Corners of Santuary
Interview Walter Burton par la radio
Dj WW ? 1. How did that name come about?
Mick Michaels: The band name is our personal take on the areas, or corners, in our lives where we find a sense of sanctuary… a sense of comfort or refuge. Everyone has them… and they can be anything; jogging, lifting weights, reading. For us it is music and we choose to share that.
Dj WW ? 2. How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
MM: James and I have known each other since grade school. We started playing music together back in 1985 and have done so ever since. We have known Mad T for 20 plus years. I worked with him on several projects before Corners of Sanctuary and T has worked with COS since its formation back in 2011. He co-wrote a handful of songs with us as well as filled in on drums multiple times before becoming a full-time member in 2016. We met Frankie through a mutual friend back in 2013. Right off the bat we clicked… He understood the music as we shared similar backgrounds and interests.
DJ WW ?3. At what age did you decide you wanted to be a musician?
MM: I started playing drums at age seven. My parents bought me a 4 piece Ludwig blue-sparkle jazz kit with a sizzle cymbal and hi-hat. It was awesome. By the time I was 12 I knew I wanted to play guitar as writing songs became somewhat difficult for me on drums. I got my first guitar when I was 13. It was a game changer for me in terms of songwriting.
DJ WW ?4. When did you form or join your first band? With that band, what inspired you to make music together?
MM: I guess it was about six months after I got my first guitar. I learned a handful of chords and honed my E chug and was ready to go. ; ) Why wait? James was in that first band but he was playing guitar initially. A few months into it and we had a personnel change and James switched to bass. One of the first songs we did back in 1985 was an early version of what would later become the song “Metal Machine” which COS released in 2015 off the album of the same name. It has become a staple in our live set since.
We just wanted to be rock stars back then… so we were drawn together… the music drew us together as it does now.
DJ WW ? 5. Who are some of your musical influences?
MM: For me as a guitar player Glen Tipton and KK Downing are two of my favorite players. I have also taken a lot of inspiration from Jake E Lee and John Sykes among others of course.
As a songwriter that list is too lengthy to even begin but I have found inspiration in a lot of things and not all have been directly related to music.
As a band, Judas Priest, Accept, Savatage and Kiss are definite influences. But that list is pretty long as well.
DJ WW ?6. Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organizations?
MM: Corners of Sanctuary recently signed a new label deal with Killer Metal Records in Germany. We are real excited about this new partnership and look forward to many years of working together and making great Metal music.
I am a member of ASCAP.
DJ WW ?7. Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
Do you think these topics will change over time?
MM: I have acted as the primary songwriter, both musically and lyrically since the beginning. However, as the band has progressed, and especially with our most recent releases and latest album, “The Galloping Hordes”, other members have been contributing on both ends and it has been fantastic. Mad T, who plays drums, also plays guitar…so we have written several songs together based around riffs he has come up with as well as things he has written lyrically. James has also been getting more into lyric written. The new album is laden with full band contributions from all corners. This not only helps the music grow but it has also helped me improve as a songwriter.
Many of our songs are centered on battles and war as well as self empowerment and overcoming challenges. These topics are reoccurring themes for us… : ) They seem to just go with the music. But we do have songs that deal with other things such as love, loss and spiritual matters.
Whether or not the topics change over time is basically a matter of “time will tell.” But for now, we go with what seems to be drawn from the music… it’s been working so far!
DJ WW ?8. Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
MM: For us, most of it starts with a guitar riff. From there it just grows into a basic arrangement. Over time that basic arrangement is tweaked and tightened until we feel we have something of substance. During that period ideas of vocal placement and melody are thrown around… nothing concrete but the feel is created. Lyrics are also starting to develop which can often alter an arrangement here and there.
Then it’s all put together and some basic recordings are done so we can listen to it from a different perspective. The whole process is a defining, refining loop until the song is ready to be fully recorded, mix, mastered and released. That’s the short version of it and every artist has their own system… and that’s how it should be… go with what works and what’s natural… that way you’ll always get the best results.
DJ WW ?9. What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
MM: As a band, we do have a set rehearsal time each week. This keeps us on a schedule and keeps us focused and tight. We often run through a number of songs, especially those that are in the set. But also pepper in other songs so we are always ready with alternates and additional material in the event it’s needed. As we add newer songs to the set list, ample time is given to properly rehearse them so they at least appear to flow with what we are doing in a live situation. Time is always the best rehearsal… the more you do it, the better it gets.
Individually we all allot personal time to rehearse on our own. I think this is standard for all musicians but also based on my experience.
DJ WW ?10. How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
MM: I do feel the band’s music has gotten more progressive at times. I think it is a product of growth and of maturity in regards to the music. Growth happens when we take chances and break out of our comfort zones. This allows for experimentation which can be a good thing as long as you don’t lose yourself in the process. Paths are great to explore but it sucks to get lost… always have a way to get back home.
DJ WW?11. What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge and if so, how?
MM: I think the biggest challenge for any band or artist today is to make sure the fans are aware of you and your music. That is so difficult especially with the amount of choices listeners have at their disposal. It is literally a worldwide market.
I am not sure we have overcome it but I do know that we do as much as we can to keep a light on for people to find us. Social media helps a lot. But we also work to keep our catalog growing. Bands make music… write songs… just like a painter paints pictures… we need to keep making music. The other big thing for us is getting out there and playing live. We hit the road as often as we can and take the music to the people. That personal connection playing live is key… it has always been the artist’s greatest weapon.
DJ WW?12. Are you currently on tour or have any shows lines up?
MM: We are in the initial stages of our Galloping Hordes Tour to support our upcoming album “The Galloping Hordes” which is releasing on Killer Metal Records. The tour has us playing with Thrash legends Anvil Bitch and Blood Feast as well as Joey Belladonna among others. Plus we have a few festivals lined up and we are heading to Germany this summer and doing a US West Coast run of shows later in the fall.
DJ WW ? 13. What’s your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune?
MM: The ultimate direction or goal for the band is to make music and share it. Our ultimate hope is that other people like it enough to want to keep listening.
If fame and fortune is all that you seek, you might want to find another line of work… that’s not going to be enough to carry the torch for the long haul. Music has to be a passion. Passion burns forever.
DJ WW ?14. If you could go into the studio and write a record and record with anyone who would that be (dead or alive)?
MM: Well right from the top I would love to do an album with Halford, Tipton and Downing from Priest. And of course Dio! If you’re going to dream, dream big.
DJ WW ?15. What advice would you have for people who want to form their own bands?
MM: Do it and make the best music you possibly can.
DJ WW ?16. Tell us a little about the new album that is coming out?
MM: The new album is titled “The Galloping Hordes”. It will be officially releasing on Killer Metal Records this year. The album will be getting an early digital release in April followed by a CD release later on to coincide with a mini tour in Germany.
This is a much heavier album for us all around. It is definitely guitar driven but we also focused on making the album more musical, whereas a lot of room was intentionally left open for the vocals to really take center stage. In the past we would layer in some additional guitar melodies for depth. This time instead of doing it with guitar with did it with Frankie’s vocals. We are extremely happy with the record.
DJ WW ?17. The new album was mastered by Bill Metoyer, who has worked with such notable bands as Slayer, Fates Warning, Armored Saint and W.A.S.P. How did Bill come to the project?
MM: While we were in California last year we meet Bill at one of our shows. After our set he came up to us and said he enjoyed the show and from there we just started talking. We exchanged contact info and a few weeks later we were making plans to have Bill head the mastering sessions. It’s amazing how things unfolded.
DJ WW ?18. So the band is heading to Germany later this year. What can you tell us about that?
MM: Well, this will be COS’ first outing to Europe and we are really pumped about it. There had been some talk several times in the past, especially with our last album “Metal Machine” about going to Germany but nothing ever really panned out. But now it’s happening and we can’t wait. We are looking forward to connecting personally with our worldwide fans. It’s gonna be a great time.
DJ WW ?19. A new album, a tour… what else does the band have going on at the moment?
MM: We are looking to shoot a new video or two in the coming months to support the new album. I guess when the weather breaks… We shot a video for the song “Wild Card” last year in the dead of February… it was beyond friggin’ cold. So I think we are looking to avoid that again… something sunny and warm. Filming dates are currently being discussed so we will see what happens…
We have also been in and out of the studio recording both old and new music. With the cool feedback we received from last year’s “Cut Your Losses” EP release, where we re-recorded some older COS songs, we decided to re-record several more. Some will have updated arrangements based on what we do live as well as some new lyrics here and there. We are also recording a handful of new songs for future releases. It’s always good to have stuff ready and waiting to go. Besides, we like to stay busy.
DJ WW ? 20. How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
MM: People can check us out at our official website: www.cornersofsanctuary.com. We have our whole catalog of music there available for purchase and download including some free stuff. We also have all our show dates listed, news, merch and links to our social media pages and videos. Plus people can sign up for our monthly COS Nation newsletter and send us an email.
DJ WW ? 21. Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
MM: We want to thank all the fans who have supported us since the beginning… and for those fans who have helped us out over the years during our crowd-funding campaigns. These people make it all possible. We have been so fortunate and because of that, are very grateful.
Big shout outs to our COS team of pros: Billy from Keep it Metal Promotions, Alison and crew from Metal Babe Mayhem and MBM Music Inc and all our endorsements for their belief in our music and honoring us by backing COS with their product lines.
DJ WW ?22. Any last words?
MM: Thanks for talking with me. I appreciate your time and support and wish you all the best! \m/\m/
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