lunes, 19 de noviembre de 2012

Stoned Jesus

Interview with Igor from Stoned Jesus!!!

Ei guys!! While in Spain we're being punished by corrupted politicians with measures
that steals us our rights, undermine our quality of life, do richs more richs and poor
more poor, how's your life in Ukraina? Everything okey?

 - Hey Xavi, it's Igor from StJ, good to hear from you! Well, here in Ukraine it's even worse I guess, we're still in somewhat transitional period
from a pseudosocialism to a corporate-led capitalism, and it's pretty unstable on every level. To put it clear, our bass-player is jobless for three
 month now, and we're pretty tough with raising funds for our upcoming European tour in September.

Well, you guys looks like very old are you?

 - Me and Vadim, our drummer, are both 25, and Sid, the bass-player, is 22. You know, I've always been a bit confused seeing all these legendary
 rock bands debuting with their members being 18-20 years old, so when you're calling us a "very young" band that sounds so sweet, thank you!

Your first 2009 Demo has a poor sound...but the riff and the structure work
are such great!! Was it homemade recorded? By the way I have to say that the artwork is awesome, ahaha...
What makes you choose it as the front?

 - Thanks for your kind words. Both debut demo and "Occult/Black Woods" single were recorded solely by me alone, with no band at that time,
at my home studio, with drums being recorded at my friends' rehearsal room in Kiev (played by me as well). We never played any song from the
 very first demo live except "Insatiable King", which we have re-recorded recently in a more rough and short and heavy version. As for cover-art,
this is Stu Mead's "Devil's Tongue", this guy paints freaking-out and provocating stuff, so I just thought it's good enough for what I'd written.
We didn't sell CDs with this image or something, so I hope he won't sue us, ha-ha!

Your next Demo "Occult/Black Woods" still sounds a little weird, but what suprised
me was the torn vocals of "Occult", Why did you change the voices in the following

 - Well, I've grown both as writer and vocalist, and what's more important I was pretty clear about what I wanted from this demo. I was deeply
 into Sleep-Wizard-Sabbath thing, so "Occult/Black Woods" was meant to be somewhat over-too-influenced...and it is, obviously. The funniest
 thing is that I didn't try to copy Ozzy, I just didn't know exactly how to sing back then and that was how my voice actually sounded like. This
is just my voice, it's still wacky, but I'm working on it!

Now, the real Stoned Jesus, the true worshipers of occult and satan, starts from
 "First Comunion". Then, listening your previous Demos, we can see your effort and
your hard work, polishing and macerating your style since you get the perfect
combination of riffs, distortion, rock, psychodelia and vintage. Each song has is
own personality, a particular feeling and a personal touch. Did you use a diffetent
recording metode? Studio change? Only a higher price? ahahaha...
What meant that qualitative jump for the band? Did the "specialist public"
recognized your work?

 - First of all, if you check FC's lyrics, they're barely about satan-worshipping and stuff, "Occult" is anti-clericalic, "Black Woods" is
a warning, "Red Wine" is a vampire's love song and "Falling Apart" is an Icarus' myth metaphor. But all the songs are deeply metaphorical
on their own: if you look wider you'll see that "Occult" is about minorities and how they're hated and presecuted, "Falling Apart" is about
hybris that could ruin every community, "Black Woods" is a "rip-what-you-sown" lesson and "Red Wine" is about obsessive non-mutual
passion (something I was hit by pretty hard back in that time). So it's basically not just witches and vampires, you see.
Talking about the way FC sounds, it was recorded by a BAND, not just me, that's why it kicks some major ass I guess. It's based on tracks
we rehearsed a lot, there's no mystical scheme of putting songs together, we just did what we played best at the moment. I invited two friends
of mine on bass and drums in autumn 2009, but later discovered that while they're MY friends they hardly get along with each other, so
this StJ line-up was pretty much doomed from the very beginning. But we did a great record, laying down basic tracks just in two hours at
my friend's studio and finishing vocals and solos few weeks later at another one, and beleive me or not we did it all absolutely for free! And
yes, the whole Kiev's underground enjoyed the record immensely, it even topped some lists and charts among zines and sites in 2010.

Now, the song "Occult" has a sample intro, I guess, from a movie. Where's from
that sample? Seems to be of a old vintage and unholy film, did you like the
old school films? By the way, is there an Ukranian version of that movie or you have
to see it in english?

 - In English obviously, it's a good way of both upgrading your language skills and not being pissed off by translation that usually sucks.
This is "Alucarda" (1978), great old-fashioned horror movie, which looks hilarious today, but still quite atmospheric. I'd recommend
you to check this one, but my fave from that time are Polanski's "The Lodger" and "Valerie and the Week of Wonders", the latter being
used for our YouTube-only "Red Wine" promo, I guess you've seen it.

I like the work of a spanish actor named Jacinto Molina a.k.a "Paul Naschy", he was
 known as the "Spanish Werewolf", and we did a good number of movies about occult,
esoteric, inquisition, magic, witchery...Do you know about Paul? If not, I invite
you to dig into his career, you will worship him!

 - Ah yeah, good old Paul, sure I saw some movies with him, the guy's a legend! When I was digging Bava and Fulci movies I thought
I see him in every bloody feature from that period! But I'm a more Argento fan, I prefer mysteries and atmosphere to vampires and zombies.

All your lyrics seems to be about occult, paganism, satan and other unholy stuff,
but tell us for yourself: What's the Stoned Jesus message for us?

 - As I already told you, there's always more than just "I'll drink your Red Wine yeah". The more I was writing the deeper I was getting
into personal aspect, it's a bit tricky because it's easier to sing about something you've experienced, but it could hit the point when it's
too personal. This happened to "Stormy Monday" which we play pretty rarely now, it clicked with our personal issues back in 2010-2011
when it was written, but now it's just withered a bit and it would be unfair to sing it on every show. Going open-and-personal also was
the reason behind my solo project, Voida, which is just plain acoustic singer-songwriter stuff. This is me and my guitar, how much more
stripped can you get? But it's not like I'm going to sing about broken hearts there in Voida and dragons here in StJesus, it's all pretty
balanced. And metaphors work well too, I still enjoy singing "Red Wine" though I'm not obsessed with the person I was thinking about
at the time of the song's writing anymore.

After your "First Comunion" all your works are high level quality, I specialy like
your next EP "Stormy Monday", the self titled song is awesome, a great work of
classic Doom and Stoner, and it's extended version included was a very nice
surprise, but "Drunk And Horny", my favourite track of the EP, it's the best
gift you could give to your fans, rock and roll at it's best and the demonstration
that you can work as good with savage rythm as with mid. tempos. The only question
I have here is about the song "Bear's Cave", what's this song about? We can hear
here some spoken samples, again from movies?. And overall about "Stormy Monday":
all the songs are really diferent between them, each one digs into a diferent
music genre and have a very varied feelings, what's your favourite "Stormy Monday"

 - Funny enough that everybody tags "Stormy Monday" with Stoner Doom, my head was all about Seattle scene at that time, I thought
it just screams Alice In Chains and Soundgarden all the way through it! Glad you like "Drunk And Horny", it was our shows' closer
 for a while, it's a very simple and in-your-face song, with tongue-in-cheek lyrics on some typical macho cliches. As for "Bear Cave",
it's a Red Temple Spirits cover, the original song is the darkest psychedelic post-punk one could possibly get, and I tried to carry this
atmosphere in our version. I was deeply inspired by Neurosis track "I can see you", and I thought of something related structurally -
half-the-song acoustic, half-the-song dirge. All these samples and noises came out naturally, we just wanted a sonic swirl that would
symbolize the whole utter feeling of loneliness that marks this song. I guess it's my favourite from the whole EP, not just because we
consider "Drunk And Horny" to be rather a good joke than a good song or we fed up with "Stormy Monday". The little secret behind
"Bear Cave" is that it was completely played by me, 'coz guys just didn't manage to learn it beforehand. When Nick and Alex left, I
found the new guys pretty quickly (the above-mentioned Sid and Vadim), and they brought so much energy and fresh air with them! We
did five bloody tracks, four new ones and "Red Wine", in less than a month, and we recorded all of them that day including that "Bear
Cave" thing by me. There's no wonder we're still together, we had so much fun and inspiration during these early days of StJ Mark II,
 getting to learn each other, hanging out together, rehearsing, touring etc. I hope all complete "Stormy Monday" sessions will see the light
 of day once...I'd prefer to own it on vinyl!

Now about "Seven Thunder Roar", why indians? The artwork, the song called "Indian"...
What's the mater? ahaha...I have to say that despite I've never liked "indians" as
lyric theme, the music is great as always.

 - This is actually an inside-joke! Me, I'm looking like a mthfkn indian! Everybody was telling me that for years, so I decided to write a
song about indians and the way they were treated by the conquerors. It's almost "Occult part III" conceptually, and by saying "part three"
 I mean I bear in mind our old doomy "Rituals of the Sun" track, which was recorded during "Seven Thunders Roar" sessions (you can find
 a video footage online), but we plan to re-do it. The artwork was done by our good old friend Yura, he's responsible for almost every StJ's
 art lately, we like what he does, the way he works and progresses.

One of my favourite songs with no doubt is "Bright like the morning", witch is a very beautiful
song, very emotive, I felt very identified with that song while reading the lyrics.
And the best without doubt is "Electric Mistress", it's a return to the days of the
best Black Sabbath mixed with the melancholic doom born in the hands of the almighty
 Cathedral. Listening this and "Bright Like The Morning" we see the methafor of love
reflected in a mysterious woman that is cause of disffection. Are my thoughts correct?

 - You got it right, metaphors again. The blueprint of "Electric Mistress" was written somewhere around "First Communion" mixing period,
and I just had no time to show it to the Mark I guys. It was only summer 2011 when I came up with that slooooow mid-part and considered
the song to be done, because I wasn't satisfied with it before. But it's definitely "Bright Like the Morning" when you hear StJesus change,
less doom, more psychedelic, groovy flow, one of my favourite solos and the chorus I was tagging as "Oasis song" in my head, ha-ha! That
was the last track to be done with Nick and Alex and the first one with Sid and Vadim. I see it as the first turning point for the band, when
 we finally broke the "wow-they're-Sabbath" spell, did we? The lyrics are very personal as well, it's about finding your true Love that gives you
inspiration, strength and harmony with the world. I wonder why you didn't mention "I'm the Mountain", it's another important song for us,
 our favourite one for sure, especially when performed live!

Now we have talk about your discography, I want to know why all your works have so
few songs, by the way these songs are always best quality, but sometimes you need more.
How you face the work of structuring an album? What's your logic at deciding how many songs
will have each album? I think it's more feeling than logic, what's the truth?

 - Thanks a lot for "quality" compliment, this is actually the answer to your question! We just don't play or record songs that we consider
 throwaways. I just don't write such songs. If you hear a Stoned Jesus song, be sure it was getting through various changes and edits to find
its current shape, and sometimes it takes months to come up with a baby you all would enjoy. That basically goes to our releases as well -
there are no songs on them I would skip or delete when I listen to them...maybe except for "Stormy Monday" 'coz we're ll fkn tired with it,
Talking about logic or feeling, I usually bear in mind vinyl standarts. Our albums are clearly 12" records, an EP is a 10" one, they all could
be easily divided into side A/side B. I'm a sucker for these standarts, it just clicks in my head with my favorite albums from 70s. Besides I don't
really like long records. From the top of my head I can remember only 4-5 albums longer than 50 minutes that I find flawless, and 3 of them
would be Tool ones, ha-ha! So making a 45-minute album was the main reason to remove "Malda Vale" from the initial "Seven Thunders Roar"
version, not because we didn't like what we'd recorded. We just listened to the whole record and found that particular track to be a bit out of
place with all the others. But I really like the B-side concept as a song you should hunt for, because it's not on the album and it's rare and
it's probably different and experimental. I hope we'll have our own B-sides collection...maybe after two-three more albums.

All this music is often related to drugs, THC and psicodelia, and it's true. Do you think,
like me, that with a well seasoned cigar you can enjoy much more and feel the music in all
it's essence? Any funny experience to tell us?

 - A question of substances is too much personal in my book, but it's obvious that an altered state of mind offers millions of variations of
the world around you, including music as well. Imagine the days when only chosen ones could talk to the spirits and see the revelations after
inhaling some stuff or drinking some potions. Nowadays you can be a shaman at your own home, tripping out to White Hills records. I've
been to coffee-shops in Holland, it's all civilized there, but imagine the whole world doing weed, let alone heavier substances. Believe me or
not, but a guy from a band called Stoned Jesus doesn't light a bong on a regular basis. I don't even have one! 

Nowadays there's a new wave of occult rock bands that are emerging from all over the world,
the best knowns are Ghost, Blood Ceremony and The Devil's Blood...but I prefere other bands
less mainstream and bands where the feeling of satanism and occult is not hidden in a
moneymaker disguise, like Hexevessel, The Year Of The Goat, Jex Thoth/Sabbath Assembly,
Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats...What's your point of view about that? After all there's each
one taste...What's your taste?

 - I'm totally agree with you on Ghost, I've seen them live and I enjoyed only intro of their show. When they started playing their bubblegum
doom I left five minutes later. Sorry for putting this, but Lady Gaga is more satanic than these guys. As for Blood Ceremony and The Devil's
Blood, I quite enjoy them, I even mused on the idea of female-fronted occult rock band 'coz I've got some riffs and ideas in the vein of "First
Communion" that would look weird in today's StJesus. But if you read our statement on Facebook few months ago, we decided to give it a go
and now we're working simultaneously on two records, the good-old-days doomy one and the other one, that is more appealing to our current
state. Talking about Hexvessel and Sabbath Assembly, check my Voida album "Colour Me Darkness", I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy it since you
 like these bands. It's another level of dark and moody music - when you carry it with just an acoustic guitar and a voice, naked and pure to the core.
But I see what you mean and for me it's more about digging into old music and culture and atmosphere than anything other. I just can't imagine
a guy who listens to Electric Wizard just to sacrifice his cat on the cemetary when the moon is full. I guess these things should be left to 90s,
burning churches in Norway and corpsepainted posers on the news. It's just a different way of having fun - you've got your dubstep and Bieber,
okay, I've got my sexplotaion movies and art-nuevo posters, right? We've missed this era and we eager to recreate it through our work, we're
inspired by it but it shouldn't mean we don't have anything to say of our own. And this is where I wonder what guys like Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats
have to offer next. They're the hottest thing next to Ghost now, all my fellow hipsters going crazy about them, there's an incredible hype going on
with vinyls being sold for hundreds of euros on eBay, but seriously...musically they're just fine, nothing special. Too narrow, too into-the-genre,
too few interesting material they got to check back and re-discover. Even Motorhead did some musically challenging stuff back then, so why most
 of these contemporary "rock-revival" bands are so boring?

Aside the classic occult rock bands like Jacula, Coven or Black Widow (COME TO THE SABBATH!!!),
I think Stoned Jesus is inspired too in other classic psychedelic bands like Jefferson's Airplaine,
The Doors, Pink Floyd, Blue you agree?

 - This is what I was trying to say few lines above - it's great to be influenced by these cult figures, and we obviously are to some point, but there are too
 many music out there to be just a Black Sabbath clone or something. I usually explain us as a Psychedelic Rock band, since psychedelic rock is far more
broad than say desert rock or stoner doom, but seriously I don't really know what we're playing now and I'm quite happy about it. Just check our recent
 "Here Come The Robots" song on YouTube, as my friend said it screams 90s post-hardcore like Drive Like Jehu all over the place! I think of bands like
Black Mountain or Mastodon, and spiritually I feel we're related to them in terms of being influenced by the past but not carrying this baggage with us
 being someone's copycat. For me Stoned Jesus is not a reconstructional or revival band, we don't play three-noted riffologies about witches and bongs
and I apologize both for those who expected us to be that kind of group and for those who'd consider us to be self-impudent or megalomaniac on reading
 this statement. I had fun making "First Communion" by genre's rules, but it was never a final destination for the band, taking into account our diverse
tastes and ambitions. So don't be surprised if a planned Doomy album would take more time to finish - now we're more interested with looking forward
than checking what we've already done. But we still play these old songs - first of all, because they're great songs on their own.

And how's the music lover's life in Ukraina, are there affordable gigs, good locals to play,
other bands of other styles...What's the last concert you gone as a fan?

 - Last shows I've been to were Black Label Society whom we warmed up, and Red Fang where I was actually their show's promoter, ha-ha! It's pretty tough
here in Ukraine due to economical collapse, and promoters wouldn't afford setting up shows for the likes of Pearl Jam or maybe Swans, so we are usually
pretty envious towards our Polish neighbours who have all these great bands coming to Poland. Imagine a Porcupine Tree or Rage Against The Machine
 show in Kiev - just impossible, but if you want some Korn, Scorpions or ex-Purple sidemen, here you go then, you got them every year. As for underground
bands, the whole situation is pretty much like everywhere - DIY bands play almost for a song, and in last 3-4 years we had Grief, Nadja, Rosetta, Amenra,
Mars Red Sky, Jucifer in on September 8th the legendary Samsara Blues Experiment to headline Kiev's Robustfest II, it's gonna be spectacular!

I've see your have toured with many bands from eastern europe, have you ever thought about a
western europe tour?

 - Taking into account that I'm booking all our shows outside Ukraine and Russia by myself, there's a strong possibility of 2013's huge Spring tour with UK,
France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Austria among others...if I'll be having all the time needed for booking. We considered working with booking agencies
 but we're still unsure about them. Besides we don't have full equipment set for now (amps and stuff), and the van we usually hire may not be available at
that time...too many issues to give you a straight answer now, sorry, but that certainly doesn't mean we don't want to. We eager to play as many countries as
it's possible!

How is a Stoned Jesus live show? Do you use any special decoration on stage? Or you play
dressed like ancient druids or something like that?

 - I hope you're not being serious about the last one, ha-ha! No, just three of us, maybe some vintage horror movie on the background if we're doing more
doomy kind of shows (the ones we usually play on Halloween at Kiev's finest venue, Bingo club), but mostly it's just us and believe me, that's enough!

Since you started to record your music you have release an album each year, does it means
that 2013 will bring us another masterpiece?

 - I hope we'll start recordings this Winter for what's going to be our third full-length album. For now half of the record is ready, we've already played "Here
Come the Robots" live couple of times, there are also two more songs to be premiered during the upcoming September tour, "Alone" and "Wound". I'm also
finishing the future sidelong epic "The River", a 20-minute odyssey, and there are two more songs to be completed this Autumn I hope. As for doomy record
I hope it won't take that long and we'll try to release at least an EP next year to preview what you all should expect from it. I like when bands take their time
and create really great albums, I could patiently wait for years to hear them (Anathema and Tool are good examples), so I understand those who think we're
in a hurry and doing our things too fast...but hey, "Seven Thunders Roar" was ready almost a year ago and there's no wonder I already have at least two
thirds of our LP number three written. We'll be taking our time for sure when we're old and bored and withered, we'll be releasing albums every 5-6 years,
hardly more frequent, but now we're young and fruitful and inspired, so let's do it while we can!

And ending this interview guys tell us how the audience can buy all your awesome music and
any kind of merch.

 - We've just released "Seven Thunders Roar" on vinyl through the cult Berlin-based Nasoni Records label, so you can support us and get it directly from
Stoned Jesus on our BigCartel page: .All other stuff is available there as well, give it a check! Also I have two more projects
outside of StJesus, Voida (singer-songwriter/dark art rock; and Krobak (instrumental rock;,
hope someone would give 'em few spins.

Thank you very much for your time guys, I really apreciate this oportunity and have enjoyed
makin' this questions for you. Total support from this small zine!! Please add whatever you
want!! Cheers!!

 - Thank you for your time and attention, Xavi, it was a pleasure! Hope I wasn't too boring! Peace and Love, Igor of StJesus

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