Sacred Oath Interview

Sacred Oath talks to me about their latest albums in their musical career span and their touring plans and activities for the 2009 year. Also how the band first started out and what the hidden symbolize behind their name really means....

1. Whats the deal with the name, what does it symbolize?

Rob Thorne: From the very beginning we were fascinated by the struggle between good and evil. Sacred Oath was a perfect name for a band that wanted to explore that lyrically. Plus, it sounded cool!

2. Can you briefly summarize how the band formed and what you do in Sacred Oath?

RT: We formed back in high school in 1985 when I was a sophomore. We had a vision of combining melodic metal and thrash, and within 6 months we had a demo recorded. Once that demo hit, we were established. The rest is history. I am the lead vocalist and guitarist and I write most of the music. I also produce the recordings.

3. Who writes the lyrics, what are they about? Is there any concept in them? Are the lyrics an important aspect of the band or are they just there to guide the music?

RT: I write most of the lyrics, and they are a very important part of our music. Most of our lyrics explore the epic struggle between good and evil in the world around us. We've certainly got a lot to write about these days. Sometimes we'll use fantasy as metaphor, but my lyrics always come from a place deep inside. You can always tell what I'm thinking!

4. You guys are from Connecticut what is the music scene like there? Any bands you'd recommend?

RT: The Connecticut scene is like any other, I suppose. The club scene is a struggle. Only the bands that hustle survive. Check out a band called Suicide jack, their singer is the real deal.

5. Youre signed with Angel Thorne Music and Sentinel Steel is it better to be on an indie label than a big label or no difference? What went through the process of elimination to choose them?

RT: It isn't always easy on smaller labels. But things have changed in the last few years to make it much easier to promote and distribute on a smaller label. Angel Thorne Music works as hard for us as any major label, probably harder. It's working out very well for us this time around.

6. Going back to the music business, what do you think of everyone downloading music, possibly even your music?

RT: You mean without paying? Eventually we'll all settle on a system that works, and it will probably be subscription-based. In the meantime, it is what it is. It certainly makes it harder to earn a living. You have to be smart to survive, and clever to get noticed in today's internet dominated music industry. The only part that saddens me is that albums have lost their valued place at the center of the industry. That is a loss.

7. When it came to releasing "Darkness Visible," how did that whole package come together?

RT: Kenny and I jammed one weekend and I recorded it. It was just supposed to be a rehearsal, but I figured what the hell, let's set up some mics. Kenny's drum tracks were solid, and we built the album from there. It took a while to finish though because we wanted to have all four original members on the disc, and organizing that was difficult. Pretty soon it became apparent that we had something special happening, and Sentinel Steel requested a license to press it. Things took off from there.

8. Then your live album "Till Death Do Us Part," where was that recorded how was the crowd's reaction, what was running through your head that night?

RT: That was recorded the opening night of our tour in Germany in 2007 and we had no idea we were being recorded. Maybe that's why it turned out so good. We were just so happy to finally be with our European fans after all these years, and they were great! Very enthusiastic, those Germans. Good drinkers, too.

9. Now that the past is done and over with and the last release your self titled is out in the open how does it compare to your previous live album and earlier recording?

RT: The new album is our best work yet. Don't get me wrong, I'm very proud of all our albums. They each have something special about them, but the new album really establishes the power of the band. And having recorded it right after touring, the band is really on fire,and you can hear that.

10. You guys have been around Europe a lot, when will we be seeing some United States action?

RT: We want to tour the US in 2009, coast to coast. We hope to be making an announcement about that soon.

11. What is currently playing on your iPod or CD Player?

RT: More like record player. I really enjoy listening to vinyl, probably more out of nostalgia than anything else. British Steel is sitting on my turntable right now. Kind Diamond Abigail is next in line.

12. What are the upcoming plans for Sacred Oath?

RT: We're working hard to promote this new album and make sure EVERYONE hears about it! We just finished a video for Counting Zeros, and Headbanger's Blog will world premier that in April. We've also got an exclusive feature with iTunes coming on April 7th. They've chosen Counting Zeros as their Discovery Download Pick of the Week, and they'll also be selling the complete album a full 5 weeks ahead of the street date! And for 5.99! It's almost ridiculous. You could practically buy it twice.

13. If you had a chance to go back in time, where, what, and why?

RT: Oooh, that's a tough one. I try not to obsess on the past or live with too much regret. I like to be in the present, all the way, all the time. Maybe I'd go back to an early Black Sabbath rehearsal or something like that. Wouldn't that be fun? To be a fly on the wall watching history like that? I had the privilege to see Sabbath reunite in '98 in a private soundcheck on the David Letterman show. They played Into the Void. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

14. How do you think the recession is affecting musicians like yourself? Is it at all?

RT: Money is tight for everyone, including musicians. It's tough for us, because everything we do is a calculated risk. It gets harder to take some of those risks. But we're doing OK right now, and I'm thankful for that. I know a lot of people are not, and I think about them all the time.

15. Whats your reaction when a fan tells you a very meaningful statement such as "Your music changed my life," or "You helped me get through depression or certain habits?"

RT: There is no greater feeling than knowing that your music touched someone, that they connected to what you were singing about. It's deeply satisfying.

16. Describe Sacred Oath in three words.

RT: Energetic. Perseverant. True.

17. Who are your main influences that you cannot live without remembering.

RT: Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, Metallica, Mercyful Fate.

18. Anything else you'd like to add?

RT: Thanks to the Oathbangers out there who've been supporting us all these years! This album is for YOU!

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