Stone Healer is really my personal extension of the work I was doing with my last band Autolatry. While Autolatry was rooted in black metal, I wanted my next project to expand into new musical and lyrical territory with a more personal tone. It was very liberating for me to shed the association to "black metal" that I felt I had to maintain with Autolatry, and I think it really shows in how diverse-sounding the "He Who Rides Immolated Horses" EP turned out. With Stone Healer being just my personal vessel for musical creativity, I don't have to worry about compromising with other bandmates or making group decisions. Having the reigns fully to myself after years of working in a group dynamic has allowed me to put more attention on the smallest of details, making this music more special to me than anything I've ever been a part of.
2.In August you had released an ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
Describing the musical sound of the "Horses" EP has been a challenge to this point; which really is a goal of mine as a songwriter - to write music that can't easily be lumped into one genre classification. I usually defer to calling it "progressive metal", but there's also plenty of death metal and rock influence littered through the tunes. I think part of the reason I'm still so pleased with the music is that nobody has come out and said "Well, this is just another black metal or death metal record." Thus far I've received wildly eclectic classifications of the Stone Healer sound, from "Yob meets Gorguts" to "Blackened Post-Johnny Cash Cowpoke Doom", which all make me very happy as a composer! To me though, all of the music I write just feels like heavy rock and roll.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your music?
As I alluded to earlier, the lyrical content of these songs is extremely personal and details a stretch of my life in which I endured a great deal of spiritual pain. Generally speaking, the scope of Stone Healer's lyrics will always be about introspection, self-discovery, and self-healing. All four songs on the EP are specifically about the excruciating spiritual journey I've made over the past four years, but I feel like it's more than just me sharing a difficult experience with the world. The act of writing these songs musically and lyrically helped me to heal myself on the deepest of levels, providing a degree of catharsis I couldn't have achieved otherwise.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Stone Healer'?
When choosing a moniker to release this music under, I wanted something that truly represents who I am on both a physical and soul level. My family name "Kaminsky" means something like "stone carver", and a lot of the record is written about my time spent as a spiritual healer and guide of sorts. So, Stone Healer arrived out of those two places and it does feel perfectly representative of who I am and of the music I write.
5.With this project you record everything by yourself but have worked with musicians in your previous bands, how would you compare working solo to a full band?
Anybody I've worked with over the years knows that I am a bit of a control freak, both with writing and recording. I have a very specific workflow that works well for me, and when I get personally invested in any kind of project I generally want to do more of the heavy lifting. With Stone Healer being a solo project it allows me to be unrelenting in my perfectionism, and the only compromises I have to make are with myself. I will say that my brother Matt has provided drums in every band I've ever been a part of, and he'a a huge part of what made the "Horses" EP what it is. My music at it's core has always been about the interplay between my melodies and Matt's drums, and while he doesn't have a part in any more than percussive content, I don't see his role in my music changing in the future.
6.Tridroid are re-issuing your ep, how would you describe the support they have given you so far?
I was thrilled that Tridroid expressed interest in the EP soon after the digital self-release, and I am extremely pleased with our partnership! Every release I have ever been a part of in the past was released completely independently, so it means a lot that Andrew at Tridroid believes in my music enough to support it with a CD reissue.
7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of extreme metal?
From what I can tell, the national and international feedback has been good so far. Most people say that this is "different stuff", and that it's hard to put a true label on; which as I mentioned before, I take as a huge compliment. Interestingly though, I think being somewhat "unclassifiable" can be a disadvantage when trying to appeal to certain elitist sects of extreme metal fans. It has never been my intention to pander to any specific audience, but I'd understand if prog metal purists or black metal kvltists weren't into this music for whatever reason.
8.Are you also involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?
Not anything active or established at the moment, but I am working hard on completing and recording a record of heavy rock and roll songs. If you can imagine the more rocking and groovy parts of Stone Healer (think along the lines of the song "Lark's Head") with more of a pop sensibility and coupled with a female lead vocal, that's what I'm going for. Other than that project, most of my creative energy is spent recording and producing other bands at my studio in Connecticut, Studio Wormwood.
9.When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
I have about half of a full-length record of Stone Healer material written, but I'm really taking my time with it. My hope is that this time next year I'll be recording the full record, but it just depends on how much more heavy music flows out of me between now and then. I'm not a guy that's constantly coming up with riffs and has an overflowing well of material lined up, so I try not to force my inspiration. I still have a lot to say with Stone Healer, so an LP will come to fruition sooner than later.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
My biggest musical influence is Alice In Chains, and heavy rock and roll is probably my greatest stylistic influences as well. I don't believe that there will ever be a better record made than AIC's "Facelift", seriously. I think it's an absolutely perfect album all the way through, and I'm pretty sure I'll take that sentiment to the grave! It may or may not be obvious, but AIC's influence on the Stone Healer music is massive, especially in vocal style and delivery. The acoustic track "The Scythe In My Heart" is really my version of a Layne Staley/Jerry Cantrell worship track in terms of vocal melody and harmony. But on the metal side of things, Ulcerate and Gorguts are probably the most notable and relatable groups that have stuck with me in an influential way. Something about the unrelenting percussion mixed with dissonant melodies that those two groups display perfectly is immensely appealing to me. As for current listening pleasures? I am super into "rockier" groups like Royal Thunder and Impure Wilhelmina, as well as old 90's favorites like Weezer, Nirvana, Mudhoney, etc. I've found I'm listening to very little heavy metal these days, especially newer stuff - older choice cuts have grown to be more appealing as I've aged.
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
Between studio work and personal music, my life truly is centered around music. But, in my down time I am a total beer nerd and I love discovering new beers and breweries from all over the world. If anyone wants to send me bottle of local sour beer from elsewhere around the globe, get in touch! Haha.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks for the thoughtful questions! I'm so happy that Stone Healer has a chance to reach a few more ears with Tridroid Records' help, and there's lots more music to come in the future. Also, I am currently in the midst of a search for a live lineup, so if anyone reading this would be interested in trying their hand at playing these tunes please contact me through the social media pages or at email@example.com.