Northern Exposure: Sanktuary Interviewed

Sanktuary originally hail from Whitehorse, the capital city of Canada’s Yukon Territory. Look it up on a map and you’ll see why, for that fact alone, we wanted to track them down for a chinwag. To say that the Yukon is a little out of the way is like saying it probably gets a little cold up there come winter time. As a lifelong city slicker, yours truly is always curious when a band comes out of an unexpected woodwork a million miles away. The band is now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is still pretty out of the way when one thinks of accessibility and touring routing, and have a new album out entitled Something Fierce, which they describe as “heavy metal for heavy metallers” and a track of which you can check out below. Bassist Cole Hume answers a few questions.
First things first (and most boring): can you give the history of Sanktuary in however many words you might need, or less?
We are Sanktuary. We hail from the land of the midnight sun. We like homemade liquor and we play homemade heavy metal. We’re four scoundrels that live fast, play fast and cum fast. There’s much to say, but nothing that confining to paper does justice so we will leave the mystery at that.

You’re originally from the Yukon. I’m very curious about the metal scene and infrastructure in the Yukon. Can you give us a detailed history of metal up in the Yukon? What other bands exist up there? How did you guys find each other? Are you all from Whitehorse originally? Blah, blah, blah…
We are all from Whitehorse. Born and raised. On the playground is where we spent most of our days. Until we found liquor and women. Then it was bootleggers and whore houses. Growing up we idolized and local band called Nemesis. They were the shit and they knew it. We knew it too. Local shows were absolutely nuts. We were young, dumb and moderately full of off-the-shelf cough syrup. It was fuckin’ great. There were a few bands on the scene and they ruled your ass. Don’t know what it was like down in the city, but up on the tundra, shit was flyin’.

How does metal get reacted to in the Yukon? Toronto’s Burning Love is going to play the Yukon on their present North American tour, but have many other bands toured up that far?
The Yukon loves all music. A few years back we had Bison BC and multiple trips from 3 Inches of Blood. It was fuckin’ awesome. Shows weren’t half bad either! Haha. The tough part is getting up there. Pretty much 10,000 miles from anywhere and gas is $5.00 per litre. So if you’re not making Led Zeppelin-sized guarantees, it’s hard to swallow those bills. But if you can, and if you can swing it, I can guarantee you will have one hell of a time.

Why did you decide to move to Halifax instead of a more centralised location like Toronto or Montreal? Or even a relatively closer one like Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary?
We were thinking Toronto. Shit opened up in Nova Scotia, family farm, next to rent free. Being from a place where we don’t give half a shit, we said “what the hell!?” A farm? Maybe we can grow some heavy metal. Maybe, just maybe we can grow something real. Everything’s still close. Close for us anyways. Toronto – 20 hours in the skank tank? We couldn’t even get to butt fuck nowhere in 20 hours from Whitehorse. That’s an accomplishment. That’s movin’ on up in the world.

deciblog - sanktuary cover

Tell us about Something Fierce. How long did it take to write? What were you looking to achieve with it? What was the recording process like?
We spent a lot of time writing. We were shipped back up to Whitehorse to record. It took a while, but we ended up with a product that we were satisfied with and that’s what’s important. We recorded in a half-built studio that I was framing for the owner who we are both good friends with and also recorded our first two demos with. We think it sounds great. Excited to hear what the public has to say.

What did you learn on your previous recordings that you applied or avoided with Something Fierce?
Take your time. Don’t settle for anything else than the closest to perfection you can achieve. It’s not easy but when the goin’ gets tough, you gotta stick in there and just punch ‘em out.

How much touring have you done since moving to Nova Scotia? Did you tour much when you were based in the Yukon? Have you been back north as Sanktuary since moving?
We did a few tours out of the territory and, no lie, it was tough. It’s been much easier since we’ve been out east and we’ve tried to take advantage of that as much as possible. We did a single send-off show after recording before we toured back to Halifax and it was great. We had [guitarist] Glen [Edmond] back in the line-up on guitar after a few years of being absent and it really felt like we were a whole band again.

What’s next for the band now that the album is starting to make the rounds?
First and foremost is the release: July 2 on Spread the Metal Records. We’ll be supporting late August/early September with a tour through eastern Canada and also playing both STM festivals in Halifax and Toronto. Other than that, we’re just always looking at the next thing. Maybe branching out across borders? That would rule. Lots of work, but those of you who know us, know we are never afraid to put our nuts to the grindstone.

Sankutary merch