Sapien Interview - Jenny Tingle

Sapien are a Stoner Sludge Metal band from Edinburgh. Sledgehammer riffs, low sludgy growling guitars, hammering drums and guttural screams. Grinding tectonic plate riffs are offset by plenty of loud fast tunes to mosh to, so there’s something for everyone! These guys are a filth-coated gem of the Scottish music scene. Go check them out live at their next gig dates:

Who are Sapien? Tell us at NHC a bit about yourselves.

Hey! We’ve got Fergus who plays guitar and does vocals. Ronan also plays the guitar and does vocals. Then there is Lyle the drummer and Dan the bassist. 

How did Sapien form and when?

Well we’ve been very good friends since we all first met at college and believe it was a gig at Bannermans bar in Edinburgh where we first had an idea about starting a band, think it was Serpent Venom and Black Magician? Few days later we arranged a jam and it’s been going ever since!

You all share a passion for heavy music, but where does each member of Sapien differ when it comes to different bands, genres and influences

We all share the same bands and genres we are into, like Alice in Chains, Black Sabbath, Anthrax, Electric Wizard, The Sword, Motorhead etc, but Fergus is aw aboot the riffs, Meshuggah, Dream Theater, Tool, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, System of a Down that kind of thing.

Dan is into punk and 60s/70s rock. Jefferson airplane, UK Subs, The Clash and The Anti no-where League. Ronans influences are more on the black metal side with bands like Deathspell Omega, Ulcerate, Akercocke, Pelican and Testament to name a few and lastly Lyle leans more towards the thrash side for e.g. Metallica,  Red Fang, Crowbar, Strapping Young Lad, Anciients, Gojira and Faith No More. Athough we all share a love of cypress hill.

Where did your name, Sapien, come from?

No one liked the name troglodyte basically.

Metal is one of the most honest and least pop-culture-influenced genres of music as it is largely underground. Metalheads are also some of the most caring and supportive communities of people. What do you think is special about metal and all its subgenres? How has music had a positive impact on your lives?

We’d all agree that metal is much more honest. That’s what makes it special and makes the people special. Without music we wouldn’t know each other in Music College and we’ve been hanging out ever since. Most of us have even lived with each other at some point so we are used to each others crap that’s for sure!

The community is amazing in Edinburgh such great people and when we all meet up at certain events like Fleshtival or BOB Fest every year is just sheer carnage and loads of fun! We never really knew about the Metal Scene properly until starting Sapien and people got hearing us digged our music and invited us to play gigs through this we have met some awesome people made great friends and made memories that will stick with us for years to come.

If you could put on a gig anywhere with any line up, who would it be and where?

Tough one, but someone like the Melvins, eyehategod or red fang in a basement in Amsterdam. Or on a beach somewhere that would be rather groovy.

There’s nothing as good as making music and gigging, but sometimes having enough “real life” to fund band life can be a struggle. Is there a way to find a good balance? Performing on stage can sometimes also be a daunting experience. What would be your top 5 most important pieces of advice for new bands?

•  Get your sound down, decide what music you want to play.

•  Work together, a band is not one person, everyone has to pull their weight and put their effort in.

•  Before announcing who you are have some songs recorded and merchandise made up for people to buy/listen to then Promote/Share the fuck out of your band as much as possible and hopefully some good things will come your way!

•  Don’t get stuck being a one city band, get out there and enjoy yourself!

•  Socialising within the music scene is a great way to meet people who will want to work with your band. Even putting on your own shows and getting local bands to play can bring you closer to the scene and get better gigs to play by knowing more people.

The video for your song, Regurgitator is quite disturbing. Where did you find that abandoned house? What were the main challenges you faced with making a music video?

The house is actually an old fever hospital in fife, It was suggested by our mate Steedo from rock `n’ roll video who also shot and edited the video for us. The gory scenes are from the film “The Unkindness Of Ravens” by Lawrie Brewster. The hardest thing was probably not falling down holes in the floor boards as there was about a 2 foot drop below us into the basement! The whole place was falling apart and was an old childrens hospital just to make it extra creepy with loads of old childrens toys and shoes lying about this abandoned place. But we think Steedo did an awesome job and are dead chuffed with the final outcome of the video.

What does the rest of the year hold for you lot? Any exciting gigs/recordings/festivals coming up?

We are going to be releasing our 2nd E.P. ‘Laika, Come Home’ by the end of this year and will be playing a bunch of shows across the U.K to support it. A new release has been long over due and we are quite excited to release it. It is rather different to Toad Handler but we feel that this is a stronger release and as a band we have progressed further than we ever thought on top of that we are already writing our 3rd E.P/ album (depends on the music) so there’ll hopefully be even more music next year!

Where can we find your music and merch online and in physical copies?

You can find our first E.P. “Toad Handler” on Bandcamp to download for free and some merchandise is also available to buy. Hopefully soon to also be updated with our new E.P. “Laika, Come Home” so keep your eyes peeled on the Facebook page for an update on that. You can also grab any of our Merch at gigs we’re playing so please feel free to have a browse and don’t be shy to say Hello!

Finally, anything else you would like to talk about to NHC music?

Who cuts the grass?

See you lot at a show soon hopefully in a town near you! Cheers a lot NHC Music it’s been emotional!