Sanity Is Lost, an up and coming Las Vegas band, made the trek to Los Angeles to perform at the Cobalt Cafe on a weekend in July. The band recently won a competition and opened up at Extreme Thing, kicking off the show for headlining bands The Used and Never Shout Never. With a debut EP on the way and massive word of mouth due to their energetic live performances and Internet presence, Sanity Is Lost is certainly on their way to finding a good deal of fans all across the country. We caught up with the guys at their Canoga Park show to discuss being a young band in Vegas, their search for Christofer Drew, a Taylor Swift connection, and other topics of interest…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Sanity Is Lost – and what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your IPOD.
Landon: I’m Landon and I sing. And my most embarrassing song – I have the whole entire first Hannah Montana Soundtrack on my IPOD.
Tanner: I’m Tanner –I play bass and I listen to lots of rave/trance music – and that’s the most embarrassing thing I have on my IPOD.
Dalton: I’m Dalton – I play guitar – and I don’t have an IPOD. I really don’t. So I don’t have anything…
Joey: I’m Joey – I play drums – and I don’t have an IPOD either – but if I did have one, it would be California Girls by Katy Perry.
Keene: My name is Keene – I play guitar and sing – and the most embarrassing song on my IPOD is Ricky Martin’s Living La Vida Loca. That’s mah jam.
(At this point, Keene and Dalton stayed on for the interview) What is it like being this up and coming band in a city overshadowed by gambling and casinos?
Keene: It’s kind of crazy, being coming up in Vegas – people who go there always think it’s just like gambling and all of this stuff. But a lot of kids in the Vegas music scene are really dedicated to the Vegas music scene and they are really into what’s going on every night at venues. So it’s really an honor to have all these kids coming to support us. It’s been a blessing – it’s really cool!
How long has the band been together and where did you all meet?
Dalton: The band has been together for a little bit over a year. We all live on the outskirts of Vegas. We don’t go to the same school.
Keene: We all live like separated – really far from each other.
Dalton: So that kind of helped out with the band to get ourselves noticed – like with tickets sales. We all went to different school, so we all spread Sanity Is Lost around. It was pretty much through school and sports. Me and Joey went to Catholic school and kind of just met each other there. And they all just knew each other…
Keene: It started with Joey and Dalton – and they went through some lineup changes. They got Landon as a screamer – then they messaged me over MySpace cuz I met Landon through some friends – and I became the guitarist. And Tanner messaged us for bass, and we’ve been the band family ever since. It’s been really cool.
The big news is that you guys won a slot to open up for Extreme Thing earlier this year. You played before a lot of diverse bands, including The Used and Never Shout Never. Did you guys meet Christofer Drew? I noticed you had a video on your Myspace where you were trying to find him…
Keene: We actually went on a hunt for Christofer Drew before the whole park opened. We were hoping to find him, because all the little girls are obsessed with him – so if we talked to him, they’d be obsessed with us – kind of. We’d be like, “yeah, we know him.” But we never found him. We got out of breath – we walked like 200 feet and turned around.
Dalton: The stages were so far from each other.
Keene: It was a really, really big show.
How did you guys actually wind up on the show?
Dalton: They actually changed it up this year. They used to do it all online and you had to vote. But this year, you had to actually go to the show – fill out a ticket thing and actually go watch your band play – and put all the ticket stubs in the boxes.
Keene: And they picked the top 7 local bands out of like 40 bands – and we got 4th out of 40 bands to play Extreme Thing. And every single vote we had were from people there. We didn’t cheat our way with tickets or anything. You had to have all these people come – and we had like 126 people at our show just for us. Bands use like play-bots and friend adders to do their media for them. It’s not something we do. We want to work hard and earn it, so when we get signed; we know it was all us that did it.
Were you guys nervous at all playing Extreme Thing?
Dalton: We were the first band, because our singer Landon had a wedding to go to. So it kinda sucked. But we started, and kids were at the gate – and they sprinted towards us and by the middle of the set, it was packed! It wasn’t like nervous – it was excitement!
Keene: It was the greatest experience I ever felt so far in my life. It was really wild to have all those people there for us. They just opened the gates, and we were just starting, and people were running to see us – all our fans in Vegas. People were freaking out and it was really awesome!
This Romantic Tragedy wound up getting signed after playing the first slot on Extreme Thing last year. Have you guys had any label interest at all?
Keene: We’ve talked to many labels. What was first supposed to go down – we were supposed to record an EP and give it to a label – they were really interested. We paid $2,400 to get six songs and this guy to record us – we paid him all of the money and he gave us two out of the six songs. We got completely screwed over so we weren’t able to send the songs to the labels. And it was kind of like an opportunity thrown in the trash because of this guy. But we just finished our new EP with five new songs – with Harsh World Studios. He’s in Vegas and he’s very good. His name is Pat and he’s amazing – he needs some work too. We’re talking to Sumerian right now and we’re going to send our songs to them as soon as our EP gets given to us.
Apart from Extreme Thing, who were some of the bigger bands that you’ve played with?
Dalton: The first show at the new 702, we were the only local band with Asking Alexandria, Alesana, Memphis May Fire, and The Word Alive. It was cool!
Keene: And a month before that, we played with Asking Alexandria and we were the only local band on that. We’ve been really blessed – we’ve got to play with many different bands. A Skylit Drive, Knights Of The Abyss – a lot of different bands.
What made you decide to cover Love Story by Taylor Swift and do you think she’s heard it?
Keene: I really wanted to do a cover song because it seemed really fun. Before we did the cover song, we were known – but I think the cover song – it just expands to a lot of different people. Some people from other states won’t get into local bands unless they do something like a cover. I want to spread our music and I want people to hear a song that we could transform that they’ve already heard. So I decided to do Taylor Swift. So I composed it all out and put it into our version and it turned out really good. And I really hope she’s heard it! She’s a sexy lady.
Dalton: In Vegas, when we’re playing it – we’ll have little preppy girls there all the way to huge tough dancer guys with tattoos…
Keene: …and they’re singing a Love Story song. Our crowd in Vegas is really diverse.
Where do you come up with the ideas for the lyrics?
Keene: We’re both the guitarists and Landon writes all of the lyrics. So we don’t know what the heck he’s writing about. Some of it – we don’t want to say that we’re a Christian band, because one of our members is not Christian – so that’s not really fair to put him in that situation. But our singer is very faithful. Me, Landon, Joey and Dalton are very faithful and our songs are sometimes very faithful – we sing about our faith and about God and stuff like that – and personal experiences – whether it be with girlfriends or relationships. All of our songs are about stuff in our lives that hopefully people can look at through their lives and see some sort of connection.
For people who weren’t here tonight, what could one expect from a live Sanity Is Lost show?
Dalton: We like to put on really good stage performances. We like to put on a good show and get the crowd involved and get everyone into the music too.
Keene: I try to get as insane as possible and I know that everyone in the band does too. We like to see response in the crowd. There was some response at the end of our set tonight with people dancing – but at our shows in Vegas, it’s a party at our shows. It’s an amazing experience. We rock out and we give it our all at every single show. We never hold back.
How close are you guys to having your EP out?
Keene: It’s completely done. Our EP release date – it will be out on Itunes September 4th. We’ll have some songs on the MySpace September 3rd.
Is there a title?
Keene: It’s called Arise – it’s a 5 song EP.
Is there any meaning behind the title?
Dalton: It’s just working our way up – that’s what I would say.
Keene: I think the reason is – like us, when we play, we sing about what we believe in – we sing about our lives. And we want people to Arise up and speak what they have to say. There are certain kids being quiet about want they want and want they want people to hear – so Arise – stand up and speak your words.
Do you have any messages for people reading this who might want to check your band out?
Keene: This is what we want to do for the rest of our lives. We’d be blessed if you guys would just check us out and give us the opportunity. If you don’t like us, thank you just for even trying. But if you do contact us, we will talk to you. If you want us to come play here, message us and tell us there’s an interest of us coming out here, and we’ll definitely come out here a lot more often. So just come and talk to us. A lot of people, when they get messages from fans, they’ll completely ignore it. We will reply every single time to say thank you for listening – talk to you and see what’s going on.
(We later catch up with Landon to ask him about the lyrics) And for Landon, pick two songs from the upcoming EP and tell me what inspired you to write the lyrics…
Landon: To The Sky is about my relationship with God. We’re not really a Christian band, but we all have our Christian followings. I teach at a church sometimes and I go to church – and that song is about my relationship with God. And then the other one is – we don’t really have a title for it yet – but that one is about making mistakes and coming back from it – and God always being there to help you through your mistakes. Bettering yourself is what that song is really about. Not just all about girls. Some songs are – but not all…
(Interview and Photos by Kenneth Morton)
Sanity Is Lost on Myspace