Following the release of their impressive sophomore “Black Sheep” comes this hugely talented – both on and offstage – young band who are fast opening doors and breaking down barriers with their loud brand of punk rock n metal. Shan Siva chats to guitarist Nick Magee of Sanguine about life in the fast lane!
Are you the most famous thing to come out’ve Devon since cream teas?
Nick: Ha ha! Good question! I think Muse currently hold that crown actually – they are local boys who one or two of you may have heard about 😉 Great band, loved their Download set last year. Might be time for us to make a bid for the local top spot!
Nick: That’s pretty much bang on! – We all grew up in the countryside apart from Matt who was born in New York and raised in London. The rest of us grew up in the styx and pretty much all we did was play rock music and hang out. I’m actually really glad we did – I can’t imagine growing up in a big city.
Why the name Sanguine – at first I thought you were some college art band – hard to imagine with songs like ‘Breaking Out’ and ‘Social Decay’?!
Nick: Well I guess we’re not a typical metal band in that sense – we have a sense of humour and laugh a lot as people. We’re not happy clappy camp fire people or anything, it’s more a darkness that runs through us all that we connect with through comedy.
What really impressed me about “Black Sheep” is that you’ve got noisy and quiet songs mixed together – but somehow it always sounds heavy so is that intentional?
Nick: It’s funny as we don’t try and sound heavy, it’s just how we are. We notice it more when we play with other bands. In the early days we’d worry if we were heavy enough for certain shows, we’d get there and realise we are way heavier in reality than we thought! I think because our core music tastes lean towards metal/hard rock/punk – those deeper tones sound normal to us.
Nick: That’s a long list! All of us are hyper as individuals and do a lot of stuff outside the band. Our Drummer Matt is a black belt Taekwondo instructor and a Personal Trainer. Ross is a Motocross/BMX rider but also an architects model maker. He can build entire micro cities from scratch and also makes props for film and TV – he worked on Jonny Depps Demon Barbour and weirdly enough built the Ninky Nonk Train from Midnight Garden!!! Tarin and I are both really into film and visual art. We produce short films and work behind the scenes in both music and film industry. Tarin is also a bit of a tech head when it comes to programming and learning. She is curious by nature and always learning new things. Show her something once and she becomes a pro in a week! Drives me crazy ha ha!
Along with your songs, you’ll got an equally mixed sound – metal, punk, alt – but again, its always heavy – is there a dark side to the band you’re not telling anyone?!
Nick: We are tongue in cheek to a degree. We like to point out the elephant, shake the tree etc. There is a very serious side to us as well which is why some songs just come out dark as hell! We don’t take ourselves too seriously though so poke fun at ourselves. An example was the video for Social Decay. It’s actually quite a serious song about Government fear mongering and control. The expectation for a video with a song like that would normally be fairly aggressive. We decided this would also make it predictable though so instead made a total mockery of it from a visual perspective. The mix of serious and funny made the song stand out much more we think.
Nick: We were working with Mikee W Goodman at the time (singer from Sikth) and he was working with Adrian on a project called Primal Rock Rebellion. Adrian was looking for female vocals and reached out to a few singers. Mikee showed him Tarins voice and a couple months later he phoned her up and asked her into the studio! It was literally that easy! Still blows our mind that she did that.
Speaking gigs, I hear you’ve already gone as far as Japan and LA so how did that all come about?
Nick: That was as out of the blue for us as anyone. It started when Skindred’s manager Seven Webster phoned and asked if we wanted to come and play the Global Rock Summit in Los Angeles. It was a big decision to make as on one hand we were aware that these industry showcases are often not worth playing. We trusted Seven though and decided that a kick ass show is a kick ass show! If we played well then maybe, just maybe something might come out of it. It was a huge risk as getting an entire band and all the gear to Los Angeles was a frickin’ nightmare! We played a killer show that night though and got signed by a Japanese label as a result. That sparked more interest from other labels etc and after tons of offers and months of negotiating we finally settled with the team of people who surround us now. In retrospect it was the best decision we ever made but at the time it felt like the highest risk strategy we could play at the time. By nature the band are risk takers though so part of the anxiety these situations create is also what feeds it. We planned to hit Japan last November but had to re-schedule for this year instead. Can’t wait to go there and rock out though!
You’ve also collaborated with Jesper Strömblad of In Flames – that’s a lotta connections for an underground band so how is it you’re getting all these breaks (I’m sure there’s a million bands out there wanting to know too!)
Nick: We get asked this a lot and it’s something we are quite proud of as a band. Being based in Devon we had no ‘in roads’ at all to the music industry. We knew absolutely nobody. Sanguine started getting a reputation for fairly violent live shows in the early days. We started to get approached by various industry folk – first it was managers, then promoters, and finally some of the bigger bands reached out. The first big band was Mikee from Sikth – he nurtured us in the early days which gave us confidence to believe in ourselves. That then led to the Iron Maiden thing. The meeting with Jesper was unrelated – by this time we had been signed by two management agencies (one UK and one in Germany) – Our German crew were working with some of Jesper’s team and passed a demo to him. Next thing we knew the phone was ringing and we were setting up a meeting in Gothenberg. We’re pretty proud of some of the names we have attracted in. We’ve never had to chase anyone, we just concentrate on being good as a band and that seems to draw the attention we need to get noticed. The thing about this industry is that contacts will only get you so far. I have known very well connected bands fail because they spend too much time trying to be a rock star and not enough time writing music that actually excited anyone! If nobody is knocking on your door then it’s time to change the tape!
What are Sanguine’s plans for this year?
Nick: To tour like crazy people! We want to tour as much as possible to spread the word. We’re looking at UK, Europe and Japan at the moment.
Ok, thanks for your time and congratulations again on a superb album!
Nick: Likewise! Thanks for having us it’s been great to talk……we’ll see you in the pit! 😉