Brooklyn instrumental experimental metal trio Sannhet released their first full length album Known Flood recently on Sacrament (vinyl) and ConSouling Sounds (CD). After reviewing this great album for Echoes and Dust I wanted to find out more about the album and the band so I asked the band some questions.
(((o))): First of all, where does the name Sannhet come from?
Sannhet: The name Sannhet comes from something that we are all striving toward as a band, and is a nod to some of our influences present and past.
(((o))): I’d like to congratulate you with Known Flood. It is a thing of beauty and I can’t get enough of it at the moment. How long did it take to write and record the album?
Sannhet: Known Flood has been a lifetime in the making conceptually, but mechanically it took a few weeks to record/mix/master the album. We recorded with Colin Marston.
(((o))): Who writes your songs? Is it a team effort or is it one person who writes them?
Sannhet: Songwriting is a fully collaborative effort, though some auxiliary elements such as electronics, ambience and field recordings are often created individually and then brought in to give context to, or to be put in context by, the “songs”. All songs are written as part of an overall vision for the band that was established early on, parts of a machine that incorporates our goals and aesthetic sensibilities as well.
(((o))): I am really impressed with the mix of post-rock, post-metal and post-black metal. How would you describe your music?
Sannhet: We write for ourselves and ourselves alone, so any influence is fair game. Our music is what comes through us organically and as with any band, a series of trial and error. What makes us different is our overall vision for what Sannhet is, a concept that was established early on and one that we inject into everything we do.
(((o))): There are a lot of post-whatevers in my previous question. Lots of people feel that the post- labelling is a bit over the top. What do you think of the whole genre labelling these days?
Sannhet: Post-anything is a construct created by writers and those who wish to describe our music. Whatever label you want to put on us does not matter in the end, it’s more about understanding of what we are trying to achieve with the band as a whole.
(((o))): Talking about the samples on the album, I think they work really well. They really make the listening journey very interesting and they give the right amount of breathing space between the songs. How do you come up with the samples? Did it take a lot of time and work to find the right ones to create the perfect atmosphere on the album?
Sannhet: Chris [Todd] is the main caretaker of the field recordings, electronics, and samples. Most were recorded within the span of a year or so. He is methodical and exacting with all sampling, as detail is very important to our overall vision for the band.
(((o))): The sample between the songs ‘Safe Passage’ and ‘Invisible Wounds’ is some spoken text in reverse. What sample is it that you used here in reverse?
Sannhet: The origin of the sample is a religious death ceremony, sung to honor and remember a lost loved one during their funeral.
Sannhet: If one were to do some digging, they might find what each of the shapes have in common when separated. They might also figure out that inverted they are opposite (naturally), and while each shape has the same sacred meaning, they all possess different characteristic. Sometimes… when a truth is told in a specific way, it will only carry an immediate understanding that may lead you away from the truth. We see this commonly in politics, religion, media, advertising, racism, classism, etc. But there are many truths and intricacies that explain what might alter that answer. It’s the difference between “yes” and “yes, because”. Everything we do is extremely intentional, from the samples to projections, the song titles to the album art.
(((o))): Your U.S. label Sacrament is pretty new but owned by the same people who run St. Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. How important is this venue and the label for the Brooklyn scene?
Sannhet: Saint Vitus Bar has emerged as an institution (to quote Mr. Colin Marston) in the Brooklyn/NYC scene, and a destination for just about every metal band and fan that either lives, tours, or just travels through NY. Our involvement with the label has to do less with the polarity of a local bar, and more to do with understanding of what Sannhet is and aims to be.
(((o))): AJ commented on our review of the Set and Setting album a few weeks back. Are you friends with them? As far as I’m aware they’re from a different part in the U.S., so how did the two bands come together?
Sannhet: Yes, Set & Setting is an excellent band. They toured through and we shared a stage in Brooklyn about a year ago. Equanimity is a stellar release.
(((o))): What can we expect at a Sannhet live show?
Sannhet: We have no singer, and at the volume of most live shows, it can sometimes, be hard to distinguish leads/progressions. Unlike most stage setups, everyone is upfront in a line. This is because there is no master of ceremony. Really if anything we use light to do the narration. Again, it is a textural thing, you can feel the music as much as you can hear it.
(((o))): What are your plans for the rest of the year? Any chance of seeing you play in the UK anytime soon?
Sannhet: We’re currently planning some tour dates. Europe is among one of our goals.
(((o))): Is there anything you would like to add?