Chasing Sanity was born from the ashes of my old solo effort “Erik Dismembered”. I decided to start over and rebrand myself for a few reasons. Mainly, I was uninspired to write anything under the Erik D moniker. The music itself was all over the place genre wise and I felt like a hard reset was in order. A lot of music on “Anathema” I had written atmospherically for Erik D, and after I had decided to rebrand myself and go back to my roots as a metal musician, those atmospherics were very cohesive with some guitar riffs that I had saved up for a rainy day and then the creative flood ensued to eventually end up with Anathema. This is arguably the best record I have done on my own and the perfect springboard for moving forward without getting all crazy with the music all over again.
2.Recently you have released an album, howwould yuo describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
The sound I was going for was a haunting, horror type of sound, but I also wanted to put my own stamp on the industrial metal scene. I was trying to capture musically the things I went through personally in a dark time. That is why there is an absence of vocals for the majority of the record. This is something you listen to with the head phones on and with your eyes closed. The music itself says more than what I could fit into the songs themselves lyrically, and some of the songs are even connected. Some riffs are reused in some songs as a continuation of the “story”. It has thrown some people off, but it is also a different spin on what I feel can be accomplished with a record that is mostly conceptual. It needed to be heavy when it was time, but also light and atmospheric when it needed to be.
3.On the new album you also had a few quests, can you tell us who they are and also their contributions to the recording?
I reached out to Nate Gradowski of Isolated Antagonist/AutomatoN/Quo to put vocals down on “You Fiend”. Nate has such a unique voice and his clean vocals are absolutely some of the best I have heard in the underground and I knew from working with him that he was perfect for that song. He also added some FX and helped me craft a more industrial sound that was similar to his style for the song and it takes it to the next level. The ideas I had for it were blown out of that water compared to what he was able to do with it. I also tapped Chris Bollinger of Varicella and Kill Point Protocal for the darker “Salem, 1666”. He also added some extra drums, bass and FX on top of writing the lyrics and vocals on the song. He was even cool enough to help me produce it so everything he added came out clear, but still retained that gritty, industrial sound. I learned a TON from those two dudes in terms of writing and achieving a more industrial sound and this record wouldn’t sound the way it does without their input and help. I also have to say that my band mates in Critical Dismemberment and Skin Drone (Chase Fincher and Otto Kinzel respectively) also helped me when I would get road blocked in the post production process. All of these guys together helped me craft the sound that you hear on this record and on future records for sure. Having friends in your corner that are willing to take time away from their own projects to help is something that I do not take for granted and am very appreciative of.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Chasing Sanity'? The name itself was the name of a song I was working on. When it came time to pick a name for this project, I felt like Chasing Sanity would be the best fit for how the music sounded and the lyrical content. I think we are all in some way, shape or form always chasing sanity and for me, it represents the struggles I have gone through the past couple of years and chasing that point where I do eventually feel sane, if that time ever comes is anyone’s guess, but our inevitable death maybe the “sanity” we are all looking for in the end.
5.With this project you record mostly everything by yourself, do you feel this gives you more freedom to create your own sound?
It definitely does. It also helps that the label I work for an am signed has this ideology of creative freedom, which is something you do not come across to often in music in general. It is a blessing and a curse for me. While it allows me to explore some rather unique and weird places, I can sometimes cross that line that takes a good song and takes it absolute shit in a matter of seconds. It’s different when you are working with a bandmate and they can reign you in and say hey, this is to over the top, try this, or this and see how it goes. I can also be to hard on myself and sometimes I keep songs off of a record that should have been on it, but in the end, having complete creative control of how my songs sound and what I do with them breeds an environment that leads to a level of creativity that otherwise would not be present if I had to worry about writing music that was going to make someone else money. I can take my time and make sure that the best songs are presented and that it is the most accurate representation of my skills as not only a musician, but as an engineer as well. I’ve learned that you can use the engineering process to write as well when it comes to manipulating sounds to get a certain vibe or level emotion as compared to just writing, mixing and going here you go!
6.You also run 'Bluntface Records', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
I do not run Bluntface Records actually. Haniel Adhar recently took over for Otto and is now running the label. My duties for the label include helping Otto run the PR division and also being an A&R for extreme electronic metal bands. Currently, we have a slew of releases we are working on and also building up relationships with people within the underground scene to take Bluntface to the next level. It has been a ton of hard work on everyone working behind the scenes, but when we are fully ready to go, Bluntface will be the premier label of the underground, there is no doubt in my mind about that.
7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of metal and industrial?
To be honest, it has taken some people by surprise. Having a mostly instrumental album as a full length debut is weird, and is very different. The feedback so far has been amazing and it excites me that so many people are digging this album. I always aim to make a record an experience, no matter what project I am in, and this is just another notch in my belt in making that vision successful and sustainable.
8.What is going on with your other project 'Skin Drone' these days?
Otto and I currently still promoting “Evocation”. We just recently had hard copies of it made, which you can grab here: skindrone.bandcamp.com/evocation. They are 10 bucks and all the funds go directly back into the band to help make more merch. I am currently drawing up some new t-shirt designs and hopefully, we can bring those to our fans soon. Other than that, we are both working on other projects that took a back seat to us writing “Evocation”, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see us back working on record number two by the time the year is up, beginning of next year hopefully. Writing for Skin Drone takes up 100% of our time and energy and we want to be fully recharged before we get back on the saddle and start writing some even crazier shit.
9.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
Well, I hope that I am able keep putting out better and better records and keep building Chasing Sanity’s stock as a project. I am constantly practicing and getting better in all facets of being a musician, and I think people will be able to see that as not only Chasing Sanity but Skin Drone evolve as well.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Avenged Sevenfold, Lamb of God, Periphery and Bleeding Through have always been the biggest influences on my style. When it came to this new project, it was mostly my friends projects that had a big influence on me. Projects like Varicella, AutomatoN, Otto’s various industrial endeavors. Chase in She Wants The D Pad was also an influence, the way he layers and writes his synths to mesh perfectly with his heaviness is something that I have always be jealous of. Nowadays, I’ve been listening to Jason Richardson, Jinjer and a ton of old Strapping Young Lad. The Plot In You and Landon’s side project are albums that I have been jamming a ton as well and do not be surprised if you hear a lot of influence from him in future albums and EP’s.
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
I’m addicted to RPG’s and Counter Strike: Global Offensive, so I have been playing a ton of video games. I have also been reading a lot of horror genre books from Elias Anderson, Tania Carver and Chelsea Caine. Being married, with three kids and being in college again take up a lot of my time, and my family always comes first.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
The only thing that I would implore people to do is to keep supporting the underground. Without you guys, we would be unable to do what we do, for fun or to pay the bills. Every like, share, comment, download counts and I am very grateful for every single one of those that I get, not only for myself as a musician, but also for the bands and guys that I help promote.