Interview with vocalist and bassist Sergio Lunático
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: June 5, 2023
Ukrainian three-piece technical death/thrash metal band Cosmic Jaguar was founded in 2022 and was born unexpectedly, using some material that didn't find its way on the latest Bestial Invasion album, which is the main band for all of the musicians in Cosmic Jaguar.
The primal concept that revolves around this three-piece act is the ancient culture of the Aztecs, which makes things a tad more interesting. The band's 10-track debut album, The Legacy of the Aztecs, was released on April 30, 2023, both digitally and physically (Metal Warrior Records released the CD) and, mark my words, it's worth checking out.
We contacted the mastermind of Cosmic Jaguar, Sergio Lunático, to get more information about what led them to put this band together.
Hey, Sergio! How has your day been? Anything special happen?
Sergio: Hi! What's so special about today? Probably the fact that my family and I are alive and well during the war. But the next special day will be when the war and genocide of the Ukrainian people are over. Also, our debut album, The Legacy of the Aztecs, was released a couple of days ago and I'm very happy with it because it was a challenge to get it done. I also recently became an endorser of world-quality Ukrainian guitar brand JK Custom. Now I am even more armed and dangerous than I used to be, ha! ;D
We are here to find out about your new "project" named Cosmic Jaguar. What was the main starting point for you to put this band together in 2022?
Sergio: In April 2022, I met my friend Denis and we tried to jam. As a result, thanks to my work, which didn't make it to the last Bestial Invasion album, we quickly created a track. Then I got Bestial Invasion's ex-guitarist Maestro on board, and we decided to record the music if possible, and in four months we created and recorded the whole album! Isn't it fantastic? That's how the band and the album were born in chaos and war!
Musically, the band could be said to be in the same musical vein as household names like Cynic, Atheist and later era Death, with some thrash metal thrown in for good measure. Did those acts trigger you to form Cosmic Jaguar back in 2022, perhaps as a partial tribute to them?
Sergio: Honestly, we don't think about who we should look up to or pay homage to because this music is already in our DNA! When we started playing, we didn't set ourselves a style framework, we just played what we liked! We all love and respect those bands and for us it's a compliment (we can also add Sadist and Celtic Frost to that list), when we are compared with them, but we don't try to copy them—we just go our own way!
Two of your band mates, Juan (Maestro) on guitar and Denis (Tornillo) on drums, also play in your main band, Bestial Invasion. Was it a no-brainer to invite them to join Cosmic Jaguar?
Sergio: They were not part of Bestial Invasion at the time of Cosmic Jaguar's co-founding, it happened a little later. Denis is very cool and a quality musician who does everything very fast and creatively. That's why I invited him to join Bestial Invasion later on, because we need such talents. We started playing with Juan (Maestro) back in 2014 and released Bestial Invasion's debut album together, so he's not a stranger to us.
BACK TO THE PAGES OF THE HISTORY: THE AZTECS
The main concept of Cosmic Jaguar revolves around the ancient civilization of the Aztecs. Why do you find them so fascinating?
Sergio: We didn't want to be just another stupid thrash band that sings about clichéd themes like sex, alcohol, partying, and zombies that already make you want to puke, so we decided to go our own original way. If you check out Bestial Invasion, you'll also see a lot of history behind those songs. I love the history of different periods, so I'm trying to use my knowledge in my music to make it even richer and more interesting. I decided to do the same with Cosmic Jaguar. The Aztec culture and mythology are very versatile and interesting, so I thought it would be a perfect concept for our band. Although I had a choice between the Aztec and Western theme, I decided Aztec would be more original, because the Western theme was already in thrash, like Desperados.
Did you have to do a lot of research about the ancient culture of the Aztecs?
Sergio: Of course, I try to learn something new every day about the topic because I need it to create song lyrics, and I thoroughly enjoy immersing myself in this interesting Aztec world! It's like a new hobby for me. After the war is over, I plan to visit Mexico and visit these sacred places and feel the spirit of the Aztecs.
How long did it take to get the songs for The Legacy of the Aztec recorded and did you consider it an easy process to make the album?
Sergio: We didn't even realize we were going to make an album. Everything happened spontaneously and in chaos. We thought that every song that we did will be the last, because the situation in the country was very difficult. We didn't know what would happen tomorrow, so we just rehearsed and recorded as much as possible. As a result, in four months we were able to compose and record an album. We are shocked by how it came out. It was kind of under pressure, of course, but we got through it and are happy with the result, because it could have been different. I also had to do some singing and I'm not a very good singer, but I tried really hard to do something worthy and I think I did it.
SHARING IS CARING
How did you share the songwriting responsibilities within the band? Did each of you equally contribute to making this record or was the writing process mostly on your shoulders, so to speak?
Sergio: We did the music and the arrangements together. The guitarist and I brought our own riffs and ideas, and with Denis the drummer we finalized it all. For this album we used some of my work, which was not used for previous Bestial Invasion albums. Denis is also the author of the short intro/transition/outro tracks. So, it's a collective product!
You recorded and mixed the whole album at Quiet Studio in Uzhgorod, Ukraine, between April and July 2022. What made you choose that studio for the recording?
Sergio: Why in this studio? [*laughs*] Because it's our drummer Denis' home studio. We didn't have any budget, so we did everything ourselves and I think Denis did a great job as sound engineer and sound producer. I personally like this old-school sound, which doesn't sound like a thousand other bands with plastic trendy sound! For our weird music, this is the jackpot!
Your first video with Cosmic Jaguar, "The Northern Underworld," was unleashed on April 19, 2023, and the response has been pretty overwhelming so far. Are you happy with the reaction the video has received?
Sergio: "The Northern Underworld" video was filmed by us without any budget, classic DIY, right? ;o) I had the idea of making a video in an old-school and lamplight format, and I eventually voiced the idea to the other band members and they agreed to give it a try. As a result, it was all filmed at Denis's rehearsal-studio spot on my mobile phone Realme 8 Pro and then I personally edited the whole thing. The result is an atmospheric clip that says to all the other modern videos, "You soulless placimass motherfuckers... !!!!" The audience warmly welcomed the clip and I didn't even see any negative comments. It's because we're giving something new, but at the same time something old and forgotten! The way of our band Cosmic Jaguar is to not care about trends!
Are you aiming to shoot more videos to promote the album and gain more visibility for it?
Sergio: In the future I think so! We have a couple of interesting ideas, but we're in no hurry to get started, because not everything is ready and planned. It would be ideal to visit Mexico and shoot a music video there, but it's still a dream!
Apparently, you will do a few shows here and there to promote the album. What shows have you already booked and what's to come?
Sergio: There won't be any concerts yet, because the country is at war and not at all in the mood for it. We have already received offers to play in Europe and other places, but while there is a war we cannot leave the country, and the stupid Ministry of Culture of Ukraine has made it impossible. Many famous Ukrainian bands could not go on spring tours, lost money and could not get money for the needs of our army. This state body has never helped us, and now it is even more of a hindrance and limitation. When the time is right, we will definitely start concert activities!
MORE TO COME...
I have to believe Cosmic Jaguar won't be a one-trick pony but there'll be some continuum to this band in the future. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong...
Sergio: When our band started, we didn't really plan anything, we just did as much as we could, and it ended up being a whole album. I'm very happy about that, because I had no plans to do another band, but I guess it's fate. Now we are working on a mini-album, which may be released in the autumn of this year, as well as working on a second album at the same time. There are already our first special guests Tommy Talamanca (Sadist) and Mark Biedermann (Blind Illusion). We will also look for a new label for new releases, because the old one doesn't suit us with its attitude toward us. We need a strong, reliable and interested in our product label, not one that does everything long and whines that he invested his money in us and we are so ungrateful, that he asks us to obey the contract. It's just ridiculous...!
WHAT ABOUT BESTIAL INVASION?
Now we are here, I cannot help asking about the next Bestial Invasion album. How are things standing at the moment?
Sergio: With Bestial Invasion things are still complicated. We wrote material for a whole album and even released a single last fall, but also signed to the same label as Cosmic Jaguar. This must be our biggest mistake so far. Since December we haven't started recording the album because the label has no money for the recordings. We gave him some REQUESTS (PayPal and IBAN), which could be paid very quickly, but he required some unreal documents with a request from the studio and tax committee. We explained that nobody works in Ukraine and all work almost in cash and by word of mouth and nobody from the studio will deal with or spend time on such nonsense. And those studios which can do it are too expensive and his money will be enough only for 2-3 songs. That's our deadlock. There was also a lot of dirt said about us, but that's our personal thing. We gave him until June. If he doesn't send the money, then our contract will just hang in the air, no money—no record. We'll just find another label or a sponsor who will respect us and do everything necessary to achieve the goal and promote the band. We are tired of waiting for vinyl reissue of all the albums. This story has lasted for 2-3 years already so we probably need a more responsible label.
Every Bestial Invasion album so far has featured some cool guest musicians, so what's your plan regarding them this time around? Can you unveil some of the guests who have been invited to be a part of this forthcoming Bestial Invasion record?
Sergio: I can't say for sure yet because the album isn't at the recording stage, but there are a couple of ideas. Maybe this album will be without them at all, time will tell...
Do you have some sort of a concept theme ready for the fifth studio album?
Sergio: The fifth album will be in the spirit of Monomania 3, all in our favorite style as usual; History, art, science. There will be songs about historical figures such as Kafka, Botticelli, Serhii Korolov, Billy the Kid, Giger and others. Each song will be imbued with the spirit of its hero! This time we didn't want to do a limited concept as it was on the last Divine Comedy album, because it limits us.
Okay, I think that's all for now. Thanks for having this conversation with me, and let's hope Cosmic Jaguar's musical concept will appeal to many people around this globe. Wishing you all the best with your musical crusades in the world of heavy music and beyond. Any fitting closing thoughts perhaps?
Sergio: Thank you for your support and interest in our groups! This year should have been a breakthrough year for us, but unfortunately many factors have played against us. We were invited last year by the organizer who was supposed to give Wacken a morning stage, where Poltergeist and Pyracanda were also supposed to be there, but they couldn't agree on it for this year, maybe this new format will be next year, and we will get there. Also, all these problems with the label and the delay in recording the album... But we won't stop, we'll fight till the end! Ciao!
|Other information about Cosmic Jaguar on this site|
|Review: The Legacy of the Aztecs|
|Review: The Order of the Jaguar Knights|
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