Sapiency Interview – “We’re far away from being depressed doomsayers that want to evoke the end.”
Sapiency is an absolutely active band in the underground metal scene.Just like the brightest star, they keep emitting their positive energies with its music.
As long as there is “genre” for easy-recognition, they can be categorized as Melodic Death Metal band, but they have some tasty uniqueness beyond the genre. Most of MDM bands cope with “death” as inevitable destiny, suffering way to hell, massacre or apocalypse as you know. Sapiency shows you that kind of theme as well but you can feel a sort of positive vibe through their music somehow.
That’s one of points I’m digging deep into their music. So, I’d love to know the secret that makes them own music so gorgeous.
First of all, your latest announcement about Krsto’s withdrawal made me shocked. He was absolutely great shouter though. What happened with him?
Lars: Hi Kumi, first we like to thank you for having this short interview with us. We have heard a lot about you in Germany and are very much appreciating how you are supporting the German Metal-Scene and its bands. What you do on your site www.kumi666.com is absolutely amazing. I wish people in Germany would also feature and support bands from Nippon (like the outstanding band “Gonin-Ish” that I really really love to see live one day in Germany).
Rene: Regarding your question about our former Shouter Krsto. Being in a band is like being in a relationship - and so you always have your ups and downs. However, at some point you have to realize that your plans for the future and your idea of working and making music together are too different to keep it going and that it’s the best solution for everybody to go their separate ways.
Kai: However, we can say that nobody of us has hard feelings against each other and we wish Krsto all the best for his future career as a musician and producer! Above all, we want to thank him for more than three awesome years with many unforgettable events and memories!
Could you tell us about the support singer: Phil Heckel?
Lars: Yeah, we are very happy that Phil has joined our band In May. He is a very experienced and a very valueable bandmember and a good friend who has joined Sapiency finally in June. We met together on a tour with his band NEW BORN HATE a few years ago and all of us were overwhelmed by his talent, his voice and his amazing live-performance. He was extremely motivated to learn the set within a few days, which also shows his high ambition to bring things forward within our band. He inspires us and brings a whole lot of energy, motivation and a big bunch of fresh ideas into the band. We are not only appreciating that he plays his role within Sapiency, we love him for what he is doing for our band and that he is a part of our family now. We did some great shows together, like Dong Open Air and some other big festivals around Frankfurt and our fans and the rest of the crowd are giving us extremely positive feedback about his talent and his performance. In other words: Phil is the one, we like to together with in future and until the end of days.
So, you are not looking for a new permanent growl singer anymore?
Lars: Nope. Phil is the guy and we are not having any intention or reason to look out for anyone else in the moment and in future. We already told him, that some of us are very good and experienced in removing kneecaps with rusty knifes (just in case he would have some intention to leave us in within the next months or years). Just kidding: Of course we will remove the rust before we’ll do that… LOL…
I really loved the combination between the gravelly clean vocals and the massive shouts. Will you keep the superb balance in upcoming releases?
Kai: Thanks so much for your positive feedback! Yeah, I even could not explain it better than you: “Balance” is the perfect word for what we would like to achieve within our vocal- department. Our vocalists never really think about a “method” or a kind of strict “recipe”, when they are writing their lines. Indeed there are a couple of bands who are always using the same static and fixed cluster in each and every of their songs like “Kick-ass-growling- verses + Sing-Along-Chorus”, which is something we do in a few songs, too. But there is a whole lot more that you can achieve in the mind of the listener, when you break up with this static scheme a bit. Sapiency contains of very experienced composers and musicians and also of two very experienced singers who are both melodic- and aggressive-shouting- machines. The two individual singers are able to take parts from one another without any problem anymore, which means that we are not sticking to old conservative “clean-vocal versus guttural-shouting”-roles anymore. Our shouter is having skills to sing clean-vocals, too which will make our upcoming songs even more interesting. I am very sure that we will keep the Ying&Yang-balance on our next records, but with our new singer we are even more willing to step into a new level of creativity without losing our balance. So be surprised, what’s up to come with the new Sapiency!
Since this is my first interview with you guys, could you introduce the current regular members to us?
Lars: Of course. It’s a pleasure (even if not sooo much has changed in the line-up): At first I would like to introduce our Mastermind, who is composing the majority of the songs: Rene Ritzmann (aka “Ritzi”). Then we have Holger Wenck as a second guitarist who is doing a great job on the rhytm-guitar. On the bass-guitar we have Sebastian Fix (aka “Faxe”) who is working perfectly together with our clockwork Kai-Peter Voss-Fels (aka “Kai”) on drums to keep all in the moshing-mode. On vocals we are proud to introduce our new vocalist and shouter Mister Phil Heckel (aka “Phil”) and myself Lars Bittner (aka “Lars”) as the clean- and clean-screaming vocal-guy.
How about the history of the band?
Lars: Haha, usually this is the copy+paste-question, but we do not like to do such unpersonal stuff for you and your readers.
About our history: Rene, Holger and me (Lars) met the first time about 10 years ago. We played together in a band called “Force Trankill” for a couple of years. To follow other famous bands, this band decided to split up in 2008 or so. In parallel Lars has played in a Prog-Metal-Band called “Amyris”, which also tended to split-up somehow, so he posted a search-request as a vocalist in a few online-magazines. The telephone rang and guess what: Rene and Holger were calling Lars, because they were in progress to build up a new band. I agreed and Holger, Rene plus a former bassman were sitting together in a rehearsal-room in Frankfurt again to work on new songs in 2009.
I can clearly remember the first sessions on our first song called “Wake Up”, which was one of the very first songs on our first release, the EP "Mercy". The release of our EP Mercy get a really great feedback of a lot of magazines and we were subsequently rewarded a record deal. In November 2010, our debut album "Fate’s End" was released to wide acclaim by the press and fans alike. Our first tour took place in May 2011 with Pathfinder and Power Quest and a few months later, in August 2011 we were already supporting California’s own W.A.S.P. during their world tour at numerous sold out shows all over Germany. Following many national and international concerts, we was invited to perform at "70.000 TONS OF METAL" in January of 2012 as well at "METALFEST" 2012, on the legendary Loreley stage. A few month later we released our first music video clip via the music TV station IM1 as prelude of our upcoming studio album "Tomorrow". During the recordings of our second album and two weeks before we had to went to the "70.000 TONS OF METAL" our shouter Sebastian decided to leave the band. This was a really hard situation for us. So we was absolutely happy that Krsto spontaneously pinch-hit as our new shouter. In March of 2013, our second album "Tomorrow" was released. The national and international reactions were great and subsequently it was rewarded with a marketing deal through the American label Eclipse Records and endorsement deals by SCHECTER GUITARS, DÄESCH BASS GUITARS, BLUE LINES BACKLINE RENTAL and KÖNIG UND MEYER. In the beginning of 2014, we released our next music video via IM1, leading to more mayhem: A European tour in May, gigs at international festivals like "METALDAYS" and "OUT&LOUD", as well as concerts with bands such as SIX FEET UNDER, RAGE and EKTOMORF are just an excerpt from our 2014 schedule. During the last five years we had played more than 120 concerts at locations all over europe, performing side by side with greats such as KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, DEATHSTARS, SONIC SYNDICATE, DEAD BY APRIL and many many more. This is a short extract of our history.
What does “Sapiency” mean for the band?
Lars: Being wiser than some others and to use our brains more often.
Rene: Literally translated it means something like „wisdom“ - of course we mean this in an ironic way, like „the older you get the less is the risk that you make certain mistakes again and again“. We’re not all that young anymore and really gained lots of experience during our careers - however, we sometimes make the same mistakes again ;-) To be honest, making music with SAPIENCY means… everything for us. Music and particularly Metal - it’s a philosophy of life and has always been a special lifestyle for all of us. We’ve played way more than 120 shows together and spend so much time together - this blends a team and we really know each other quite well, somehow like in a family. It’s some kind of microcosm that is hardly understandable from the outside (sometimes even from the inside, haha)
All of your musical releases so far are Fate’s End (1st full-length 2010) and Tomorrow (2nd full-length 2013), right?
Lars: Yes, so far. But we are working on a new album currently, which will be released 2016.
Rene: You’re absolutely right. Well, apart from a small EP record, „MERCY“, which was before our first album. It contained four songs that we re-recorded for FATE’S END because we really liked them and wanted to have them on our first LP.
Actually, I love both of those albums! So, I’d love to ask you about them especially about the latest full-length “Tomorrow”. One of my favorite points from the album is I can feel positive aggression through the music itself. Who composed those tunes mainly?
Kai: This is Rene. He writes all the music and the arrangements. He’s first of all giving lots of creative input fort he band. This means that he’s recording stuff at home to give the rest of us a feeling for the song he was thinking about. Subsequently we work it out together in the rehearsal room to include as many ideas as possible and to consider individual thoughts on the respective songs. This always adds some synergic effect and we think that it’s working quite fine.
How about those lyrics?
Lars: The lyrics are created by myself and Phil. We try find great hook-lines and to provide positive energy and brutality within our songs.
The cover-art looks very impressive with the contrast between the dystopia and a little hope loaded on the radio flyer, just like “death” and “rebirth”. What does it represent?
Lars: A very good question: It should represent the hope in a “better tomorrow”.
Rene: Well, you actually got to the point. You can see it as a conceptual continuation of the first album “FATE’S END” on which we voice our concerns that humanity is slowly steering towards the abyss. On “TOMORROW” we want to point out that we all should rethink our lives a little, otherwise we endanger our own fundamental existence. However, as you can also here in our music, we’re far away from being depressed doomsayers that want to evoke the end. We’re convinced that every end also offers new opportunities and new chances to chance and make things better. This is what the little child on the cover is standing for.
Many bands have been dealing with apocalyptic themes nowadays because of us: human beings which have been treating horrible toward our mother nature. It seems we are plunging toward doomsday. So, do you think we would be able to rebuild a beautiful relationship with her in the future?
Lars: We should try to build it even in the present.
Rene: Well, that’s a really philosophical question and not so easy to answer in a few sentences. If you look around what’s happening in the world these days it’s of course rather doubtful. On the other hand we have to stay positive and keep our heads up. Humanity has also always been able to establish something beautiful and fantastic - why shouldn’t this help fixing nowadays’ problems?
Okay, get back on the tracks from the second full-length “Tomorrow”. “Free Within” is available as a music video as well, right? Who produced the film?
Rene: The video was produced by Mat Stein: Matstein Development Facebook, a young and very talented man. We were especially happy to have the German actress Britta Horn who supported us at this video shoot. It was amazing to work together with her because she’s an extremely professional and creative person what you can clearly also see in the video.
Why did you choose the song for a music video?
Lars: We were thinking that the song and its lyrics are a good reason to tie up girls. And it worked ;O)
My special favorite in “Tomorrow” is “Unknown Enemy” and the final track “Dying Illusions”, however every single song in the album is fabulous! Could you tell us about your own favorite?
Lars: Each and every song belongs to our favorites. But all of us like “Hungry again” the most, because it is kind of very special vocal-experiment.
What is the obvious difference between “Fate’s End” and “Tomorrow” for you?
Lars: The CD-covers are looking different and we were getting 2 years older between the 2 albums ;O)
Rene: The many shows we played after our debut album "Fate´s End" were very important for the development of "TOMORROW", because it was very important for us that all the songs will kick as in the live situation... and I think it works! The songs and the arrangements are more sophisticated and much heavyer and we had found our own style.
Let’s talk about the future because “Tomorrow” had been released in 2013. Do you have any plan for a new album so far?
Rene: We definitely have! We’re currently working on the last compositions for the new LP and we’re very happy to say that the largest parts of the upcoming album are done. However, the whole songwriting and recording process was hampered a little because we changed our singer. On the other hand this gives us some new creative input as we now re- check the compositions and try to improve the songs here and there. With our next release we really want to blow you guys away and at the moment we’re quite optimistic that this will happen. To increase the flexibility during the recording sessions and to be able to modify things later in the recording process we decided to do the recording completely by ourselves. We’re not tied to studio times anymore - that, on the other hand, obliges us to have an even closer look on the arrangements but it helps to work everything out more carefully and to really reach the maximum for every single song. We can already say that the third LP will be the best SAPIENCY album so far - that’s for sure. We’re planning to release it during the first half of 2016. You should stay tuned.
Do you have any interest in music market / metal fan-base in Japan?
Lars: Yes, of course.
Could you tell us about your upcoming schedule this year?
Kai: This year we will 100% focus on the completion of the new album so that we can do some nice tours and shows in 2016.