Metal, schmetal: SAZA is “like, totally medieval”

Cliché says that some bands make music out of boredom, while others pick up guitars (or keyboards or microphones) to get laid. To “be popular.” Or to chase some fat paycheck.

But when you absolutely do not hear the music you want to listen to being made out there in the world, one must take action. You gotta do it yourself.

Such is the case with genre-defying “metal” band SAZA who formed “out of necessity” in Los Angeles in 2016.

Necessity? Well, SAZA are not your typical metallions—you know, zitty guys with black t-shirts and Slayer ambitions.

No, SAZA is some serious Black Metal shit with experimental noise tendencies and Baroque flair. Like, woodwinds and such. I’m not even joking.

Do not miss SAZA 8pm this Friday, December 9 at Oracle Tavern

Yes it’s true that SAZA toys with some ideas that may seem, on first glance, to be totally preposterous. But when the vocals and the drums kick in you are hit with Category 5 hurricane force—i.e., “catastrophic damage will occur.”

I don’t know about you, but that’s the tension build up—and energy release—that got me into music in the first place. And on that front, SAZA totally kills.

Please read this exclusive interview with what very well could be L.A.’s most dangerous AND most tasteful band.

Blow us away, SAZA…

Who’s in SAZA?
SAZA began with Asher Price and Harley Hollenstein. We have had various line ups and incarnations of the band, the foremost being a three piece with Evan Green on drums. After being stripped down to a duo during the pandemic we have reformed as a four piece with Hazel Rigby and Will Kreppel.

Where are you from and how did you meet?
Asher and Harley met through working together in L.A. We are all from different places—Los Angeles, Switzerland, and New York.

Why did you change your name from Sauber Zauber?
To avoid legal complications without alienating our fanbase.

How would you describe your music?
We aren’t a metal band in the normal sense. When we started it was probably better described as Noise Rock with a Black Metal influence. But since then we have incorporated Dungeon Synth, Brazilian Black Metal, Jazz, Renaissance music, Electronic, Ambient and other genres. So nothing is really off limits for us!

Is there a common aesthetic that drew you together? 
The band’s vocals have always been an anchoring point, and the rest of the music has changed a lot as we have interrogated various metal sub genres and their origins. We have a shared love of absurd and extreme music that brings us together.

What’s the point of making music in 2022/23? No radio play, people don’t buy shit, YouTube and streaming are collapsing. Everyone’s on TikTok… are you on TikTok?
Late in the age of mechanical reproduction, the commoner performs as if they delivered royal decree.

We’re, like, totally medieval. We don’t make music with broadcast in mind.

Who are your top five musical influences?
We are really into a number of Brazilian Black Metal bands like Sarcofago, Holocausto or Lullaby who we are doing a cover of right now.

Over the last few years we got interested in Dungeon Synth, a lot of which is really bad but once in a while there’s an amazing bedroom metal recording. We were really inspired by Druadan Forest’s first record, Mirkwood. We have also been obsessed with the renaissance composer John Dowland, he’s sort of like The Godfather of downer music. Flipper might also be an important band to mention.


What should audiences expect from your show at Oracle Tavern? What do you want them to walk away feeling and saying?
Will and Asher grew up at Sean Carnage Monday Nights, and the diversity of this bill has us thinking back to our favorite moments. Not only at your shows, but live music in general!

An audience member once said our performance left them in a horrific state like lambs being lead to slaughter, and that their own thoughts were mocking them. We sincerely hope people come away from the Oracle feeling more positive than that.

What the f’ed up thing that’s happened to you as a band? 
One time our lead singer got mugged inside the venue after we played. We never played that venue again.

Thank you for suggesting Tricky Youth and Wryngwyrm! Why did you feel they fit on this bill?
We all occupy a corpse paint continuum, for sure.

What are your feelings about the Uncanny Valley where things become so digitally-altered and squishy, nothing is real anymore?
I’d say Dungeon Synth as a genre touches on this.

I went to a certain forest rave in a remote location. I set up a 1000W PA and walked around with a speaker on my belt. But I found that I could only really vibe when playing Hrungnir’s “Vindöld” which is a very generic ambient track complete with bird song and horse clopping sound effects.

At times, it seems that one has to look up game soundtracks—or even music that merely aspires to emulate video game soundtracks—in order to accept their physical surroundings.

What are three things right now that make life worth living? Are you working on any new music?
All the time! We are writing a ton of SAZA material right now and we all have separate projects as well.

Harley will be playing in the Los Angeles Woodwind Skillshare (LAWWS) and Will is doing solo improv set as d|rge—s|urry on December 16th, at DMV!

Hazel has a show as TBHQ at Coaxial on January 13th.

What’s next for SAZA?
We have our first vinyl release coming out this February on Czarnagora, a Swiss label.

If SAZA could start a new dance craze, what would it be and how would it go?
People can move or not move as they wish when we play.

Bang your head to SAZA’s devil music

Follow SAZA on Instagram

And don’t miss the show:

Tricky Youth Wryngwyrm SAZA Vitamin Wig C Solar Wimp Oracle Tavern Sean Carnage Fridays December 9 2022 L Coats

Image: L Coats. Color: Carnage.

Sean Carnage presents…

Friday, December 9th at Oracle Tavern:

Tricky YouthRaw & loud, like Three 6 Mafia on a Nü Metal jag
WryngwyrmSumptuous metallic vibes, atmospheric death noise
SAZA (formerly Sauber Zauber) Black Metal / Prog experimentalism at it’s cutting-edge best
Vitamin Wig CMonday Night superstar Robbie Hansen back with enthralling keyboard madness
Solar WimpAscendant power trio rock—from a duo! Their final show!
DJ Kyle Mabson – Just added! Pro wrestling superstar & ’90s fanatic internet sensation

The doors open 8pm. Music starts at 8:30. It’s $10 at the door / 21+.

Stay up to date with the details on the Shows page

Follow me on Instagram

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Friendship bracelets are back!

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