An Interview with Vasely Sapunov of Christian Heavy Metal band Saving Grace
In 2005 some friends in New Zealand got together to start a band to combine the brutal sound of Slayer, Arkangel and Morbid Angel with a Christian message. Starting off playing in garages they moved up to headlining tours and playing festivals across the world. Their songs have been known to speak to issues such as betrayal, violence and abuse & addiction as well as messages such as friendship, hope & faith. We recently caught up with Seymour Duncan artist Vasely Sapunov, the guitarist for Saving Grace to talk about his band and his gear.
How did you come to be in Saving Grace?
“Saving Grace formed in 2005 in our hometown of Gisborne as a new project between myself and our vocalist Nick. We both grew up playing shows with each others bands when we were kids and quickly became best friends. When our previous bands disbanded, Saving Grace was born. Hundreds of shows, 3 studio albums and numerous international tours later, here we are.”
What are your thoughts on being both heavy metal and Christian, and how does that influence your writing/playing?
“Our faith permiates everything that we do, it is the core of this band and the reason we have been doing what we are doing for almost 8 years. Although musically, the majority of our influences are from secular hardcore and metal bands that we grew up listening to, we are stoked to break barriers and stereotypes and to be able to play bone-crushingly heavy music, that people would not normally associate with a Christian band.”
“I am glad that we can do what we love, and open up peoples eyes and minds to the fact that such violent and brutal music can be a form of worship. There should never be a barrier between our passions and gifts and the God who created us.”
What kind of gear do you use?
“I play Schecter Guitars, Seymour Duncan pickups, SIT strings and In Tune Guitar Picks exclusively, Peavey amplification and BOSS effects. My current main touring rig is a Schecter Blackjack ATX Solo 6 with Seymour Duncan Blackouts through a 5150 mark 2 head and matching Peavey cabinet with BOSS TU-3, NS-2 and DD-3 pedals.”
Why did you choose Seymour Duncan?
“Ever since I first picked up a guitar as a kid, Seymour Duncan to me was a name synonymous with quality, integrity and enormous, unparalleled sound! Many of my childhood guitar heroes such as Dimebag were playing Seymour Duncan pickups and drawing some of the most immense tones I had ever heard.”
“The Duncan Blackout’s that I have been using on tour and in the studio are a perfect fit for the sound of Saving Grace and the insane output and clarity that they give is a testament to the quality of the product, helping to show exactly why it is that so many incredible artists stand behind the brand and never look back.”
Any advice you liked to offer to musicians who are just starting out in a garage?
“Be Genuine. Be 100% into what you are doing and know why you are doing it. Creating music, like any other art form needs to be done with passion and with a reason. Anything ‘manufactured’, fake or shallow is transparent and people will see straight through it. Write songs because you believe in your music and you love what you do. Expect nothing, be grateful for everything, tour relentlessly, sleep on floors and treat people with kindness.”