Earlier in the year Ukrainian post/progressive metal band Starchitect released their sophomore album ‘Results’. It had been a long time coming, with a close to five year gap between the full length and its predecessor ‘No’. But the group has made the most of this time, writing music that has that familiar crushing intensity mixed in with some sweeping melodies and jazzier tendencies. While the album starts off on a slightly more traditional track, it opens up significantly around the halfway point and this is where the band really comes into their own. Released independently, Starchitect’s latest album deserves your attention and I had the chance to send over some questions to learn more about their writing process and the band’s goals.
Transcending Obscurity (Chris Dahlberg): Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. For those that might be hearing Starchitect for the first time, give us a little background on the band. How long have you been together for and what was your musical background prior to this?
Starchitect: The band was formed in 2008 as a duo of a guitarist and a drummer. After a year of rehearsals, the first release – a split with Fading Waves – was released on Slowburn Records.
Then, we decided to make more loud and heavy music with a dirty and rude sound. Also, a bass player joined the band. And 2011 became a year of active live performances in Ukraine. The same year, the LP ‘No’ was released and we played a tour with a British band The Death Of Her Money.
Then the bass player left the band, and a very long break occurred. Due to accidental circumstances the band started its activity once again, now completed with two new members. It was a new stage of development that resulted in the ‘Results’ album, released at the end of January 2016.
TO: There was a fairly long gap between your debut ‘No’ and ‘Results’. What factors made the writing and recording period between releases so long?
Starchitect: Current band members were busy in other projects and the material of ‘Results’ was accumulated as carefully as possible.
TO: As I made my way through ‘Results’, I noticed that around the halfway point the songs started to get longer and there was much more of an emphasis on sprawling atmospheric melodies alongside the crushing sludge base. What made you decide to put together the album in this way?
Starchitect: During the work on the album, we were trying to create something fresh and unrelated to common genres. Least of all, we didn’t want to just create another post-metal release.
TO: How does your songwriting process work? How do songs make it from an initial riff or melody to their finished state?
Starchitect: The core aspect of composing is not to repeat what you’ve already done. Of course, we also have some riffs that can be named as common to certain genres, but from the perspective of a whole tract of an album they lose their commonness. We sincerely hope that we’ve conveyed what we wanted.
TO: Can you tell us about some of the themes that are being discussed on ‘Results’?
Starchitect: The album does not carry any semantic load. You are free to interpret what you hear as you wish.
TO: There are a lot of different musical styles on ‘Results’. To my ears it came in somewhere between sludge, post rock, and noise rock, with a healthy dose of progressive influences. What have been your primary inspirations (either music or non-music) as you’ve written material?
Starchitect: Starchitect band members listen to the most diverse music: progressive, post, jazz, math, sludge variations and tons of other styles and genres.
TO: Tell us more about the cover artwork and how it relates to the album as a whole.
Starchitect: The cover art is based on a photo taken by our drummer in China while he was touring with The Best Pessimist. This tangled luminous flux and overall uncertainty of the photo seems to be quite eloquent about our album.
TO: The first album came out on Slow Burn Records, but this time you’ve decided to release independently. How has that worked out so far, and are you still looking for additional distribution?
Starchitect: There were some offers from small labels, but their terms were not satisfying. Therefore, we’ve decided to make a self-release. Currently, we are open to discuss any other offers from labels.
TO: I understand you’re already working on a new EP. Do you have any details you can give us about this release yet, and how would you compare how the new material is shaping up to ‘Results’?
Starchitect: The work on the new release is finished. It is fully composed and we will record it soon. The release will include 5 tracks with an overall duration of 35-40 minutes. Unlike ‘Results’, it contains more melodies and complicated guitar arrangements. We think it is more progressive but at the same time more intuitive and aimed at a wider audience. Anyway, it will be an interesting work.
TO: What is the heavy music scene like in Ukraine? What are some other bands from your country that we should be paying attention to?
Starchitect: The scene is quite diverse when it comes to genres, but there are just few bands. For instance, Nokturnal Mortum and Stoned Jesus are widely known in Europe. But there are still such great bands as: Octopus Kraft, Septa, BURROW, GRAVITSAPA, stonefromthesky, Dreadnought, etc.
TO: If you were able to put one of your songs into a film or television show, what song would you choose and what type of film or series would it go with?
Starchitect: Interlocutor! It would be an adventure horror about the vessel that crashes by the end of the film. No happy endings!
TO: What else do you have planned for 2016? Any upcoming live performances?
Starchitect: After the EP is ready, we will start looking for gigs to play.
TO: Is there anything else you’d like to say about ‘Results’ or Starchitect?
Starchitect: ‘Results’ is an attempt of 4 musicians to create something new. Did we achieve this goal?