Meet Sapien: Fullerton's Raw, Progressive Power Trio

Left to right: Miles Fuller, Spencer Reed, Cody Smith.EXPAND
Left to right: Miles Fuller, Spencer Reed, Cody Smith.
Connor Simpson

It’s difficult to describe the essence of Sapien. However, that is what truly defines them. Because of their eclectic influences, ranging from Pink Floyd to Jane’s Addiction to Pantera, they have accumulated a writing style that incorporates all genres of rock n roll: psychedelic, experimental, alternative, soft, funk as fuck, hard-hitting, and even a little punk/reggae. A band like this doesn’t come around often; each member is a beast on their respective instruments, and when they all play together, their own individual styles gel into one hell of a power trio.


The Fullerton three piece band, comprised of Cody Smith on drums, Spencer Reed on guitar, and Miles Fuller on bass, came together in 2013 . Though they are small in numbers, Sapien creates a sound as powerful and intricate as an orchestra. From the beginning, their entire friendship revolved around music.

Prior to forming Sapien, Smith and Reed were jamming together in their speed metal/thrash band, Rorschach. While Fuller was moving from Boise, Idaho to California, he saw an ad Smith posted on Craigslist claiming Rorschach was in need of a bassist. Ironically, Fuller had never been a “bass player”, let alone played bass in a band. “I always felt like bass players were in the background,” Fuller says, “but if you have a prominent one, it changes the whole band.” To his surprise, he found an immediate passion and love for the bass, which quickly became his instrument of choice. Throughout the course of Rorschach, there were some falling outs and dissatisfaction with the direction that they were heading. Smith, Reed, and Fuller—all in their early 20s—decided to start a new band and move away from the thrash metal sound, Sapien was born.


Their chemistry, talent, and potential was instantly undeniable as they explored sounds, riffs, and rhythms they never had before. Over the next three years, their music became even more progressive and textured than it was before, and that is what Sapien truly takes pride in. “We try not to have any corny, cheeseball bullshit that’s been done like a million times that’s rehashed over and over again,” Fuller says.


Though their music is a hit with local audiences, Sapien’s biggest adversities are vocals and recordings. In the past, they struggled to find a singer who suited the music that they play. Finally, they just decided to take singing into their own hands. While Reed shreds on guitar, Fuller taps, slaps, and strums his bass, and Smith beats up his kit, they all manage to stay on tempo and play their ornate music seamlessly while singing. Because Sapien love their raw, live sound so much, going into the studio to lay out tracks sounds too synthesized and over produced for them. These perfectionists even professionally recorded their EP in a studio, which almost took a year, and still were not satisfied. “We feel that (our music) needs to be more organic. We are a really jammy band,” Smith says. 

Although Sapien has music on Soundcloud, Facebook, Reverbnation, and YouTube, they do not want to release or sell anything less than flawless to their fans. Once their live recordings are completed by the end of this summer, their EP will be sold online and at their shows.

“Nothing over produced. All in one take, live," Fuller says. "The feeling is there when we’re jamming together, and we need to capture that.”

Sapien plays all over OC, so don't miss out on seeing them live. That's what they're all about, after all! Their upcoming shows are on the 4th of July at the Sandpiper in Laguna and the 14th of July at the Tiki Bar in Costa mesa. Look out for their name at the Doll Hut, too!


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