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"The mass grave. In the middle of Europe. In 2022. Can you even comprehend that? Because I can't." | Photo: IS archive
"The mass grave. In the middle of Europe. In 2022. Can you even comprehend that? Because I can't." | Photo: IS archive
Ricardo Delfino -

Ukrainian Musician Igor Sidorenko: There Are No Concerts, You Could Miss the Siren behind the Loud Music and Die

Worldwide iconic stoner rock band Stoned Jesus was preparing for their spring tour with German band Samavayo. The tour was canceled because of barely predictable and unbelievable reasons. Despite living in modern Europe in the 21st century, the band members of Stoned Jesus can't do what they did around the world for a decade. The aggressor brought war to their homeland—not a special military operation—war! How are the days of Stoned Jesus frontman, one of the authors of the stoner hymn "I'm The Mountain" in the warzone in Ukraine? The first words of the song's lyrics are "Days go by, but I don't seem to notice them..." You will never listen to the song the same way, I presume—at least I won't. This interview follows up our questionnaire.

Igor, where in Ukraine are you from?

Hey, I'm from Eastern Ukraine originally (which was occupied by Russians since 2014), but I spent half of my life living in Kyiv. I had to leave it when Russia attacked full force. Now I'm in central Ukraine, helping locally in every way I can.

What did you do when the Russian invasion troops crossed the borders?

Well, the invasion started in 2014 and I lost my hometown to Russia during it. The full-blown Russian war which started on February 24 woke me up at 5 in the morning—a Kh-31 rocket fell 300 meters from my house. I packed two bags with essentials—documents, money, some clothes, a laptop, a bottle of water—and went to my friend's place. The next morning we left Kyiv and now we're in the middle of nowhere, as I said.

Are you in touch with your bandmates from Stoned Jesus? Are you together or in different places?

We’re all separated but writing to each other daily. Our drummer stayed in Kharkiv to help locals. And now Kharkiv is being obliterated from the air, so we worry about him every minute.

What do your days look like since the start of the war?

It's still the same day for me, February 24th. I keep in touch with my friends, help to spread useful information through my social media, fight the fakes, report the bots, run to the shelter when air-raid sirens start, cook some food, even listen to some music and go to sleep with sirens ringing in my ears—and then repeat it all over again, day in day out. I don't have any right to complain though, because while I'm alive my fellow Ukrainians are currently rotting in the mass grave in Mariupol a couple hundred miles away from me. The mass grave. In the middle of Europe. In 2022. Can you even comprehend that? Because I can't.

You mentioned fakes. Could you pick one or two examples of fake news you are fighting against?

There are literally dozens of fakes. Like Ukraine being a Nazi state, or Ukrainians being racist towards refugees of colour, or that our army has been bombing Donbas. Obviously, all these fakes are aimed at people with rather low IQ but high emotional perception. So if you yourself fall for one, it’s time to question your intelligence! Literally, any Russian propaganda fake can be proved wrong by simply googling, but we all know we don’t have extra time for this in the current state of things. So they use this as an advantage to confuse and scare already misinformed people.

Are you in contact with any Russian musicians and friends? How is the situation interpreted in Russia?

Dunno man, I don't really care for Russians. Russians just came to kill Ukrainians—I don't know if you have seen this but they're deliberately hitting hospitals and schools from the air and killing civilians while we're trying to evacuate. Our cities are being obliterated from the air, dozens of them are suffering a humanitarian catastrophe. It's called genocide for all I know. I have a few Russian friends, who are protesting the war/donating to Ukrainian charities, and they are the ones who have been living abroad for years. All the others, who are in Russia at the moment, they're more concerned that Netflix and McDonald's are closing their businesses there. Most of them support Putin, even if they don't want to admit that. See, it's not Putin alone who's to blame, it's their collective apathy—for decades!—that made him into the monster he is today. Their silence is as harmful as their violence.

Did you hear about any underground concerts in Ukraine? Or did the culture stop all across the country?

I don't think there are any concerts because you could miss the siren behind the loud music and be dead within the next few seconds. This is something westerners barely get—we're AT WAR with Russia right now. It's not a conflict, not a diplomatic misunderstanding, it's a full-blown war. It's not because NATO is bad, or the US is bad, or Ukraine has a problem with nazis (our president is literally Jewish, for crying out loud), or any other propaganda fake—no, it's just Russia wanting to destroy Ukraine all over again. I say "again" because they've always been keen to do that, just google our relationship in the last 100 years, for example; collectivisation, the Holodomor, deportations, etc. So much for the brotherly love, amirite? I just hope they can never wash their shame after this and will stay a pariah state for ages.

Stoned Jesus in the time before the Russian war. | Photo: SJ archive

What will you do next? Is it even possible for you to think about any further future?

It’s literally impossible to plan a few hours ahead. Maybe when you’re publishing this I’m already in another town or on the frontline… hopefully still alive. We need the world to never turn away from what’s happening, so thank you for this interview! People must know the Truth, and with the Truth, we shall win.

Tagy Ukraine Ukrajina war in Ukraine

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Ricardo Delfino
Singer in Crossroad Bros, band manager (The Wild Roots, Seventh Passion), PR manager (AMPromotio…