Sanzu – Home is Where the Heavy isTuesday, 5th April 2016
2015 was a big year for Austalia’s Sanzu. Initially releasing the well-received Painless EP, they picked up some traction from the online community as a band that understood how to take a death metal formula and add Gojira-level heaviness to it to bring about a new type of monster. Before everyone knew it, the band had already announced a full-length album to follow-up Painless before the tail-end of 2015 with Heavy over the Home.
The LP turned out to be an even larger success for the band, fully pulling them into the “buzz band” category, and the album went to a number of year-end lists. Most recently, the band has signed with Listenable Records and are looking to go into the next phase of their career. We sent some questions electronically to drummer Ben Stanley to go into the busy world of the band, including the quick follow-up to Painless, songwriting approach, and more.
Dead Rhetoric: Painless was just released earlier in 2015. Were you trying to capitalize on the momentum to release Heavy over the Home so soon after?
Ben Stanley: Somewhat but not entirely, we had some life events in the band that made getting the release out asap necessary but I don’t think it became a rushed exercise just an extremely efficient one! In saying that having it follow up Painless quickly and still growing the sound wasn’t a bad move in my opinion.
Dead Rhetoric: With the quick interval between releases, how do you feel that Sanzu has grown in this time?
Stanley: Well!, I think we learned heaps doing the EP and bringing that into the album with where we we’re all at added a certain air of urgency and tension to the album.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel are the major pieces of Sanzu’s identity to this point?
Stanley: I think most of all were a band that’s striving for what we want to hear as music fans and players, we wear our hearts on our sleeves a lot of the time, so what your hearing is a very honest and open expression of where we are as those people.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you like to see the band expand over time?
Stanley: I can’t speak for everyone but personally I’d like to see it grow into something that can support itself and ideally us, (that’ll be a challenge these days!) while remaining honest musically and pushing us forward as musicians and people. Being in a band is such an undertaking on all levels so I’d like us to feel like it supports us and we support it if you know what I mean.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s your take on Sanzu’s approach to songwriting?
Stanley: I generally think less is more drum wise well to a certain point anyhow and playing with conviction. So far Jarod or Mike generally bring in ideas and we go from there although we do write in the room sometimes too. We generally just write stuff we’d like to hear.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve managed to catch a bit of buzz with both releases, are you ever stunned by the response you’ve received so far?
Stanley: Constantly! We really do this for ourselves and to have such an amazing response has been incredible and slightly overwhelming! Honestly though it’s fantastic and we couldn’t be happier.
Dead Rhetoric: Heavy over the Home has some great artwork on the cover. What can you say of how it came to be?
Stanley: It’s the work of our vocalist Zac, he does some of the best artwork I’ve ever seen and when we’ve needed artwork for any release he’s always just handed in these incredible pieces.
Dead Rhetoric: There’s a lot of lyrical depth on the songs of Heavy over the Home. Do you feel the lyrical aspects are as important as the music that surrounds them?
Stanley: Absolutely. Strong conceptual themes help make the songs what they are. The way the vocals are delivered and even our live performance wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t care about what we are saying in our music.
Dead Rhetoric: You did donations on your Bandcamp page months ahead of the album release. Do you feel this worked better than going through an outlet like Kickstarter or Indiegogo?
Stanley: Yeah I think so because we basically asked our existing fan base if they wanted to hear more from us rather than launching a campaign and going through all the motions. The results far exceeded our expectations and we really wouldn’t have been able to do what we did without it in the timeframe we did without it. Our fans rule!
Dead Rhetoric: The Aussie scene has seemingly increased by leaps and bounds in more recent years. Do you have any favorites that may not be so well known in North America?
Stanley: Yeah the Australian scene really has some incredible music atm, some of my personal favorites would be Whoretopsy, Hope Drone, Lo!, Twelve Foot Ninja, Fostora and Hollow World just to name just a few.
Dead Rhetoric: What plans are there for Sanzu in 2016?
Stanley: Well we just signed to Listenable records so we’re getting things setup with them and re-releasing HOTH/Painless on one disk with revised artwork and layout so we’ll be working hard on that and see where that takes us, do some-more touring, more international supports and just keep pushing.