Safe Haven is an American alternative rock-punk band from Southern California. Formed in the summer of 2003 in their parent’s garage in La Mirada California the group consists of three brothers–Gil Sandoval (Vocals/Bass) Dan Sandoval (Drums) Mani Sandoval (Lead Guitar–alongside with childhood friend Josh Ledezma (Guitar). After three years the band landed a West Coast tour with a three-song demo performing at public parks parking lots bars churches and clubs. Their debut album Setting Up & Tearing Down” was released in 2007 independently after struggling financially to fund their own record. In 2009 the band was signed to indie label Live Love Records which released their second full-length album “In The Middle Of Destruction.” A percentage of these album sales would support various humanitarian projects in Africa and Guatemala. The band found itself on various tours across the U.S. Hawaii Mexico Central America and Asia. In December of 2010 the band traveled to Puerto Barrios Guatemala where they have currently sponsored a Children’s Orphanage for the past five years.Safe Haven is now back in the studio recording their latest album “Chasing The Sun” at Flying Blanket Studios in Mesa Arizona due summer of 2012 with upcoming tours in Australia Canada Mexico Central America and in the U.S.”
Sara: Who’s the guy in the interview seat today?
Mani: it’s Mani 🙂 Probably cause I can spell the best! haha
Sara: Sweet! Tell me a little about your perspective on how the band started!
Mani: The band started off with our Mother needing musicians to play at our church since all the musicians before never showed up. Later on Dan discovered punk rock and kids who liked to play Green Day songs all day. Gil had started to work in the “real” world and all that suit-wearing business. Josh and I were just new friends at the time.
So I bugged Dan to let me in his band’ and soon enough Josh from watching us started to play guitar (since it probably started getting boring sitting there watching us rehearse one song all day long). Soon enough Gil took interest and would show all our former bass players how to play bass better and then head off to work. Eventually he just gave in and decided to just join our band for some reason. I knew we needed his voice and I can’t say the band would be where it is without him. We recorded a demo and made 60 copies. We sold out somehow and haven’t stopped playing music since.
Sara: This is exciting! What do you play in the band?
Mani: I play the six strings of fury and let Josh do all the real guitar work.
Sara:Who else is in the band?
Mani: My two older brothers Gil (Lead Singer/Bass) and Dan (Drummer). Also my best friend Josh aka el brick house.
Sara: Who writes the songs? Is it a collaboration or does it vary from song to song?
Mani: We all collaborate musically. Lyrically we tend to use a lot of stuff Gil and I write and Dan has some moments of glory especially with naming all of our albums. Josh tends to write [the musical aspects of] songs. We don’t necessarily understand them in the moment but they end up being amazing songs to play live such as ‘Chasing the Sun.’
Sara: What’s the concept behind the name Safe Haven?
Mani:it’s really Dan’s idea of finding a band name in High School after reading the newspaper in class for an assignment and falling in love with the word Haven. So he looked for the best initials for a band and SH seem to fit the best to him. So he decided on Safe Haven.
Sara:In your opinion is Safe Haven a Christian band or a group of Christians in a band?
Mani:It all depends on your perspective. Maybe we’re both. Christ inspires us. Life does as well. That’s what our songs are influenced by. We want people to know us by our actions and not so much about what we title ourselves.
Sara: You’ve shared a little bit about this in your promo video but could you tell us some things that make this album so different from anything you guys have done before?
Mani:The biggest difference would be that we locked ourselves in the studio and recorded the songs alone with our producer/engineer Bob Hoag. Fewer people in the studio helped us become a bit more careless and intimate. it’s kinda like creating a painting without an audience or coach analyzing you. Even for that matter we weren’t over analyzing much either which was awesome. Inspiration was our direction and we were the steering wheel.
Sara:IsChasing The Suna concept album?
Mani: Funny that you ask…. I’m not sure. Do you think it’s concept album? I’ll let people hear it and decide.
Sara:What are the concepts behind the songs?
Mani: I wouldn’t call them concepts but more like thoughts such as love sarcasm injustice rebellion and always hope in the end.
Sara:Do you have a personal favorite?
Mani:I like the title track ‘Chasing the Sun.’
Sara: That has become one of my favorites as well! Why is it yours?
Mani: It says everything I hope people will walk away with when they’re done listening to our album.
Sara: So I’m hoping to catch you on tour! What’s happening on this tour? Are you going anywhere you’ve never been before
Mani: Well we’re hoping to head back to Australia next year and do some other overseas shows. We’ll be doing the West Coast and hoping to break into the East. We hope to see you on tour as well.
Sara: Any stories about your time in the studio?
Mani: Let’s see. We wrote the lyrics for ‘Chasing the Sun’ the morning of the recording session on Gil’s kitchen table after thinking it was a throwaway song that we wouldn’t have time to record.
Sara: Haha! And it ended up being the title track! How amazing. Any tour stories?
Mani:Let’s see…not at the moment but remembering driving long nights in our van in the wintertime having so much time to think. Looking back I can’t understand how many times we didn’t quit give up or grow weary of traveling so many hours. I guess with age and a new album you always remincse about the past. I’m pretty hopeful about the future.
Sara:Here is our most important question so far what can your fans and readers be praying about for you guys for this album?What about as a band?
Mani: Well thanks. Please pray that God would allow us to continue to do what He wants us to do and always for unity in the band. That’s what we treasure the most the close bond we have as a family and a band
Sara: Famous last words?
Mani: Love each other.
We wrote the lyrics for ‘Chasing the Sun’ the morning of the recording session on Gil’s kitchen table after thinking it was a throwaway song that we wouldn’t have time to record. We want people to know us by our actions and not so much about what we title ourselves.