Posted on April 29th. 2019
Questionnaire by Stefan on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM
Don’t come knocking on my door to tell that you’ve never heard of this honorable, very talented person before. Since many years, he has been performing as a singer, writer, producer… Lance can also call himself the proud chief of the famous American label Nightmare Records.
It’s my pleasure and honour to give him the opportunity to tell his own story about the many bands in which he was active, as well as other interesting times in his life I want to discuss. He has also recently released a new solo album entitled “ReProgram” and of course, I want to talk about that too. No time to waste, I would like to give the floor to the man in question, Lance King !
Stefan: Welcome here at Metal To Infinity Lance, thank you for the opportunity to have this conversation. My intention is to paint a picture of your life as a musician and so much more. How can you remember your teenage years, how strong were you devoted to music those days?
Lance: Awesome, thanks Stefan…
Well all through my youth, I loved music, I was always singing along to it, no matter what was on really, it didn’t really matter, Pink Floyd to the Monkeys, YES to the Carpenters… it was all good to my ears. I was fortunate enough to have a bass player friend from school that I hung out with a bit and he heard me singing to everything he’d play in his car, he invited me to sing for the first band I was ever in in 10th grade. From that point on I was hooked.
Stefan: Was it hard rock and metal that appealed to you?
Lance: Early on as I say, almost all music appealed to me with the exception of Country, Hawaiian and abstract Jazz that is… those are still like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. But we were doing both hard rock and metal in my first several bands… and some progressive rock/metal, it was all covers at the time, things like KISS and Styx, April Wine, Trooper, Dokken, Loverboy and Kansas.
Stefan: From where the ambition to become a singer, who were your idols/sources of inspiration as a young boy?
Lance: I was seriously inspired and began to visualize being a singer and creating lyrics after spending the summer of 1978 with the album “All that Jazz” by QUEEN, I already been inspired by Foreigner Head Games, and Queen “We are the Champions” as well as RUSH “2112, Boston “Don’t look Back” and Kansas “Leftoverture” as you can tell, I was primarily into super melodic but also some progressive rock in the late 70’s, then the first time I heard AC/DC “Back in Black” and The Police “Reggatta de Blanc”, I just couldn’t stop listening to either of these albums! These are like some of my favorites to this day from my early years.
Stefan: At what age did you first climb on stage performing for a live audience – what was the name of the band with which you performed back then?
Lance: lol oh man, I was 16 and it was a middle school fun night or something like that, was amazing the kids were screaming and going crazy for it. The band name was AJA pronounced ASIA ( it was about 5 years before ASIA released their first album ;).
Stefan: Your musical career started with the band Freelance, a US Hard Rock band if I am well informed. What can you tell about this period?
Lance: Well, technically it started about 3 years before that, I had been in a couple of bands that mostly just practiced and wrote songs, by the time I had been in Freelance, I had already been in a band that wrote 10 songs, they were never recorded though hahahaha, we just practiced them and had the opportunity to do a couple of talent contests with them.
When I joined forces with Freelance it was kind of coming home because I’d played with a couple of the guys before in other bands, so we just got to work and hammered things out, much better and more focused group of guys, and we started playing bars the same summer that was the year I graduated high school. We played as much as we could around our area, I booked the shows and then I contacted booking agents and we started heading out on road trips the second year, we were playing from Michigan to Idaho and all points in between, we even went up to Canada for a few shows. This band was mainly a cover band playing Canadian hard rock, but we started writing our own material as well, but again this was lost to time because of the crap recordings we did at the time.
Stefan: Being in that band, did you know after a while that your further musical career was insured or were you still worried about what real life would be for you?
Lance: I was young and I didn’t worry about the future, life was great, I was doing what I wanted and I just kept doing it… I just knew this was my thing, I didn’t care to do anything else and I’ve never really worried about money, it’s just sort of worked itself out as I’ve gone through life, I’ve always seemed to have enough. Sometimes not enough to do big things, but certainly enough to live and enjoy life.
Stefan: As years passed by, you played in so many other bands, it’s quite impressive man ! To name but a few of the bands you collaborated with are: Gemini, The Kings Machine, Balance Of Power, Pyramaze, Avian, Defyance,… I know only few singers who have made it true to be active in so many bands. This must have cost you a lot of effort and perseverance… has this ever affected your private life?
Lance: Well yeah, it’s affected my private life, once you commit to a woman, that’s supposed to be your main interest in life (to her) anyway… and well that was a conflict for me, sometimes she was the priority and sometimes not, and women never really appreciate when their not your main priority.
The two can make life pretty challenging if you don’t find a balance with it, that can be a constant challenge. So many choose one or the other, I just couldn’t make that choice and have made both work for the most part. Sometimes not so well hahahaha, but you’ll be hard pressed to find many people that have worked as hard as I have for music I think.
Stefan: I formulate previous question in the past but actually nowadays, your busy work schedule has remained the same, I’m sure you can’t live without making music, it’s in your blood, right?
Lance: That’s the entire thing right there… I cannot live without making music, I tried it for a while the last 7-8 years and it completely sucked…music is my life, it’s my religion, it’s who I am, I am not happy if I’m not doing it, it’s how I find balance in my life now.
Stefan: All the bands you have worked with to date, which have been the most interesting ones and why Lance?
Lance: Oh man, that’s such an unfair question (lol)… since I have really enjoyed many bands I’ve played with on various levels… but I will say, I am enjoying the solo stuff at this point in my life tremendously. it’s like a complete freedom of expression with no expectations of anyone other than myself. I’m loving this new album “ReProgram” I think it’s one of my best ever!
Stefan: I also want to talk about the fact that, at some point, you decided to set up your own record company named Nightmare Records. A new chapter in your life, how did venture started?
Lance: Yeah, it’s the way I roll, I always try to work other angles of the music industry in order to remain involved and learning new things, meeting other people and expanding my knowledge of the ecosystem. I started Nightmare originally as a faux label on the back of my first couple of releases with GEMINI and The Kings Machine, then I decided to turn it into a indie distribution company, and help many of my local musician friends get their music out there, then… I started actually signing bands to record deals, it was a natural evolution, but it grew much more than I expected it to, and it became all encompassing. My side thing became my main thing, and took over my time and energy. I was being pulled from being able to tour with bands because technology of the day just wasn’t there quite yet to allow me to do both acceptably. So I had to pick and choose my opportunities carefully which saw me choosing to stay home on some tour opportunities I now regret not doing.
Stefan: Now so many years later, may I ask for the current situation of your label?
Lance: It’s still active, for awhile it had become a quantity thing, I always wanted it to be a quality thing, so now I’m being exceptionally picky about what I sign. I’d much rather be spending my time making music myself than putting my time and money into someone else’s music unless it blows me away.
I will need to be a fan of the band to sign them in the future… Which honestly is how it should be.
Stefan: The time has come to talk about your solo career started in 2010, first album “A Moment In Chiros” was released in 2011. For what particular reason you wanted to set up your own project?
Lance: Pretty simple really, it was time… in fact it was way overdue… I’m wealthy in amazingly talented musician friends from my contacts from the label and being a musician for most of my life. It’s a perfect fit.
Stefan: What were the ambitions those days, in what ways did you recruited some other guys able and willing to team up?
Lance: By 2010, I had been down the rabbit hole of just about every internet conspiracy theory you can imagine… because I felt I was missing some truth, I feel it was simply the first stages of a most spiritual awakening, and letting the fear of what might be truth run away with my thoughts. As I explored all of these (ideas) I realized there were very likely seeds of truth within them, but the overall stories were simply someone’s imagination putting the dots of information together that they new were truth and embellishing them into some cohesive storyline.
The more spiritual side of me began to realize that what we focus on we bring into our lives, it’s an overall perception change. What we look for we see… it’s like a confirmation bias because this is what our brain is focused on. I realized that if I wanted to help people, it could be done by being positive, by being a shining light in the darkness, by helping to change their perceptions and focus, so that they’d feel hope and joy as opposed to doom and gloom. If you’re not part of the solution, you are absolutely a part of the problem. Whining, bitching on social media isn’t going to do any good. I realized there are three things (a trinity if you will) that make our realities real to us… those three things are
- What we think about (where our head is at)
- What emotions we feel (where our heart is at)
- And what actions we take (what our body is doing to facilitate our desires)
In many people’s these things are NOT in sync, they’re not focused TOGETHER, instead their conflicted and therefore essentially fighting one another. People cannot be successful in anything if they cannot get those three things on the same page, working together. So I decided to write an album about that aspect (but I very much over complicated it because I was still trying to figure it all out as I was coming out of my own darkness.
One thing that I had experienced on and off in my life was something that few really understand, and maybe it’s simply a figment of the imaginations of those that experience it, but I feel there is more behind it. That is the 11:11 time prompt phenom and all of its associated support numbers and their meanings or rather ‘reminders’ that some people experience. Usually those are people that are fairly spiritual or in the process of waking to that fact. Anyway I’d been experiencing this phenom since I was 14 on and off, usually when I would be noticing it was when I was on track, when I was doing things correctly, when I was blending the three elements above in synchronicity.
So I decided to write an concept album about it, as I was trying to figure it all out for myself and it was kind of a fun idea. In my learning about it I was pretty verbos and yet pretty vague. I think I just succeeded in confusing people with the lyrics because I was a bit confused, but when I reached out to everyone of the musician friends that contributed, they all loved the concept and because we were all excited about it and working creatively in one focused direction, it happened really fast, we were able to create an album from start to finish in just three months, which does pretty much confirm the three important elements above to be successful, each one of us was working in those three elements together and individually. These are the heart of being creative, and productive and at the heart of how we perceive the world.
So in answer to your simple question above; the point really is… I chose people to work with on both of my solo album because I love their playing and how their music makes me feel. Their response and the actions they took when I reached out, combined with the end product confirmed they were the right choice.
Stefan: 8 years have passed since your first solo album “A Moment in Chiros’ your second solo album called “ReProgram” has now seen sunlight… why did it take so long?
Lance: That is a long and sorted tale that I’ve already answered in several other interviews… suffice to say several major family health drama’s one after the other that put everything else in my life on hold, including my own near death experience. I fell into darkness again, but after my almost dying I felt damn good to still be here and my wife suggested I start writing music again as I was healing… I fell in love with it all over again, and realized that music is my salvation, it’s my religion, it’s my balancing factor that keeps me living in joy, helping me reframe my world.
After almost leaving this place, I want to leave lasting things behind that are worthy of leaving behind, what is better for that than great music? Some of my favorite music is from people that are no longer here, but their music will live on forever. THAT is a pure expression of love that they put in that means so much to so many people in their lives… that is worth doing. And I intend to make it a lot more often in the future now that my life has found a new balance, a new normal.
Stefan: Who are the musicians who were willing to offer their talents to finish the album?
Lance: Finish the album? Pretty much start and bring to completion I think is a more accurate term, even though I struggled in the beginning writing alone for this one, the amount of my own music that found its way on the album is very small. I just feel amazingly lucky to have such awesome players and creators that are excited about writing with me…
These guys are super special people indeed, here they are in no particular order;
*Kim Olesen – guitars and keys (Anubis Gate)
*Matt Hodsdon – guitars and keys (Chaos Frame)
*Markus Sigfridsson – guitars and keys (Darkwater – Harmony – 7Days)
*Rich Hinks – bass – guitars – keys (Annihilator – Aeon Zen)
*Morten Gate – drums (Pyramaze – Anubis Gate)
*Fred Columbo – keys (Spheric Universe Experience)
*Mattias ‘iA’ Eklundh – guitar solo (Freak Kitchen)
*Jakob Riis – Bass on two tracks (L Wood Joy)
Stefan: “ReProgram” was produced, mastered by ?
Lance: Jacob Hansen Mastered the album, production was kind of a group effort to be honest with all of the writers and Jacob but because it was my album I wore the executive producer hat but I gave Jacob the freedom to try things in the mix because I love what he comes up with, and I think everything he came up with in that way was used. Just a few little tone and volume tweak requests from me in the end on mixes.
Stefan: You intended to release an album that should sound better than its predecessor – if you compare both in the musical field, which one is preferred by you and for what reason?
Lance: I believe the new album is superior to the last one for a few reasons, one is that I didn’t rush this one, I didn’t set a deadline like I did for the first record and I think the full album is better for it.
Secondly the lyrics are much more accessible and easy to understand, not so esoteric and deep. These lyrics are easy to identify with and I think the listener will garner more from the stories. I also think there are more great songs on this one, more hooks.
Stefan: According to my musical taste and knowledge, this is an excellent, say, beautiful output that must be purchased by anyone who has a burning passion for technical and melodic progressive metal ! How would you like to announce “ReProgram” yourself Lance?
Lance: Thank you Stefan, I’m excited that you love it, I think anyone that enjoys progressive music and melodic metal will enjoy this, I tend to not like overcomplicated music, but I like it more complex than the average stuff, but in my music “Melody is King” and I think that is something that stands apart from most progressive metal artists, I like to write memorable melodies and chorus and that is kind of unique in the genre of progressive metal.
Not so unique is deep and thought provoking lyrics that I bring to the table, but I believe the way I present my lyrics is different, I write from my own spiritual/philosophical perspective and I stay very true to that, my perspective changes and grows over time as I’m always a student of life, but my goal in my lyrics is not just to process my own experience but to help others if they’re having similar issues in their processing it if that makes sense?! This is why I call the music “Celestial Metal’, it’s coming from a very pure place even if the songs and or themes are dark, I tend to shine a light on the darkness in order to illuminate an issue.
Stefan: With regard to the texts, does “ReProgram” have a main theme? Will you give through the lyrical content of some of the songs?
Lance: The theme of the album and the sum of all it’s parts/songs is pretty simple… we are either victims or victors of our experience… the sum of our life and all our memories are stored in our subconscious and we many times do not really THINK, we REACT based on those memories.
Much of our memories are information that has been TOLD to us… if we accept what we’re told we agree with it and we incorporate that into our minds perception of the world. Those things we choose to agree/incorporate into our perceptions shape the way we see the EVERYTHING and how we react to everything that happens to us each day. Something a parent or grandparent, or anyone we place in a position of being wiser than ourselves may have said to us repeatedly might replay in our heads when we’re making important decisions later in life. Because of that bit of information we’ve incorporated into our way of thinking… We might choose a course of action that is not in line with OUR PERSONAL desires or goals in life we want to achieve and therefore it becomes a roadblock for us.
We have to be very self aware and able to identify negative programming in ourselves to be able to evaluate and toss out the shit that doesn’t serve us, and that is what I call “ReProgramming” it’s about us reprogramming ourselves to be the person we really are, to live a real and authentic life of our dreams, to be the people we really want to be. To find our joy, and live it out throughout our lives, to be happy, to be an inspiration for others to be happy and to model a fantastic image for our children.
Stefan: How satisfied are you with the final result on a scale of 10?
Lance: I think it’s a 9, there’s always room for improvement and I want to continue to get better at what I do but I feel it’s really good right now, it might be that 10 years down the road I look back and think it’s better or worse after I’ve had more time away from it hahaha!
Stefan: How has the foreign press and media (besides MTI) reacted to the new work?
Lance: Fantastic, I’m super excited actually about that since it’s only gotten a couple of mediocre reviews mainly from much younger reviewers that I feel likely don’t appreciate the older roots of rock I’ve incorporated into it. But overall the reaction has been tremendous and I’m looking forward to see where it all leads.
Stefan: Is this masterpiece provided with a worldwide distribution?
Lance: Digitally it’s available everywhere, but this album Is the first time I’ve been fully independent for a long time, I was unable to secure foreign licensing this time when I shopped labels in Europe, Japan and other parts of the world. I believe part of that is because it had been 8 years since my last solo album, and I hadn’t been very prolific for awhile as a singer. Spending lot’s of time with family issues but the other aspect is that the world of music has changed a lot and so has the way people consume it. Lots more streaming going on these days as opposed to physical copies being purchased and distributed. BUT… my CD’s are available online around the world, and in actual stores in North America via my own record labels connection with Sony, andthey’re getting out there farther via one stops like Alliance.
Stefan: An address where to place an order would be good to know.
Lance: Well Amazon is always there for the regular CD version, but if people want to get the special limited edition digipak with different artwork and bonus track, they’ll have to order that one from me directly on my facebook page www.facebook.com/pg/LanceKingVoxOfficial/shop/
OR here, but they need a restock on some things!
Stefan: Well brother, I’ve run outta questions, it’s time to say goodbye. I am honored that you have found the time to answer my questions. I wish you all the very best with all the precious things you do for the world of Metal music. If you want to support your own bands, or others, through our website, don’t hesitate to get in touch. It’s our life, we can’t live without, always a pleasure to do ! Some last remarks to our visitors? Thanks again Lance !
Lance: I just hope all your readers will take the time to listen to a few tracks from the new album on YouTube, or Spotify, if they like it then I hope they support it and order something from the links above since those are where I get the most $ from, that will help me make more music sooner!
HAVE A FANTASTIC WEEK EVERYONE!