~ Interview ~
Lance King, geboren im Jahre 1962, ist ein US-amerikanischer Sänger und Songwriter, der in den letzten Dekaden mit seinem Gesang viele Musikalben veredelt hat. Gleichzeitig ist er aber auch seit 1990 Betreiber des Plattenlabels „Nightmare Records“, mit dem er bereits die Tiefen des Business erlebt hat.
Aktuell veröffentlicht er sein zweites Solo-Album (siehe hier), das er mit einigen befreundeten Musikern einspielen konnte. Zeit also, einige Themen in einem netten Plausch anzusprechen. Nachzulesen im englischen Originalwortlaut:
Hello, Lance, congratulations on your second solo record! How is it that a label-owner needs to start a crowdfunding campaign?
Michael, a good question indeed… let us just cut to the chase and get that out of the way… my original plan was to have another solo album out by 2014, which would have been three years after my debut release. However, life got in my way… a series of personal family drama’s that pulled my record label and me away from music because my time became very limited and my focus was elsewhere. Over the last 7-8 years the music business has changed quite a bit as well, and now the primary way people are consuming music is via streaming.
Not all metalheads agree, but as a label owner, I can tell you what I see on my releases… That is that paid downloads (where incidentally artists and labels make most money in music sales) are WAY down because people are streaming. Streams themselves do not pay much in fact it takes three streams to equal just 1 US penny. Therefore, when I came back to the new face of music I realized I needed to do something different if I was going to be able to continue to make music. I needed to make sure that I built personal relationships with my real fans, and that I needed to give those real fans something special beyond just the music, I needed to get them involved in the process and reward them with things I’ve never before released in order for me to get the initial costs of making an album covered at the quality level that both my fans and I expect. Or it just wouldn’t be a reality… I very much wanted it to be a reality… so, I started to learn new ways to navigate the new music world, this time as an indie artist again like when I started releasing music in 1990.
Did you fear in the meantime of the campaign that the monetary-goal would not be achieved?
No, fear isn’t an option… fear would only limit my ability to make it happen, this was up to me and my fans… if I didn’t truly believe I could do it or do my best to make it happen… it wouldn’t have… but I did… and I attribute that 110% to the fact that I didn’t have doubt, I believed… that energy was put into everything I did on this album… and because of that I was able to make it a reality.
PledgeMusic seems to be going through some serious financial issues over the last 6 months, I was unaware of this when I set up my campaign. I have been fortunate with my dealings with them, thus far they’ve met all their obligations to me. I believe when I communicated with them, I was able to forge forward and see the desired results. Many artists are struggling with this now. Artists that had campaigns that finished at the same time as mine did. I believe that may be in part to the way they approached the company when there was a delay in getting paid. Or maybe they didn’t approach the company at all. I don’t know…
I do know that I had to go directly to the highest levels at PledgeMusic and discuss getting paid and I pointed out to the company director that this issue was a paramount concern for their company in many ways…that this one thing could make or break their company and needed to be fixed ASAP.
He apparently received my words well, knowing the truth in them and made sure my first payment went through. I still have funds to collect from Pledge once I meet all of my shipping and delivery obligations to my fans. I am hopeful and remain positive this will not be a problem to receive.
How long have you been working on the songs, are they brand new?
I started writing these tracks in 2017 so yeah their all brand new, infused with thoughts and emotions that have consumed me for the last many years. At one point in personal family, my ups and downs I read a little book that really helped reframe my life in my own mind. I highly recommend it, this albums song perspectives are greatly influenced by this book. I’m so grateful to have read it, it’s called “The Four Agreements” by Peter Coyote and Don Miguel Ruiz.
Have you met your co-songwriters by accident, or did you consciously make contact?
Well being the owner of a record label gives me some resources that many other artists may not have, and one is that I have many musician friends…
That said, I reached out to people whose music has moved me personally. I love working with people that bring something new or something that I can really feel musically to the table. The four gentlemen that I asked really brought their A game (because they don’t have a B game honestly). They’re just freaking great at what they do and that is why I chose to work with them!
Introduce the four co-composers, please.
Kim Olesen – (Guitarist/Keyboardist/Songwriter/Producer of Anubis Gate)
Rich Hinks – (Bass/Guitar/Keyboardist/Songwriter/Producer of Annihilator/Aeon Zen)
Matt Hodsdon – (Guitarist/Keyboardist/Songwriter/Producer of Chaos Frame)
Markus Sigfriddsson – (Guitarist/Keyboardist/Songwriter of Darkwater/Harmony)
Each of these guys is simply amazing, their well rounded songwriters with superior musicianship and they all possess one of the most important things to me in music „They are able to play technically yet emotionally”!
Different people always have different expressions. How did you manage to keep the sound consistent and not every song has a different style?
😀 did I? If so that certainly wasn’t my goal, I did want it to sonically sound cohesive so it sounds like a band, but every song really stands on its own stylistically and I certainly hear differences in style of each of my co-writers tracks. But I think the key here is that I spaced out their tracks pretty evenly so the album flows from one to another’s style fluidly. That and my co-producer / engineer Jacob Hanson is a God in the studio. In addition, there are a couple of tricks I used to make it cohesive. First I had one drummer throughout the album… he actually was the last to record everyone else had recorded all their parts to sequenced drum patches that each songwriter had constructed for the demo’s. The drums are one of the most consistent sounds throughout along with my vocals; all vocals were recorded in my studio. Another aspect is of course the guitars, all of the guitars on the other hand, were recorded in each of my four co-writers own studios, so to get a cohesive sound from one song to the next Jacob reamped all the guitars in his studio in Denmark when mixing the album. So there are subtle differences in tones because each guitarist is playing on different guitars, but it’s all being reamped through the same rig in the studio for consistency.
Do you want to tell us what fatalities your private life had to endure in recent years?
Fortunately no ‘fatalities’ but about 6 years ago my mom had a heart attack, and also went through breast cancer, about 4 years ago my wife had emergency surgery due to having 3rd stage colon cancer… 3 1/2 years ago we had to take my mother in law into our home because of onset of Dementia (that one has been the hardest continuing struggle). And January of 2017 I almost died from knee surgery complication resulting in a triple pulmonary embolism (3 blood clots in my lungs). Let’s just say it’s been a bit of a challenge to remain positive, but I’ve come out of all of this stronger than I ever was before with a new appreciation for life and my purpose here.
Was this a wakeup call that you started to compose new songs?
After I got home from the hospital, my wife suggested I start writing songs again… I fell in love with the process all over again; I wrote ideas for weeks and had all kinds of random pieces, but only a couple fully developed songs. So I decided to contact some of my friends to see who had time and interest in writing tunes with me. I was on fire again… I had a message to share and I had such an appreciation to be able to share it.
Were these great misfortunes the decisive factor for the topic?
I would say inspirations, but certainly not topics, the topics were more things I was struggling with and have been for quite some time. The lyrics pretty much wrote themselves as I was singing to the tracks and recording ideas… These are lyrics from my heart, I did not plan these as I did on my first solo record, which also came from the heart but had a lot of overall vision/stucture to it. This one had no real vision or stucture to it it was all feel, after writing for a few months I realized we had 65 minutes worth of material and I am like… OK more than enough for the moment. Let’s look at what I’m really saying here… it was pretty obvious to me the overall message of the tracks was saying something pretty clearly.
Did you cleanse the heart, filled with grief, with the songs?
Absolutely… this was an amazing way to channel all of my frustrations, emotions into something positive. Hugely uplifting and cleansing to purge myself of these feelings and thoughts, to get them out and then have the chance to really look at them and hear them so that I could learn about myself through them. Sounds a bit corny but I cannot lie about it. That is really how I came about coming up with my new music style description of ‘Celestial Metal’.
Looking at the child content so happy
running playing wild, laughing and loving free
Then he goes to school knowledge in the mind
telling him what’s true and now the magic’s died
Where’s the wonderment?
What is lyrical statement in ‚ReProgram‘, is it even a concept album?
I would call it loosely conceptual only in that the songs have a common theme that I am realizing I am a victim of my own thinking from bad programming that I’ve accepted over my lifetime. It’s a path I walked in order to find I needed to “ReProgram” others rules and perspectives were just false and not working for me and they were making me unhappy. The album is kind of a turning point of realization and me looking at it in the mirror and saying to myself… OK I am done with that shit; it’s time to do what I really want to do and live my life with passion and dreams again.
How do you want to promote the record, and draw people’s attention to it?
Well that is the question… where and how do you get people’s attention these days in a world information overload where people are just more likely to miss what you have to say.
I feel you need to go the media/medium that people are most using… and that is social media. But being effective there is really another matter entirely because everyone uses these platforms but few really understand how to get peoples attention.
I’m taking the time to learn about music marketing in this changing market. I feel like I’m on the right track but I’ve got a LOT yet to learn.
Do you have a plan to earn money in the future?
I do… and surprisingly it’s music! I’m very hopeful and will be working hard at my career in music again passionately! I’m learning the new systems and will be working it from home until I generate enough fanbase to sustain a tour the way I would like to tour… with a really stunning production. Until that time comes though I’ll stay home and take care of my family.
Do we live soon without CDs and LPs (I certainly do not)?
I do not think so, I think there are many people (especially in metal) that want to feel they have something to hold something physical and real that represents something special to them about the artists they love as opposed to just a faceless stream. But that is also changing, Spotify is changing and who knows what that will bring.
Does your label have a future?
Yes absolutely, but I will be hiring people to do many of the things that I don’t want to deal with in the future. I’m simply going to be focusing more of my time on music and learning the music business again because much of what I know is now obsolete.
Is there a band, you sang in, which you very much regret, that you are not making music together anymore?
There was for a time yes, when the magic is there it’s really hard to walk away from it and feel good about it, I’m extremely fortunate to have that magic with people I’m writing with now!