US metal is a beast I don’t get to tackle too often. A shame really as some of my fave heavy metal bands are Amercian. But with VANLADE I get to chat with vocalist Brett “Blackout” Scott about this and that. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Can you please tell all our readers about the history and discography of VANLADE?
-Sure! The band formed several years back in high school by Zach (guitar), Nikki (bass), and a few of our other friends. Eventually they lost their singer and drummer and CC Spearhead and myself filled the positions. That was when we started working on the material that would become our first album, “Iron Age.” We spent a couple years gigging around the country and playing several festivals while writing for our second album, “Rage of the Gods” which was released in 2015 and received really excellent praise from all over the internet. We released a covers EP just this last year and since then we have been doing brief tours here and there and writing for our next album!
When you formed the band with what intention did you do so? How easy was it to pick up a thread as to where your sound is going?
-From the start the band has been about trying to recapture some of that oldschool metal magic that seems to be missing in most of today’s music. I think that was an easy choice for us because it’s the music we love and that pulled us together in the first place!
As I haven’t recorded anything I have no idea what that is like but are you ever 100% satisfied? How pleased are you with your latest recording?
-I’m not sure there is such thing as 100% since there always should be room to improve, but I could say that we are very happy with how our last couple releases turned out. “Rage of the Gods” was our first release that we, or me at least, were totally happy with the way everything sounded. As musicians though we always want to push it a little further for the next one!
To me a band name is the first thing I notice. If it feels cool then I’ll check the band out. How do you explain the meaning of the band name?
-The biggest reason that we chose the name is that it was unique and felt cool! The actual meaning of the name comes from Norse mythology. The character Vanlade (or Vanlande) was a prince who has a pretty cool story written about him. More importantly it rolls off the tongue and feels like it captures the spirit of the band.
How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?
-Well our first priority is obviously making the best music that we can, but we also have to remember that we are entertainers and want to give the whole package. I think showmanship and attitude is a really important part of why people like this kind of music. We try to stress that a show is the place to have fun, while still keeping the musicality as strong as we can. A lot of energy goes into our concerts and I think that shows!
I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-It’s so important! I think the cover sets the tone and has a lot of influence on how you go into the music. Since our second album, we have been working with Lauren Gornik who has done a really excellent job of capturing our ideas and turning them into amazing art. Definitely recommended for anybody interested!
We live in a superficial world today where you don’t exist if you are not on You Tube and Facebook. Has social media been only beneficial in socializing with the fans or is there a down side to it too?
-I can’t think of a downside of social media from a band’s perspective. It’s the best way by a long shot to keep in touch with fans and spread your music out to the world. I mean, we love to get letters too but this is just the way to go!
Something I often wonder about is when you play in a band does it feel like you are a part of a massive community?
-For us, it does more than ever right now! We spent a large part of our music career playing around Kansas City and forming connections with the touring bands that come through, and really started branching out of the midwest in 2015. Since then we have really started to find our niche with this newer uprising of more “traditional” metal bands that have been coming out. It’s good to be able to rely on this network of really like-minded bands for tour and support. And most importantly, the more like-minded bands we meet, the more like-minded fans we are exposed to. Lately this scene has been pretty great, but it’s still very much an underground thing.
How important is it to be signed to label today? What can they do that you cannot do on your own?
-That’s tough to say! An independent band today has a lot of the same tools that a record label will have, but the real bonus is the investment the label makes in the band. There’s no way we could, out of pocket, match the marketing budget of, say, Metal Blade. But on the other hand, we are completely free to do what we want and on our own time. It’s just a matter of money, as usual!
How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-We get out as much as we can and are working on doing more and more each year. Our last two tours have been about two weeks each and have consisted of towns from the midwest to out west. We are working on stretching that time a bit and hitting other regions for our future tours. We have also discussed Canada and Mexico and one day hope to be able to hit Europe and the other continents! It’s always a work-in-progress but we are closer every day!
What will the future bring?
-We are currently working on writing our third full-length and planning out our future tours! This May will bring the Legions of Metal fest in Chicago and we are sure to do a short tour around that date, so keep an eye out if you live in the States! Beyond that, I can’t tell you much, but you can always keep up with us on our Facebook. We’ve always got something cooking and aren’t planning on stopping anytime soon!