Sanity Burns Interview

Interview by Ben Spencer

Photos by Altercarnated Photography

Chris Simmons – Vocals,

James Phoenix – Lead Guitar,

Don Merritt – Bass Guitar,

Hugo Terva – Drums


Sanity Burns are a British Thrash Metal band from London, who formed in 2007. Having spent the past year hibernating in the recording studio, and with suspicions of an untimely demise for these London metallers, we manage to spend the evening with the band to extinguish any rumours of their absence!

This time the quartet are back and bolder than ever with “Kick-Ass” album, that is guaranteed to make their silence forgivable and electrify future gigs: If their live performance is by any measure as promising as the recording itself, the wait will be more than worth it.

Once the guys are settled and have beers in hand we get on with our questions!

1. So could you guys introduce yourselves, who plays what and where are you from?

James: I play lead guitar.

Don: I am Don I play bass

Hugo: I play drums.

Chris: I am Chris I’m not a musician I’ve been puking into a microphone since I was 16.


2. I see you guys have played a show with ‘TesseracT’ and ‘Subversion’, could you tell us a bit more about that gig?

James: The gig came about through ‘Subversion’ as it was their album launch gig.

Don: It was one of our favourite gigs, there was so much energy and the place sold out. It was a great gig.

3. I also see you guys have featured on bloodstock radio. How did that come about and how does it feel having your music aired on this particular station?

Don: We’ve got connections with the Pandemonium Club, who have got connections with Bloodstock and they introduced us to them.

James: It’s sorted through Alan and Colin, who are brothers and they’re very enthusiastic about us.

Hugo: They really want us to play Bloodstock!

4. Could you tell me more about this club?

James: It’s based in Maidstone…

Hugo: It’s called the Babylon Lounge and we’re playing there with ‘Beholder’ and various other bands.

Don: Some of the bands like ‘Fallen Fate’ who are playing travel through Newcastle, and ‘Warlord UK’ are based in Birmingham, so there is quite diversity of bands from different areas.

5. So you guys would like to play Bloodstock Festival? If so which bands would you most like to share a stage with?

James: Yeah definitely! There’s a chance that we may be able to get to play there next year once our press packet gets sent there.

Don: We came fifth in Band Quest on the run up to in the past.

James: Since then we got Hugo in the band and he has taken drumming to a whole new level!

6. I see on your Facebook that you guys have released a series of EP’s, could you tell me more about them and the plans for the full length album?

James: I went to a music course where I met Hugo and there we worked with someone who worked with Aersosmith and ACDC. He was interested in Hugo as he was tight as a drummer.

Then we worked on a price and started the recording of the album from there, in that year people thought we had broken up.

Hugo: The wait is going to be worth it, we’ve been working on it for a year and its sounding kick ass.

Don: It has an organic sound.

Chris: …and we got drunk in the process, we all did!

(The guys laugh)


7. You guys have been round since 2007, how do you guys feel now 2012 looking back at when it all started?

Don: Yeah defiantly…I mean we look back and laugh at our earlier stuff.

James: Like back then we were called ‘As Sanity Burns Black’ which sounded too similar too as ‘Blood Runs Black’ so we decided to change the name!

8. Do you guys have any tours/ gigs lined up that you are particularly looking forward to?

Hugo: we have a few festivals lined up for the summer.

Don: We’re playing ‘Thrash Metal Fest’ and ‘Cradle We Rock’; I’m also looking forward to the ‘Metal Massacre Festival’.

9. Which bands would you say inspire you the most?

Are there any particular Bands/Artists that you regard as significant for shaping the sound you guys currently have?

James: I listen to dream theatre, trip hop. Don likes the grateful Dead; Hugo likes Madonna (the band Laugh)

Hugo: We all like different music. I was raised listening to classical music; James likes Pink Floyd.

Chris: I was amazed when we first played with ‘Onslaught’;, his vocals are crazy and…Devin Townsend.

Hugo: Also Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica, Testament all the old school thrash.

Don: We combine a classical element with new riffs.

Hugo: We’re somewhere in between with our music.

Don: I mean, I don’t listen to as much metal as you’d think. I like to get a soul feel for the music and when I pick up the bass and find something that I think is worth playing. We got a tight drummer and a guitarist who makes some amazing riffs!

10. Are there any bands that you have played with who have particularly impressed you?

Don: For me it has to be ‘Onslaught’! They’ve been around since the 80’s and I hadn’t heard any of their music before we played together and I was blown away when we supported them.

James: When you play with a band like that, you know you’re in safe hands, they’re the sort of band we aspire to be like as they set the standard.

Hugo: They are the biggest we played with to date.

James: ‘Kill the Machine’ are Brilliant! One of their members drove us to Leicester, where we played with ‘Fallen The Fate’.

11. I checked out the song ‘Shitfaced’ earlier today and I was wondering if you could tell me about the lyrical theme within your songs?

Chris: It can be really random… The first 3 songs were about rape and after that we thought maybe were hitting a bit too much on one concept (laughs).

I wrote a song paternity about Dorian Grey and I thought it was a great concept. We have another song called ‘Killed in Action’ which is about a soldier on the front line…but most songs are about going ape shit!

James: There’s another song ‘Schizophrenic’ in which I threw together some random riffs when I was at work which fitted the name of the song.

Chris: I usually try to slide something sadistic into the song, depending on how I’m feeling, like whether I’m feeling pissed off etc.

James: Lately we’ve been celebrating getting towards the end of the album, and we felt happier which is where ‘Shitfaced’ came from: Its about getting wankered!

Chris: It’s about getting too wankered to the point where you’re never going to drink again.

James: It focuses on your alter ego that you find from drinking.

12. Having been around for a few years, what advice would you give to a new metal band that formed today and looked up to you guys for some tips?

Don: Be themselves. You don’t always have to listen to what other people say.

If your music has its own twist, keep it as it’s your own sound.

James: Don’t give up!

Hugo: One guy once told us to put Latin jazz in it and make something interesting and that’s the kind of guy not to listen to because he’s the type of guy who wants to change you according to his tastes.

Be open enough to take advise and strong enough to push it away.

James: When you’re on stage be present in your mind, a lot of people look as though they’re practising in their bedroom and it’s like ‘Come on guys, you’re here to put on a show, regardless of whether or not the crowd paid to get in you still have to put on a show and give them a good time!’.

Chris: Spray a bit of beer around or something!

[Everyone laughs]

Well on that note, many thanks guys for a fun and amusing evening!

James: No problem and thanks!

Check out the bands debut album which was released Feb 2012!



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