Steven A. Cosand wanted to be my friend on Facebook about a year ago. I really did not know who he was until I read a post from Overcome announcing that Steven would be replacing Nicholas Greenwood as their second guitar player. We became fast friends and talked online almost everyday. At the end of 2011 Steven posted a link to his solo project Sanhedrin’s debut EP Pro Human, Pro Life. I was stoked to hear what he could do on his own. Seeing Overcome has move of Jason Stinson’s fingerprints on it. PHPL was raw, intense, and something I had never heard from any Christian punk or hardcore band in the past. Sanhedrin was a breath of fresh air. I thought it would only be fair after interviewing Collin of Maranatha to talk to Steven about his other project. Steven is a great guy and solid man of the cloth.
For those who don’t know who you are and your history in the Spirit-Filled scene, will you please tell us a short story of your life?
My name is Steven A. Cosand. I am a 24 year old based in Tempe, Arizona. My great grandfather and grandfather were both musicians that were heavily involved with the Evangelical Friends church. My father is a piano professor at Arizona State University. My mother is a private violin and viola instructor. She also works with a small symphony orchestra based in Mesa, Arizona. Needless to say I have been surrounded by musicians my entire life.
I began playing the upright bass when I was only 5 years old. I grew up playing in school orchestras and with church ensembles. My parents bought me an electric bass when I was 13 and I have been playing in bands ever since. As an Arizona native I grew up listening to Overcome. I had the opportunity to see both them and a few of Jason Stinson’s other projects perform live at a very young age.
In January of 2011 I put an ad on Craigslist because I wanted to start a Spirit Filled band in the vein of Overcome, Strongarm, and Focal Point. Nick was planning his move to Seattle and Overcome was in need of a new guitar player. Jason Stinson found my ad, e-mailed me, and I have been playing guitar with them ever since.
Which is your main focus, Overcome or Sanhedrin?
They are very different. I try to put the same amount of time and effort into both of them.
Do you get to write as much for Overcome as you do Sanhedrin?
Jason and Thomas do most of the writing for Overcome, but I have helped piece together some of the new material. There is one song in particular that I wrote for the new Overcome record which I think sounds noticeably different than our other material.
How long have you been working on Sanhedrin as a band? Tell me about starting the band and how you wanted it to sound.
The material was just songs I had written outside of Overcome. I wanted to do something a little different. Something a bit heavier with hints of crust and grind. My friends Max, Kiel and I had been playing together casually since the beginning of 2011. It wasn’t anything very serious. I started writing the EP and they helped me piece it all together. Duncan and I were in a band previously. He did the vocals on the EP and fronts the band when we perform live.
Where did the name and concepts behind Sanhedrin come from? Also tell me about the title of the EP.
The basic concept behind Sanhedrin came about from my time spent in Ghana. I spent the summer of 2008 living and working in Accra. The Christian church is something else in West Africa. It’s incredible. I never in my life felt so loved just because I am. There is a big contrast between people living happily in faith yet in the worlds worst poverty compared to American conservative Christians ranting about socialism, gay marriage, or whatever when they will never ever have to worry about things like clean water. It sort of had me disgusted.
The EP is entitled “Pro Human. Pro Life.” and it was meant to be a somewhat of a broad statement. I have caught a lot of slack from the hardcore community because many people have the idea that the record is “pro life” in regards to abortion. Also on the other hand I have had some support coming out of the Christian community for the same reasons. Obviously when you hear the term “pro life” you think about abortion and American political Conservatism. I didn’t choose that name to spark controversy or to be polarizing. The record is not about abortion. It was my response as a Christian to the “Anti Human. Anti Life.” sentiment brought from one of my favorite Norwegian black metal bands, Taake.
It’s really what I interpret as my own failures as a Christian and those of the Christian community as a whole. The word Sanhedrin means something like council or assembly. The Sanhedrin is best known for the trial against Christ. I think the point is that we as Christians fail to show compassion and share the love of Christ to those who need it the most. It’s really easy to cast judgment on others, but its extremely difficult to show pure and unconditional love.
I know you have played some live shows and had others play on the record. Do you have a solid line up?
We have a full live band set up. We had been playing as a 4 piece, but most recently we had a 2nd guitarist at our last show with Deafheaven.
Are the new songs written by you as well or is there input from your band? How are the songs coming for the Maranatha split and when will it be available?
The new songs have all been written by me, but the dudes have helped me piece them together in the process. Sometimes its hard to know exactly where a song should go or how to transition between parts. They’ve been a lot of help with that sort of stuff. I am crossing my fingers that the new material will be recorded and ready for release by July. No set date yet, but we’ll figure it out when we get there.
Would you want to play more shows with Christian bands or secular bands? Any plans for touring? Explain.
There are a ton of good Christian bands currently writing and touring. I would love to play with all of them, but it’s hard to find Christian bands that write the same kind of hardcore that Sanhedrin plays.
I would like to play any and every show possible. I don’t care who it’s with or where it is, but things are a little more complicated then just packing up gear and going out on the road. I would absolutely love to tour full time, but it is difficult with a very chaotic full time job and no label support.
Besides the bands you have already played with, who would you like to play with in 2012?
I am always happy to see and play with some of my favorite Arizona bands like Territory, Kashyyyk, Redeemer, Seas Will Rise, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Good Men Die Like Dogs, The Beautiful Ones, Bad Vibe, Rumspringer, and Lenguas Largas. There are so many more as well.
If I am allowed to dream about it then I would say Extol, No Innocent Victim, Downset, Trouble, Venetian Snares and Maranatha.
We just got a show with Murder Death Kill, Thin Ice, Dead Icons, The Awful Din & The Author in June. So that should be a fun show to play.