November 17, 2011
He's been in many different bands over the years, and now Lance King has recorded his first solo album A Moment In Chiros. The sought after power/progressive metal vocalist collaborated with musicians from across the globe on the CD. In addition to his career as a performer, King is also a businessman who started the independent label Nightmare Records.
Chad Bowar: Why was this the right time to record your first solo album?
Lance King: There are a number of good answers to that question, but most importantly was because I felt inspired to do it, and I had a message I wanted to share. I'd been spread too thin musically for too long, sometimes in as many as 4 bands/projects at a time. I needed a break from this for a bit, and left all projects and bands for over a year before I came back with this album. I needed to be excited by music again, and I am very excited about making music again!
How did you select your collaborators?
I sent out an email to about 10 guitar player friends that I know but had never written with. These were only people I get excited about when I hear them play. I respected their work and wanted to create music with them if they were interested in doing so. So I put together a three page email and sent it out to these monster musicians, and let them know the general concept, an intro, a song idea, and a timeline that I needed the rest of the album completed in.
I got back some technical ideas on how to make that happen from my producer, one of the guitar players, Jacob Hansen, and Kim Olesen also suggested that he could be of help in making this come together. Those two guys and I discussed the finer points on how to bring so many different players and ideas into the mix and make it sound like a cohesive well flowing album.
We sent that info out to the other players and everyone started digging through either ideas they had never used or writing them to the style I had requested. I should say that the style I gave them was rather open for their own interpretation, and that is why it still has a variety of styles on the album, as well as a nice cohesive style blending as well.
Describe the songwriting and recording process for A Moment In Chiros.
Without giving it all away for others to copy exactly, I chose a specific band from the '60s/'70s for the musicians to get a general feel from. I left this wide open, I just said I wanted a " nter your band of choice here" feel, and each contributing writer had their own musical take on that. I gave them the overall concept of the album, and I gave them what general themes I was going to write about in each track.
I wasn't sure of the song titles, didn't have lyrics yet, but had lots of interesting concepts I wanted to include. In two weeks most of the musicians that I had sent an email to had responded with a riff or a song in some capacity, some several, and I had over two albums worth of material (music) to work with. I cherry picked what resonated with me. There were actually a couple of songs that sounded a little too similar (though from two different artists) so I chose one of these, and may use the other on the next record, but it didn't make sense to put them on the same record.
Once I had the songs picked out, I went about listening to them and finding which ones I thought fit each song's concept /intent/ meaning would be, and I started working on lyrics and melodies rather methodically, 1, then 2, and then the 3rd one, or in this case, 111, 222, 333.
What does the album title signify?
It signifies a moment in "infinity," a moment in God's time, a moment that creates destiny.
What's the concept behind the lyrics?
The album signifies many things. It's actually an incredibly deep record on many levels, not just for me, but I think other people will get it as well. It's based on one mans journey as a seeker, a man that has been receiving the 11:11 time prompts, not knowing what these are about, wanting to know more. Esoterically he finds in the meaning of this and it's sub number prompts and meanings, not just in readings of ancient theological texts, but also on the internet, in various synchronicities of information, combined with searching within that all begins to paint a larger picture of understanding of universal truths.
Will you be doing any touring or live shows to support the album?
I would very much like that. Live performing has always been my first love. Writing and creating came well after this for me. But it will greatly depend on how the record is received. I believe it will be received very well and that this will happen.
What has the early response been like?
VERY exciting, great reviews and stellar feedback from fans so far.
Are you currently involved in any other bands/projects?
No, and I don't intend to be unless something comes up that is very special. I of course will leave the door open for that whatever it may be, but I'm really enjoying being solo thus far.
How did you get started in music?
At about the age of 3 I think I started singing and dancing to everything my parents would play. I think that was their sign of what I would become. A friend asked me to try out for their band in high school. He liked my speaking voice he said, thought maybe I could sing! I thought I could too, turns out I couldn't, but they didn't have anyone else, and I got better!
Who were some of the singers that inspired you?
I was greatly inspired by, Sting (in the Police), Journey, Brian Johnson - AC/DC, Geoff Tate - Queensryche, Bruce Dickinson - Iron Maiden, Tony Harnell, Geddy Lee - Rush, Tommy and Denis from Styx, Steve Walsh - Kansas, James LaBrie - Dream Theater, Brad Delp - Boston.
What was your first band, and what type of music did they play?
You are so going to laugh. It was called Aja, we were a high school band of 10th graders that got one gig, I think that was at the junior high. We played a bunch of Kiss and Styx covers that I can remember. I know we did other things, but nothing comes to mind.
What have been the high and low points for you in your career as a musician?
Thankfully they've mostly been highs. Specifics seem rather lame, to be honest. It's the experiences combined that makes the ride enjoyable. But I'd have to say the lows are always the ending of a musical relationship, a band breaking up, leaving a band for one reason or another. These are for sure the lows. You work hard, invest a lot of heart and effort into what you're doing and then it's back to square one again, or so you think at the time. That's never really the case of course, but it feels like that.
How and when did Nightmare Records start?
Nightmare was born out of my being too stubborn to care about getting a record deal. I said to myself and my band mates at the time, why should we sign with a major label? All you ever read about is bands complaining they got screwed. Let's just pay for our own recording and artwork and pressing and sell it at the shows. We needed a label of course, and our graphic artist created a logo for this fictitious entity Nightmare Records that was taken from the song "Nightmare" on the first Gemini album released in 1990.
A few years later we had 15 other bands signed in distribution deals, and 5 years later I signed my first real artist to the label. Now 21 years later it's a big deal, and has far exceeded any of what I had originally set out to do. Guess being stubborn can be an asset. I'd say it can be a very big asset in the music business!
How do you go about picking the artists you sign?
It's simple… I have to go "wow, this is great"" when I listen.
Anybody you've passed on that you later regretted doing so?
Nope. A few I've missed that I think we could have worked together, but I just didn't get to their demo before they had something else going on. A few we just couldn't come to realistic terms in negotiations that either came out later on another label or independently. But I have no regrets. I've signed things that did well, I've signed things that haven't. I've missed bands that have done well, and I've missed some that haven't. In the end, it's just about giving a band that is deserving a chance to be heard.
What are some upcoming Nightmare releases you're excited about?
I have quite a few that just came out that I'm really excited about: the new Anubis Gate, the new Myrath, the new Divine Ascension, my new record, the new Vangough. I have a lot that are sort of scheduled, but not fully yet, so talking about those at this point would be a mistake, so I won't.
A lot of your vocal work has been with European bands. How involved are you in the local Minneapolis metal scene?
I was hugely involved in the Minneapolis scene from about 1988-1998, then I pretty much was doing international things. I did stay playing in a local cover band to help keep my chops up, did that actually until about a year ago. The fire for that has gone out. perhaps forever.
Talk about your radio show.
I host a radio show called The Stellar Hour Of Progressive Power that is rebroadcast on 10 different stations via internet and broadcast. That is where I air all the latest and greatest coming from Nightmare to the world. It's also available to download via podcast on iTunes thanks to purerockradio.net. If you want to know more about this hit the Shopp's Facebook page.
Anything else you'd like to promote or mention?
My new website has a free download song of track 222, "Awakening." Check it out at www.LanceKingVox.com and also check out Nightmare at www.NightmareRecords.com and be sure and connect to all the applicable social media links!
By Chad Bowar, About.com Guide