Sonic Altar have been working hard for the past 5 years. Having supported Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Whitesnake and Alice Cooper at Rock2wgtn, coming 3rd in the World Battle of the Bands in Hong Kong, recording their debut album with a professional producer from the UK and releasing the album in Japan on a record label; the band has come along way since its original incarnation back in 2006.
After multiple line up changes, the band are currently playing the music they want to play and are driven to melt faces live. On August the 22nd, their debut album 'No Sacrifice' (produced by Mike Exeter of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest fame) will be released at JBHI-FI stores and on iTunes worldwide. Sonic Altar then will support this release with a full NZ tour split into North and South Island legs.
Creative juices never seem to give up and Sonic Altar have already begun pre-production on their follow up album.
Striving for a true live show full of all the epic goodness that makes a night memorable, be sure to get out and see the band soon!
Thanks to Kane for answering these questions for muzic.net.nz:
What can we expect to see from Sonic Altar over the next year?
Our debut album 'No Sacrifice' will be out and we'll be gigging in support of that for a while. Then back to the studio to finish pre-production on our follow up album, which we've already started. Later this year we're hoping to get over to Japan for a tour to support the release there. It's pretty exciting times!
What advice would you like to give to other aspiring musicians?
Listen to the right people and ignore the wrong ones. Figuring out who is who is the hardest part. The cliche, 'believe in yourself', holds true and don't give up on your goals or mould them to suit anyone other than yourself. Oh yeah and practise heaps!
Who are your favourite NZ musicians/bands, and why?
We've been lucky to play with a lot of amazing bands and musicians in NZ over the years. Off the top of my head some of my favourites thus far have been: Cripple Mr Onion, Devilskin, Agent, Shotgun Alley, Sinate... And the list goes on. This country is full of amazing music and bands. Go out to some shows and see for yourselves!
How do you come up with your lyrics?
It usually starts with one main idea, thought or theme. I generally don't like to write about 'boy meets girl and then tries to procreate with her'. I like to think I go a bit deeper into things I don't know all the answers to, such as death. But then sometimes I just like to weave a bit of a story in a song which can be mostly interpretable. Anything that I find interesting really.
Who would you most like to support live?
Iron Maiden or the original line up of Black Sabbath. If Dio were still with us... Anything involving him.
How do you believe Sonic Altar fits into the NZ music industry?
Commercially, I'm unsure. But we don't write songs for radio or anyone else other than ourselves and what interests us. In saying that, our tastes are quite accesible. I don't really know. We write the best songs we can, strive for a high level of musicianship, professionalism and a memorable live show. Other than that, I can't categorize whether or not we fit into anything!
What can you never leave home without?
My contact lenses. I'm kind of blind without them.
How do you describe Sonic Altar’s music?
Our sound and style is evolving all the time. The album we are just about to release was finished a year ago and there is a fairly markable difference in the new demos we have been working on for the last 6 months or so. This album ('No Sacrifice') definitely has an old school feel and style about it. To some degree I would say we wore our influences on our sleeves, in an effective way at that. Whereas our new material has more of a modern style but also feels like we are finding ourselves somewhat. Regardless, we'll always have guitar solos, powerful vocals, exciting riffs and dynamic songs. People can get a bit caught up in putting things into a category, usually because we're all a bit too lazy to just listen to material ourselves and make a decision whether its for us or not. What I'm trying to say is... We sound like us. Which is a rock band.
What is your favourite NZ venue?
The Kings Arms is always good fun and reliable. Wherever there are accomodating management, good sound and drunk concert go-ers. The combination of those things typically makes a good time.
What is the best part of being a musician?
The list is longer than this really has room for. It's all I can safely say I am good at being. Even if I continue on at this level until I'm 70 years old, I think I'd still enjoy it. If I'm lucky enough to enjoy anything at that age. It's vastly rewarding and theres never a dull moment. Also, it's a good excuse for being a little... well... weird. Don't mind me, I'm a musician.
What NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?
I don't like this question. Purely because I'm sure there are an awful lot of amazing bands I've yet to hear who should be heard but possibly may never get in range of my ears. So I'll just go the hippie route and say... Everyone. Except 'The Feelers'.
What is in your CD collection at home?
I listen to a lot of different stuff of varying genres. From classical music to death metal. Hip Hop doesn't make a massive appearance but I don't hate it just to be cool like the other kids, it just doesn't float my boat. At the moment I'm enjoying Scar Symmetry's new album 'The Unseen Empire'.
What is your most embarrassing on tour/gig moment?
There are shit loads! Any ball dropping during a ballad is pretty horrible. There are plenty of stories but we should probably keep this PG. If we get massive then look out for a juicey autobiography.
What is your favourite place in NZ to be?
I love Wellington. It's always got a good vibe going on.
What inspired you to start Sonic Altar?
War Pigs by Black Sabbath and Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd. Although we don't sound much like either of them.
How did you come up with the name Sonic Altar?
One of our old guitar players and I were firing words back and forth to do with sound. We felt 'Sonic Altar' summed up our devotion to rock n roll.
What is the best gig you have ever performed at, and why?
The Rock2Wgtn festival in 2008, opening for Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Whitesnake, Alice Cooper and others. Met a lot of my heroes in the space of two days. It's surreal to even think about it. At that point we were lucky to be getting 100 people to our own gigs... Going from 100 to 30,000 is pretty fucking awesome.
How do you keep in contact with your fans?
Facebook is number one.
What rumour would you like to start about Sonic Altar?
That we are actually Aliens sent here to abduct your families. Or that our drummer Chris actually isn't a ginger.
Echoing the ghosts of the classic metal hey-day with a revatilized sound, a unique blend of style and influence, Sonic Altar are a force to be reckoned with. The worship of music, a translation of the band name, is really what it means to be Sonic Altar. With a mission of bringing back the melodic substance to hard rock and being a live act to remember, the band have worked themselves to the bone since conception. Sonic Altar is here to melt your face.
Formed in early 2006, Sonic Altar began as a jam band amongst school friends. That year the band played in Hong Kong and recorded a single which received national air play in New Zealand. Between 2006 and 2008 the band progressed, undergoing some line up changes and solidified it's harder edged direction in late 2008. With a firm direction set, the band set about writing a new catalogue of songs and played all over New Zealand in 2009, blowing audiences away with their live performances. Sonic Altar have also supported some very big names in their home country, such as Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, Alice Cooper and Whitesnake.
In late 2009 the band decided that they had the right material to make an album. Instead of waiting to be discovered they decided to bite the bullet and make the album. In December of that year the band began recording with producer Mike Exeter (Black Sabbath, Jeff Beck, Glenn Hughes, Cradle of Filth) and finished mixing their debut album 'No Sacrifice', in May 2010.