Interview by Miriam C.
Sanguine are slowly making a name for themselves. Coming from Exeter, UK, the alternative metal/rock band have just released via OMN Label Services their second album “Black Sheep”. So, we have inquired a little and we have asked a few question to the banshee herself , (mind yourself, this word comes directly from Sanguine‘s drummer Matt Feld) miss Tarin Kerrey, where she kindly explained us how Daniel Flores and Jesper Stromblad agreed to work with them on “Black Sheep” and many many other stuff including Tarin‘s collaboration with Iron Maiden‘s Adrian Smith. OK, no more spoilers, take 5 minutes and keep read this exciting interview.
Hi Tarin, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. How are you?
Fine thank you! Thanks for having me.
Would you like to introduce Sanguine with some biographical hints to our readers?
We are pretty heavy band, but we’re eclectic in style…there is a mix of screaming and singing in our songs…mostly guitar led with banging riffs, but we’re not directly comparable to anyone. We’ve been labelled plenty of things from schizophrenic, alt-punk, industrial rock….we just use the label alt-metal/rock because that’s the only label that fits us! I suppose if I was forced to say who we are like I suppose that we’d have to say somewhere between Evanescence and Arch Enemy but we are not gothic. I started the band back in university, we started out trying to be a prog band as we all loved Tool…but we just found our own style, we didn’t sound anything like Tool, haha! So we didn’t force it, our style naturally formed…it’s definitely dark but with a tongue in cheek attitude. Sanguine encompasses all our influences from bands like Tool to Slipknot, Sick of It All to Pearl Jam…we love so many bands, I think that shows in our music.
“Black Sheep” is your second album, that comes after your self-titled debut album released back in 2009. What you can tell us about its genesis, in particular referring to the lyrics?
We released our first EP back in 2009 “Live Consume Drive”, this featured some crazy songs and gave us our schizophrenic reputation with tracks like “Live, Consume, Drive”, “Simplify”, “Territory”. These were pretty heavy songs, with loads of energy…if anyone wants to check it out look up the video for “Live, Consume, Drive” as it features Nick (our guitarist) dressed up as a game-show host/devil…it’s hilarious! The EP was well received, so we followed it up with a self-titled album in 2012 which includes the EP tracks and a collection of other songs. We had no money and so we knew we had to fund a record in order to our music out there and get heard… so the album was a collection of self-recorded songs, it was very DIY.
After releasing the first record in 2012 we gained support, we knew that we were liked, we had fans, people were really behind the project but no one knew where to put us because we were so different. One night we’d be playing with black metal bands the next night we’d be playing with pop-rock bands. We knew we had something unique, something record labels didn’t understand but the people did! We were different, hence the name of the second album “Black Sheep”: when writing this album we felt like the black sheep of the music industry, we didn’t fit in but we were definitely loved by the people. Originally I wrote the lyrics for the song “Black Sheep” about my family and feeling like the black sheep of the family as I had a pretty tough childhood. As the band were discussing album titles I think we all identified with that feeling of not quite fitting in so the name “Black Sheep” was put forward as the title of the next album. Sanguine is definitely unique and we wear our black sheep label with pride!
Back in 2012, you’re invited by Iron Maiden‘s Adrian Smith and Skith‘s Mikee Goodman side project Primal Rock Rebellion as backing vocalist, what you can recall about that experience and which is the memory that you are fond of?
Mikee Goodman helped us with the vocal production of the first album and we became good friends during the process. Mikee was working with Adrian at the same time, he loved my voice and wanted to put me forward to be considered for backing vocals for the Primal Rock Rebellion project. I didn’t think I stood a chance as there were some pretty big-names already on the list! When I got the call I thought Mikee was pulling my leg, I couldn’t believe it. It was such an amazing experience, I suppose the highlight of the whole process was spending a whole day recording in Adrian‘s house! I got to meet his family, seeing his countless gold records hanging on the walls. To top it off Adrian is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet – he doesn’t act like a rock star, he’s very down to earth and man, he can play!
For “Black Sheep” you’re assisted by the producers Daniel Flores and Jesper Strömblad. How was this collaboration born?
After the first record, our managers got a call from Jesper & Daniel‘s manager, asking if we were interested in exploring writing and recording together. We were looking for someone to record our next album with so we were absolutely blown-away by the fact that Jesper and Daniel were interested! Of course we jumped at the offer and flew to Sweden to test out the partnership.
When we arrived in Gothenburg, Jesper met us straight away and we spent a whole day exchanging ideas, various riffs, bits of songs. We showed him what we had written so far for the album: he loved “Breathe Out” so we agreed to work with him on that track and then we fell in-love with one of his riffs – this turned into the song “Empty”. With the exchange of ideas flowing we hit the In Flames Studio the very next day and started laying down stuff with Daniel and Jesper. At the end of the writing sessions “Breathe Out” and “Empty” were nearly complete, we knew we wanted to record the rest of the album with these guys!
Also I’m curious to know in which way both Daniel and Jesper helped you to develop and improve your sound? In particular, did they give any specific advice to follow?
Jesper taught us how to layer guitars: the guy is an absolute master at guitars whereas Daniel knew how to do orchestral arrangements, as a producer he had loads of energy and we really hit it off. This was the first time we had recorded a dedicated studio album as everything we had done previously was all DIY, being able to work in a professional studio with professional musicians and talented producers rubs off on you, you absorb everything you can. We were like sponges – we worked hard to create the right sounds for the record and I think it shows.
If you could draw a parallel between “Sanguine” and “Black Sheep”, how do you think your approach has changed since your debut?
“Black Sheep” is the first time we have recorded in a professional level studio and it shows instead the self-titled album was a collection of very polished demos, you’ve got to remember we were a very DIY project back then! Since then as our reputation grew our opportunities also grew, “Black Sheep” is a product of an album which we spent a year producing. From the writing session with Jesper and Daniel in Gothenburg, we went back home to the UK and wrote a lot of songs for the rest of the album, then we flew back to Stockholm to finish recording the rest of the album – we worked really hard to make “Black Sheep” “all killer no filler”! We wanted “Black Sheep” to be a proper thought-out album, originally I think we wrote over 30 tracks, we attempted to record 15 tracks and then we refine our choices down to just 10 tracks, we wanted every song on “Black Sheep” to count, we wanted each track to be a song you could fall in love with.
Instead, would you like to spend a couple of words about “Black Sheep”‘s cover album?
Yeah, the album artwork is pretty personal, it’s a hand-carved sheep skull carved by our guitarist Nick Magee! Now, there aren’t many bands who can say that?! It’s pretty exceptional, he just turned his hand to carving bone one day, he wanted to carve a skull so he managed to find a corpse of a dead sheep from Dartmoor (moorlands). Honestly, Nick is pretty motivated if he wants to do something there is no stopping him! He found the sheep skull and just started carving, it was completely un-prompted – when looking for ideas for the album cover it fitted perfectly! I hope that people appreciate the effort Nick put into it, we certain did! The sheep skull has become our symbol for the album.
What are your next tour plans? Where your fans can catch you in the next days? Do you have any plans for a full EU tour?
We’re just booking in tours as we speak! It’s going to be exciting, we’ll be hitting UK, Europe and festivals, hope to get to Japan by next year, so much going on and we can’t wait to get on the road. So, watch this space because we might be heading to a town near you very soon!
So, Tarin, it’s time for your parting words – I really thank you for your time – please greet freely our readers and your fans. Thanks again!
Thanks for the support and a special thanks to our fans… we’ll see you in the pit!