music morsels indie music May 2006 

by Mark E. Waterbury

Lance King

ARTIST NAME: Lance King, vocalist   -  band name: Avian
MUSICAL GENRE: Hard rock / Metal / Progressive Rock

MM:  How did you become involved with Dave Ellefson and Yan Leviathan?

LK: Yan was in Saltmine Studios recording some demos. The producer who worked there mentioned they frequently did projects with Dave, and Yan, being the go-getter that he is, insisted that he be introduced. So they hooked up and then shortly after that, Dave called me, said he had this thing that was turning into something and, asked me if I wanted to hear it. So that is how I became involved.

MM: What had you been doing most recently before the Avian project?

LK: “Shining Star”was going to be my main new project after I left Balance of Power, but it was held up by the Brazilian label and some weird aspects so it was put on the back burner. The new Pyramaze project came up and after it was completed, I was really happy with how it came out so I focused on that direction. When David came along and asked me about Avian, it honestly just started as us demo-ing songs for Yan, who just hired us basically to help him finish these songs. So we did that and once we were about half way through, we realized we actually had something here that was good. We then decided to do a full-fledged album.

MM: Did you work directly with Yan and Dave or was this transferring files from each other's studios?

LK: It was through phone and email that we did it. I have my own studio at the house and was working on my parts there. Yan did fly up here and we spent a few days working on four or five songs together. Otherwise we each did our own little thing. Yan and David worked together in the Saltmine laying the rhythm tracks down. Then I got all the tracks from Yan. David realized he had too much going on to pursue the rest of it so he asked me to produce it and mix it. I did that on my own here and brought in another guitar player Roger Moore who played on my first album. Roger is a phenomenal talent. No one really knew about him and I thought that was a shame. So I thought we would put him on the album and get his name out to the masses. Then I brought in Jonah (Weingarten), the Pyramaze keyboardist, to fill it out.

MM: Do you feel the music was a bit different from what you had done before?

LK: Yes I do. I think it is a bit more straightforward European style power metal. Typically a lot of the music I do has elements of that, but is not solely like that. This is why I added keyboards and brought a shredder in to lay neoclassical chops all over it. Add different flavors to dress it up a bit so it is not so straightforward, but it still has more of that standard German power metal type vibe to it at its core. That was fun because it allowed me to do some voicing that I hadn’t done before. I had a pretty good repertoire of different vocal tones, but hadn’t been able to use all of them, and it was cool to add those new voicings in.

MM: What did you do to market the CD?

LK: Not as much as I would like to. It came out at the end of the year and that is total chaos at Nightmare Records. It's the holidays. Sales are going through the roof and most of the magazines that you want to advertise in or get reviews in are crazy busy getting the end of the year major releases published. It didn’t click so I started marketing it more this year, getting reviews out there and airplay, and it has started to have a trickle-down effect. It has been doing very well. It came out on Massacre in Europe and then finally was released in February in Japan, which is abnormal because the Japanese usually release albums the same week they are released worldwide. I am excited that it was finally released there.

MM: Are there any tour plans for Avian?

LK: We are actually doing a show on May 12th with Gamma Ray, Miles Beyond, and Ion Vein in Minneapolis. It’s a one-off show so we want to see how it goes. feel it out with the rest of the guys and see what everyone wants to do. I think the material will be fun to play live. Depending on what the crowd response is and how the band feels about it, we will make the determination on future tour plans at that point.

MM: Do you feel with marketing Avian, it is a bit different because prog tends to be a niche market?

LK: In a lot of ways, it is a crossover market. We debuted the album at ProgPower Fest last year and we sold quite a few at that event, and received feedback the next day from people saying the really liked it. It is more of a power metal album and I am surprised that so many people think it is prog because I don’t really hear that much in there.

MM: If music is targeted as prog, do you feel it is best to just target those fans and make sure they have access to the music rather than doing a general campaign to the record buying populace?

LK: It is definitely grass roots, and there are certain places like the Perpetual Motion boards, Prog Power boards, and Metal Ages forums that you have to hit. Myspace has become a huge forum for bands to find a new audience. The whole metal vibe to me seems to do the best when you get reviews out there. Getting reviews on the metal sites, in magazines, and creating a general awareness that it is out there, and people’s opinions of it. Obviously, if the reviews suck it won’t help, but if they are good, that is what you hope for. So far, we have managed to get some pretty good reviews of it.

MM: Have you also found that you can tap into fans of yours and Yan’s and Dave’s previous music, including fans of Dave’s work with Megadeth?

LK: Absolutely, and that is the sort of thing that definitely helps.

MM: Is this a one time project, or something you would like to do more of?

LK: Yan has a couple albums worth of material so we are looking at picking songs for a new album. Yan wants to get on it this Summer, and I don’t know if that is realistic for David and I, but I’m sure he will keep pushing us and we will get it out as soon as we can. So we are definitely working on another project and it may change its flavor a little bit. We were starting to steer in the Pyramaze direction a bit, and I steered them in more of a unique direction. We want to keep a clear separation between the two and that is what makes Avian unique.

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