This year, music country Poland is in the spotlight at Eurosonic, the main European part of the annual ESNS festival in Groningen. As part of the Focus on Poland twelve diverse acts will perform at ESNS24, including noisy psych punks Izzy and the Black Trees, the elusive, rough hip-pop diamond Berry Galazka, rock band Ciśnienie and Moonstone, a psychedelic doom crew from Krakow. How much this long-haired foursome fits in musically with NMTH was made crystal clear in October, when they were intensely spacing out at the Trix Cafe at Desertfest Belgium. They will try to do the same tonight (January 18), but to a different kind of crowd, at ESNS in Machinefabriek.
By Ingmar Griffioen
– Could you start by explaining who Moonstone is?
Jan: Hello Ingmar! The core of Moonstone is Wiktor (bass), Vova (git), Kacper (drums) and myself (git/voc). Kacper can’t assist us on ESNS due to personal reasons, so our dear friend Kasia will perform with us this time.
– Why was the band founded and started playing psychedelic doom?
J: The band was founded purely because our love towards heavy music. Back in 2014 I’ve met Wiktor at Saint Vitus gig in Kraków. What a magnificent party it was! So, not long after that we came to an idea of creating a doom band together with Wiktor. As we had no drummer yet, Wiktor asked Kacper to join us – he was friend of his from high school. We recorded the tracks for our S/T debut album and just before its release – Vova joined us as the last, vital element. Psychedelia in the band’s music may be an outcome of the very blend of our individualities. All in all we wanted to play slow and heavy.
– You released your third album (2nd studio album) ‘Growth’ in may of 2023. How was it received?
J: So far, so good I guess. It is hard to compare to our previous releases. As always – we are very grateful for every kind word.
– On ‘Growth’ the songs have become somewhat shorter, and seem – especially compared to ‘1904’ – a bit less spacious. Is that deliberate?
J: ‘Growth’ is indeed different than ‘1904’, and each is telling a separate story. While we were writing down the songs for ‘Growth’ we already had some finished ideas. The other thing is that songs not as long as 15 minutes are easier for making more diverse setlists. Was it deliberate? Maybe to some extent, but honestly we didn’t think much about it. We wrote the whole ‘Growth’ down in a week and accepted them as they were.
– The band seems very inspired by cosmic, occult and astronomic affairs, which is reflected in the stunning artwork. Please explain.
J: Someone once said that the main theme for our music is doom, nature and emptiness, but I wouldn’t say we are inspired by occult stuff. We love and are inspired by the beauty of nature, the Moon, the Stars and most importantly – the burden of one’s existence. The cover for ‘Growth’ was made by our dear friend and tattoo artist Lizard Matilda, and she knew what it is all about.
– Does ‘Growth’ also signify a growth for Moonstone as a band? How has the band evolved since the start?
J: The idea behind ‘Growth’ was not about the development of the band as such. Many times in our lives we fall, but eventually we get up, fight and grow. When we were starting this project we couldn’t even imagine how far it would take us and we are grateful for this adventure every single day.
– We saw you perform in Antwerp. How was playing Desertfest Berlin and Antwerp for you? Has it helped raise the band’s profile?
Wiktor: Playing at Desertfest Antwerp was a huge milestone for us. It’s a really great festival, we could totally go there as fans, and coming as a band was the best possible experience. We received a nice feedback after the show, also from local bookers so it couldn’t be better.
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– The ESNS line-up doesn’t feature many heavy bands. Do you see that as an advantage or disadvantage?
W: Of course an advantage! We love to be a part of events that mix many genres. It’s also quite cool to be considered as one of the heaviest acts on a festival.
– What do you think that ESNS can bring for you as a band?
W: We can be heard by a new audience and get in touch with new promoters and bookers!
– Which Polish acts at ESNS should we definitely check?
W: Definetly Klawo and Ciśnienie – I’ve seen and heard them and can guarantee it will be amazing.
– Of course, not the entire Polish heavy scene is present in Groningen. Which bands would you recommend to us, as a heavy alternative blog?
W: I’ll just leave few underground names I really recommend – Slavenkust (hardcore/grind), Maruntuka (sludge/black), JAD (punk).
– You have been really productive. What does the future hold? Any plans (live or releases)?
W: We’ve recorded about 80 minutes of new material in September, so yes – new music is coming! However we still need some time to record the missing instruments and polish the sound. I think you can expect a new release in the late 2024 and shows all around Europe in the meantime!
If you are at ESNS you can check out Moonstone tonight (Thursday, January 18th) at Machinefabriek. Show starts at 8.10 PM.