Chaos Over Cosmos - Interview
The skies, the stars and galaxies beyond time, the tag team voyagers within Chaos Over Cosmos attempt to bring you the sights of all this and more on their 2nd full length album "The Ultimate Multiverse". If you're now discovering this band then you've landed on a special place within the greater cosmos. You won't be disappointed by Chaos Over Cosmos' ability to make music representative of a voyage to and from interstellar dynasties. Here's an exchange with the space crew manning the shuttle calibrated to traverse the furthest regions of the cosmos.
Thank you for doing this interview with MetalBite; how is everything in Poland and Australia at the moment given the pandemic and such?
Rafał Bowman: Thank you! In Poland people are going back to normal. It's a slow process. Fortunately, it looks like the worst-case scenario about the whole pandemic didn't happened.
Joshua Ratcliff: Australia is a very interesting at the moment with the pandemic, similar to what Raf said about Poland. Well from what I see in Australia and also from the annoying media, people just acting all back to normal like there isn't a pandemic and when they can travel across the borders. I feel we're in like our own little 'down under' bubble to the world.
How has it impacted the music on The Ultimate Multiverse?
RB: Actually, it wasn't at all. The music was 100% written and recorded before the pandemic, but even if it would be composed at the time of the pandemic, it's very unlikely for me to be influenced by such incidents. For me, music is a form of escaping from the reality, so situations (especially negative) on the World aren't really reflected in my songs. My impact and inspiration come from books, movies, science or other musicians, but not from actual events.
JR: It hasn't at all, and I do not think it would have or will. All it would have done is give us more down time to write new music
What's the meaning behind the name Chaos Over Cosmos?
RB: It represents the moods and styles of the music - there are parts that are very structured (hence Cosmos), and the opposite - (Chaos). However, honestly it wasn't a very thoughtful decision. I was excited about releasing the first album so much and I really didn't care about the name. Not a very smart marketing approach, haha.
How did the idea of the band come about?
RB: I had been thinking about doing this for a few years. I started writing some music totally for fun and after some time I realized it's not so bad. In general, writing for the first album took a very long time. It was the time when I wouldn't really call it a "band" or "album" and I wasn't even sure if (and how) I would release it. Fortunately, the whole writing process was much faster with the second album
How did the members meet?
RB: It depends on how you describe meeting. We haven't met in real life (same with the previous singer, Javier). Josh and I know each other from Reddit. Sounds like the nerdiest way to make a band haha. I don't remember exactly if I answered on his post about searching for musicians or he answered on mine - I don't know, anyway, it was in some of music parts of Reddit.
JR: As Raf said, we met on Reddit. He actually answered my post a few years back, when I was looking for musicians to make music with. However, when the ball started going for Chaos Over Cosmos, I was tied up in other musical commitments.
The Ultimate Multiverse is an excellent album even with so many musical styles incorporated. Could you please describe the creation of the album from its embryonic stages up to the final product?
RB: Thank you! After the first album I wanted to make something a bit more modern, heavier, more technical. I still have some inspirations like I had while I was writing the debut album, but I discovered a whole lot of modern bands that are very intriguing, especially from the guitar point of view. It impacted on my riffs - I feel like it's denser, sometimes odd, and filled with plenty of soloing - they are probably more shred like, than on debut album. I also changed the synth sounds for a bit more aggressive. The process started right after the debut album, in the meantime Javier left the band (that's why I released a reissued version of the debut album, with two new songs that I had finished with him on our next recording process). Then Josh joined and I wrote more tracks. We decided to divide the new music across two EPs, and then blend for the final product.
JR: With coming into Chaos Over Cosmos after Javier had already recorded two songs and the reissue of the debut album (we redid those songs) I found it quite a fun challenge and very nervous to spread the roots of my style and inspirations musically and vocally, with what Javier had done on all the previous releases. The words that rang in my mind through this whole process are of Raf saying “I want more Aggression” and “Needs more growls”.
Does the album title have any deep meaning, a cryptic reference to something?
RB: The album title comes from the mathematical hypothesis, called "Theory of Everything". Cosmology and theories from the border of philosophy, physics and mathematics are very inspirational for me. It's at the same time abstract and very logical.
Being a 2-piece band, what were the main challenges recording The Ultimate Multiverse?
RB: Time zones! It was sometimes difficult to discuss the ideas quickly because of that. Also, sometimes it's much easier to sit with guitar and microphone together and talk about some riffs or vocal lines. You can change things immediately then, in our case you have to send the ideas, wait for feedback, then eventually discuss it further. But for the other hand, there are only me and Josh and we have a good division of responsibilities - it's often much more difficult when there are three, four or five people in a band - every with own taste, ambitions and so on. I think it's easier to keep the balance in our case.
JR: Always time zones haha It was very hard to discuss ideas and late nights or early morning, as we communicate through Facebook's Messenger. There is a bit of an English language barrier with Raf and I, at times, which can choke ideas, but we always work through it.
Were there any attempts of getting a real drummer to perform on the album?
RB: There were some attempts, but it was difficult logistically. We wanted to release it quickly, without waiting for anyone else. Also, for 90% of parts I like digital drumming and I think it fit to music very well. I can't image Led Zeppelin with artificial drumming, but I think it works well for the music like ours. Everything depends on genre and mood.
There are other musical genres featured on The Ultimate Multiverse apart from progressive/power metal. What are some of the bands and artists that inspire Chaos Over Cosmos?
RB: I listen to many different genres and artists, from tech-death to synthpop, so I can't even tell 100% what really influenced me on this album. For sure I would pick Dream Theater, Symphony X, Satriani, Scale the Summit, Animals as Leaders, Periphery, Haken and in general a whole lot of progressive, technical and shred music as my biggest inspirations, especially when it comes to guitar playing. There are a lot of inspirations from electronic music also- many different subgenres - mostly Vangelis, Aphex Twin, Tycho, Squarepusher and many more. I listen to a lot of classical music - especially Debussy, Stravinsky and Bach. Also, Penderecki, Olivier Messiaen and many more. I'm also a big Allan Holdsworth fan. I have started to listen to jazz more and more in recent years. Also, I am, and I'm pretty sure I will always be a loyal Iron Maiden fan, however probably on The Ultimate Multiverse it isn't so obvious. So long story short: prog and technical music as main inspiration for the guitar parts, for compositions and sounds - many different genres, especially electronic.
JR: Like Raf I have a broad style of music I listen to depending on my mood or what I am craving, but my main influences always come down to Metal and Metalcore vocally. However, I did want to be different on this release. Funny thing with the track 'One Hundred'. The vocals in the verse I thought Raf would hate, as the original idea for them was more me doing some rap-esqe talking vocals (Think the Lonely Island), which he loved.
It was the artwork that drew me to The Ultimate Multiverse, who created it and what does it signify?
JR: I created all the artwork for The Ultimate Multiverse. Raf told me he wanted the concept of Space and Chaos, which is the main idea for the cover. There is a story in the images and keeping in line with the art I created for the EPs. It all starts with the planets and what looks like one is about to explode or is at breaking point. You then have an apocalyptic desert with an empty city with the planet having exploded creating the backdrop, all leading to the final image of a starry night sky with the explosion small off and into the corner. It all shows the impacts on events that take place in time and space.
It brings back memories of booting up my first pc in 2000 to play games like Dark Orbit, Betty Bad and Space Bunnies Must Die to bigger games like Halo and Gears of War some years later. Likewise, what are some examples of the literature, movies and video games that helped shape the outcome of the album?
RB: I like your connotation very much! I know why you see similarities, and definitely there are some. There are plenty of inspirations in literature. Stanislaw Lem, especially with his FIasco and Solaris, Arthur C. Clarke with Space Oddysey (and many others!), Revelations Space from Alastair Reynolds, Issac Asimov (quite obvious looking at the last song's title), Kim Stanley Robinson, Neal Stephenson, Tolkien, Sapkowski. Basically, reading is my second favorite activity after music, so there are too many writers who inspire me to mention them all. Movies also are huge inspiration too. To name a few directors that inspire me - Denis Villeneuve, Kubrick, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan. About games - if you're familiar with games from around the year 2000, maybe you know series like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and all those old-school RPGs - I'm glad now that we have a renaissance of games like that, but I'm not playing games very often in recent years. I was a big fan of these type of games as a kid and teenager.
JR: Unlike Raf, I don't get inspired by books, as I don't read that much compared to when I was younger and movies, is more about actions and Rom-coms haha I am mostly inspired lyrically from what is happening around me emotionally and actions I see that happen to others, with changing the perspective to be more open or an illusion to something else. However, 'One Hundred' was inspired by the TV series "The 100", which I was heavily into at the time of receiving the demo of the track and 'Cascading Darkness' is inspired by the game series Darksiders and of course going into the whole Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse.
I had already been convinced from the first track; however, it was 'One Hundred' that truly captivated me, that song is beautiful and has a tranquil feeling about it. Please tell us about the theme of the track and the idea behind the instrumental composition.
RB: I'm glad to hear that. It was the first or second song I recorded after debut album. I was inspired by Blade Runner, and, which is not typical thing - more by movie than a book. I was trying to illustrate the atmosphere of the big and rainy neon city that's showed so beautifully on both movies. Instrumentally I wanted to be at the very background with the guitars on verses which makes a nice contrast with the bridges, choruses and both solos.
The riffing, vocals and ambiance on 'Worlds Apart' and 'Consumed' are among my favorites on The Ultimate Multiverse. How did these songs come to be and what were you aiming for with them?
RB: Probably the heaviest songs on the album, both recorded in A# tuning, both with main themes recorded with tremolo picked notes with a lot, I mean - really - a lot of reverb (thanks Valhalla Shimmer!). I was aiming for finding a good balance for very extensive playing (solos and some riffs) and more 'static' synth sounds.
JR: Raf wanted a follow up to'Consumed'or in other words 'Consume Pt 2' and to bring all the heavies vocally, so in a way these songs are linked. Raf does all the hard work with making the songs and I just write what I feel best suits the music, whether its heavy vocals or ambient clean vocals. We then come together and discuss the ideas
The album carries strong feelings of movement and climax; is the album in any way conceptually driven?
RB: To some point - yes. Not lyrically, but musically I would describe it that way. It was written in similar time, with similar approach, and very concrete part of my life. I think it sounds coherent. That's why I wanted to release it as a full album. It was supposed to be full album from the beginning, but lineup changes and some other things in my live stopped me from that for a while. So, musically you can say it's conceptually driven.
JR: Lyrical theme wise all the tracks deep roots are dark and about finding oneself, reflection and dealing with the chaos in your life.
Being your second full length album, what would you say stands out the most about The Ultimate Multiverse in comparison to The Unknown Voyage?
RB: It's similar and very different at the same time. One reviewer said it's like two si-fi movies, but from different decades. I think it's very true. It's similar approach in the terms of mood, but The Ultimate Multiverse is more technical, guitar driven, dense, heavier and modern while The Unknown Voyage had some ambient/psychedelic feel sometimes and musically was simpler. I'm talking about first version of the debut, without two added songs. I like classic metal influences you can heard on the debut, but in general, the second album is musically much more interesting for me.
JR: I would say the vocals haha mostly because I am a very different compared to the previous vocalist Javier, in terms of lyrics, vocal style and abilities. However, the musicianship is also a big stand out to me
How has reception for The Ultimate Multiverse been thus far?
RB: It has been really good! Most of the reviews are very positive; I also have heard many kind opinions privately. I'm also still quite surprised about the large amount of reviews, but I'm glad that people want to check us out.
JR: I am a bit naughty and have removed myself a bit from the reception of The Ultimate Multiverse, as I have been busy working on other things. From the small amount of reviews, I have read and from what Raf has told me, it's going well. Haha, I didn't think it would actually get as much reception or traction, as the tracks have been previously released but I have been caught off guard by how many reviews are being done.
Unfortunately I don't have access to the lyrics for the tracks on The Ultimate Multiverse, what are some of the subjects explored?
JR: As mentioned before the lyrics are rooted with being dark and about finding oneself, reflection and dealing with the chaos in your life. You have 'Cascading Darkness' being inspired by the game series Darksiders and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and 'One Hundred' being inspired by the TV series The 100.
The album is limited to only 150 copies on cd why?
RB: This is our first physical release, so we don't even know if it's enough or maybe too much? However, if it will be needed, we'll definitely make more copies.
JR: It was Raf's decision to look into getting CDs. I am more the digital age or streaming the music or listening to my music collection on my computer.
Chaos Over Cosmos creates such mesmerizing music, yet there's little mention of the band. How is this?
JR: We don't really strive ourselves to be out there with the big leagues or more known bands. We are just two dudes who like listening and playing music. Chaos Over Cosmos is pretty much like the underground black metal bands, who you find out about from friends or other people.
What are your thoughts on touring should the opportunity arise, given members live so far apart?
RB: It's totally studio project, with all pros and cons. For the one hand it's comfortable to not be limited by the distance and it makes possible to release new music faster than touring bands - I find it definitely as a pros. But there are some cons and inability to play live, even very occasionally is definitely one of them. Still, for me studio albums are much more important than gigs, so I'm happy with our way.
JR: I say I would always love to tour or go live with Chaos Over Cosmos, but it wouldn't work practically. I am enjoying it being a more of a studio project and not having that added stress of touring and gigging.
MetalBite wishes Chaos Over Cosmos and The Ultimate Multiverse much success, please have the final say to the voyagers worldwide...
RB: Thank you for your interest in us and that great interview! Many thanks and greetings to all MetalBite editors and readers. Stay healthy and heavy! Wish you all the best in our strange 2020 and many great bands to listen.
JR: Thank you one and all for taking the time to check us out and t do an interview. This is a dark year and will be interesting times ahead, so Stay Safe! Stay Healthy and Stay Heavy! (I wasn't going to say Heavy, as Raf stole my thing.)
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