The Median Man spoke with Stas Verechuk the mastermind behind Joneser earlier this week.
What inspired the name of the band? What are your influences?
I’m Stas Verechuk and I’m the frontman of Ukrainian indie-rock band Joneser.
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.
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. They are the most inspiring people for me.
How do you approach songwriting? Are there any themes that you are keen to explore when you start off?
I started songwriting when I was 15. These were the first timid attempts to create something really worthwhile. But everything I wrote was terribly poppy and clichéd. The first really interesting songs I wrote at the age of 18-19. Many years later, I recorded them with my funk-rock project Stassa Biomassa.
Over the past 10 years, I wrote more than 100 songs, and 52 of them I recorded at different studios with 2 of my projects – Stassa Biomassa and Joneser.
When I want to write the song, I write the song. I don’t wait for anything, I have no doubts, I only write the song. I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t smoke weed. I only write the song. Because my goal is to write the song. This is the only secret.
Why do you write the sort of music that you do?
I’ve been doing it for almost 6 years. And my music is changing gradually.
First, in 2015 I released the album of funk-rock music with my project Stassa Biomassa. I did it because I was the old fan of RHCP as you remember. I released 2 albums of more classic rock-music in 2016-2017, trying to have some experiments on the way to myself.
Then, in 2018 I released with Joneser the album «Vilni». It was a long play of 15 songs of indie-pop music in Ukrainian. It was quite important stage of my life when I was trying to follow the lead of the world indie pop culture. To be honest, I created a fairly high-quality product. But it turned out too sweet for me. Why have I done it? I strove for deeper music, more popular music. But it wasn’t my way.
Afterwards I decided to come back to more alternative sound but at the same time to keep melodic and sensual components of my previous music. I started working on Joneser’s second album. The work lasted for about 2 years and by the autumn of 2019 I had recorded 12 indie-rock songs in English.
All these 12 songs were included into the second Joneser’s album «Back Two Me» that was released on all platforms on February 2, 2020. I’m really proud of this album and 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. Because now I’m closer to myself than ever before. And we play true modern indie with sensual and powerful guitars and electronic sounds, melodic vocal lines and dreamy feel of this. I believe that we make really creative product with engaging videos.
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.
How do you decide which songs to perform live and how do you transpose them into a live setting?
We decided to perform live only some songs from our last album. That’s because you need to do only those things that respond within you.
So, we chose 10 songs of 12 from the album Back Two Me for our live shows. We play live the guitar and the drums. My vocal is live as well. The rest of the musical parts we play through playback.
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 plans do you have for the future?
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.