Amplif[ie]d | SANGRE
By: Marissa Scheerer
“With music, it doesn't matter who you are, if you feel it in your heart it connects you to others,” says SANGRE’s vocalist and lyricist Henry Sanchez. After a fortunate interview before their upcoming local shows, we got to the heart of the passion that drives the metal band to make their music such a huge part of their lives.
Contrary to many people’s beliefs regarding the metal music culture, we found so much meaning behind SANGRE’s music, inspiration and experiences. As their name signifies, the band members of SANGRE are, without a doubt, clearly some of the most alive and passionate artists we've come across. We are grateful to SANGRE for reminding us that first appearances can be deceiving. Henry let us in on the band’s driving passion for connection (with each other, with fans, with people of all backgrounds), for expression, for music and for what really lies at the heart of the metal music culture.
Photo Credit: Alexander "Ace" Anaya
Q. Who are the members of the band, and what does each person play/contribute?
Henry Sanchez: Henry Sanchez (vocalist, lyrics), Josh Durante (drums, percussion), Mike Reyes (guitarist, riff maker) Anthony Ibarra (guitarist) and Danny Perez (Bassist).
Q. How did you guys meet. How did you get started as a band?
The band formed in 1999 in the city of Pomona. I am the only original core member. [It] started out just as a fun backyard party band, and overtime it began to gain recognition all over SoCal, and we got invited to play at venues, bars, clubs, etc . . . I met the original drummer (Abel) at a restaurant that he was working at while I was making a delivery. He commented on my Pantera shirt and asked if I knew of any singers. I replied that I could sing but had never been in a band. He invited me to jam with him and his guitarist friend (Roberto). We jammed out on some cover songs, and from there began writing music of our own. The band has seen members come and go over the years, and the current line up came together in 2006/2007, completed by our drummer Josh in 2009.
Q. Where is the name SANGRE from? I mean, we know it means "blood," but why that name?
We were trying to decide on a name for our band when the guitarist's sister suggested "SANGRE," which of course won us over. Being that we're all of Mexican descent, having a Spanish name was great and felt right. The word blood is very symbolic and powerful. It's the river of life that connects us all, no matter what race, color, culture, gender, sexual orientation, etc., we all share blood.
Q. What is your most memorable performances?
I'd say the first time we stepped onto the Jägermeister stage at Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in 2010. Not only were we sharing the bill with bands we've looked up to such as Korn, Lamb Of God, Hatebreed, Shadows Fall, Rob Zombie and more. It was in our own backyard here in the Inland Empire at San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino in front of over 5,000 metal heads. To top it off the crowd went nuts, and there was a sea of SANGRE shirts, which felt really good to see.
Touring is one of our favorite things to do, so there are plenty of great show stories from the road as well. In 2013 our sponsor Jägermeister asked us to take part in their annual Jägermeister Music Tour, in which that particular year was headlined by one of the biggest Latin rock bands in the world, Molotov. We were asked to be direct support for the entire U.S. tour in which we gladly agreed to do. Every night was amazing, but one in particular stands out, and that was the final night of that tour in New York City at Irving Plaza. We had become good friends with Molotov and had been joining them on stage most nights playing along with them to one of their hit songs, but in New York we collaborated on a cover of the classic Anthrax/Public Enemy song "Bring The Noise”— something we'll never forget. The sold out NYC crowd was insane, and we all had a blast!
Q. Do you have favorite places to play? If so, where?
In no particular order; House Of Blues in Hollywood (treats the talent well, great food, amazing sound and lighting). Regency in San Francisco is an amazing venue. The Observatory is always fun, and you can pack a lot of people in that place; the sound is great there as well. The Rave in Milwaukee, Winconsin is an awesome venue. It’s a huge building with multiple levels of stages and a creepy basement with an empty swimming pool. Irving Plaza in New York City was also a phenomenal venue with great sound, and there were so many great memories we made there with such an energetic crowd. Can't forget about Texas, that entire state is amazing. They love metal, and we've been fortunate to play a huge chunk of that state.
Q. How would you describe your sound?
Our sound has evolved over the years. We've grown as musicians and have implemented our influences in a unique way that we feel separates us from most metal bands out there. Our style is heavy melodic metal with Latin influence, death and thrash metal influence and a lot of groove. We don't try to fit into any particular category or sub-genre, we just write and play what we feel, and hopefully other people will feel it too . . . that's why when someone asks what kind of music do we play, we just say, "Metal."
Q. Who would you say are some of your biggest influences?
Sepultura, Slayer, Pantera, Black Sabbath, Suicidal Tendencies, Tool, At The Gates, Metallica, Anthrax, Alice In Chains, Deftones and Meshuggah.
Q. What inspires the music you write?
My lyrical content is influenced by the world around me. From life's day to day ups and downs, life experiences, politics (especially in the new material which reflects the current events of police brutality, revolution in the streets, war all around the world) and even religion.
Q. What are some unexpected things you might tell readers who aren't a part of the metal music culture to let them in on your experience in it?
First off the stereotype that metal heads are all crazy Satan worshippers is ridiculous. This band consists of five guys who are just trying to make our way in this world and love playing music. Three of us are fathers, and we all work extremely hard to make the things this band has accomplished possible. Being in a serious band isn't as easy as it seems, and it's not all sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. There's a ton of work behind the scenes and a lot of sacrifices are made by us to make it run smoothly.
As for the culture, there's nothing like it. For instance at first glance the moshpit looks like a big circling furious violent sea of bodies, but it's a release unlike any other, and there’s something that bonds metalheads in that pit together. When someone falls down, we pick them back up. Most of the time there's a mutual respect between moshers, and they don't get angry about being hit while in the pit. Everyone is there to have a good time, and release that frustration from working that 9-5 all week. The band also shares an energy with the crowd during performances that is magical. They pump us up, and we pump them up—it's an amazing feeling.
Q. What are you guys working on now? What’s coming?!
We will be releasing an EP with four brand new songs very soon and are keeping busy writing even more new music and it sounds killer!!!
Our new music video for the song "Blossom" was just released this week, you can view it here. We will be shooting another video in the coming months and are also currently working on booking a tour for later this year.
Q. What are you most excited for in the future?
We're excited to get this new music out to the masses, and hear what they think of it. Also, we’re really looking forward to hitting the road later this year. We love to tour, but recently all of our schedules have been so full with family stuff, other band stuff, etc. We will be hitting the road this coming fall though, so check the social media pages for details.
Q. Is there anything you would like to shout out or share with our readers?
Special shout-out to our sponsor Jägermeister for having our backs and taking great care of us over the years. We are extremely proud to be a part of the Jägermeister Music Family. Also to all our families, friends and fans around the world, thank you for the support, and for believing in our band. Without our fans, we aren't anything.
To experience the sound of SANGRE live, check out one of their upcoming shows this Sat, March 21st at the Arrowhead Elks Lodge in San Bernardino at 10p.m., Fri, March 27th at Schmidy’s in Palm Desert at 9p.m., and Sat, March 28th at Clash City Studios in Riverside at 7p.m. Feel free to connect with the talented and passionate Sangre on Facebook or YouTube. You can also follow SANGRE on Instagram & Twitter @Sangremetal!