Interview: Sanity (Written)
19. Dezember 2023 Carl Fisher
1. Hello! Thank you for taking the time to chat to us. First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started.
Sanity was formed in 1994 in Berlin, Germany, by me, Philipp, and my twin brother Florian, initially as a grunge rock band with only one guitar, a bass and drums. Over the first years, the band’s musical focus shifted to death and then to black metal. Sanity released three full-length albums and an EP between 1998 and 2023. The first release “Sinister Reflections” – atmospheric avantgarde black / death metal, the second album “Nocturnal Poems” and the third album “Schattensymphonie” – symphonic back metal, and then for the EP “Revelation” – symphonic metal. The band went on hiatus in 2002 and re-formed in 2014, all the while the brothers Weishaupt continued to compose songs for the next album. The band re-formed in 2014 to rehearse and finalize the material that would become 2023’s “Revelation”.
2. Someone comes to you and asks you to sum up what kind of music you play – what do you tell them?
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. What’s currently going on in your camp? New releases? Tours? Etc.
In February we played our record release concert in a small club where we invited friends and fans from the past 30 years. We had a blast doing so, it was such wonderful atmosphere, connecting with our fans, some of them with us from the beginning. You really should have been there, you would have seriously enjoyed it. In June we were booked for the German Church Day in Nuremberg. It’s basically a huge, five day festival organized biennially by the German Protestant Church with over one hundred thousand people attending, hundreds of acts, shows, workshops, and discussions. This was a great event as we are able to present our music to a much wider audience than usual. The feedback was very positive and encouraging. The record release concert for the second EP “The Beast” is planned for March 2024 . There will be concerts in summer and autumn for sure, but we are still in the planning phase, nothing concrete, yet.
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. Let’s see what the future holds in store for us.
Also, I want to note that now, with the EP “Revelation” in our hands, we are finally able to actively promote it. I have a lot of ideas for that. Our YouTube channel already has a good amount of content and I would like to add more. Official videos for the songs, more vlogs on the scary exciting subject of the apocalypse that our lyrics talk about. A couple of years ago I had already started a vlog series explaining our lyrics that I would also love to continue. The official videos for “Seals” and “Throne” were just released. Check them out on YouTube.
The EP “Revelation” is available at all major online stores and streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon Music, YouTube, etc.). And, we have released an actual CD (compact disc) which you can order on our website www.sanity.berlin.
4. What has been the most positive experience of making music to date for you?
“Revelation” was recorded at the Soundforge Studio and was produced by Sanity and Andreas Hilbert, who also recorded, mixed and mastered the album. Funny story, I met Andreas during my studies, both attending the same lectures and having an interest in death and black metal. The Berlin based death metal band Golem was founded by him. Andreas owns the Soundforge Studio and he produced our third album “Schattensymphonie” which you have to admit has a killer sound. I knew right then that I would want to produce “Revelation” with him, as well. And so we did. We kicked of the recordings in 2016 with a week in the studio to lay the groundwork and then decided to have a studio day once per month, since we were all full-time working and had families. We ended up with over a hundred audio tracks total, quadruple tracked rhythm guitars for maximum heavyness, countless lead guitars, up to twenty vocal tracks, thirty or more orchestra tracks per song. It’s massive. And we took our time, 7 years to be exact, that includes songs for the upcoming EPs of the “Revelation” project as well. But no regrets, frankly speaking, I am already missing the Saturdays in the studio, man did we have a good time. It was once a month a vacation from the life I am living now, like being back in university, no obligations, single-minded and focused on music, hanging out with my band as if there was no tomorrow.
5. Likewise, what has been some of the more challenging aspects and how have you overcome them?
Haha, 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.
6. How do you handle the modern expectations of being in a band? Always online, having to put out content constantly, your success measured in likes and follows?
My brother and me are old hands in the heavy metal business and have been living it actively with Sanity for almost 30 years now. Back in the good old days we spent quite an amount of time in communicating with our fans, first via letters, then via email and later via Facebook and the likes. You cannot lose your head over this, you gotta master the challenges of live and if you are aiming at staying successful as a heavy metal band you have to get square with the new social media culture. We are not the guys who are constantly online and share every bit of our life , but then again I don’t think our heavy metal fan base expects this from us.
7. What’s something that really ‘grinds your gears’ about the industry/business these days and what would you propose is done to combat it?
I really miss the good old vinyl and compact disk days when not everything was instantly available on YouTube or Spotify. I remember dearly flipping through underground mail order catalogs like Last Episode and Nuclear Blast (when they where still black & white prints), reading about the new releases and making a conscious choice which CDs to order from my scarce budget. When the package arrived days later, you where overwhelmed by the sheer amount of creativity creeping out of the speakers of your stereo. Waiting and anticipation was a wholesome part of the experience. Also back then we always listened to complete albums, a trait I preserved myself until today. It’s a totally different approach to music nowadays with the advent of the Instant Society. In my personal life I try to set an example, not losing sight of my values in spite of the world turning ever faster around us.
8. Speaking directly to listeners – what would you ask they do to help support your music?
We have released the first EP of the “Revelation” Trilogy as CD in a small batch. The actual sales did not go too bad, but over the year we realized that we find it much more important to invest money in promotion than into actually pressing a physical copy of our next EP. Remember, we are not funded by any label, this all comes out of our own pockets. If there is interest enough though, we would love to release the upcoming EPs as CDs. So if you want to support, contact us and sign up for a physical copy.
9. Outside of the music, what’s do you do to relax?
My brother and me are really retro guys. I set up my hobby room like an eighties Arcade stuffed with games and collectibles many of us may remember from our childhood. It almost feels like a shrine with all these relics from the eighties, somehow we are stuck in that decade and this shows in our interest outside of music. We are both collecting arcade machines and eighties style gaming consoles. Let’s play some “Choplifter” or some “Ghouls N Ghosts” on my Sega Master System, what do you say? Man, I can really wind down after a stressful day by just playing those good old vintage games. 8 bit or 16 bit, simple game principles, but lots of fun and gratification. On the arcade machine “Donut Dodo” is high on my list for months now. There are only 5 levels, but I’m still trying to beat it.
10. Where can people find you?
Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!