Chestermere band Taken By Sanity is taking the plunge from garage-band to self-producing pop band with new single titled “Strike.”
“It’s a personal song that we did by ourselves,” said Taken By Sanity drummer Blaine Stillman.
Despite all three band members being influenced by a wide range of music, from classical to heavy metal, the band has shifted towards the alternative and pop genre.
“We try to include as many kinds of genres as we can,” said Taken By Sanity’s self-taught keyboardist Blair Stillman.
“There is a song for everyone,” Blair said.
Although the band released a single to begin the new year, it’s not often they get to be together unless performing a live show, as the vocalist lives in British Columbia.
In 2015, the Stillman brothers were looking for a vocalist after being accepted to play at the Chestermere Food Bank concert.
After searching around, the brothers found covers on YouTube from their now vocalist.
“When I first went to their place, I had no idea what to expect,” said Taken By Sanity vocalist and ukulele player Jonah Morris.
“Their Grandpa opened the door and for spilt second, I was like, ‘Blaine is that you?’ but it all worked out in the end,” Morris said.
“We all blend really well together,” said Blaine.
The single “Strike” happened organically after Blaine and Morris both had difficult days and wanted to bring positivity back into their lives.
“We did one of the only things that we knew would cheer us up.
“We were just playing around trying to make some sort of song, something happy and positive, trying to bring those vibes back into our life,” Morris said.
“We had a total blast. We didn’t think too much of it. Eventually we realized it might be fun to develop this into something more,” he added.
Morris began to create core progressions, and the brothers developed the song together.
“For this song we were very collaborative despite the long-distance relationship that our band has,” Morris said.
“Jonah records vocals, then emails us projects, once he’s done, we download everything, put it into a project, mix it all together, then that’s our product,” said Blaine.
Morris added, “We do as much as we can despite the distance. We’re still making it work and working our hardest to try and make songs to the best quality that we can.”
For Morris, when he writes a song he begins with writing a line of poetry that he believes would translate into a musical form in positive way, then fits the lyrics into the music the brothers have created.
“I find that’s a really fun process for me personally,” Morris said.
He added, when he first began writing songs with the brothers, he realized that every song at one point didn’t exist.
“I find that possibility of creating something that we enjoy, and other people enjoy really inspiring,” Morris said.
Although the new single took over a year from the time the idea was first created to the release of the song, creating music for the band lifts them up, and helps them through difficult things in their lives they are overcoming.
“It takes me away from everyday life, it gives me something else to focus on,” Blair said.
He added, “I’m battling a serious mental disorder. It helps take me away and bring me something good that I can produce and show everyone.”
Now that the band has begun releasing songs and playing live competitions which have been well received by the audience, Blaine has begun taking the band more seriously, and quit working his graveyard shift in Calgary.
“I thought, I’m young, I might as well take the opportunity now while I have it,” Blaine said.
He added, “We built a studio, now we’re self-writing, and producing.
“I want to dedicate the next two or three years to this and see where it goes, if it doesn’t go that’s ok.”
One performance that stuck out to the band was preforming at the Okotoks Food Bank concert two years ago.
The band wanted to bring something new and exciting to the concert.
“It was the first time we had received a large standing ovation from the entire crowd,” Morris said.
He added, “That was the first moment for me when I was like wow. I was on cloud nine for months afterwards, I still think about that and I get this warm fuzzy feeling.
“That was one of those experiences that I will never forget.”
Despite not meeting face to face very often, the band is constantly collaborating and creating new material.
Morris added, “It’s more intense but honestly I love these boys, they’re my family, it’s worth it, I love making music with them.”
Currently, Taken By Sanity is working on new material, and preparing to enter the CBC Searchlight competition in February.