Stoned Jesus – Ukrainian Stoner Thunder

Written by Jadranka Balaš

Ukrainian stoner/doom thunder Stoned Jesus returns to Belgrade on May 17th. The band remembers it as one of the best concerts in 2016, and all those who have missed this unique experience will have the opportunity to correct that mistake in just over a month. Frontmen of the band, Igor Sidorenko, answered our questions about the band, life on the road, new material and other topics.

From one-man project to fully acclaimed and respected band, Stoned Jesus crossed the long road. So, how was Stoned Jesus created? What’s the idea behind the band? Is there any Stoned Jesus concept?
Igor: Well we’re always evolving, that’s the idea. From paying respects to the classics like Sabbath and Zeppelin to figuring out our own signature style just a few years later. And good songs! There must be a song first, always.

Band’s name is more than interesting considering that words “stoned” and “Jesus” doesn’t belong together usually. How did you come up with that name?
Igor: The space wizard from beyond the void crossed the magic desert to unveil this band name to me in a haze of riffy smoke. Easy!
Considering multiple influences, stoner, doom, even blues and progressive rock, what is your writing process like and how you manage to incorporate all these elements in the song in right amount?
Igor: I never write with genres in mind, I just love good songs. That’s why you can play a song like “Black Woods” on acoustic guitar, and it still kicks major ass.
Has lived in Ukraine shaped the band’s music and themes in any way? What is the stoner/doom scene in your country like? Any other bands worth to mention?
Igor: Not musically, but socially, yes – the song “YFS” from “The Harvest” reflects on Russian occupation of Eastern Ukraine, for example. The heavy underground scene is pretty strong in Ukraine, you may have heard about Somali Yacht Club or Ethereal Riffian. But most bands don’t tour that often, unfortunately.
The band has had a few line-up changes over the years, and now you have a new drummer. When you’re picking new members what’s the most important thing they should have, besides, of course, playing?
Igor: Discipline and responsibility – that’s basically why we had to part with our previous drummer. Also, touring experience helps, because touring is hard, a newbie won’t handle it. And the musical taste, of course, the freakier the better.
Your LP covers, prints, posters always look good and interesting, even simple like “The Harvest” cover look effective. How much that visual moment is important to you and how much do you think it is important to fans?
Igor: It’s very important for us because it’s like you’re trying to dress up your baby, you wanna make it look perfect. Some fans appreciate our ideas, some would rather prefer us doing something else – that applies to our music as well.
Are you satisfied with the support you get from fans, especially when it comes to buying merch and CDs? Do you notice the difference between support you’re getting from local fans and fans from other countries?
Igor: Well if the country is poor don’t expect crazy merch sales – just be grateful they paid to see the show. Obviously, this kind of support is vital (and on some tours, it’s the ONLY income we get), but we can’t make people buy t-shirts when they need to feed their families first.
“The Harvest” came out more than two years ago, when can we expect new material?
Igor: Actually it’s THREE years this February! We had everything ready a year ago, but then things got sour with the previous drummer, so there was no #StJFourthLP in autumn of 2017. We got the new kid behind the kit, threw away like 20 minutes of material, wrote new tunes and voila – our fourth full length arrives later this year, finally!
Although many consider “Seven Thunders Roar” to be your strongest release, I think “The Harvest” went one step further and it is my personal favorite, they are different in many levels, so, what can we expect on next one? New experiment?
Igor: Hey, thanks for your kind words! Yep “The Harvest” was different – maybe too different for some – and that fourth one would be the whole new thing again. It’s gonna be dark and intense and song-oriented, and I’m loving every second of its 50 minutes!
This spring you’re going on another European tour. How would you compare concerts in different countries? How do people greet Stoned Jesus in different cities? Which is your favorite?
Igor: We’re blessed to have the craziest fans ever, in a good way. It’s amazing to see them lose their shit in the pit, and it also gives us more energy to perform. When scrolling through pictures from our shows I sometimes notice comments like “whoa looks like a punk/hardcore gig!”, and that’s exactly the level of intensity we enjoy.
What gives you the most pleasure in everyday performances when you’re on tour and what difficulties do you face with?
Igor: You struggle with the routine every single day. It’s hard to keep your head straight when you experience so much on a daily basis, your brain makes you numb after a while. And then you’re back home, trying to shake that numbness off, and this impacts your friends, your loved ones, your relatives. Basically, this is what our fourth album is about – trying to balance out the life on the road with the “normal” life. So with all this pressure, the littlest tiny thing could ruin your day, from a long drive to a tasteless coffee, from a sneaky promoter to a broken shower in the hostel. Thankfully the same little thing could bring you pleasure, and it’s usually this one hour you spend playing that makes it all worth it. You just gotta get through the other 23 hours as smoothly as possible.
What goals as a band you haven’t reached yet and what are they?
Igor: I’m quite happy with what we’ve accomplished so far and I’m pretty sure there’s more to come – and we’ll always be ready to embrace it.
What inspired you to become a musician? Can you imagine now what would your life be like if Stoned Jesus never happened?
Igor: My father used to be in a band, and I guess I was already listening to The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Deep Purple while still being in my mother’s belly. So yeah there was no choice for me, haha!
We are looking forward to your comeback in Belgrade in May, any message for Serbian fans and our readers?
Igor: Even though our 2016 Belgrade show was one of the best that year, we’re looking forward to improving on that experience! Can’t wait to play some new songs live, too. See y’all soon! Love, Stoned Jesus!

We remind you that the concert will be held on May 17 in Bozidarac, Belgrade, starting at 20h. Last Thrill from Belgrade is announced as a domestic support.

You can buy tickets at a promotional price of only 1000 dinars in Zaokret. For those living outside Belgrade: through you can make a ticket reservation at the price of 1200 dinars as it will cost in regular sales. In the mail state the name, surname, amount of tickets and mobile phone number. On the day of the concert, you can buy tickets only at the entrance, for 1500 dinars. Resetor booking urges you to get a ticket in due time because of the great interest.