CORNERS OF SANCTUARY is classic heavy metal the American way. No fluffy hairs or spandex pants. Just metal to the bone. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
In 2012 you had three releases out. Why so many and when does it become overkill to release that many records in one year?
JAMES: The World of Music has changed a ton in the past 10 years. More and more bands have the ability to reach out to the World via the internet. This is both a blessing and a potential curse. From the start, our plan was to put something out every 6 to 8
months. Our feeling was to keep fresh things coming out as the fans of Metal have become fickle. The internet has made it easy to get bored quickly with new bands/material. The fans want more now, and truthfully we love creating/finishing new
stuff as well. We had a ton of material archived; this made it easier to accomplish multiple releases. Keep in mind that we released 2 EP’s and one LP. The “Forgotten Hero” EP was the spring board for “Breakout”. The “December Wind” project was for charity. It contains one new release and one sneak peek into our new project “Harlequin”, which will officially release Jan 22nd. So not really that crazy…
MICK: We had one full length release in 2012 – that was “Breakout. Earlier in the year we released an EP titled “Forgotten Hero”. A few of those tracks ended up on “Breakout”. “December Wind” was designed as a Holiday promotional EP. The disc included the title track as well as serving as a promotional piece for both “Breakout” and our upcoming 2013 release “Harlequin”. Plus we always wanted to do a Holiday song and this was a great opportunity to do it. I don’t think it is overkill – especially how quickly things fade these days. Releasing new material every six months or so was an industry standard back in the old days. Take a look at the early catalogs of the Beatles and Kiss. These guys worked hard to deliver to the fans. We have that same mentality. Hell, we are already working on the follow up CD to “Harlequin”!
What was it that made you want to start CORNERS OF SANCTUARY in the first place?
JAMES: We had just finished up a 25th anniversary release of material from a former band called Seeker. Sean and Mick were inspired and started to lay down some material. I came in about 6 months later. The 25 year itch kicked in and things starting rolling. You never lose the dream.
MICK: We were working on a reunion project for a band we were in called “Seeker”. During that time I was talking with Sean about doing some new stuff but getting back to the basics and to our roots. We wanted to do what was natural to us. So Corners of
Sanctuary was born.
What is the climate for metal like in your home town and state? What kind of scene is there for metal?
JAMES: In our hometown I would say the climate is sluggish. Just north of Philly the scene seems to be picking up some momentum. It is less main stream then it was some time ago.
MICK: It’s not main stream. But there is still a dedicated following. Because of that it will press on and endure to new generations. Regardless of the numbers, the fans will keep metal alive and kicking.
It is often talked about, the American metal sound and the European but what is the difference between the two?
JAMES: Is there a difference, or is it more of a cultural acceptance thing? The European market clearly has more tolerance for heaver music. In my opinion, the style of metal in Europe allows for more fan participation in the live setting ? less separation between
the band and their audience. I imagine this comes through in the creativity process.
MICK: Just from my experience only and from what I have seen, the big difference seems to be that European metal, these days, is more theatrical, dramatic and climatic. But the scenes are also much different which plays a major role in the music creation. The
European scene seems to live, breath and die metal. It is a way of life, a way of living. Not to say that this sentiment does not exist in the American metal scene, because it does. It just seems to be more intense in Europe.
If you had to place the band on the map of metal where would COS end up?
JAMES: New Wave British Metal….Our roots are dug deep into this style.
MICK: If you mean how we would classify C.O.S. genre?based, I would just say Heavy Metal. If I were being pressed, I would have to say Old School Heavy Metal. But really what is important is how the listeners feel about it. If they like it and think it is “such
and such” genre – great! If someone else digs it and believes it to be something else – that’s great too! It really is irrelative. What is relative is whether or not people are listening. If they are listening, they can call it whatever they want.
How tough is it to release records on your own? How tough is the competition to get noticed?
JAMES: Great Question, with today’s technology anyone can, with some effort, release their own records. With the digital media outlets, this process is 100 times easier to do. Digital distribution channels are pretty easy to set up. Your music, in theory, is
accessible to the world. You can cover a ton more ground via the Internet in a fraction of the time that it took 15 years ago. However, it is a double edged sword. Just check out the number of bands you can find on the internet ? so many great bands ? so many choices at the world wide level. Have to keep it fresh: release every 6 to 8 months. It’s like touring was 20 years ago… stay in front of them, keep the material in front of them, in different forms. Build a buzz. To answer your question directly, competition is huge.
MICK: Everything is a process and everything costs. Planning is always required. But there is a freedom in that process. That freedom seems to out?weigh a lot of the course that is involved with releasing a record, especially on your own. There are so many
bands out there these days, so many genres and sub?genres that it is easy to get lost in the crowd. At times you have to pick your battles and do what you can when you can but regardless do it the best you can always.
What can you do to make yourself stand out with selling your soul to the gods of rock?n?roll?
JAMES: First my soul is not for sale. I prefer to keep it and share it with a select few…..LOL If your asking what our hook will be to get to the next level, well I am not sure, but what I can say is that if you are true to yourself and your band mates, stick to a plan and play what comes naturally, in the end all will be ok. Either way works.
MICK: Rather than resort to some cheap parlor tricks or passing fads, I believe staying true to yourself and the music is what counts and it is what will keep you in the game. Things change, and the music and writing will change as a band progresses on. It is
inevitable. Go with the flow, go with what moves you and inspires you. That is being true to yourself – the music will mirror that – it will be sincere and from the heart.
In this day and age of digital downloads how important is the art work for a band’s record to get noticed?
JAMES: Artwork was used to catch the eye of the fan or potential fan while, in some cases it expressed the bands vision of the album ? a type of advertising to inspire someone’s curiosity to want to listen or see more. This concept has not changed.
However, it has grown way past the cover of the record or a few posters. The artwork/marketing of a release is perhaps more important and must be strategic, and in our opinion, gives a peek into the vision of the band. It must be able to separate the
band and make the music standout from the digital clutter. Frequency and creativity of artwork in more than a few mediums is needed.
MICK: It seems not to be as important to the younger listeners. However, that is not necessarily the artists’ point of view. The art is a parallel reflection of the music itself. There is a reason why artwork is still designed for releases. It means something – it
symbolizes something. Think of your favorite album… I am sure you know what was on the cover. It’s part of the experience.
What choices did you do in order to pick the art work that you’ve used for your records?
JAMES: Mick handles most/all of the artwork. He works with a small team to nail down his concepts and then presents to the band for suggestions and or approval.
MICK: Since the band is rooted in what we feel is Old School – we wanted to give the artwork that same feeling. The artwork, the liner notes, the music, is all part of the music listening experience. You can touch it, see it, hear it – you can feel it. It is all part
of the impact, all part of the message. So, just like our music, the artwork is something that we would want to see from our favorite bands.
What is on your agenda for the future?
JAMES: We have a release coming out Jan 22nd, a concept album called “Harlequin”. Great tunes… the songs stand together as a story or on their own as individual tunes. We wanted to make sure the concept was not to over bearing to follow. We also made
sure that each song held its own. Again, with digital downloads, full album downloads are less frequent. Keep climbing the mountain until someone makes us stop……Pay my bills, make a living, and keep the dream alive. Same stuff
MICK: Our new CD, “Harlequin”, releases on January 22, 2013. We hope to have some videos to go along with the disc as well. And we are booking a winter string of live performances to support the new record. We are working on a publishing deal for 2013 as well as working with some independent labels for compilation CDs to continue to promote C.O.S. We have already begun working on our next CD, writing and recording, and hope to have it released sometime during the summer along with some other projects we are
considering at the moment.