Exclusive interview for hellfest.fr: STONED JESUS (Igor Sidorenko (guitar & vocals)]
“I think that’s a universal rule: don’t be an asshole, everything will be fine” – Igor Sidorenko – Friday 17 juin 2016
How the hell are you?
Fine! Really good. I’m really satisfied with the set this morning. They were really into it despite the early hours. I wish we had a bit more time, but half an hour that’s still four songs, that’s okay.
Was that the biggest show of your lives?
In terms of audience definitely. It melts our hearts to play to a crowd that big, especially since they know who we are. They know bits and pieces of our songs!
What’s it like working with Claire from Purple Sage PR?
It’s been really great! She was very helpful last year when we had the review related routine with our latest record. I wish we had contacted her earlier because we did it after the release of the album so we got less of an a reaction than we expected but she helped us to reach out. When you have an exceptional piece of art there are people who just don’t know about it. People get lost in all the music. It’s helpful to find the right people who will react in the right way. That doesn’t mean that all the reviews were positive but they were on topic.
What is it like being a doom band from Kiev right now?
It has always been tough. Obviously this kind of music is pretty underground. I had a really hard time for years finding a drummer who dug this kind of stuff. I had a death metal drummer for a long time, he played with us for two years just because he was a cool dude. We have a strong scene though. It’s not about the quantity it’s about the quality. There’s only a handful of bands but they are all very strong and starting to make a name for themselves in Europe. Ethereal Riffian for example are really growing up and are really consistent. There are some other bands but a lot of them are lazy bastards. It’s impossible to do a Ukrainian Invasion tour!
Where do you feel your place is in that scene?
I kind of feel that we have outgrown it in a way. We are really growing out of it musically and spiritually and in many other ways. We are striving for more things. We don’t want to be pigeonholed in a genre we want to evolve and change. We really appreciate the fact that main people have discovered us through doom metal videos on Youtube and stoner rock blogs. As we go further some people will be disappointed though. That’s normal. You can’t make everyone satisfied. When we put out the second album people were like “Oh why don’t you play the first album?” and then with the third album people said, “Oh why don’t you play the third album?” We have another album in the works and I’m sure it will be the same thing.
What do you mean by having outgrown the scene spiritually?
When you’re a musician you see a lot of great bands who are in the scene with you. There is a friendly competition going on. Even if you are saying you are not a part of it you are. You get to see how bands play and market themselves and how they dress. It’s always a challenge to go beyond that. When you see so many examples beyond the genre you see that there is no actual sense in staying in the genre and limiting your own growth.
How is life in general in Kiev right now?
It’s fine. The conflict is kind of stuck in the same place. The European media has forgotten about it because nothing is really happening. A bunch of people get killed every month, but the things happening in Europe right now are far worse. These things can lead to unwanted tensions and something really bad. This isn’t how we feel, but in Europe Ukraine is just the outskirts of the civilized world. They don’t care what Russia does. Russia is still fucking shit up there, but everyone is tired and fed up with it. If you’re not directly involved you try to ignore it. This is so fucked up and wrong that we just don’t want to have to deal with it. The economy is fucked though. You can wipe your ass with our money!
How much does that impact the music?
It impacted the third album in the wrong way. It’s a lot more direct and angry. Some people took that he wrong way and said “Oh you sound like the Foo Fighters now!” but it’s not that. It’s just that we feel the need to be a lot more straightforward and brutal now. The second album was more like ‘hippies on acid tripping in the woods’ but this album is more about what is going on.
Are you considering moving?
It’s been brought to the table but nothing has been really discussed.
What do you guys love so much about music?
The way you can communicate and the way you can be united with people without knowing the language and without knowing the culture. You can share experiences with people you have never seen before. You don’t have to know the language, it goes in both directions. They give you energy you give it back. It’s fun to see the smiling faces. In the backstage it’s so positive and laid back. You just have to be cool back there though, so many people are famous. I love uniting with the passion and energy.
Any final words of wisdom?
Be cool. Be kind. Don’t do any bad shit. The main rule is don’t be an asshole because it will come back to you. Just don’t, because people are nice. I think that’s a universal rule: don’t be an asshole, everything will be fine.
Interview: Matt Bacon.