Stoner rock and stoner metal were created as a result of the fascination with the 60s and 70s world and music. The world breakthrough for stoner rock was 1992 and the album of the American band Kyuss - Blues for the Red Sun. Critics have acclaimed it as "a major milestone in heavy music, or "a hundredweight of hot desert sand into metal".
About the same time, Electric Wizard released their first album in England, and in the US the bands Sleep and Monster Magnet, gathered more and more fans of newly emerging genres of music.
Until now, they are still considered to be one of the pillars and precursors of these genres of music.
Influenced on psychedelic experiences induced by cannabis, bands such as Sleep have involved the concept of cannabis to be part of the core of their albums and songs, which resulted even in conflict with Sleep's record company.
The beginnings of stoner rock in Poland date back to 2001, when the doom / death metal band Corruption, founded in 1991, recorded the album Pussyworld, for the first time in the style of stoner metal.
The popularity of stoner rock in Poland, although still small, is gradually increasing, which can be seen from the number of active bands playing at cyclical Polish festivals, e.g. the legendary Red Smoke Festival.
Its current crew includes (right to left) - Paweł Mioduchowski - Vocals, Guitars (2010-present), Grzegorz Pawłowski - Guitars (2010-present), Piotr Zin - Bass, Vocals (2010-present), and Piotr Ochociński - Drums (2018-present).
One of the significant bands on the Polish scene, but also recognizable more and more globally, is the band Dopelord, founded in 2010, which has been recording and performing continuously since then, not only in Poland, but also around the world, playing at events such as Desertfest Berlin, Lake on Fire in Austria or Soulcrusher in Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
The band has released four full-length albums, and the last one is "Sign of the Devil" released in 2020. In 2021, the well-received EP "Reality Dagger" also premiered.
Stoner Doom Metal served by Dopelord is a combination of heavy riffs, crushing sounds and catchy choruses. Musicians drawing inspiration from old movies, 70s music and magical herbs, longing for festivals, however, also work efficiently during lockdowns, working on other strong music releases.
In this exclusive interview I talk to the brain behind the Dopelord operation - Piotr Zin, about the circumstances in which their band was formed, about what they are preparing for the fans and whether and how it is possible to profit from niche music in these difficult times for artists.
Jinn: Let's start at the beginning. What is the genesis of your band? When and under what circumstances did it all begin? What genres of music do you come from? What did you listen to when you were a teenager and what was the greatest inspiration for you to start making music yourself?
Piotrek Zin: The band was founded in Lublin at the end of 2010. It can be said that apart from the coincidences typical of such situations, a certain place was also important, visited by people listening to the music that interested us then. We are talking about the Kwadrat pub, which has not existed for a long time. There, with Paweł, with whom we were playing in another band, we decided to start a band in a stoner doom style.
We all have basics in heavier varieties of guitar music. Although it is known that everyone has different stages of youth. There was a time when I listened to Beastie Boys a lot or RUN DMC. Anyway, these are bands that I like very much to this day. It does not change the fact that the basis for me is generally understood rock music, classic things like Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd or early King Crimson, to name a few of the obvious ones.
Jinn: Why did it just fall on Stoner Doom Metal?
Piotrek Zin: Mainly because we had a very strong turn at that point. You listened to everything you could get your hands on, and those were the times when Rapidshare albums were yelled, the times of Russian torrents and blogs. Anyone who remembers Stonerobixxx knows what it is about. Additionally, there was no band in our country back then that would play like that. Or so we thought.
Jinn: In 2021 your EP Reality Dagger was released, with 3 songs - Dark Coils, Your Blood and the almost 11-minute title Reality Dagger. What did the recording of this album look like? Where did you record it, how long did the production last and who was involved in its creation?
Piotrek Zin: The tracks for the EP were recorded during the session for "Sign of the Devil". We recorded the drums and bass on Tall Pine Records for tape, the rest in Nebula Studio. Haldor Grunberg was in charge of everything (recording, mixing, mastering). We recorded the rhythm section in one take, or almost in one take, because we were just switching from recording strictly “one takes” of basic tracks to recording single tracks.
Jinn: What did you want to convey with this EP? How do you approach your music in general, do you want to convey something to the listener with each album and track, or do you leave it for your own interpretation to the audience?
Piotrek Zin: We do not have board meeting, where we deliberately deliver a message. We painstakingly do numbers, look for riffs, everything has to work together and have a coherent atmosphere. The lyrics very often appear at the last minute (though not always), and they usually have some final impact on the overall tone of the piece.
Usually it can be interpreted in several ways, but it is neither an assumption nor a requirement.
It happened several times that someone in the audience surprised me by how they perceive the lyrics of a song.
Jinn: How was the last EP received by fans? Are you satisfied with the distribution process? From which source (CD, Spotify, iTunes, Bandacamp, etc.) fans most often listen and buy your productions?
Piotrek Zin: We sell records and merch from our Bandcamp profile, it works very well. Plus, Spotify is always bringing the most traffic. The EP was received very well, it was included in several important monthly summaries, there were many enthusiastic reviews.
However, the most reliable indicator is sales and this is something we cannot complain about.
Jinn: I'm a huge fan of your promotional graphics. The poster from the "Under the Reptile Sun" tour, I even had as a wallpaper on my computer for a long time. Who designs the covers and the entire visual identification for you? What is this symbolism about?
Piotrek Zin: We work with artists whose works we like and, in our opinion, they can fit into the overall atmosphere of the band. Usually we present to the artists our idea when it comes to merch. In the case of covers, probably only the concept for "Sign of the Devil" came from us.
In other cases, the idea came from the artist after hearing the material. It was different with "Magick Rites", where time was chasing us, so Paweł found a suitable artwork on one of the portals for graphic designers.
What the symbolism tells about, it should probably be visible. This is the broadly understood convention of horror, occultism, and Satanism.
Jinn: Before the pandemic, you played live shows quite often, both at music festivals all over Europe and at smaller events. How many concerts have you missed since the lockdowns, and how has it influenced your work?
Piotrek Zin: How much has been lost, it is not known yet, possibly none. So far, we have managed to postpone the vast majority of tours and festivals. If only the festivals, clubs and promoters do not win - we have a chance to play everything that we have planned, only on a different date. It is known that the situation is tough, but it's not the bands that are doing the worst right now.
Jinn: Your fan base is growing all the time. What has been the turning point in your career since you started building a fanbase? Which social media gives you the best contact with your fans?
Piotrek Zin: The breakthrough for us was definitely establishing cooperation with Doomstar Bookings, a large and dynamically operating concert agency. We could finally set off on full-scale routes and introduce ourselves to many new places. In the end, we got to the key festivals, such as Desertfest and similar.
When it comes to social media, we started on Facebook, but recently it's very hard to reach people who like and want to follow your profile. Times are changing, whatever price you have to pay for. Instagram seems to me much more grateful for the purposes of communicating with fans and it is this medium that we put the main emphasis on. We don't forget about Bandcamp and Spotify, where there are more and more options to interact with fans.
Jinn: We don't know how long the lockdown in the world will last and how it will ultimately affect the music industry. How do you see your future career in all of this? What are you currently working on, and what are your plans to continue your activities?
Piotrek Zin: We focus on playing rehearsals, making new songs. We hope the concerts will come back. If that happens, the team will go back to full capacity, giving some of us the means to subsist. It would be nice to play the material from the last LP properly, but it may happen that the concerts will not be possible for another year or more - however, we will have something to do. Riffs are waiting to be discovered, then it will have to be recorded and released. This is not the worst job in the world.
Jinn: Which music festivals where you played do you have the best memories and would like to play there again when everything returns to normal one day?
Piotrek Zin: Desertfest Berlin was for sure a very important event for us. We had a great reception, the view from the stage was stunning. But this is not the only festival that we have fond memories of. I really like our native Red Smoke Festival, it has an unmistakable atmosphere. We had a great time at Lake on Fire in Austria, Soulcrusher in Nijmegen in the Netherlands, Desertfest Antwerp and London, Keep It Low and Up In Smoke. Very interesting experiences are strictly metal festivals such as Metal Days Slovenia, SWR in Portugal or Aalborg Metal Fest.
Jinn: Where can fans buy your merch, music and how can they support your band during the lockdown?
Piotrek Zin: All currently available merch is available here. In addition, our Spotify profile has a link to donate via PayPal.
Jinn: What do you think is the hardest part of developing your musical career, and what is the part you gain most joy from being in a band?
Piotrek Zin: Reaching the audience seems to be the most difficult thing these days. The amount of music available is unlimited, and the day has only 24 hours, you have to choose what you listen to every day. Fortunately, we don't have intergalactic aspirations, and we're happy to take every little step forward. The concerts are invariably the greatest fun for me. The awareness that there are people in the world who are willing to pay with real money to see us fumble with our colleagues on stage is invariably surprising to me.
Jinn: Looking to the future, what direction do you think Stoner Metal will develop in and will you want to follow this trend, or will you stay true to your sound? What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
Piotrek Zin: I have no expectations for this genre. Stoner is to me what it has been since I met that music genre. I still really like everything that I admired years ago, there are new bands that know what it is, the old ones record better or worse albums, but there is always a lot to choose from. It is known that I do not have the same pressure for all the news in the current as in the past, but also, let's agree, the news in this trend usually cannot bite me the way it used to.
To support Dopelord follow their Social Media or BUY music and merch at Bandcamp
Dopelord Instagram - http://bit.ly/dopelord_insta
Dopelord Facebook - http://bit.ly/dopelord_fb
🤘 Vinnie Jinn