Date: September 2018
Interview by Ryan Whitwell
Ukranian stoner rockers ‘Stoned Jesus’ are currently on a European tour promoting their new album, Pilgrims. Igor answered a few questions for The IV in the run-up to their London date at The Garage on the 28th of September, which The Independent Voice will be reviewing.
IV: You’ve just released your new album, Pilgrims. Seeds II acted as a prelude to some of the tracks, has the band’s attitude or sound changed much since the release of Seeds II in 2016?
Igor: Actually no, we never based anything on “The Seeds” jams. They were just the rehearsal jams that we recorded at some point and put out on Bandcamp only – sort of a fundraising tool for the actual album. Back in 2016 we‘d already had “Thessalia” and a couple of other tracks, so that was the beginning of “Pilgrims’, but the songs weren‘t jam-based.
IV: Did you pick up any new influences whilst developing and recording Pilgrims that fans should listen out for?
Igor: I would say I really wanted to reflect the exhaustion and the routine of touring through song structures, so many of them sound quite repetitive and minimalistic – “Water Me”, “Thessalia”, “Apathy”, etc. Bands like Swans, Neu, Killing Joke, Kraftwerk and Can were the obvious influences. Also 90s stuff like Drive Like Jehu, Quicksand, At the Drive-In, helps you understand how you can be heavy without being metal.
IV: Which tracks are you most looking forward to playing live on the upcoming European tour?
Igor: Well we‘re playing the whole freaking thing on this leg of The Pilgrimage Tour, all seven tracks, plus some classics like “I‘m the Mountain” and “Black Woods”. We‘ve been working on “Pilgrims” for almost three years, and it‘s like being pregnant for three years, you can‘t wait to finally give birth to your baby! Of course, it‘s ugly and screaming but it‘s only up to you to turn it into a beautiful being, right? We‘re blessed to have the most appreciative, patient and passionate audience any band could only dream of – not only do they let us play the whole thing nightly, they really enjoy it even though they barely heard it!
IV: A 21 date tour is quite extensive. How have you been preparing to get ready for the tour?
Igor: We had a 35-date thing two years ago with only a couple of day-offs so it‘s no biggie, honestly. It all depends on how the whole thing is organized – I mean even a weekend mini-tour could be a disaster if your booker is not experienced. Fortunately for us, Sound Of Liberation do a great job of putting everything together and promoting the heck out of it. Kudos to them!
IV: Are you looking forward to being on the road again? Are there any things you’re hoping to do or see in the various cities you’ll be visiting?
Igor: I just love playing shows, that is what the chorus of the opening track, “Excited” is about: “Just one hour against the twenty three/Feeding on your energy/Giving back from us three”. The rest of the day, well, you just gotta get through it and it could be done in many different ways. It‘s fun to see new cities and interesting places, but if you‘re tired you just nap an hour or two instead.
IV: The support acts for some of the shows (including London) are Mothership and Elephant Tree. Did you decide on which support bands you’d have, if so, what was it about Mothership and Elephant Tree that made you want to share a stage with them?
Igor: Nah it was Sound Of Liberation‘s pick, we totally trust them and yet again they didn‘t let anyone down, the chemistry is fantastic! I hadn’t even listened to those bands before the tour, and I‘m glad I didn‘t because they‘re so good live. All of us are getting along so well, and we‘re even joining each other on stage for some numbers – something we‘d NEVER done with Stoned Jesus on previous tours! And these aftershow nightliner parties, oh boy… We‘re gonna miss these guys for sure!
IV: Thank you for answering our questions and good luck with the tour and the album!
Igor: Our pleasure! Thank you for your time and interest! Cheers, Igor.
Buy Stoned Jesus – Pilgrims here: https://stonedjesus.bandcamp.com/