This week’s featured Meet The Band artist is the New York group Sanhedrin, who just released their second full-length The Poisoner. Vocalist/bassist Erica Stoltz, guitarist Jeremy Sosville and drummer Nathan Honor introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Sanhedrin.
Jeremy Sosville: Nathan (Honor, drums) and I had been playing together for a while, compiling riffs and song ideas from 2013 until 2015 when Erica (Stoltz, bassist, ex-Lost Goat, Amber Asylum) joined the fold. Upon her entrance into the band, we became complete and started building the foundation for what we would eventually call Sanhedrin.
Nathan Honor: Erica and I met working as audio engineers at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, an arts institution in Brooklyn. It immediately became clear that we would become friends, and that we had more in common than our other co-workers. She was playing with a great rock band at the time called Dirty Excuse, and was reminiscing about her West Coast heavy metal days. Having seen Erica’s stage presence and hearing her wail in her other band it was a no-brainer to ask her to jam with us.
Erica Stoltz: It was a good time for me to start a new endeavor when we started jamming.
Describe the songwriting process for The Poisoner.
Jeremy: In general, our process is pretty collaborative once things get moving. I normally come in with some riffs that sound good together, Erica starts building vocal ideas and melodies, then all three of us will combine ideas to the point of completion. This process can happen very quickly with some songs, while others can take a long time to complete.
What led you to work with Colin Marston again this time?
Jeremy: We were very satisfied with his ability to make the first record come to life the way it did, and we wanted to continue the relationship as this second LP came together. He has been a pleasure to work with and has been an important link to us getting our sonic vision across.
Nathan: Colin is a true master of his space, and the results he’s able to garner come from a very deep understanding of his craft. Working with him is gratifying, because you know the result is going to be true to form and untainted. He’s personable, professional, and has a great sense of humor which just makes everything easy.
Erica: It is helpful, especially when there are time constraints, to be comfortable in the studio where I’m working. Colin is not uptight and he is NOT a slacker. He strikes a great balance.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
Jeremy: In the studio, we’ve typically operated under pretty severe time constraints due to the budget of an underground band being what it is. My favorite moments are when we accomplish takes or ideas smoothly and efficiently.
Erica: I love the feeling of finishing basic tracks. Backing vocals, percussion overdubs that kind of stuff is really fun but it can only happen after you get the basic tracks you want.
Nathan: Recording is hard work and requires a lot of focus and discipline. I feel like the most memorable times are those brief moments of humanity, between takes, where everyone is laughing over something silly.
How has your sound evolved from A Funeral For The World?
Jeremy: That record was a solid jumping point from which we could grow. I think the songwriting this time around is a little deeper, and all three of us played with more skill and confidence than on the first record.
Nathan: With The Poisoner we were more indulgent and a little less apologetic.
Erica: I think our song writing has become tighter. We are beginning to own our roles in the band.
What lyrical topics do you tackle this time?
Erica: I write about autobiographical stuff, some rock and roll stuff, observations on human nature, my imaginative ideas of natural law, some sci-fi fantasy. The Poisoner has some analysis of the nature of destructive ideas. It is like a reoccurring nightmare where the boogeyman keeps changing and the results are always the same.
How did you come to sign with Cruz Del Sur?
Jeremy: We were introduced to them by a mutual contact in Europe who books a festival we are playing in Germany called Hell Over Hammaburg. Upon talking to Enrico (Cruz Del Sur), it was clear that he cares about the music before everything else. He also does not get in the way of our creative process in any way. It’s been a great partnership for us.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Jeremy: The goals in general are to grow the band’s reach and play for as many people as we can.
Nathan: I’d like to say that we have no expectations, but it’s hard not to when you’ve received such astounding support already. I just hope this album can help us build a platform where making music in New York can be more sustainable.
Erica: Each step of this process surprises me. I manage my expectations and I’m always pleasantly surprised.
What has been your most memorable Sanhedrin live show?
Jeremy: There have been many. We’ve been lucky enough to support some awesome bands coming through New York. Standouts include Magic Circle, Khemmis, Coven, and The Obsessed.
Nathan: Playing with Satan and Cauldron at Webster Hall in New York is up there for me. There was a great crowd, and it was one of the first shows we played on a bigger stage with some real production values.
Erica: Of late, opening for Coven.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Jeremy: We are touring Europe for most of March, then we are working on some U.S. tour dates through the summer. We also have some pretty cool plans in the works for September that we’re currently not able to speak publicly about just yet.
Erica: Off to Europe next week. Then some spring US and Canadian dates with label mates and old friends Slough Feg. We will be running around the Northeast with them for 10 days starting May 30.
How did you get started in music?
Jeremy: My dad is a guitar player and a huge hard rock fan, and I caught the music bug very early in my life as a result.
Nathan: Both of my parents were performers, so you could say it was in my blood. I was a shy kid growing up, so it made sense to have a drum kit to hide behind.
Erica: My grandma used to take me to see musicals. My babysitter was into Rocky Horror and The New York Dolls. I went to an arts high school for vocal music. All these things were influential in choosing my path.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Jeremy: Prior to playing guitar, I was all about KISS and Metallica. I still am really. But once I started playing guitar, the appeal of punk rock was immediate. The fact that I could write songs just with power chords and an attitude problem was my launching point. As I got better, I was able to finally start learning a more technical style and could take that energy to heavy metal which is my first love.
Nathan: I grew up listening to mostly ’60s beat, British invasion and funk and soul. On the weekends I would watch Soul Train and dance along to the music on the TV. I remember explicitly at about the age of 3 or 4 my father sitting me down, playing “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones and saying, “Son, this is Rock n’ Roll.” By the time I made it to middle school I had gotten into punk rock, and began playing around the city with some kids from school. It didn’t take long for me to grow as a musician, and growing tired of playing visceral punk rock, I graduated to heavy metal. Out of high school I studied music at The Drummers Collective in NYC, and really focused on my craft. My favorite drummers include, Cozy Powell, Tommy Aldridge, Vinnie Appice, David Garibaldi, Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams, and Zigaboo Modeliste.
Erica: I remember seeing KISS on Solid Gold and being intrigued. Around junior high London Calling came out and changed everything. I was hooked on punk, the underground in NYC was still alive and I was going to CBGB’s on Sunday afternoon. Then came the Motorhead show in 1987. This opened my eyes to metal. I have walked the line ever since.
What was the first concert you attended?
Jeremy: I’m from a super small town far from any real cities, so my first shows were local DIY shows. Punk, hardcore, metal, doom, etc. It was a great way to come up in music to have all the bands you see be approachable and real people.
Nathan: TSOL at The Wetlands in NYC.
Erica: The Cure at the Beacon Theater.
Seen any good movies/DVDs lately?
Jeremy: I’m currently following the new season of True Detective.
Erica: I’m looking forward to the Lorena Bobbit documentary. Ava DuVernay’s 13 was important to see. But in general I have a short attention span.
Nathan: I’ve been on a horror kick recently. Most recently “Bird Box,” “Life,” and “Mandy.”
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Jeremy: As we get ready for tour, I’ve begun my pre-tour ritual of bumping killer live albums to get me amped. UFO – Strangers In The Night, Ozzy’s Randy Rhoads Tribute, Thin Lizzy – Live And Dangerous, Metallica – Live Shit: Binge & Purge, just to name a few.
Nathan: I’ve been listening to some pretty eclectic stuff recently: Dr. John’s Locked Down, Depeche Mode’s Ultra, Tower of Power’s Back to Oakland, and The Devils Blood – The Time of No Time Evermore to name a few.
Erica: Junior Kimbrough comes to mind.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Jeremy: I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who has supported us this far. We’ve gone from an independent band with no expectations to being put on an airplane to rock Europe for a month. It’s extremely humbling to be experiencing this level of support for our art.
Erica: We are hitting the road in 2019, in Europe and the US. All the dates can be found at www.sanhedrin.nyc Thanks for the support!
(interview published March 9, 2019)