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Interview: The Stone

by Strahinja Rupnjak
The Stone

Founded in 1996 in Belgrade, Serbia, The Stone have never ceased to embrace the darkness as the primal mark on their artistic shoulders: with a plethora of releases, tours and festival appearances under their belt, they have proved to be one of the strongest and uncompromising musical entities over the past two decades.

Hailing their upcoming EP, which will be realesed on March 15, we had a little chat with the band’s frontman Glad.

This April will mark one year since your return to The Stone horde, how does it feel? Have you missed the stage, recording songs etc.?
Greetings. Yeah, well, it started off great. Since my return, we’ve done selected live appearances, domestic and abroad, and recorded new songs for the upcoming release, which we’ll promote live on March 15 at Dom omladine Beograda. We also plan to start writing music for the next full-length album pretty soon, so we’ve been busy with lots of plans for the near future.

Although May Result has been “on-ice” for years, and I only recently got involved with The Stone again last year, I and Kozeljnik did continue performing with our side-project Murder and we released a mini album titled “King of Tyranny” back in 2014. So, I couldn’t say that I’ve entirely forgotten how a stage looks like. I also did guest vocals for “Cold Blood War” from Infest and “Memorandum Occultus” by The Committee from Belgium, both great albums.

Since there is very little known about you, could you share with us some of your favorite bands, albums, books and movies?
This is always a tough one to answer. What defines oneself – the influences from the formative years and what sticks with you later on – is difficult to summarize in a short, coherent answer. I’ll try to be as short as possible:

While I predominantly listen to black metal, I was also raised on and like listening to rock, blues, punk, goth, hardcore, pop and classical music. Some of the most important bands and movements that labeled my life include Iron Maiden, Slayer, Danzig, My Dying Bride, Bathory, Mayhem, Dissection and the entire early Scandinavian black metal scene, and both Florida and Swedish waves of death metal. If I were to start naming them all, we would need another interview just for that.

As far as literature goes, I’m interested in a variety of topics and literary genres, but if I had to choose, some of my favorite writers would be Mikhail Lermontov, Bulgakov, H. P. Lovecraft, Charles Bukowski and Milorad Pavić, as well as a number of Russian, French and Serbian poets that left an outstanding legacy.

I have been a huge fan of the cinema since an early age and, just like with music and literature, I enjoy most genres, gulping everything that comes out and is fairly decent in terms of quality. However, my all-time favorite movie is Conan the Barbarian, the ’82 version of course: the peerless directing of John Milius combined with the musical genius of Basil Poledouris has made me watch this movie god knows how many times! In fact, I can openly say that the soundtrack for Conan is the best original score ever written for the silver screen. As for relatively recent movies that made a big impression on me, I’d say Ex Drummer and Martyrs.

Your journey started back in 2001 with May Result. Could you enlighten us how it was when you began? Does the feeling differ from The Stone?
Actually, it began around ’97 or ’98. I met Kozeljnik at a bar, through a mutual acquaintance back in 1999, and after some thought (and plenty of beer) he invited me to a rehearsal that same night. Very soon I joined May Result in full capacity.

The band had a lot of music written for what was to become our second full-length “Tmina”, and I at the time already had lots of lyrics written – some of them were brand new while others were written for my band from my hometown, called Aiwass – a project that never took flight due to the fact that the other people involved deemed it was more important to do drugs and deal smack than play metal. Well, with May Result, it felt natural from the very beginning, you know. The way it should feel when you’re 20 and you just want to record and perform great music. We went on for 10 years and did three full-lengths, an EP and an official live album.

The feeling, as you’ve put it, is pretty much the same. I was never able to draw a clear line between May Result and The Stone, and for much of my first years in The Stone (from 2005 to 2010) both bands had an almost identical lineup.

“Teatar apsurda” was musically a lot different from “Nekroza”. What can we expect from the upcoming EP?
Well, first off all, the new EP is titled “Kruna praha” (Eng. The Crown of Ashes). It will be out on March 15 via the band’s independently owned label Mizantropeon Records. The material comprises of two brand new tracks in Serbian that will be available as a 7” single and a complete EP containing a third song in English as well as some bonuses, previously unreleased on disc, that will be available on digipack format exclusively. Soon we’ll set the pre-orders and you can get your copy of “Kruna praha” directly from our Facebook and Bandcamp page or other digital platforms.

These three new songs are, in a way, a natural continuation of “Teatar apsurda”, with a pinch of some new ideas and moments which I will not disclose for the time being. But everyone can make their own judgment when we release the EP.

I’ve been informed that you wrote lyrics for these new songs. Could you enlighten us what inspires you?
As both The Stone and May Result have always shared common ground when it comes to lyrical themes, to me it’s not that big of a difference whether I’m doing lyrics for one or the other. Much of my earlier inspiration was related to the dark aspect of Slavic and pre-Christian Serbian mythology, anti-religious sentiments, death cults, and funerary passages and rituals in our heritage. Today I’m more inspired by the abhorrence of the human condition: there is something innately foul in man, in what we are capable of committing to one another and to the world, that will ultimately be our downfall.

I have seen pictures and videos from some of your performances and have to compliment you on your stage persona. How do you get into that mindset? Does it feel organic when you start singing?
Thank you for the compliment. Nowadays it comes with ease, like I was born to do it, but it took countless rehearsals, half a dozen studio sessions and numerous tours across Europe for me to get to that place where I feel comfortable being a dominant presence on stage. For me, and for all the other members of The Stone, performing our music live is a passion, so you don’t necessarily have to go into a mindset per se: it only takes to get on stage and it’s already there.

As a musician, what is your biggest challenge?
I won’t go straight to re-telling some of the things that happened to us while touring, stage complications or shit like that. There was plenty of that throughout the years. Perhaps the biggest challenge for me, and for all of us, as a matter of fact, was persevering all these years, decades. I mean, to be able to balance out our personal lives and careers, make sacrifices for the sake of our art, and not letting our regular everyday jobs interfere with our desire and ambition to continue with our vision. In the end, tribulations may come and go, but The Stone is hell-bent on staying true to ourselves and to our music.

Thank you for this interview. There are not so many of us dedicated freaks anymore, so make sure to support your local underground. SLAVA!

Photo: Marko Ristić

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