Sanctity Interview

Since they first toured UK shores with Trivium earlier this year, North Carolina metal crew Sanctity have gone from strength to strength; unleashing a punishing debut album in ‘Road To Bloodshed‘ and proving a surprise highlight of June’s Download festival. The band recently returned to headline their own UK tour, and Alex Gosman caught up with guitarist Zeff Childress shortly before a show at London’s Camden Barfly.

So, your first headline tour of the UK, how’s it going so far?

It’s actually our first headlining tour ever! So we’re really excited about it. This is the third show of the tour, and the first two were great, although we were kinda jetlagged for the first show. Our flight arrived here at 9am, and then we had the first show that same night, and didn’t really get a chance to have any sleep in between. But it was still a blast!

Can you give me a brief history of Sanctity?

Our drummer and I went to school together, we’ve known each other since we were about six or seven years old, and we started getting into bands and stuff, playing together through middle school, and then towards the end of high school we decided to form a metal band. We had actually been a band for a while before we met Jared; we were doing a show at a local college, and he was there watching. We were looking for a singer at the time, because our previous one had just left, and although our guitarist was filling in, he wasn’t doing a great job! So we got talking to Jared, and he came and sang some Metallica covers with us, and joined the band shortly afterwards.

We’ve been through a lot of bass players; and our bassist for this tour is a guy called Brian Stevenson, who was playing with Annihilator when we toured with them and Trivium here, back in April. It worked out great – he learnt our songs in a couple of days, but we’re not sure yet if he’s gonna be able to stick around.

Is there a good metal scene in NC, or did you form because you were bored of lack of good music?

I would definitely say the latter! The metal scene of Ashville is pretty much just us and a couple of other bands. It’s kinda funny, because after this tour is finished, we’re going home to do a local show with a couple of those bands – just because we like to do hometown shows – and it’s going to be at a venue about the same size as this place. Hopefully we’ll get a good crowd!

So how did the Trivium tour go? It was amazing, we had a blast! Everyone became friends, and when we got to the venues, we’d hang out and jam together, and have a good time. If there was enough time before soundcheck, we’d go and wander around the city for a while, and take pictures…it was a great time. We’ve been friends with Trivium for a while – Corey [Trivium guitarist] came down to Asheville one Christmas and hung out for a while, he has family there.

The Download show was just crazy – I remember looking out into the crowd as we came onstage, and the whole tent was packed, it was incredible!

You’ve been described as thrash band, but have a melodic side too; who are your influences – or your favourite bands?

It’s just all over the place, really – we like classic thrash bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Testament, and then we also like more melodic stuff like In Flames, and the whole Swedish metal scene. As for modern bands…Dragonforce and Killswitch Engage are cool, and we listen to all sorts of other stuff too.

The album is called ‘Road To Bloodshed‘ – how come? Is that indicative of the overall theme of the album?

We picked that name because it kind of represented where we were as a band; we’d just got signed, and we’re still like a baby band – so we’ve started on the ‘Road To Bloodshed!’

What makes you happy and sad/pissed off?

When it comes to a show environment, we’re at our happiest when we’re onstage – we always have a blast. It’s all the other stuff that touring involves that sucks; for example, we’re riding in a van right now, and it has regular seats, so we can’t really lie down to sleep or anything.

Living on the road can be tough, although it’s easier over here than in the States, because the drives between venues aren’t as long. We’ve done several US tours, and once we drove from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Seattle, Washington – that was about 1600 miles, and took us at least one and a half days to get there. But that’s just how it has to be, and we do try and get a hotel room every few days, because sleeping in the van gets you kind of stinky!

Are you guys a hard-partying band, or do you need to chill out offstage in order to destroy onstage?

A bit of both, really; because although we will hang out and party after shows if we can, we don’t always have the time. We usually do our own driving, and when we were touring on the US Gigantour, we often had to leave for the next venue before [headliners] Megadeth had even started playing – because the drives were so long. But we do like to chill and hang out with fans when we get the chance.

So what are your plans for the near future, after you’re finished in the UK?

Well, we’ve got a couple of bids in for tours in 2008, but this UK tour is gonna be our last for this year, because our singer [Jared MacEachern] is about to have a baby. So we’ve got most of November and December off, and we’re gonna try to get some new songs done during the down-time. Say, about five songs, to give ourselves a head start for when we start recording our new album. We’d like to come back to do Download again, but we’ll have to wait and see on that one!

[‘Road To Bloodshed‘ is out now on Roadrunner Records. Check for more info]