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Interview / Rokkerspress, Switzerland

Updated: Mar 9

3 March 2024

1) What made you want to become a musician?

Look, when you grow up in a classical music home like me, when you don’t have any parental role models when it comes to popular music, you’re left on your own. I know people who relate very emotionally to certain music from the seventies or eighties because this was what their parents listened to back then. I am convinced that this shapes their music taste and preferences well into the future. It was different for me. I was well gifted with musical talent and I have to admit, certainly there was aggression in me during my teenage years that could not be vented in any other way than to compose this kind of music and to write down my feelings in the corresponding lyrics. What I can tell you is that I was discovering on my own what my soul needed in terms of music, what my soul related to. You still remember Roxette’s “Hotblooded” from the “Joyride” album? There is a particular bridge/solo which is pretty hard rock-esque and this struck home with me (I had not yet been exposed to hard rock or heavy metal). After I heard the song for the first time I wondered why there is no full song with that intensity. I also observed this during my high school parties. People danced most intense during these kind of bridges and solos. Big question mark for me. Why not compose music, that is entirely made of bridges and intense soloing? Why leave people wanting? Why are people so dependent on what is served to them? I wanted full length intensity and I wanted it now. That was my inspiration to pick up the guitar and write my own music. I tell you, to this day my most favorite songs are among those that I wrote myself. The intensity in songs like “Highland Epos” (from “Schattensymphonie”) or the satisfying no-bore-guarantee style of “Cryonic Zombie” (a 15 minutes composition without repeating parts from “Sinister Reflections”) are still highlights every now and then, when I listen to them. You can imagine that the next big thing after Roxette (haha) was when I first heard Chuck Schuldiner screaming out of my loud speakers. What a revelation! This was intensity to the power of ten! And then those kick-ass shred solos from Rick Rozz. It was like the gates of Gehenna opened up! I was mesmerized. More such moments occurred every once in a while. The second Orphanage album “By Time Alone” was such an eye opener. These incredible rhythms combined with ultra-heavy guitars and polyphonic gregorian-like chants, I was out of my mind! You hear these inspirations in our first album. Obviously my skill set was still very limited, you have to keep in mind that I did not know anybody who listened or played that kind of music. It was all self-taught. No internet, nothing.

2) How would you describe the music that you typically create?

The compositions have their roots in black and death metal, but are enriched with massive arrangements of choirs and symphonic instruments. There is an abundance of lead guitars and melodic riffing, the songs feature low growling vocals, intense shouting and screaming but also beautiful clean vocals, from heroic viking chants to high-pitched power metal voices. The drumming ranges from fast-paced blasts with double bass drumming to intense progressive metal rhythms.

3) Did your style evolved since the beginning of your carrer?

Or did you always followed that stream?Each of the four releases is a witness to our personal music development. With “Sinister Reflections” we just discovered atmospheric death metal and were wildly creative to the point of experimental, avant-garde compositions that are a feast for the mind. In “Nocturnal Poems” the focus was on symphonic and melodic black metal, we composed songs filled with longing and melancholy, deeply personal lyrics that show the torn nature of our inner self. It was a true underground release and many of our fans cherish especially that album for its raw and authentic style. “Schattensymphonie” was the first album recorded in a studio. The compositions are much tighter and feature intricate guitar riffings across all songs. This is the only album with shouting vocals only. Whereas the first two albums had clean vocals in many chorus parts, “Schattensymphonie” was to be much darker and more intense. I personally think that “Schattensymphonie” is the heaviest release so far. The addition of new musicians to the band in 2014 influenced the style of “Revelation” quite significantly. Death metal riffing and elaborate drum rhythms found their way into the songs and completed them to a degree that was not possible before. There are also some passages where you could wave your lighter and sing along during a concert, if you know what I mean. That’s a first. On “Revelation” we took the time to weave a abundance of melodies into each song, either played from guitar, choir or orchestra. The sound samples of the orchestra are recordings of real instruments which makes a big difference compared to the nineties synthesizer samples we used on “Schattensymphonie”. Also we went back to incorporating clean vocals in many songs. All in all, “Revelation” is the most mature album from Sanity.

4) Do you create music for yourself or for fans’ taste?

Nowadays it is always hard to satisfy listeners.Over the past three decades I have come to observe that suffering is a necessary ingredient to creativity. I feel most inspired when in sorrow and distress. I also listen to my inner self and find that quite often music pushes outwards and wants to be composed. For instance, I wake up with a melody or hook line in my mind and am almost driven to sit down to write it down and record it. The songs we create are expressions of our inner self, composing music is a cathartic experience for me.

5) Does your outfit have anything to do with the music you listen to or play?

The music I play on stage does influence my mood and thus influences my style.

6) What is the biggest problem you have encontoured in the journey of music?

I hate listening to “final mixes” of our songs before they go into production. The concentration needed to meticulously listen again and again to the same song, to focus your attention to all the different aspects of the compositions is excruciating. I am able to do these things by sheer force of will, but it does not come without cost. Usually after that I am so run-down and I need to recharge in my arcade. If you think about it, it’s actually not to bad, oscillating from my primary vocation – being a musician – to my primary passion – arcade games and pinball machines.

7) Who’s your ideal artist to collaborate with and why?

From the very beginning I had envisioned Sanity to reach the English speaking audience and thus used English lyrics. It would be pretty awesome to get in contact with metal bands from the UK or US and become their support on one of their tours. My ideal line-up would be Wolves At The Gate, Slechtvalk and Vials Of Wrath. And of course we’d love to play some big stages and are dreaming about a small tour outside Germany. Scandinavia would be awesome or the US. Our latest release is a concept album of the book of Revelation from the bible, a prophetic, dystopian book that vividly and explicitly describes the Apocalypse. A dedicated tour on that topic would be incredible.Let’s see what the future holds in store for us.

8) If you were a CD/album, what would you be and why?

That’s a funny question. I’d probably be an LP, a good old vinyl record, it should be the soundtrack of Blade Runner. If yes, I’d be that one. The movie, the atmosphere, the somber music, the eighties. 

9) What artist would you recommend to a person who is undecided about what listening to?

Arcturus – Aspera Hiems SymfoniaWhen hearing this album for the first time, I was just blown away. The compositions on this record are so avant-garde, I couldn’t believe it. The mixture between shouting and clean vocals is breathtaking as is the blending of guitar work and symphonic instruments. A masterpiece!

Also, please check out our official music videos for “Seals” and “Throne”:

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