Vänlade is a heavy metal band with roots in Kansas City, Kansas. Over the past several years, the band has forged its brand of fast, heavy, and highly melodic music with an intense passion and energy. The band’s classic influences are worn proudly, yet Vänlade’s music is no clone or throwback. Soaring vocals, shredding dual-guitar acrobatics, and a tight, driving rhythm section are the band’s calling card. In Vänlade’s music, pure power, speed, and melody triumph over today’s metal trends of angst and dissonent chugging.
The band has released their debut album, “Iron Age” and have completed production on their up and coming sophomore album, “Rage Of The Gods.”
How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?
I got into music from the local classic rock station and listening to bands my Dad liked such as Foreigner, Boston, Ted Nugent, Styx, etc. Those are still many of my favorite bands. I went from there into Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio and that sort of thing early on in high school.
How did you become a vocalist and are you proficient in any other instruments?
I really just got into it because Vanlade was seeking a vocalist in 2009 and I was close friends with the band at the time. My technical musical knowledge was pretty slim at the time, but I guess I had a knack for melody and I seemed to have the right direction in mind. I play just a little bit of guitar, drums and keyboard as well.
What was the local scene in Kansas City like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
When we started, the local bands we looked up to were Ancient Creation, Meat Shank, and Stonehaven. We now have the Meat Shank guitarist/vocalist, Vince, in our band. The underground metal scene here is small, but it’s very loyal and friendly.
Has there been times when drugs and alcohol were beneficial to the band?
We come up with and forget all of our best ideas while drinking!
How would you best describe your sound?
We seem to fall in the “traditional metal” revival camp that’s been going on lately, although I think our style is faster and more technical than many of those bands. We have a lot of Metallica/Megadeth influence in our guitars, which adds a little fire to the music. Our goal is to balance melody and intensity. You could call it US power metal, or speed metal, although we don’t aim to lock ourselves into any single category.
Is doing ticket pre-sales the same thing as pay to play?
I mean, in a roundabout way, it is. I can understand local promoters needing that little bit of insurance though, when I’m sure they end up out of pocket a lot of the time. I’m just not sure it’s the right way to go about it. It’s more akin to selling girl scout cookies to your aunts and uncles than actually drawing crowds and building a fanbase, and it pushes a lot of actually good bands away. I don’t think there is a 100% correct answer to the problem.
What was the first music you bought and what have you bought more than once?
I think the first CD I bought with my own money was a Twisted Sister greatest hits. And I know I’ve bought two copies of both Fates Warning “Parallels” and King Crimson’s first album. I ended up giving the second King Crimson CD to a friend when I realized I didn’t actually lose the first one!
DIY forever or signing with a label at first opportunity?
Neither. We’ve had plenty of offers and have worked with several different distribution labels. Our last release was released independently but we’re always open to discussion from a label.
Whats the biggest show you have played so far and do you still get nervous before a gig?
I don’t think we really get nervous. Biggest gig? That’s a tough one, but Frost and Fire II and Legions of Metal both come to mind.
Is commercial rock radio dead?
It’s definitely not of high quality these days, but I don’t know if you could say it’s dead. It’s just difficult to find anything that doesn’t suck. Luckily, that’s what the internet is for.
Favorite songs on the new as yet to be finished album and why?
We have a track called Highway Hounds that we are about to record as a single. We’ve also been playing a song called Ghost Dance that I think is going to be a really strong track.
Out of all your songs which one touches you the most when you perform it?
Hail the Protector always gets us our best crowd reaction. It’s got a really good heavy riff and sing along chorus that seems to resonate with people.
Are there any political or social issues hidden in Vanlade songs?
The Rage of the Gods album was a concept album. It was largely a statement about the corruption of power.
What was the process of putting the songs in order?
For that album, we first made an outline for a story we wanted to present through the music. It’s basically a post apocalyptic fantasy story. We created each track around a segment of that story and it helped us draw the feel we wanted with each song.
Bands you would love to tour with and musician or artist you would like to meet and interrogate?
There are plenty of bands we’d love to do a tour with. We’ve made a lot of friends on our tours and at the different festivals we’ve played around the country. If I had to throw out a name, Skelator is one of our longest and best contacts and we would have a blast touring with them.
Song to be played at your funeral and 3 albums to take to your grave?
Funeral songs: Dust in the Wind by Kansas, Feel Flows by the Beach Boys, and Take it to the Limit by the Eagles
3 albums to take to my grave: Long Live Rock and Roll by Rainbow, 2112 by Rush, and Thundersteel by Riot
Final thoughts, shout outs, dirty jokes?
There once was a man from Nantucket who went to facebook.com/vanlade and gave us a like. He also found us on most major streaming services and kept up with our tour schedule. Oh, and I think he came in his ear at the end of the poem.