Spirit In The Room formed in 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Their eclectic sound bridges together elements of Heavy Metal, Hardcore, Punk, Blues, Industrial, and Classic Rock in their Music. They are known for their diverse, yet intense and menacing live performances. Frontman Dennis Sanders, who writes and composes all of his own Music for Spirit In The Room, revealed in our interview that before a live show, he needs to have chaos and likes to break things, while also revealing that sometimes people on stage even get hurt during their shows…
In November of 2020, Housecore Records held a special livestream event that featured Spirit In The Room opening for the En Minor. They initiated their 22-minute long set with Dennis carrying a plant and watering it on stage, he was wearing a pink women’s dress suit with black heels, yellow rubber gloves, pearls and even a chain hanging around his neck. He was also wearing makeup that seemed to have a Heath Ledger’s Joker vibe. They began their set with a violently energizing performance of U R MY RELGION where he took the chain he was wearing and began whipping the stage and a small toy rocking horse repeatedly.
They also performed MONETARY PRAYER, Vicious Eyes, I’m In Your Headlights, closing with The Future Is Immediate. You can check out the entire stream of their set below!
Our interview began with Dennis answering the question of what all can he tell us about what’s going on with their EP they’re releasing through Housecore Records, “I can tell you that it’s done. And I can tell you that we’re working on all of the little things that go along with it. It’s just a slow process these days. It wasn’t usually like this time consuming before…But now there’s a lot of…God, I’m really trying to dance around the pandemic thing… There’s no way to dance around it. But yeah, it’s taking time. It’s taking time. But it’s done and it will be coming…It might not be out til next year…I don’t know what all I’m allowed to say…”, he said while laughing.
Dennis elaborated on what the EP is going to sound like, “Every song’s got it’s personality, it’s got it’s own thing, and there’s a couple people that I’ve played it for [that] all say it’s very cinematic. But it’s not– it’s definitely not just… You can’t just categorize it just as Rock, even though it’s what I ended up doing, I ended up categorizing it as Rock, calling it a Rock band all the time to people, I really don’t know what else to say it is… It’s not really a Rock record. It’s different, I’ll say that. It’s different.
I’ve been a fan of Housecore [Records] for a while. And I’m very familiar with their roster. There’s a lot of great bands on there, a lot of great Artists. The Sursiks, Donovon Punch, stuff like that. And so I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying it’s too different from what they have on their roster, but it’s definitely not Metal, it has aggressive, really really aggressive moments, but those aggressive moments are evened out with a lot of beauty and emotions outside of anger. There’s a lot of depth to it. It’s very colorful. There’s a lot of colors going on in this record.”
When asked what inspired him to start playing all of the instruments he does and to write all of his own Music, he said, “I’m just a band of bands. I’m a nerd of bands. I have lots of band tattoos. I’m a Lover of Music.” He continued, “if you want something done the way you want it, you have to do it yourself. So I kind of taught myself how to do everything that I needed to do to make the Music that was in my head. So, that was pretty much it, I just… I have this obsession with getting the sounds out of my head out to the world… And with that obsession drove me to learn how to record myself and play certain things. Yeah. Obsession. Obsession drives us…Right?”
We moved onto the subject of Spirit In The Room’s captivating performance opening for En Minor’s livestream last November, Dennis said the following about his unique stage outfit, “I’ve been dressing like a man for 30 years, so why not dress like a woman from time to time? I don’t know…That was an event. That was a special thing.” He continued on, “I like to keep myself amused. A lot of times, playing shows, you have lulls, or dull moments in the set that personally you, not everybody else is experiencing or noticing that you’re going through. But you know, sometimes during a set, you might get a little bored or something, so you get hurt. You get hurt and the next thing you know, you’re awake, you’ve scratched the itch, so to speak. I don’t know. You got to keep yourself happy. And I find myself to be quite boring at times so why not spice it up a little bit.”
Dennis also shared the story of how he collaborated with Alexi Laiho [Rest In Peace] on a cover of the song, The Killing Moon, originally done by Echo And The Bunnymen off their 1984 album, Ocean Rain. He also shares one of his most favorite memories with Alexi that involved them walking around on Genesee Avenue in Los Angeles, where the Nightmare on Elm Street house is located and collecting snails. He also told the story about the night he played Cherry Waves on stage with the Deftones and how it happened.
When we talked about their logo, which features a regular standing cross and a smaller inverted cross of a different color in the middle, Dennis mentioned a possible meaning of what the symbolism is, “light and darkness, it exists everywhere. You can’t have one without the other.”
In a past interview with CVLT Nation, Dennis revealed that he used to take dead animals and put them under his bed. We proceeded to the topic of how his fascination with Death began. He shared how the lack of supervision as a child and his favorite Musician, Kurt Cobain, killing himself triggered his fascination. When asked about how his fascination with Death has impacted his Music, he replied, “if I wasn’t able to make Music and do what I’m doing, I’d be dead. It is an outlet and a Life saver. The only way to live forever is to create something that you can separate yourself from.”
Following up his answer with a question regarding Mental Health and which song[s] have brought him the most mental clarity, he responded, “The song, ‘Vicious Eyes’. That song is a lot to do with my struggles with the chaos that’s up here, you know?” as he pointed toward his head, he continued, “the lyrics, I think, paint a pretty obvious picture of that. Then it happens to be one of our more popular songs and I see how it affects other people and it’s like, gah, it’s the greatest reward when someone reaches out to me that I don’t even know, or even someone that I know…Anytime someone tells me that something that I’ve done is helping them through a dark period in their Life, it’s a heavy thing. And that song’s been one of those things for people; a Life preserver…A soft place to fall.” He continued, “I write about that a lot… Who honestly feels like they have someone to talk to about every single little thing that goes on in your brain? I don’t; and I have some amazing friends, but if I couldn’t write about it, couldn’t sing about it, like I said, I’d probably be dead. Those are common themes in my Life and I use Music as a tool to help me through it.”
The interview closes with Dennis answering how he feels he translates his on stage energy into his albums and how he translates his energy within his albums into his live performances, “Well, in order to translate the on stage energy into an album, you have to do one or two takes. You hope that you catch the fire in the one take. A lot of the guitar tracking and some of the vocals in a lot of my stuff are just one take because you mean it the first time. The second time you’re thinking a little bit more, and the third time you’re overthinking, and the fourth time you’re just trying to get it perfect. It ain’t about perfection, it’s about projection.” He elaborated, “that’s just a lot of one takes and just catching it; lightening in a bottle.”
He then followed up with, “For me to translate it to a live setting, you can’t be afraid to look stupid. You can’t be afraid to fall. You got to know that the bull is loose, you know? Like, somebody lifted up the gate and the bull is out and you better fuckin’ run. And when you have that, once you know that it’s your time, it’s lights-camera-action-GO, who gives a fuck what happens, that’s how you translate it live. You just let yourself go. And I’m grateful to play with a bunch of Musicians who understand that. And they also know to how to stay out of the way.”, as he said laughing.