulge untalented ones.
6. If you could ask rock & metal fans one thing to help the band, what would it be?
Xander: Enjoy the album. You’ll find something new every time you listen.
Ivan: If you’ve found something in our music that resonates with you, the single most helpful thing you can do for us would be to spread the word about our existence.
7. Games, Brrraaains (horror) & Head-Banging…what do you enjoy the most?
Ivan: I’ve gotta go with gaming. Tabletop RPGs are a real joy for me, and I’m currently involved in ongoing campaigns for both D&D and Shadowrun. My PS4 also occupies far more of my time that I’d feel comfortable admitting. I’m into horror movies, for sure, but compared to my wife, I’m just a dabbler. As far as the headbanging goes, outside of my role as a contributing writer for AntiHero Magazine and Invisible Oranges, I don’t often listen to very much metal at all. So it’s definitely games for me.
Xander: I play all kinds of games, watch horror and thriller movies, and yes, I head-bang onstage. But what I enjoy the most would be making music. Creating beautiful things feels the best.
8. Any plans on taking the music out on tour?
Xander: It’s totally doable if we have good feedback in the future.
Ivan: It’d be amazing to one day have the chance to perform our music live with a full band of stellar musicians, WITTR-style, but today is not that day.