In the deep undercurrents of emotion where sound and sentiment intermingle, Son of Deni has found its unique resonance. Embroidered in the textured fabric of their post rockish screamo, we see a dash of rhythmic complexity that hints at their math rock influences, all sprinkled with an irreverent melodic vibe. Hailing from the haunting beauty of Belarus and now entrenched in the heart of Warsaw, this trio produces a harmonious chaos that commands attention. However, today we are not just exploring their sound, but the intricate tapestry of cultural signifiers etched onto the skin of their vocalist and guitarist, Denis.
Denis is a living testament to his own profound musical journey. His skin is a canvas adorned with lyrical quotes, album covers and homages to bands like Mineral, Algae Bloom, I Hate Sex, Empire Empire, Morning Effort, Sunny Day Real Estate, Pg 99, Foxtails, and Marie Chante. These images form an intimate constellation, a musical universe that reverberates in Son of Deni’s works. This amalgam of music influences, however, extends beyond the confinements of sonics and into other spheres of popular culture – with nods to games and anime.
The band, profoundly influenced by the unpredictable beauty of algae bloom and underpinned by a love for old school Russian screamo, recently released two tracks that are as much a testament to their musical prowess as they are to their intriguing artistic palate. Titled ‘Sunday Supper,’ this 2-track release showcases a deft balance between emo, twinkle, math, and screamo – an impressive feat that has left critics and fans alike reaching for more.
But today, the narrative shifts as we plunge into the depths of Denis’s tattooed stories, a visual journey that aligns with the band’s sound. In an exclusive commentary below, Denis delves into the intricate labyrinth of his tattoos, each piece offering an honest, emo-adjacent description that transcends mere aesthetic value. Accompanied by a series of breathtaking closeup photos of the tattoos and live show snapshots, this exploration takes us beyond their music and into the heart of what fuels Son of Deni’s creative odyssey.
Words by Denis:
I received my inaugural tattoo when I turned 19, a bold black circle on my chest, inspired by Psychea, whose music has played on repeat since my youth. Even though by the time I got inked, my playlist had become predominantly foreign music, I wanted to honor a childhood aspiration.
Psychea’s “Glass. Membrane. Flocks” lyrics:
‘It’s none of your business, bitch,
Why did I burn the black sun on my body!
And every time I die of laughter
When you tear my nervous heart to pieces’,
Translated that circle into a second heart, a testament to my admiration for the band.
In due course, I decided to etch another symbol onto my skin. Though there’s a love story behind it, the focus here is on music, not heartbreaks. This design comes from the album cover of Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate), synonymous with ‘midwest’. Their knack for assembling intricate melodies from simple elements continues to intrigue me.
My third tattoo, a lo-fi window overlooking the city inked on my ribs, was again by the same tattoo artist. It’s inspired by the song, “Every Window in Alcatraz Has a View of San Francisco,” from Foxtails‘ first album, “This is not for you”. Its raw sincerity continues to move me, even after countless listens.
‘I might as well just cry
And I cried
On your chest’…
A sprig of lilac from the cover of “Circle Thinking” by I Hate Sex also adorns me. The lilac, linked to my childhood memories, was initially the only image I intended to use. However, during the session, I added “I am my own god” from their song “San Francisco”, which I interpret as a self-convincing affirmation of control despite the irony of the lyrics stating the contrary.
‘But I’m still waiting for pieces of your ear in the mail
And I’m still carving “I am my own god”
Deeper into my forearm every day’…
My knuckles bear the tattoo “ДУРА“, a term equating to ‘fool’ or ‘silly’ girl in English, referencing a song by Marie Chante. If you wish to explore the Belarusian emo scene, Sen Deni and Marie Chante are ideal starting points. The influence of the latter is especially evident in my current work with son of deni.
The tattoos on my left knuckles read “80–37“, a tribute to the emo band Mineral. I also bear “REJOICE” on my neck. The numbers often mistakenly considered a password or intercom code.
An envelope with a letter adorns my wrist, an homage to “We Met Upon the Level” by Algae Bloom.
‘Post a letter to myself, leave it on the mat.
Write again; let my words pile up by the door.
Never leave the house.’
They are the third pillar of the screamo genre for me, following Foxtails and I Hate Sex. I hope to see them perform live in Europe someday.
Further ink includes a ghost from Morning Effort’s album art, the father figure from Sunny Day Real Estate’s cover, and the girl from Pg. 99’s artwork.
Other tattoos inspired by various influences feature characters from Disco Elysium, “Welcome to the N.H.K.,” and Nier Automata, along with a cockroach symbolizing my admiration for Kafka.
My future plans include the cover of Chon’s self-titled album. Yet, I’m aware there’s a long road of ink ahead.”