Hailing from the streets of Portland, Oregon, Separation of Sanity, are a brutal mix of Hardcore and Progressive thrash metal, that is a force not to be reckoned with since establishing their roots deep under the cold gray skies of the Pacific Northwest's metal scene since 2007. Consisting of Jason Carpenter on vocals; Randy Toten, Keith Fitzgerald, both on guitars and backing vocals; Ivar Forkbeard on bass; and rounding it out with Jackson Coffey on drums.
Separation Of Sanity is also an agglomeration of some of the most ground breaking, leading edge, brutal musicians that prides itself on live performances and high standards.
Metal Pulp And Paper recently caught up with the band, along with some other special local guests with something to say about the band.
METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello all. Before we get started and dive head-first into the interview, first off what does Separation Of Sanity mean to each of you?
KEITH FITZGERALD: Depends if you’re talking about the name or the band? To me the band Separation Of Sanity means brotherhood. I love these guys, they're my family. For the name, I know Randy was the one who came up with it and I'll let him explain that one.
RANDY TOTEN: Truly a band of brothers! The name itself I made up due to I must be crazy to start another band therefore I thought 'wow I must separate from sanity to be in another project!' Little did I know that I was meeting my lifelong true brothers. All of these guys mean the world to me and I'd give anything for any of them.
JASON CARPENTER: Honestly, SOS is an outlet for the five of us to create, take chances, build things up and set goals. And truly it keeps the five of us together, we are brothers, and SOS and it's commitments keep us chillin and creating. We always make sure every decision makes sense for the individual as well as the project if you dig. I love this project and the things we have done; playing shows with national bands, the videos, and all the good times and amazing friends we have made along the way.
IVAR FORKBEARD: What does it mean to me? Well, the name of the band was something Randy came up with, but as far as what does the band mean to me? Put it to you this way… I have been in many, many projects of all shapes, sizes and genres… but I have been with this one for coming up on a decade and this band doesn’t represent a project, these guys are my family. We go farther than music and will always be family no matter…and I guess you can hear/see that reflected in the music itself.
~~~ Separation Of Sanity, one of the mainstays in the Portland metal scene, is one of the more unique bands -driving momentum based, hook oriented, original, and equal parts aggressive - these guys write stellar songs. They're huge, massive, and go through numerous twists and turns. The band has chops and uses them. My favorite band in town for years because they're just that good~~~ Proven
MPAP: For a new listener, what can they expect to hear?
IVAR: If a new listener is expecting anything, let’s just say they will get it. There is something for most folks on The Crucible.
KEITH: They can expect solid guitar and bass riffs with amazing drums and a vocalist that will sink you in.
JASON: Thrash… Power… Musicianship... Punk and Funk, groove and metal stylings… story telling in crafted songwriting… and maybe an evil Sci Fi author hiding on the album.
MPAP: Keith tell us what makes yours and Randy's guitar duo stand out from other bands?
KEITH: Well my guitar sound is more low-end crunch while Randy's is more in the high range. Together they blend really well while not over powering each other.
MPAP: What do you want someone to think of when they hear or see Separation Of Sanity for the first time?
KEITH: Well I’m sure anyone in a band would want someone to love it. But in all honesty, I would hope they would think that we sound exactly like the album. We pride our self to not get to much production in the recording where it would be hard to play it live. Everything you hear on the recordings we basically do live with a few exceptions of course.
MPAP: After all the venues you've been at, where is your favorite place to play a live show in Portland?
KEITH: It used to be Mt Tabor, but now I would have to say the Hawthorne Theater.
JASON: Mother fucking Dantes! Ash Street is a close second…Long live Ash Street!
~~~ They are a kick ass, high energy band with a fresh and unique sound~~~ Cody Perez/ Amerakin Overdose
MPAP: Keith you're a guitarist,so if you could get a 6th finger surgically attached to your hand, would you?
KEITH: I don’t think so. But who knows, maybe that 6th finger would also come along with some super power speed or something lol. Who knows.
MPAP: At the end of the day, what matters to you most Keith? KEITH: Friendship and family and guitar. We have always had each other’s back and will continue to do so. Not only that but for the guitar, practice makes everything better. No matter what mood I’m in.
MPAP: Where do you hope to see yourself and the band in 5 years, 10 years Randy?
RANDY: I would love to say that we have played some major venues overseas and in America other than Oregon and Washington. MPAP: What made you decide to pick up a guitar?
RANDY: I was truly mesmerized by a family friend growing up and thought that it was the coolest thing in the world to be able to make music. MPAP: Who has been some of your musical influences over the years?
RANDY: My influence started with Blues due to that was the easiest way to learn how to play the guitar. Stevie Ray Vaughan was probably one of my idols until he died. But after I initially learned to play guitar I got into Hard Rock and Metal and the spectrum is wide open. As far as who I look up to, from Eddie Van Halen to Joe Satriani and later the harder stuff to include Mastodon and Slipknot. ~~~ We've had the pleasure of not only sharing a stage with SOS several times but becoming friends and hanging out with the guys. They were one of the bands that kinda took us in when At the Seams first started playing and we're kinda like " come with us"... lol. Besides just killing it and putting on a devastating live performance they are some of the most rock-solid people you will ever meet. There's a reason why they are a staple in the Portland metal scene. Every one of those dudes crush it, there isn't a weak link in the band. Jason is an incredible front man with killer voice, Randy and Keith's back and forth guitar work is phenomenal, and they have a beast of a rhythm section in Ivar and Jackson. All killer and no filler with them. And usually the booze is always flowing when we do shows together, it's like dumping gas on the god damn fire...it's always a fuckin blast and we know it's gonna be an amazing show and great times every damn time! And on top of everything you see them showing love and support to all the other bands they play with. weather it's being at someone else's show or sharing others shit on social media...they breathe and support the fuck out of the Portland metal scene!!! They truly never disappoint~~~ Edward/ At The Seams
MPAP: Name a song or guitar riff you wish you came up with.
RANDY: Mastodon’s "Dry Bone Valley".
MPAP: Separation Of Sanity formed in 2007? Can you give a brief history of how the band molded into form?
JASON:SOS was already an active group when I was introduced to Mr. Randy Toten. My other project Server X was over and done with for almost two years at that point. I was told SOS just lost their singer and was looking for a 'Maynard' style singer, which I aint….lol…but I took their invite because at that point I was starving to jam. I was invited to join after one session. At that point we jammed a ton and played a house party or two…but honestly it took that version to break up and then reform in its current state to get the ball rolling and get us to the level of fun we are having now. MPAP: How did everyone meet?
JASON: Met Randy through my brother Ron Liles who was my drummer in Server X. Pretty much met everyone through him. I do remember the day Ivar came in to jam…Rolled up on a hog like a fuckin Rhino… bass strapped to his back and shit…killed me. MPAP: If all social media were shut down for a week, god forbid because the world might end, but how would you get the word out to everyone about Separation Of Sanity?
JASON: Ever seen Airheads? A bazooka and a boot to the door at 'Charlie FM'… time to make all these zombies in Ptown WOKE!
MPAP: Why the dry spell in between the Decimation (2010) release and The Crucible (2017) release?
JASON: The process of getting The Crucible to see the light of day was filled with a few tragedies. One being Keith’s crazy ass accident of falling through a skylight and almost checking out. And our brother and producer, Kiel Bishop, losing his father during the tracking. Both mandated a good stretch of time off. Plus, we were experimenting with the sounds on the album and we took it back to zero a few times.
MPAP: What do you think makes the Portland, Oregon music scene stand out from other cities Jason?
JASON: Brotherhood. The bands we fuck with truly care about the other bands. We wear each other’s gear onstage. We get up on each other sets and scream backups. We fill in when someone is out and can’t play a show. We never set up situations or shows where a fellow band could look bad and/or fail. There is not a lot of petty shit in this scene...We like it that way.
MPAP: Do you have a message you’re trying to get across to others when you sing?
JASON: Screaming at my god damn demons…crowd being there is incidental.
MPAP: What has been one of the biggest struggles so far for the band? IVAR: It was kinda tough when our lead guitarist fell through a skylight at Costco and should have died but only broke most everything. Even that struggle was a testament to how many cool people we surround ourselves with, as guitarists from other bands were willing to step up until Keith was back in the saddle.
JASON: Promoters. Or lack thereof in PDX. There are a few shining exceptions, but PDX has a short memory and hard work goes largely unnoticed by the bigger promoters.
MPAP: What made you decide to pick up the microphone and want to sing? Was there a singer that influenced you Jason?
JASON: I never planned this or saw any of this happening when I was a youngster. I truly thought I had no talent in this area. It was a random night at a house party in SE Portland. A basement with a drummer and a guitarist jamming and open mic stand, and I jumped on it. Did a mix of punk lyrics and some hip hop lyrics that my brother Jcat had written. After that night I was hooked. Never once have I felt the sting of stage fright. I was always there to abuse the crowd for as much as they could take or ask for. It’s truly a gift given what I do. And I thank the gods for leading me here.
MPAP: Describe your break through moment. When did you know you had finally made it?
IVAR: I’ll let you know.
~~~ They are some serious heavy hitting talent. Every show is energetic and powerful. The melodies, heavy riffs and serious lyrics all make SoS. On a personal level, outstanding gentlemen, down to earth and kind guys. One hell of a band on and off stage!~~~ Othrys
MPAP: Ivarwhere is the best place in Portland to grab a beer and watch a show?
IVAR: First, fuck beer. Second, if you want to drink a half a bottle of whiskey (of course, the Forkbeard will take down the other half) and get some music in you, I love seeing shows at Dante’s in downtown Portland.
MPAP: Where do you hope to see yourself and the band in 5 years, 10 years?
JASON: Hopefully neck deep in show fliers… New videos.. and a few more LP’s…. I feel I have so much more to share and I feel blessed that I have 4 dope individuals to bring that shit to light.
KEITH: Hopefully touring.
IVAR: Hope in one hand, shit in the other…see which fills up first! I’m just going to keep pushing (writing music, playing shows, supporting the scene, rocking my fucking balls off), and I can’t wait to be surprised in 5-10 years when I wake up and say, “Well, would you look at this shit! Didn’t see that coming, did ya, Ivar?”
MPAP: If you could play a different genre of music for a day, what would it be?
IVAR: I do…which day are you talking about? Tuesday is funk day, Friday is salsa, Saturday may be for the hippy in me, depends if I can find those stoney bastards to play with!
~~~ SOS has to be one of the most kick you in teeth, bash your skull in, brutal bad ass bands in Portland!~~~ Darrell Richardson Booking Agent / Manager / Promotions
MPAP: At the end of the day, what matters to you most?
IVAR: That I get to do something I love, that people like what I do enough to support me doing something I love, and that it doesn’t matter that I’m a huge asshole while I’m doing it…it kinda adds to the charm!
MPAP: On behalf of Metal Pulp And Paper and myself, I'd like to thank you, Keith, Jason, Ivar, and Randy, for being being a part of this. We look forward to what Separation Of Sanity does in 2018 and beyond.
Separation Of Sanity/ December 27th, 2017/ Interview #90