Sanity take on the A-Z challenge

Our A-Z challenge is a fun way to get to know the many bands and artists out there. Today it’s the turn of Sanity to tell us all about themselves!

In today’s A-Z challenge, we asked Sanity to tell us all about themselves!

A song that made you want to make music?

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 to or played that kind of music. It was all self-taught. No internet, nothing.

Best rider you’ve had?

I am sorry, I am not familiar with this term.

Craziest moment you’ve had in the band?

Oh we had some crazy shows back in the nineties, it was all very underground’ish and some of the venues were really lousy, but then again you were on the road with your best buddies, could play your music in front of a crowd that was there just for you. You can’t beat that feeling.
What made some shows more memorable were often what happened after the show. The people you connect with, the absurd situations you find yourself in, sometimes. There was a club on the countryside and we had no money for a hotel so we agreed to spent the night in the already crowded backstage room. You’re dead tired and totally annoyed by the unbearable situation, but you’re also young and passable, and you have your friends with you and at some point this becomes incredibly hilarious. We didn’t sleep much and one of us puked in the sink, but neither was any plumbing installed nor was there any water… it was messy and hilarious.

Deepest lyric one of your songs features?

Revelation and The Beast are both based on the biblical Book of Revelation that lays out the apocalypse. It’s about the end of the world! And not by any random or man-made natural disaster, no, it is about God judging the world. This judgment is carried out by mighty angels and at the end of it all, a third of mankind is dead. This is grim business. By setting the book of revelation to music I believe we are doing something that has never been attempted before, that is truly unique.

By 2025 we will have released all three EPs that will make up the complete Revelation music project. And then you will be able to experience the events of the coming apocalypse by simply listening to the fourteen intensely dramatic songs that we created.

What probably sets us apart from other artists is that we actually use the original verses from the bible, so there is no interpretation in our lyrics, no re-telling of the events in our own words. Just plain scripture. And the message is brutal, excruciating, devastating, and scary, but also mighty, breathtaking, awe-inspiring and incredible. And so is our music (smiling).

So, given all that, the music of the Revelation project could become a precious heritage to future generations. In the end, when the last days truly begin our music may help people to understand the events that are happening around them. It may allow people to hear about what God’s word reveals about the future and how this God provides a way out.

Easiest song you wrote?

Dude, what are you talking about? Have you listened to our albums? Does any of the songs strike you as easy writing? 😉
No in all seriousness, easy writing is not in our genes, we love complexity, we love overdoing things, we never stop until it’s really finished and that can take years. We have one song on Schattensymphonie that is actually really catchy and easy to grasp, with a sing along chorus, but even that is fine tuned with lead guitars and keyboards and several vocal tracks, so I am not sure if that qualifies. The song is called Insomnia.

Favourite song in your set?

Throne, the first song on Revelation is probably the pinnacle of our creative work of the past 30 years. You will be greeted by a majestic choir, depicting the scores of angels singing in the antechamber of God’s throne room. Then the train hits you in full swing, massive guitars set in and a pounding, unrelenting drum rhythm framed by a cold choir and growling vocals. This is head bang material, man!
I know that our fans will love the melodic solo passages in the song, the neck breaking rhythmic passages and the somber bridge that culminates in a splendor of power metal madness.
I could even imagine fans pulling out their lighters and singing along during a concert, if you know what I mean. Please watch the official video of Throne on YouTube to immerse yourself in the emotional message of the song. Throne is a great opening song for Revelation due to its multi-faceted arrangement.

Guest you’d most like to feature on your record?

Back in the days we had female guest musicians to bring some spice into certain songs, like supporting with a catchy melody on top of the shouting or even painful background screaming and crying to support the somberness of some passages.
Also one or two solos on the past albums have been played by friends of the band, like a signature solo. When you listen closely to Gospel on the latest EP The Beast, you’ll fine a Rick Rozz inspired solo. Man, this would be kick-ass to have Rick chip-in a solo on one of our next albums.

Hardest thing about being in a band?

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.

Interesting fact about one of your members?

I was growing up in a strange type of musical home. My parents being born during World War II and having suffered bomb raids, displacement and separation from their families longed for a peaceful and silent haven to build a family. Imagine an austere Bauhaus-type house, filled with collector’s pieces and antiques, silent in its core, with classical music the only kind to fill the white painted halls every other fortnight or so.
We did not have any TV, nor was there any radio culture. I was a clean slate when it came to popular music. First mixtapes from classmates featuring the classic eighties quickly lead to discovering rock music and I was already playing in a cover band at the age of thirteen.
After having seen The Offspring’s Come Out and Play on MTV during a family vacation in the United States I was hooked. The song was not yet known in Germany and so my twin brother and I decided to cover it. That was the beginning of  Sanity and it was 1994. And it was not enough. Not nearly enough.

We were eager to experiment with creating songs ourselves. I wanted to find out how song writing actually works. Can I do it? How do I express what I musically enjoy? How does it sound if I compose these chords for guitar, the harmonic 3rd in bass and a progressive drumming underneath it? I was overflowing with creativity.
I got pretty quickly into hard rock and heavy metal, starting with AC/DC and G’n’R. But then somebody had me listen to Metallica, my first real heavy metal experience.
There was a music show on the public broadcast channel FAB – Fernsehen aus Berlin which featured a documentary about death metal. Imagine, a teenager in a classical music-home (we had bought a (small) TV in the meantime) watching in all earnestness an educational television program about death metal –  and the next thing I know, I went to a music store to buy my first death metal CD. Funny but true, the shop clerk was totally lost when I asked him about death metal, so we both went to the “D” section and found a CD from a band called Death and he sold it to me. Luckily, it was death metal and that sealed my fate and the direction our band would be taking from now on.

Jokes you have in the band?

Turn it up to 11” (the amp volume)

Key to writing a song?

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.

Longest distance you’ve travelled to play a show?


Most inspiring musician you’ve experienced?

The musicians around Arcturus and their album Aspera Hiems Symfonia. When 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! It shaped my composing significantly.

New band you’d recommend?

When not listening to metal I really dig Dungeon Synth, that’s basically what Mortiis did back in the 90ies. There are some fantastic artists out there, check out Lord Lovidicus.

Opening for this band would be ideal?

Wolves At The Gate, Slechtvalk or Vials Of Wrath.

Place you’d most like to tour?

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.
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. As our latest release is a concept album of the book of Revelation from the bible, a dedicated tour on that topic would be incredible.

Let’s see what the future holds in store for us.

Quote you’d like to pass on to our readers?

People travel to wonder
at the height of mountains,
at the huge waves of the seas,
at the long course of the rivers,
at the vast compass of the ocean,
at the circular motion of the stars,
and yet they pass by themselves
without wondering.
Augustine, Confessions (Oxford: Oxford University Press), quoted from Lacey Sturm: The reason .

Reason for the title of your recent/forthcoming release?

The Beast is a metaphor for the Antichrist in the Bible. The songs featured on the EP tell about the evil and the destruction that Satan will bring upon humanity in the last days of the earth.

See us live at?

There will be concerts in summer and autumn for sure, but we are still in the planning phase, nothing concrete, yet.

The old days of music were better than the current, do you agree?

I really miss the good old vinyl and compact disc 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 new releases and making a conscious decision 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.

Unusual merchandise?

If I had the money I’d work together with a distillery and create our own “Revelation” whisky, cask strength and heavily peated or I’d just rebrand the Ardbeg Corryvreckan, what a fantastic creation.

Variations you’d like to do on any of your songs?

My brother and I are working on a rerelease of our second album Nocturnal Poems from 1999. Florian is actually composing completely new rhythm and lead guitars and I will be recording new drums for it. On that album you find the songs Witchhaven and Das Moor that we have merged together into one song called The Moor of Witchhaven. Also back in the days (I say that a lot… draw your conclusions…) songs were long and entrancing, people today don’t appreciate that anymore. When we play old songs live, we usually cut a verse or a chorus to play a more compact version of that song.

What do your fans mean to you?

We have a fantastic relationship to our fans, we are still small enough to be communicating with many of them personally. Back in the good old days we spent quite an amount of time in communicating via letters, then via email and later via Facebook and the likes. These days it’s all about social media, but 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.

X-rays or any treatments needed for band related injuries?

Haha, us old guys need mostly pills against blood pressure and arthritis. No big stunts for me anymore.

You’re late for a show, whose fault is it?

I’d take the fall for any of my band mates, blame it on me. They are great guys.

Zoo animal that next describes the personality of your band?

The lion and the lamb.

Elizabeth Birt

May 17, 2024

Band management assistant. Goth princess and lover of all things music and sport.


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