The band in its earliest form started in 2006. I wasn't in the band for several years, but I have always been around the guys and am familiar with the history. It was a high school project started by Nick on bass and Zach on guitar, along with our friend Tim Benzing on guitar and then later on drums. It was mostly an outlet to jam and it progressively became more serious. I think the driving concept has remained the same throughout, and that is to make high quality, melodic, and intense heavy metal. That idea seems to be a rare one these days, and was especially so back then.
Almost ten years of history! How do you feel about that? It seems that your journey almost begins.
It's definitely strange to see that it has been that long! I joined the band at 18 in 2009 and we were all pretty fresh when we started taking our music to venues in and out of our hometown. We've done a lot of growing together and I think it can be heard in the music. We have been able to hone our craft all these years together as a unit and that chemistry is vital. It doesn't feel like it's been that long because time really does fly when you're having fun and working hard towards a goal!
Who came up with the name of the band? Does it have any special meaning?
There is a funny story to that. Long ago the band was called “Vampyre” (silly, I know), and Zach had drawn out this detailed, ornate “V” logo for the band. This meant that when it was time to change to a better name, the decision was to choose one that also began with “V.” A list of ideas was drawn up and the one that was chosen was “Vanlade,” who was a figure in Norse mythology. The name was chosen more for it's originality and sound than for the character itself! We added the umlaut and threw some wings on the logo and the rest is history!
Did you want to play Heavy Metal since the beginning or it just happened?
Absolutely! The only metal you will hear where we are from is either angst-filled hardcore music or monotonous death metal. It came naturally to us. We were all fans of the older, more melodic, empowering, and energizing music, and it only made sense to emulate that style. We don't know anything different! Through our growth as musicians we have been able to take control of these influences and turn it into something new and unique.
Why do you think that 30 years later we can still listen to bands like yours? With a great heavy metal feeling.
It may not be on a grand scale like it was in the 80's, but there is always somebody there who is looking for the style. We have crossed paths with so many great, like-minded bands that we never would have heard if not for playing with them. It's definitely underground, but it can never die.
Let me be honest. It surprises me that you are from the States. When it comes to Heavy Metal we usually take a look at Sweden (Enforcer, Air Raid) or Canada (Skull Fist, Striker). Big heavy metal capitals nowadays. It doesn't happens with the United States. Do you agree? Do you think this has changed?
I can tell you that it is not popular, but it is definitely here. Spread out all throughout the States you can find little pockets of great music. You just have to look hard! It's a little bit disappointing to see how little interest there is for this kind of music here, but the value in finding a band in the middle of nowhere USA is that much more rewarding and exciting.
How is the Kansas scene like? Are there more bands like you?
Not really! In the Kansas City area there are only a few bands that have steered themselves away from the modern-metal tendencies. Alsatia is one I could name. They are comprised of good friends and a couple ex-bandmates of ours, and they play a great, very melodic orchestral power metal style. Ancient Creation is one that we really looked up to when starting out. They play a darker, super shreddy type of power metal and we are lucky enough to have become good friends with them in our time here. Other than that, there are several great thrash metal bands, and the rest is death metal in various forms.
Why are you sharing this album online?
We just wanted to get the album to people! We know that if somebody really wants to support us, they will buy a copy from us. At this point, it's about getting our music to as many people as possible.
Did you have any plans to do something with that album?
As far as “Iron Age” goes, we will probably repress it when we run out of copies, but it has run its course. It's always a proud part of our history and we will always have copies available!
Do you already have any release date for the next album?
Not at the moment, but we are 99% of the way to completion. Our last mixing session is coming up and then we will send it off for mastering. The biggest hurdle is funding and distribution. We are planning on an independent release stateside and then looking into options for distributions in other regions. Once we iron out a few more details we will have a solid date to announce.
How about was the experience writing and recording RAGE OF THE GODS?
It's been a long, fun journey! After wrapping up “Iron Age,” we dove right back into the writing process. The songs were based on a joint concept and this helped in the process. I think that our growth as musicians and songwriters is very evident in this album. We have also gone up and above in the production. Everything has been done carefully and as professionally as possible within our own means. Of course, this is all out of our own pockets, so it's taken a lot of time and energy, but it's been an incredibly rewarding process! I think you guys will really dig the music.
I read that your drummer left the band the last year. Does this affect the release of the album?
He left on good terms and has still been involved with the recording and production for “Rage of the Gods.” CC has left very big shoes to fill, but we were able to find a permanent replacement in our longtime session drummer, Nolan Weber. We are aiming for a seamless transition into the next phase of Vänlade.
Will this next album be a conceptual album? The cover suggests so.
Good eye. It is! I can't give away too many details, but I can say that each song is connected by an overarching fantasy-style story. Each song explores a different theme while still continuing the story. It uses metaphors to touch on different social themes regarding politics, religion, and so forth.
What are your plans for this 2015?
We are planning to release this album along with a brand new line of merchandise. After that we are looking towards a brief US tour in the summer to support it! We have also come up with several ideas for our third album and have already starting the writing process!
How would you invite all the readers to listen your music? What are they going to find?
If you are looking for speedy, melodic, catchy, and epic heavy metal, look no further! We have studied all the tricks of the great metal bands of the 70s and 80s and have rolled them into our own unique sound. In Vänlade, you'll find the banshee vocals, dual guitar shred, driving double bass, and huge choruses that the rest of the USA seems to have forgotten about.
Where can they find some of your stuff?
Our main hub is our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/vanlade. This is where you can stay up to date on our activity and contact the band, as well as find links to our merch store www.vanlade.bigcartel.com (more merch to come) and Reverbnation page www.reverbnation.com/vanladeofficial, where you can find a free download our debut album, “Iron Age.”
Do you have any final comment for all the readers?
Give us a “like” on Facebook and we will keep you up to date on all things Vänlade! “Rage of the Gods” is coming soon! Stay heavy – or die!!!!! Thanks for having us, and thank you all for reading!