Interview by Jason Guest
Jason: Hi. Thanks for taking time out for this interview. To begin, can you tell us what it was that drew you all together to form Sannhet and start writing as a band?
Sannhet: It’s really as simple as shared influence and experience, and similar goals as a unit. We all had pieces of an idea for what would become Sannhet, but once we all came together, that full vision was realized.
Jason: Your first EP appeared in 2011. How does the band differ on that EP from that of Known Flood? (Ed: Jason’s review of Known Flood is here)
Sannhet: The EP has songs that appear on Known Flood. These songs were an early exploration and were later fully realized on the studio album. The truth is we were hesitant to even let that out into the world, there is even an alternate version of ‘Endless Walls’ that was meant to be on the EP that we just didn’t feel was seen to fruition. We have a few of the cassettes left for the EP, but after those are gone we will likely take the EP off line.
Jason: Who are the band’s main influences?
Sannhet: Truth. Brian Eno. Discordance Axis. Masked beauty. Aphex Twin. Surface noise. William Basinski. Alejandro Jodorowsky. Koyaanisqatsi. Distant machinery. Jeromes Dream. Merzbow.
Jason: What was it that you wanted to achieve with Known Flood?
Sannhet: Known Flood is just a small step toward a much larger goal. It may not come as a surprise to anyone that our music is riddled with the influence of a reduced attention span, as are our listeners. In the environment we are exposed to, the accelerated sensory-overload world that we interact with every day, it’s common that we all expect immediate payoff for any interaction. Flip the switch; light goes on. This is how we understand reality… Send the text, turn over the car, pump the gas, swipe the card, the microwave tells you your food is ready. Immediate positive reactions. Dopamine is released in the brain you have rewarded yourself. Modern people have convinced themselves they need everything right now. They deserve these things… It is most apparent that they feel this way whenever any of these things fails to please them – it is a catastrophe. You stare at a spinning hourglass or pinwheel on your monitor screen, rage fills your heart… There’s something to be said for giving you everything you want, then taking it away.
Jason: Is there a concept behind the album? If so, how did this concept affect the writing and structuring of the album?
Sannhet: We are more of a concept band. There is a singular message strewn across all media, whether that is in sound, design or vision. The album is an extension of these ideas, and a message that is clear to us and yet one that we are constantly refining.
Throughout the year we will be releasing two more music videos. The total of the three videos will be a triptych meant to explain our grand design. Look out for the next two videos and pay close attention to ‘Absecon Isle’. (Ed: This can be seen on YouTube here or below, at the end of this interview)
Jason: Why work instrumentally? Do lyrics inhibit music and its capacities for expression?
Sannhet: We started as an instrumental band without ever really deciding to stay as such; it just turned out that way. For the way we write, it makes sense. We feel like our music is expressive enough, and that we can best convey meaning without lyrics/vocals.
Jason: Would you ever consider using lyrics in Sannhet’s music?
Sannhet: We have. We did. And possibly will again, if we find it necessary.
Jason: You’ve obviously spent a lot of time working on the album. Is it all new material or is their material on there from the EP or perhaps before?
Sannhet: Everything that was on the EP was recorded for the full length, plus newer material.
Jason: How have the tracks on the album evolved since you began writing for it? Were there any that were re-written or saw a significant overhaul since they first appeared?
Sannhet: Again, our singular vision extends to our song writing. The only changes were accommodation for bass parts, a welcome update.
Jason: How does the band write? Is there a main writer or do you all bring ideas to the band and then jam them out?
Sannhet: We all bring ideas to the table, but there are certainly no “jams”. Everything is methodical. Often a rhythm or phrase will be introduced, and we will all suggest compliments to it but in the end arrangements are put together as a group.
Jason: Can you tell us about the artwork for the album? How does it relate to the music?
Sannhet: The photo is the Mississippi Flood of 1927. However, the flood in question is more symbolic of cleansing. Tides cause waters to recede, giving way to a time to survey and assess. Yet that high watermark remains, leaving a remembrance of the purge.
Jason: Who’s the artist? And how much direction did you give him in its creation?
Sannhet: AJ (Annunziata, bass) executes all of the artwork, however we all have final say in the creative direction. Clearly though, AJ has a thorough understanding of our goals.
How did Sannhet come to work with Sacrament Music? And why did you choose to work with them?
Sannhet: Sacrament was formed from the owners of St. Vitus bar/venue in Brooklyn, NY. We’ve played there many times since they opened their doors, and we felt that they understood our aesthetic and goals. It made perfect sense for us to work together.
Jason: Bands are finding it increasingly difficult to survive, particularly in an age where sales are down because of illegal downloading and bands are releasing limited digipacks, vinyl editions and packages in an effort to counter this. How does a band survive in such an era?
Sannhet: We are not concerned with any of that. Our primary concern is communicating our vision the best way we know how. Otherwise, we might as well start a pizza thrash band.
Jason: With the impact of illegal file-sharing on music sales, as a relatively young band, do you have any concerns about survival in what seems to be an increasingly difficult market?
Sannhet: No, our music is an extension of ourselves. Our goal is to get it out to the people and, in an ideal world, people will understand what we are trying to say.
Jason: What does the future hold for Sannhet? Is there more music in the pipeline?
Sannhet: Absolutely. We are currently working on tour dates and continuing to write new material.
Jason: Are you touring in support of the new album? And will we be seeing you in the UK any time soon?
Sannhet: News on that coming very soon.
Jason: Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Do you have any closing words for our readers?
Sannhet: We appreciate the continued support.