Not being that familiar with STONED JESUS I thought that now is a good time to get to know them a bit better. Answers from Igor. Anders Ekdahl ©2018

What pressure is there in releasing an album compared to a demo? Do you feel that there is a sort of pressure to succeed when you release and album, that it sorta is for real now?
-Well, I don’t really remember releasing our demos – I just uploaded them on the internet, and that happened almost ten years ago. We were releasing albums officially since then, so it’s always for real for us. And the realest it gotten so far is obviously our latest album “Pilgrims”, whish is released by Napalm Records!

When you release a record of any sort what kind of expectations do you have on it? Do you set up goals for it?
-Of course we always hope for positive reception, both from critics and casual listeners, but you can’t really demand one. You need to remember you’ve been working on this set of songs for years, they’re very important to you, you love them with all your heart. And all these people have just heard them, they need time to appreciate your work – especially with our albums, which are very different one from another. Obviously there’s a certain percent of folks who’d never like it, and that’s fine.

When you release an album and you go out and play live and people know your songs, how weird is that? That people know what you have written on your own?
-Oh man that’s fantastic! Again, most people need some time to fully embrace what you released, and I’m gotta give kudos to our Ukrainian fans. They’re really into the stuff we’re doing, they don’t really care about the genres, they always expect us to experiment, and this is very inspiring. I don’t get those who just want us to stick to one particular sound or style, you know, genre purists. Stoned Jesus was never about the genre, it’s about the music in general!

Do you feel that you have to follow in the footsteps of the last album for a new when it comes to lyrics and art work for everything so that those that bought the previous record will recognize your sound?
-That’s what I’m talking about – we do what we feel like doing at the moment. There’s no point in repeating yourself, unless you really enjoy certain elements of your style. But even then you’d really want to improve them, not just do the same stuff over and over again. Progress is all!

Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community because you play in a band?
-Yep it’s always fun to go on tour and meet other bands, promoters, fans, journalists. They all make this whole touring routine less exhausting, we’re very thankful to them!

How hard/easy is it to come up with new songs that that still are you but doesn’t sound like anything you’ve already written?
-This is one of the biggest challenges I face as a creative person. I never wanted to repeat myself, and it’s not only about riffs, but also about cover art, song structures, album flows, melodies, lyrics, etc. Sometimes you feel like you said everything you wanted, and you’re not going to work in this direction ever again – like with “Black Church” from “The Harvest”. I don’t think we’ll ever have another industrial metal track with Hammond organ in it! But sometimes you feel like you have a lot to say, a lot to show, and people’s perception might be an influence as well sometimes. I’d say with “Pilgrims” we’re getting even closer to Stoned Jesus essence without losing our recognizable features.

What influences/inspires you today? Where do you draw inspiration from? Is it important to have some sort of message?
-Well the new record, “Pilgrims”, is heavily inspired by our non-stop touring in recent years and the feelings you get – or rather, you lose – because of your schedule. You don’t want to socialize, you don’t want to connect, you’re numb and alienated, but you’re still trying to reach out. Writing songs about our touring experience was my way to get back on track, to feel normal again. It’s funny ‘coz my favourite Stephen King’s book is “In Writing”, where he’s just sorta telling you how to write books! So our new album is about touring, it doesn’t get any more meta than this!

We hear about what state the record industry is in. Then we hear that cd sales are increasing. As a band that releases records do you notice the state the industry is in?
-I don’t think we’re part of the “industry”, you know. Even though now we’re working with one of the leading labels in metal world, we’re still a DIY band in many respects. I don’t really care about the industry, because they only care about money, and my priorities lie mostly in other areas. Maybe I’m wrong, but hey I’m still young, it’s ok to be mistaken, right? 🙂

What is your opinion on digital verses physical?
-You can’t stop progress, period. I collect vinyls, but 90% of music I listen to is streaming or downloads. Honestly, it’s way easier for everyone.

What lies in the future?
-Again – progress! Evolve or die, there’s no in-between. Thank you for this interview!

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