(Photo by Brent Morgan)
Featured Guest is the section of my website where I interview musicians, artists, actors and many cool people I have crossed paths with. Tonight we had the opportunity to interview two very cool people, Sabine Stangenberg and Joey DeMartini. Hailing from Portland, Sabine and Joey formed the group Disenchanter in 2011 with Sabine on Vocals/Guitar, Joey on bass and later adding Jay Erbe on drums. Heavy rock and roll with doom riffage, Disenchanter has been described as ‘Ray Bradbury on Black Sabbath’. How cool is that? Tonight we discuss their history, music, love of sci fi artwork, films, recent news and more.
1.Cool talking with you guys today and how have you been?
JOEY: We’re good man! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
SABINE: Hey, Gideon!
2.Thanks to you. How did you two meet?
JOEY: Sabine and I actually went to school together early on and pretty much found out about one another in high school.
3.Did you start the band together and meet through music or did you start a band after already knowing each other?
JOEY: We did start Disenchanter together, but we had known each other for a long time already. I had played in bands since the early 90s and Sabine as well. We always kind of had a common background musically, we talked about forming a band and we jammed out a little doing covers, but it wasn't until 2010 that we got serious about playing music together.
SABINE: Yeah, we went to school together and had known each other before starting Disenchanter, but before then I was doing more acoustic stuff. …And that time you shredded on Day of the Asphalt!!
(Photo by Brent Morgan)
4.Tell us a little about the history of the band so far?
JOEY: Well, we started out as a four piece with Sabine on vocals in 2011. Eventually we evolved into the three piece, Sabine taking over the guitar duties, and added Jay Erbe on drums in 2012. We've been playing gigs around Portland, OR and WA over the last few years, released a couple EPs, kept on playing shows and recorded a full length recently.
(Photo by Brent Morgan)
5.What were some of your favorite bands that inspired you to play music?
JOEY: Oh, man! Tough one. Is it Buddy Holly, AC/DC, Elvis, Metallica!? I gotta say this Marin County band Psychefunkapus was probably the first band I ever saw that gave me the real desire to perform live. I had been jamming on guitar but never really got the bug to get on stage. That was in like 1988, and I distinctly recall the gig I was at when I first kind of came to that awareness. That being said I love Grand Magus, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and a whole bunch of others…Sabbath! I also love a lot of 70's and 80's pop music, which inspires me to write and compose. So many local PNW bands as well…if you are reading this and you have not checked out Danava…I implore you to do so!
SABINE: I have to agree with Joey about Grand Magus, Judas Priest, and of course Sabbath. Metallica and Iron Maiden actually inspired me to pick up the guitar. We’re also Dio fans!
(Photo by Brent Morgan)
6.How did you get into playing and singing and what were some of your projects before the band?
SABINE: I started out on piano as a kid but was inspired to pick up a guitar at 16 after my brother started playing. I always wanted to be a singer and listened to a lot of 80s radio…Heart, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Madonna, (I love me a good hook), but was really shy about it. Mid 90s I started writing my own music and singing a bit doing open mics on acoustic, more as a personal goal to get over my fear about it. It wasn’t until 2011 that I started singing in the project that evolved into Disenchanter.
7.Favorite concerts you saw that made a big impact on your life?
JOEY: Early Mercyful Fate, Slayer, Megadeth and other thrash shows in SF were just amazing. Seeing The Sword and DOWN early on, and Kyuss Lives!…all those were very inspiring.
SABINE: My very first venue show was in Berkeley where I saw Death Angel for the first time…the double kick drum live was an experience I never forgot….reverberated through my whole body! Possessed played too and I never heard anything so evil. My first big concert was Iron Maiden (Somewhere In Time - yeah, a bit late in the game), so I’ll never forget that. Older Metallica, Slayer, Soundgarden (Badmotorfinger years), Kyuss Lives, The Sword, and recently Kadavar!
8.Favorite films? It seems like you guys are big into fantasy and sci-fi, stuff like that? '
JOEY: I love me some Logan's Run, Conan the Barbarian too. I can get into some pretty cheesy movies but tend toward the originals over re-makes, though I'll watch them too. We've been getting into the Alien movies recently, lots of animation too. We just got Pirates of Darkwater and Conan cartoons series from a friend.
SABINE: Same! I can watch those all the time…Oh wait, I do!! Star Wars is like Sabbath, it goes without saying. I’ve always been a big Superfriends cartoon fan, and just discovered Thundercats!! (On a side note, my guilty pleasure is John Hughes)
(Photo by Brent Morgan)
9. Very cool. Who writes the music and lyrics for Disenchanter and what inspires your songs?
JOEY: I would say Sabine and I share the writing duties in the band. I may handle a little bit more on the composition end of it but overall it's a good mix. We're inspired by movies and books, or sometimes just imagery and ideas we may come across in art or literature or film and such.
9.You guys have been playing a good bit and have a new release out, whats the news?
JOEY: The news is we just returned our very first tour supporting the new release, 'Strange Creations', which came out in Sept. of last year. It was ten dates down the west coast, arranged by Nanotear Booking, hosting Demon Eye from North Carolina, and it was amazing!! We learned a lot on this tour and really had such a great experience playing the shows and meeting so many great fans of heavy music. We made lots of new friends and really cannot say enough good things about the tour. Demon Eye was killer every night! We just re-released our first two EPs on a single CD with NoSlip Records out of Georgia and 'Strange Creations' is being released later this year on vinyl from Dark Hedonistic Union Records out of the Netherlands. All these releases have been re-mastered by Tony Reed of the Mighty Mos Generator!! Coming up very soon we have more tour news along with some killer PNW gigs and in August we have been invited to perform in Las Vegas at Psycho Fest with a mind-blowing assembly of monster bands!! We also need to get at writing and recording the next album!!
Check out Disenchanter with the song "Sorceries" live at the High Water Mark, 2016
10.How do you feel music is essential to your life as a fan and as musicians?
JOEY: I dunno. I think every individual has their relationship with music, art, media and other forms of expression. It takes less effort for me to express myself musically. Sometimes seeing a band just destroy a live set, or hearing certain songs can really be an emotional and inspiring experience, but again different for everyone.
SABINE: When I watch people performing with a real passion I get inspired. And that to me is almost more essential than the music itself. The music is merely a medium through which we express ourselves, but observing the passion behind it is exhilarating. As far as playing music, the songwriting part is like playing a game, building a puzzle…the performance part is like riding a roller coaster and becomes very entrancing for me.
11.What are some of your favorite books, artists?
JOEY: Of course a big fan of Frazetta, as well as Luis Royo and Michael Whelan. I also really dig the old school art from the original Dungeons and Dragons games, Bill Willingham, Erol Otus, Dee, Roslof, along with comic book artists like Ditko, Kirby, Byrne, Buscema, and most of these are 20th century artists…so the list goes on and back in time. For reading I'm probably most inclined toward the Michael Moorcock 'Eternal Champion' series, but I dig on almost any sci-fi/fantasy novels and short stories for sure. Nothing wrong with a little Stephen King as well.
SABINE: Elric by Moorcock! Enjoy Bradbury and Robert E. Howard as well. Some meta stuff too. As for artists, I dig on Royo, Frazetta, N.C. Wyeth, Parrish, and J. Scott Campbell…and who’re the guys who do the kick ass movie poster art…. Richard Amsel and Drew Struzan.
12.Right on. Any last words or things to say to your fans?
JOEY: I think we'd just like to say thank you. It is without a doubt we could not do all of this without fans of the band. We've been doing this for a little while now and must admit we are blown away at the ongoing kindness and support we have received from fans and bands, venues, writers, everyone into the heavy music scene everywhere. I think we're very lucky to be given the opportunity to release our music with DHU Records and NoSlip records, work with the many talented and diverse individuals involved in the music community, and create relationships with some really cool people while having a fun time doing what we love.
Extremely cool and right on. Anytime. Thanks for all the good you send my way. Sabine and Joey, great to talk with you and thank you for the interview. Wishing you guys well and stay in touch. Keep up the jam, G