Italian artist Tiziano Veronese’s Sonic Jesus is an act the defies genre, with gorgeous soundscapes that can drift from garage to noir to pagan folk. The latest album, ‘Memories’ is out via Veronese’s own Sonic Jesus Records.
How did Sonic Jesus first begin all those years ago?
The band was formed by me (composer of all the music) and Marco Baldassari (lyrics) in 2012. Fuzz Club Records listened to one of our songs on YouTube and proposed us to record a debut EP… then we toured all Europe, released our first album and in 2016, we parted our ways and I went on releasing ‘Grace‘, my second LP with the help of Marco Barzetti (True Sleeper) who wrote the lyrics.
What can you tell us about your upcoming album, ‘Memories‘? What’s the general zeitgeist of it?
‘Memories‘ is a very heartfelt album. It captures the ecstatic moment when the abstract idea that comes out from the creative spark, turns into something real and tangible, yet still unfiltered and free from boundaries. Each track shows all its rawness and spontaneity, plus a genuine desire to keep exploring across different genres. At first you have a bunch of stolen sounds and impressions, then you manipulate them to finally forge something very personal.
Could you talk about the image on the ‘Memories‘ cover? What is the significance of the particular building?
What you see on the cover is what I see from my bedroom window where I live now, in Sheffield.
I chose this image, so wonderful to my eyes, because it’s the place where my thoughts wander every day, often thinking about what has been done so far and what I would like to achieve in the future.
The LP contains the original version of ‘Reich’. What’s the story behind it, how did this track first come about?
It’s a garage song that was inspired by all the bands of the 60s era like The Seeds, The Sonics, The Monks, The Mummies, and so on, but I remind pretty well how my voice was influenced by such friends as the Dead Skeletons. Now with the new line up, we changed it again, pushing it on a much more angry/punk speed.
How do you normally go about creating a track? Lyrics or melody first?
Everything starts from music, I pick up the first instrument I find and start to play free, immediately intoning a random melody… than based on the way I sing, the words are designed and glued upon. I spend a lot of time looking for the right sound and arrangements, so I never had enough time to write them. On the first album ‘Neither Virtue Nor Anger‘ I relied on the lyrics of Marco Baldassari, while on the second one ‘Grace‘ the lyrics are written by Marco Barzetti (True Sleeper) who’s also our current live guitarist.
In five words or less describe the following tracks from past releases:
I love to match songs and colors so instead of using words I will describe every song with the color I see when I play and listen to them.
‘No Way’? Blue Sapphire
‘Triumph’? Prussian Blue
‘Paranoid Palace’? A mix of green and brown
What works inspire your music? Whether it be music, films, literature, or something else.
I am the son of a painter, in the house I grow up I used to be immersed in my dad’s paintings, a lover of the figurative art, inspired by De Chirico and Guttuso. As for me, I love the paintings of Amedeo Modigliani.
I read a lot of spiritual books, I am very interested in knowing how I can enrich my energy sphere.
Movie? No! I watch very few, the last TV serie I saw was “Stranger Things“.
Unfortunately I never have enough time and I prefer to spend it playing music… I don’t see it as a limit!
You’ll be performing at this year’s SpaceFest!, what can festival-goers expect from a live performance?
Hard question, well I don’t know what people can expect from the Sonic Jesus set, but it will be a schizoid performance where we switch from new wave to psychedelia, from folk to kraut, all this seasoned with electronic sounds and played at loud volume! I’m sure it will be a great show because we love big stages where we can move and interact with the audience.
You’ve toured with a number of bands through the years, Damo Suzuki, Dead Skeletons, A Place To Bury Strangers, and Singapore Sling do among others. Do you have a vivid memory including any of these acts that you’d care to share?
One of the most shocking gigs we played was the one with A Place to Bury Strangers, you know very well their performances… they are crazy! I would never destroy my guitar, nor my gear… I can’t afford it!!
At the concert of Damo Suzuki I laughed a lot, I couldn’t understand anything of what was happening on stage that day, I think we didn’t do such a great performance, as he asked us to jam together but we were really not able to do it!
Memories with the Singapore Sling, on the other hand, will remain unforgettable and sort of traumatic. It was our first tour and I still remember our deep excitement, everything was fine until two days before the end of the tour, when our van left us and we stayed a week stuck in Portugal. Those were great days though, some things were hard but I’m glad I also was capable to laugh at them, and be amused by everything I was experiencing.
What are your plans for Sonic Jesus in the next few months?
Since I arrived here in Sheffield I immediately started writing, I already collected a lot of material to develop for the SJ new album. But I have also been working on another project that I hope to unveil soon!