A Ripple Conversation With Stas Verechuk, Frontman of Joneser

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

I remember the moment when at my 13 I heard the song of Dire Straits «Sultans of swings» on TV. I then could not find it for a long time, because there was no Internet yet. Then I found this album of Dire Straits in one of the recording studios and recorded it on the reel. I think, this was my first touch with music, when something really cool impressed and hooked me. So, it all started. Then at 14 I became a big fan of Nirvana. And then I remember how I bought an RHCP cassette, asking the seller to give me something similar to Nirvana. I listened to RHCP, I realized that it was bull-shit, and instead of RHCP I recorded The Cranberries there. And what do you think? After Nirvana, I became a big fan of RHCP for the long 17 years.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

There are 3 options in my songwriting process. Sometimes I just take a guitar and create something. Sometimes, I go and suddenly start feeling that now I’m able to create something. And I take the guitar. And there is a third option - when I'm very impressed with something - travel, music, love - then I also take a guitar. So, first I take the guitar.

Then I work on a riff or harmony. I invent them until I have the feeling that something is wrong with them. Then I play this harmony with the guitar, trying to create a vocal tune. After that, I record the harmony with the vocal tune on the recorder. And then, listening to this recording while walking around the city, I write the lyrics. I don’t understand what the song will be about until I create the first line that fits perfectly into the vocal tune. Well, after that, my arranger and I make this song in the studio. So, everything is simple

Who has influenced you the most?

I was always inspired by the music of Apparat, Radiohead, alt-J, Depeche Mode, Foals, Balthazar etc. And I’m the old fan of RHCP, Molotov, Limp Bizkit and Nirvana.

If we speak about someone from other fields I would remember Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie, Coen brothers and for sure Martin McDonagh.

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

I’m always inspired with love and travels. So, I have no choice. But mostly, I start composing without any inspiration. I just start doing it. And gradually I notice inspiration peeking around the corner

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

I live in hell for alternative music, because nobody needs it here. To be a successful musician in Kiev, you must be a clown composing and performing primitive trash. So yes, this has an impact on my music. Definitely. And so far, I have ordered clown clothes on Amazon. Waiting for delivery from day to day.

Where'd the band name come from?

Joneser is the one who will stop at nothing to render whatever he is "Jonesing" for. So, I’m a Joneser. It was me who created this project, who wrote all the songs and who is jonesing for taking some tiny place under our big musical sun.

First, I named this project Ttyme but a bit later I realized that Joneser matched my ambitions much more. So, I renamed the project after releasing the 1st single in November 2017.

You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

What about In Bruges? I think, it would be great.

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?). You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

I’d write about a June song dedicated to my father, who died in 2016 from cancer. I’m really proud that I could write such a light and sensual song in memory of him.

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

No, we haven’t. We had our first gig on February 18, 2020, at PC "Masterskaya" in Kiev (Ukraine) where we presented our album "Back Two Me". We were planning to have gigs on different Ukrainian festivals this year but now we don’t know at all what we’ll have this year because of this terrible situation with the coronavirus.

What makes a great song?

I think, this is only magic. Because there is no recipe for making a great song.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

Oh I was 15 years old and I was sitting on a washing machine with a guitar, closing in the bathroom. It seemed to me that it was something outstanding. I still remember the first verse of this song. But can I not sing it? I began to compose something really worthwhile at the age of 18. And then I realized some of my first songs with my funk-rock project Stassa Biomassa (www.stassabiomassa.com)

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

Yeah, a couple of months ago we released our new album «Back Two Me» that consisted of 12 indie-rock songs in English. I’m really proud of what we’ve done. I do think that the songs Miraline, June, Folie are the best of what I’ve ever created in my music reality as of today. I like our current sound.

At the same time, we released a video for the song Miraline in the animated short film style. Please, watch it while listening Miraline. You will surely enjoy this dramatic song with appealing vocals over a slow burning instrumentation full of infectious synth lines and dreamy arrangements, with beautiful harmonies and emotional vibes.

Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

Today I am watching Nothing But Thieves with interest. I really love the way Yungblud sounds. I’m also the fan of Billie Eilish. All of them are great young guys and their music is fascinating.

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

When I am 75, I will return to vinyl. I will sit with a glass of prosecco on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean and listen to Hump the bump. So far, I have enough digital.

Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice

Beer. Whiskey stinks to me.

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

My home town is Kiev (Ukraine). Go there: https://vinylshop.com.ua/

What's next for the band?

In the nearest time we are going to release 2 music videos in the animated short movies style for the songs June and Going (both from the album Back Two Me). It is supposed to happen in April and June 2020. Then, 3-4 singles with some music videos are going to be released till the end of 2020. We’re looking forward for the possibility of touring but now the world has much bigger problems then our concerts. So, we are waiting and working on the new material.

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

Any of our activities in life is just a way to get to know ourselves deeper. Therefore, choose only what you really like. Otherwise, you will never know yourself and live this life in vain. Because you will never have the energy to do what you do not like. I am sure this is quite clear. So why do the most of people live horribly? Tell me something about it: 1@advocats.org

Cheers! And many thanx for your time and your attention - Stas

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