Interview with Corners Of Sanctuary (2016)

We started the year 2016 with a article about a video of the New Wave of Traditional American Heavy Metal band Corners Of Sanctuary. By that time they released a face expressive video for the track "Left Scarred" of the album "Metal Machine". In the last 12 months the band released more videos as well as a best of record and toured extensively. We shared many of that stuff here on the blog but who's standing behind the band anyway? What's their motivation to push on with so enormous power? Read about it in our little interview with guitarist Mick Michaels.

How did the band come together?
Mick Michaels: Corners of Sanctuary formed in 2011 after a brief reunion project with the 80’s band Seeker that took place in 2010. Several of us were involved in that project.  During that time we talked about working on material that reflected more of our music roots. Out of that Corners of Sanctuary was born.

A shot of the band Corners Of Sanctuary taken in fall 2016, (c) by Corners Of Sanctuary

Which sources do you use as inspiration for writing new songs?
MM: Everything seems to be an inspiration: family, friends, music, nature, history… It really is an infinite source of material to draw from. We just need to be open and aware that it exists. When we draw and write from experiences and the like, we find that the music has more of an honest quality to it – meaning we’re not trying to be or do something we are not. Songs always seem to flow better that way and I feel it is evident to the listener.

Do you feel that writing and performing music helps you to push on further with your own personal lives?
MM: Absolutely.  For me, music is an extension of myself. It is an opportunity for me to explore thoughts and ideas, so be creative, as well as a way for me to explore my own existence. I find great peace in writing.  I often learn something new about myself or am reminded of something I forgot.

Social media surely plays a big role in the communication between a band and their fans. Do you feel that fans contact with you more or less personally at gigs these days?
MM: There is no denying that social media has opened many doors to the band/fan relationship. If embraced properly and respectfully it can have great benefits. So it is not at all uncommon for us to meet fans at shows whose initial contact or introduction to us was through a social media channel. Communication today is worldwide and limitless – there is so much opportunity to meet new people.

Do you still prefer releasing music on traditional media like LPs, CDs and the like or do you feel the same satisfaction when putting out music digitally?
MM: We are definitely old school in that we enjoy releasing material that can be held and looked at by the listeners.  The album’s artwork and design along with all the liner notes, the music itself and its song order are all part of the total package.  Even the smell has an effect. There is something very special there.  However, we do understand the need and the demand to have material released digitally whether as an option to the album or as the only choice.  It is important that artists stay with the times and offer the fans diversity without losing integrity.

Have you ever experimented with other styles over the years and thought about changing?
MM: I think as a song writer, experimenting with other forms and genres of music is natural and very enlightening.  Trying different things gives us new perspectives… it can be very beneficial in the long run.  Over the years I have written a handful of rock, acoustic and country-esque songs as well as some instrumental and experimental type compositions that were used in some independent films a few years back. I also worked as a producer on a Rap EP back in 2008. But Metal has always been my primary focus.

The logo of the band Corners Of Sanctuary, (c) by Corners Of Sancturay, used with kind permission

Did you come along points where you thought about leaving it all behind? If you reached that point: how did you keep the motivation up to move on?
MM: Who hasn’t?   Being a musician is a non-stop roller coaster ride. Every day I ask myself “Are you sure you want to do this?”  And every day the answer is yes!  I guess when the day comes when yes is not the answer it will be time to do something different… maybe a circus clown!

What was the funniest story that came along your way when you performed live? Or did things happen that you would have never thought of to occur (not only at gigs but maybe anywhere else as well)?
MM: There are things happening all the time – big and small. Funny could be a relative term depending on the situation. Frankie has taken a few trips, slips and falls during some shows. But to tell you the truth we never really notice until after when he says something.  We are so used to him jumping around during the set, that even we think it is part of the show.

Recently, though, while we were on tour in the Midwest, we were traveling from Ohio to Chicago going through Indianapolis.  We had all but sold out of T-shirts at the previous night’s show and we still had a handful of dates to go.  So, while driving, James and I were on the phone trying to find someone who would do a rush order of shirt within 24 hours.  We were trying our best to have it done locally to our next show to make it easier.  During this a state trooper pulls alongside us and begins to give us the once over.  Within seconds the lights go on and he is pulling us over.  At this point James is still on the phone and placing an order for T-shirts.  The officer comes up to the passenger side window, where James is sitting, James rolls down the window and says to the officer “Sorry officer I am trying to order some band T-shirts for the next show.”  The officer looks at him and then me and asks for my “driver’s license and registration,” which I provide.  James is still talking on the phone.  The officer asks me to “step out of the car.”  I step out onto a massively busy Indianapolis highway and walk behind the truck and trailer to meet the officer who proceeds to ask me if I am “armed or carrying any knives or weapons of any kind?”  I said “no.” He said “are you sure?” I said “yes.”  He asks to pat me down and I comply.  He then tells me to get into the patrol car at which point “Deliverance” starts playing in my head.  I ask if there is a problem and he say no and tells me to get into the vehicle. I get into the car to find a giant K9 Sheppard sitting in the back seat which is now sniffing me down and breathing heavily over my shoulder. At this point I figured I wouldn’t be making it to tonight’s gig. All the while the rest of the band is casually sitting in the truck and James still on the phone placing a T-shirt order.  After the in-vehicle interrogation the officer tells me there is not an issue but warned me about driving too close to other vehicles.  He then asked me “who’s the guy on the cell phone?” I went on to explain he was our bass player and business manager. It turned out he was not a fan of Heavy Metal, unfortunately. But I was sent on my merry way and the high point of the story is, the T-shirts were ordered and arrived the next morning at our hotel!

Not sure how funny that was – but I will say it was not at all funny while it was happening. 

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me and sharing with your readers a little bit about Corners of Sanctuary. COSnROLL! \m/\m/

Remember to download your free copy of the track "That feeling we know" until January 1st 2017 from the band's homepage and to tune in to the band's Facebook page to keep up to date about the recording process of the new album and upcoming tourdates.

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