Sanity Talks of Decades Long in Music Making, New Music, and More!

 


Elemental band SANITY has been around for nearly three decades now, releasing countless material, with all new working's expected soon enough. The band talks of their EP releases, newer music coming soon, and much more in-store.

 

1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

Sanity was formed in 1994 in Berlin, Germany, by Philipp and Florian Weishaupt, 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 genres read as follows: The first release ‘Sinister Reflections’ - atmospheric avant-garde black / death metal, the second album ‘Nocturnal Poems’ and the third album ‘Schattensymphonie’ - symphonic back metal, and then for the EP 'Revelation' - symphonic metal. Initial band members included Lars Maiwald on bass guitar and one year later Benjamin Russ on the second guitar. 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’. The line-up 2014 included Bernd Schweda (ex Dawn Berlin) on one of the guitars, replacing Florian who focused on  vocals from now on. Ludwig Liebsch joined as bass guitar player. Rüdiger Lauktien replaced Philipp on drums and Philipp masterminded the project while playing keyboard. After the recordings for ‘Revelation’ had been finished the line-up changed once again with Bernd, Rüdiger and Ludwig leaving. Philipp returned to the drums, Florian picked up the guitar again and focused on clean vocals. Silas Grünitz, as well as Julius und Felix Albe joined the band, Silas on bass guitar, Julius on guitar and Felix being the new shouter. This is the current live setup.

2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?

Look, we founded the band in the early nineties when we listened to bands such as Death, Megadeth and Metallica, schoolmates wore band shirts from Fear Factory, Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Paradise Lost, you name it. Metal band names had to have some meaning, most of them invoking some dreadful message that went along with their kick-ass music. I won’t tell you all of the names we came up with, I mean, we were teenagers after all, so yes we had some cheesy ideas like “Brothers of Destruction” and so on, but luckily we did not go for that (ha ha ha). After the initial hype of finding a suitable name we became reasonable and figured that we needed a name that went along with the music we intended to write and that expressed how we felt about us and saw ourselves in the world. With all the insanity that we witnessed around us in a world that was turned upside down after the cold war ended and Berlin was a free town again, we needed to set an example and call us sane, being of healthy mind, reasonable and balanced. Our initial music experience (especially on the first album) was not about mosh pit, pogo dance and riot, it was actually pretty avant-garde and surely not easy to digest. And that’s were the name “Sanity” originated from.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

We are all based around Berlin, most of us living in the small towns in the surrounding region. Berlin is very rich in music culture and features hundreds of artists every week on the stages of the clubs. We have been part of the heavy metal culture in Berlin since the early nineties and have played with a lot of local bands. The metal scene is not limited to Berlin but is also very much alive in smaller clubs and bars around Berlin. Many of the famous metal bands play shows in Berlin, but I personally prefer to go to the small clubs, where underground bands play their concerts. You always know someone in the crowd and see familiar faces, that’s what I like about it. We have good relationships to Logar’s Diary and Golem. Logar’s Diary is always a great and fun experience with their fantasy-themed power metal, Golem is very technical and avant-garde death metal.

4. How would you describe your style?

We are around for nearly three decades now and even though we might have started with avant-garde black/death metal characteristics, today our music incorporates so many different elements. You find influences from black and death metal, from progressive rock and viking metal, from dark wave and plain simple eighties/nineties melancholy that ultimately form the tight and aggressive, yet wistful and somber album ‘Revelation’. The shouting and the clean vocals are incredibly divers and powerful, the orchestral arrangements are intricate and majestic without stealing any power from the guitars. With Bernd Schweda and Rüdiger Lauktien we had two top musicians that considerably shaped the interpretation and composing of the songs on ‘Revelation’. Bernd has immeasurable experience and creativity in death metal riffing and fast-paced solo guitar play. Rüdiger is a top notch progressive metal drummer with phenomenal energy and curiosity to learn black and death metal drumming and to combine it with his skills for sophisticated progressive metal rhythms. 

5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?

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 riffing's 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.

6. Do you have any new music in the works?

We have already worked on songs for the second and third EP to complete the 'Revelation' project and plan to release those in 2024 and 2025, respectively. This trilogy will then have a total of 14 songs. At the same time my brother and I are working on a re-release 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. I have yet to actively promote the 2022 re-release of our first album 'Sinister Reflections' from 1998. It an old school underground release and I would love to come up with video content to help today's listeners bridge the gap to 1998 and understand our music from back in the days. You see, we got our hands full with exciting subjects for many years to come.

7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?

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, for example. Let's see what the future holds in store for us.

8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?

Oh, we are excited about the next years. Now, with the EP in our hands we will finally be able to actively promote it. I have so many ideas. 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 love to continue.

9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

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.

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

When Rage released their ‘Lingua Mortis’ album, I was blown away by the fusion of metal and classical music. Classical music was a big influence in my childhood. To combine this with my passion for heavy metal had always been my dream. Already on our first album we composed quite intricate synthesizer arrangements, these played a vital role in creating the somber atmosphere of  ‘Sinister Reflections’. On ‘Nocturnal Poems’ we took it a step further, you clearly hear the classical influences in many songs, but it was still a synthesizer that provided the sounds. We briefly toyed with the idea to ask the school orchestra from a school in our neighborhood to partner with us, but it never came to being. I believe also because we still had so much creativity that needed to be put into new songs. So we went forward with the next album. In 2001 Dimmu Borgir released ‘Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia’ and I was blown away. This was obviously an outstanding production with real orchestra, something we could only dream of. Fast forward to 2018 and suddenly I had a powerful new studio software in my hands with real orchestra samples. We finally could forge an album that combined metal and classical music! And that’s what we did . I reworked the synthesizer arrangements into sophisticated orchestra arrangements just like I had dreamed of for twenty plus years and now I hold it in my hands, a beautiful symbiosis between the two musical genres I love the most. So this is the highlight for me and I hope the listener feels the same.

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