*Originally released in Sin City Presents Magazine
INTERVIEW WITH BRETT “BLACKOUT” SCOTT OF VÄNLADE
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
Vänlade are a fast, melodic heavy metal band based out of Kansas City, KS. They recently toured the West Coast with Seax and Hessian, and played Frost and Fire II. The band have put out two full-length CDs, an EP, and are currently working on a video for “Hail the Protector” from ‘Rage of the Gods.’ They are also writing new material for their fourth release. It was great to have the opportunity to speak with Brett “Blackout” Scott to learn more about the band.
ALISON “METALBABE” COHEN: Happy New Year’s Brett! I’m happy to have you as my first interview for Metal Babe Mayhem in 2017. Let’s start off by talking about when the band was formed and how you all came together.
BRETT “BLACKOUT” SCOTT: Hi Alison! Happy New Year and thank you very much for having me! Vänlade has been around in one form or another since 2006, although the early incarnations were very much high school/garage band level. Around 2010 we developed the lineup that would write and record our first album “Iron Age,” and we began gigging more frequently and in more places. It really began with some high school kids who just wanted to play the music we wanted to hear! This style of melodic heavy metal was almost non-existent at the time the band was formed.
METAL BABE: Wow. That’s great! Do you have similar musical backgrounds, styles, and influences?
BRETT: I would say that, for the most part, we do have very similar interests, but of course we all have our own tastes and bring a little something different to the table. We all obviously really enjoy classic hard rock and heavy metal, and that’s what brought us together. But for instance, my personal musical tastes lean more towards 70’s styles. Our drummer, Nolan, is very much into extreme metal and also plays for the death metal band Garoted, as well as a black metal band called Verräter. Our guitarist Vincent plays and sings for a thrashier band in Kansas City called Meat Shank. So I would say that our common thread is very strong, but we do our own things as well.
METAL BABE: That’s great. Who are your primary influences as a vocalist?
BRETT: The one that I would put above all others, and the definitive reason that I do what I do would have to be Ronnie James Dio. He sparked my interest and holds a really special place in my heart. Other than that I would list Ian Gillan, Eric Adams, and Geddy Lee.
METAL BABE: Very cool on RJD! What type of musical training have you had? You can definitely hit those high notes!
BRETT: Thank you! I actually have had no formal training, although it is something I have considered to learn new techniques and help me improve and keep going. But really, my only training is through attempting to emulate my favorite bands on record! It just involved lots and lots of practice, and trying to wail along with Judas Priest until it didn’t sound like garbage anymore!
METAL BABE: Any tips or practices that you have to preserve your voice and/or to prepare for a live show?
BRETT: I’ve learned that there are really no tricks or shortcuts to it. It’s 100% hydration, sleep, tons of practice, and not over-exerting yourself. That last part is the most difficult part when doing this style, but it’s important not to push it any further than I have to when on the road.
METAL BABE: Totally makes sense. Speaking of the road, what can fans expect from a live Vänlade show?
BRETT: We have a blast and I think it shows! Our show is very high energy and, although the music is no joke, we are fun-loving guys and we want everybody to have a good time when we put on a show.
METAL BABE: Definitely. What’s the music/metal scene like in Kansas City? Where do you play out locally?
BRETT: There are a lot of really great bands from Kansas City, but for our style it’s pretty rough, honestly. That’s not to say we don’t get along with, and enjoy playing with a variety of styles, but we really thrive on the road when we get to dig into the underground scenes across the country that prefer the more melodic style that we play. Kansas City is very death metal and hardcore oriented, although we do alright. The best venue in town for any metal style is The Riot Room, hands-down. That is kind of the home base for the metal scene around here.
METAL BABE: Wow… That’s interesting on the death metal scene in Kansas City. I’ve really liked both ‘Rage of the Gods’ and the cover EP. Your most recent release, ‘Wayward Sons: Masters of Time (Vol. 1)’ has six cover songs on it, including Saxon, Sabbath, Rush, and Priest. How did you choose which songs to record on the EP?
BRETT: Thank you! We had so much fun doing the covers EP! The idea came about after our 2015 west coast tour. We already had plans of returning to the west coast for Frost and Fire II, but didn’t want to come empty-handed, so we formulated the idea of a quick release that would be easy to do and fun for our fans who came out to see us again. We basically took the one cover we had been performing, “Carry on Wayward Son” and then each member picked a track to contribute!
METAL BABE: That’s a great way to do it. I have to say I was surprised to see “Barracuda” on there! Do you have plans for a Volume 2?
BRETT: I think we have to now!
METAL BABE: Awesome! I saw on your FaceBook Page that you have been writing and recording for your third release. Where are you at in the recording process?
BRETT: Recording hasn’t started quite yet, but we have a strong foothold in the writing process. We debuted the first song, “Ghost Dance” on our 2016 tour and have finished several others at this point. I would expect recording to begin in mid to late 2017.
METAL BABE: Great. How do you think it compares musically to ‘Rage of the Gods?’
BRETT: I would say it’s a continuation of the progressions we made from “Iron Age” to “Rage of the Gods.” The riffs and structures are becoming a lot more complex and original, but we have kept the melody and general “catchiness” intact. I am really excited with what we have so far. It’s coming along great!
METAL BABE: I’m glad to hear that. Do you have plans for a first single/video?
BRETT: Actually our immediate next plan is to do a belated video for the song “Hail the Protector” from our last album, which is kind of our big crowd pleaser. It didn’t fit into our schedule or budget initially but we decided it would be a huge mistake not to do it. So we decided to go for it! I think after that we may demo some of our newer material and see what we think about an official debut.
METAL BABE: Gotcha. Is there a projected release date?
BRETT: I’d give you a date, but I know if I did we would probably blow past it! For now our sights are set purely on writing, and once we have a more solid grasp of the material we can start planning the release further.
METAL BABE: Sounds good. Do you have any good ‘road stories’ from your 2016 Rockers of the Underworld Tour with Seax and Hessian?
BRETT: We had a total blast with those guys but we actually managed to stay out of trouble pretty well!
METALBABE: (LAUGHS) Good for you!
BRETT: The Frost and Fire II fest was definitely the highlight, but other than the occasional after party, we didn’t get too rowdy. I can say that getting to watch Seax and Hessian perform every night was the time of my life and I truly miss hanging out with them! Readers, if you haven’t checked out these two bands yet, be sure to do it ASAP!
METAL BABE: Now I’m super bummed that I missed both of your bands at Frost and Fire II! I drove up from Los Angeles, but didn’t get there until Resistance and Widow were on. Next time for sure! How was the October 6th Vegas show?
BRETT: Unfortunately we were unable to get a venue locked down so we had to cancel and reroute slightly. We did get to pass through Vegas and spend the night with some friends of ours who made us some great food and were extremely hospitable. So I’d call it a win, but of course I wish we could have played!
METAL BABE: That’s too bad. I’m glad you got to spend the night at least. What final words would you like to say to our readers?
BRETT: If you dig fast, melodic heavy metal, check us out! You can hear us on most major streaming services and listen to any of our official releases on our BandCamp for free (Vänlade.bandcamp.com). Keep up with us on FaceBook and hit us up anytime. We are more than happy to talk with our supporters! Most importantly, thank you for helping us continue to do what we love!
METAL BABE: It’s great that you’re so appreciative and available to talk to your supporters Brett. Thank you for taking the time to interview with me for Sin City Presents!
BRETT: My pleasure. Thank you again for having us on board! Stay heavy or die!