Interview with Lance King & Doug Beary

“Some of you may not know about this band, especially if you live in the UK, until now that is!! This is an awesome band from the U.S. who are in my opinion influenced by Fates Warning, early Queensryche 2 very influenced bands with the metal scene. This band have so far released 3 album, and the 3rd album titled ‘Transitional Forms’ also features ex Balance Of Power vocalist Lance King, who certainly suits the band well enough. The bands new album is receiving excellent reviews from the press and fans world-wide".

Check out the new album and if you want to know, read on!!! 

“My first question is, when did the band form and who formed the band? Has the line up been the same since you started up until Lance joined the band?”

“Defyance, with Brent, Marcus, and me, has been together for about 15 years.  Our first release, self titled cassette, was released around 1989.  It contained only 4 songs and we only had 100 of them pressed which we sold locally and at shows only.  We continued to write and released an Ep called “Voices Within” in 1992 (which we recently decided to do CD-R copies of on a request only basis through our web site since we have been getting so many requests for it).”

“During the recording of “Amaranthine”, we had several obstacles to overcome, both financially and personally (commitments outside of the band) for all of us.  Ultimately, it caused Brian Harrington (vocals) to leave the band (on good terms).  Shortly thereafter, with our future in “limbo”, our bass player J.J. Wagner also left.  This was a major disappointment for Brent, Marcus, and me.  After a year or so of wondering what we were going to do, we got all that we had done up to that point together and released “Amaranthine” in 1996 anyway.”

“The response was better than we could have ever imagined.  And it breathed new life into us.  We all had new ideas at this time and were soon rehearsing again without bass and vocals when we found Rob McGrath (bass).  Rob was a huge addition to the band and fit in perfectly immediately.  It was really a wonder that we had never met before given the similarity in musical tastes and him living relatively close.  Rob had brought the singer from his old band to try out with us.  We were not really sure if it was going to work out with that singer or not, but decided to go ahead and start recording “Time Lost” and hope for the best.  Well, it just didn’t work out with that singer and the studio where we were recording recommended a guy by the name of Scott Andreas.  We were familiar with his work in another successful local band and decided to give it a shot.” 

“We couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.  We finally completed “Time Lost” in 1999 despite numerous setbacks, both financially and with the changing of singers. When we started to work on a follow-up to “Time Lost”, it was apparent that things internally in the band were starting to get in the way of the songs. It was at that time that we took another hiatus and attempted to find where we were going musically and personally. Rob and Scott decided to pursue other things and Brent, Marcus, and I gave things a rest to recharge our batteries, and then continued to work out the songs that we had begun with Scott and Rob. We realized that we were going to want to get these songs recorded, and we had spoken to Lance in the past regarding doing some vocals for us, but it was at that time that Scott joined, so we didn’t pursue that any further. When we finally had something to give to Lance to listen to, we asked him what he thought, and asked if he could put some vocals to the tunes and the result was very good, so we asked if he was willing to do the entire project, and the result is the product that you hear now.”

“So why the name Defyance and why has it been mispelt? Were there any other names for the band?”

“I think the way the name reflects in the music is simply by us not giving in to current trends in music. We never would have changed to a grunge sound when that was popular, and we won’t change to more of a “nu-metal” sound now. Some people say we sound like an ‘80’s band, (and I hate that!), but we just play what we like to hear. I suppose in that way we “defy” popular trends.”

“Who are the bands influences and do they reflect in the bands music?”

 “Each individual in the band has differing influences, but I would say the common influences would be bands like, Fifth Angel, Riot, Fates Warning, Dream Theater, Queensryche, to the basics of Maiden and Priest. The bands that we listen to only influence the music in the fact that we play songs that we’d like to listen to, so I suppose that’s the only influence on the music itself.”

“How many demos has the band recorded prior to the bands debut album? Did they sell well & what trax were on them?”

“The only real “demo” that we had was the first self-titled cassette that we released in ’89. I can’t say for sure if they sold well, but I don’t think we have any left. We only had 100 printed at the time. The track listing for that was: Running Free, (which ended up on “Amaranthine”), Love’s a Bitch, Second Death, (also on “Amaranthine”), and Gypsy.”

“Are you honored to be compared to that of Fates Warning among others?”

“Absolutely! Being mentioned along with a band of that caliber is very flattering, given the fact that the members in Fates are very accomplished and talented musicians. I hope that people hear a Defyance song and think it sounds like a Defyance song, and not Defyance trying to sound like Fate’s Warning. I think we have a unique sound, that may be reminiscent of the feel of Fates, but still has the “Defyance” air to it.”

“Would I be right in saying that the bands debut album could have been a demo? Also why does the sound differ from track to track?”

“The debut was released with some of the demo stuff on it. As for the differences in sound from track to track is simply because we would save all the money we could, and then go into the studio and record one track. That was all we could afford. When we had another song ready, we’d save some more and then go back to the studio and record that one. So the debut was done in probably, six or seven different sessions. It was virtually impossible to maintain the same sound, at different time.”

“Did the debut sell well and did you shop it out to various labels?”

“At the time that we did the debut, we didn’t really have the connections available to us that we’ve had for the latter material. We just sold what we could at shows and through mutual acquaintances.”

“What about the 2nd album (Please send me a copy), did that sell well and how does it differ from the debut? Did you get any positive feedback from any labels & press?”

““Amaranthine” was quite a step forward for us, though we still had to record the majority of the songs, one at a time. The writing for that release matured quite a bit from “Voices”, but we did use a couple of the tracks that we thought were the strongest from “Voices”, for “Amaranthine”. I think we were able to afford more studio time when we did Amaranthine, we were able to do a couple of songs at one sitting. We received some very positive feedback for this one, with the main complaint being the production of the disc. The studio and engineer that we used were good enough, but the style of music was somewhat new to them..”

“What are your fav and least fav trax for that album?”

 “Personally, my favorites from “Amaranthine” are, “Running Free”, and “Freedom Forever”. Those two stick out the most. I suppose if I had to pick a “least favorite, it would probably be “Devil’s Daughter”. Looking back, that song has kind of a Motley Crue sort of feel to it, and that is definitely not what we’re about.”

“Who did the artwork and were you happy with it? Did the cover reflect in the title for that album?”

 “Todd Rouw did the art work for “Amaranthine”. He’s a terrific artist from our hometown that has been a big supporter of our music, and comes up with some pretty abstract things. There was really no connection between the title and the cover; we just wanted something that looked cool on a CD.”

“‘Time Lost’ was the title of the 2nd album so why the title and what other titles did you have in mind?”

“Actually, “Time Lost” was our third release, after “Voices”, and “Amaranthine”. The title of this release reflects the fact that we had recorded half of the disc with a different vocalist, and he just wasn’t cutting it, so we had to stop while we looked for a new singer and got him up to speed with what we were doing. So we really were making up for “time lost” with the previous vocalist. We never did have a different title, with “Time Lost” being so perfect.”

“Did this album receive good reviews? Also what did the fans think of it?”

“We received great reviews for this release. I think the biggest difference with this one, from the previous one’s, is the fact that we were able to go in and lay down all of the main tracks at one time. That made a HUGE difference in the overall sound of the disc, and that was reflected in a lot of the feedback that we received; people thought that the production of the disc was light-years ahead of the previous ones. Some people that were familiar with our older tunes were kind of taken aback by Scott’s voice, because it was nothing like Brian’s, (Harrington, vocalist on “Voices”, and “Amaranthine”). I personally thought that, while Scott didn’t have the range that Brian did, his voice fit the music much better. Earlier stuff had something of a Tesla, or Skid Row sort of feel, just from the vocals, and “Time Lost” had more of the power-metal feel.”

“So was there any line-up changes between the debut and the 2nd album? If so who replaced who and are you still friends with them?

“The line-up changes we had were all explained, above in the first response. I’d say that we’re still friends with all the guys that have been in the band. It’s just hard to fill spots in a band from Iowa, when you’re not out to just play in a bar. We are an anomaly of sorts, because we play a very specific style of music, that doesn’t see that light of day in this area. Radio stations in this area wouldn’t know who Fate’s Warning, or Gamma Ray, are, so trying to find people around us to join the band, and feel the same passion as we do, is difficult to say the least.”

“Was the 2nd album released by yourselves again or was it picked up by a label?”

“Yeah, all of our albums have been released by us. The latest one is on the Nightmare label, though.”

“So why did it take such a long time to release the new album?”

“It was basically due to the changes in the line-up and trying to fill the void that was left when Scott and Rob departed. That and the fact that half of the writing wasn’t even complete when those two left, so there was still a lot of work to do yet. We also all have full time jobs, outside of music, and families, so sometimes it gets hard to fit the music into our schedules.”

“Where did you find Lance and what was his reaction when he was asked to sing on the new album? Is he a full time member of the band now?”

“We had been in contact with Lance in the past, when we were looking for some more avenues to get Time Lost out for public consumption. We had used some other distributors, as well, but there always seemed a good rapport between us and Lance. I think that it was more of a reaction from us when Lance agreed to sing for us, because we had all heard his previous stuff with 'Balance of Power'. We were all thrilled that a guy with that kind of talent thought our stuff was worthy of putting forth the work needed to get a solid release. If we do another disc, then I believe that Lance will be our first choice if he’s indeed willing!”

“Is there any line-up changes for the new album?”

“Aside from Lance King, we have a terrifically accomplished musician playing bass. Aaron Bell has been a friend of ours for many years, and when it came time to roll tape on bass, Aaron was our first choice. He’s the main force in “Degree Absolute”, (which I happen to play drums for), and an incredible guitarist. We knew that if he agreed to play bass, that he would be more than capable of handling the duties, and I think that what he played fit perfectly.”

“So why the title and cover for the new album? Do they reflect in the bands music?”

 “I don't know that there is anything really reflected in the music from the title of the Cd, it was merely something that we wanted to say about this being yet another "transformation" of the band both in terms of better songwriting and new members.  The cover artwork by Donnie Frey was inspired by the title of the CD with the elements "transitioning" into each other.  Aaron actually thought up the title based on a scientific theory of evolution...applied in this case to our music, where it is not a drastic change, but rather multiple elements changing a little bit over time until the entire thing is evolved.”

“Where was it recorded and how long did it take to record? Are you happy with the end results?”

“This whole project, aside from Lance’s part, was recorded at Northlake Studios in Otley, IA. This is the home studio of our engineer, Matt Bell. I recorded my parts over, I think, a three day period. After that, I believe we had the basic tracks done in probably a two month period. The mixing and master, plus flying in Lance’s vocal tracks, took a little longer, but I’d say the majority was done in 6 months. I’m extremely happy with the end results. I think that the whole thing came together very well and Lance’s vocal tracks added a lot to our sound.”

“I believe that Lance did his own vocals are his own studio, was you unsure how it would come out and sound as you recorded the music at another studio? Did you trust Lance?”

 “We had sent Lance some demo tracks, to see what he could come up with and how well it worked with our stuff, so we knew before we got to far along, that things were going to work out fine and that the fact that he was doing his parts away from us, wasn’t going to be an issue. Plus the fact that we were in constant contact with him during the entire time, we knew what to expect before things got too far. When it came time to mix the tracks, Lance came down to the studio where we did our thing, and put his 2 cents worth, so things didn’t work out to bad.”

“What trax are your fav and least fav and why?”

“I really don’t have a least favourite on this one. I feel that all the material is very strong. My favourite track is probably the last one, “Tied To A Wheel”. I think this song has all the things that make a song, a Defyance song. It is very melodic, it has enough changes to keep things interesting, and the way that it builds is quite unique. If you’ll notice, the song starts with a theme and builds to a great crescendo in the middle, and repeats the theme to the end. I think that the composition is very original. Plus, it was a lot of fun to play!”

“What are the songs about? Are they wrote as a team effort and did Lance write the lyrics or were they wrote before he joined?”

Lance King “There were a couple of completed lyrics when I received the songs, and a lot of scratched out lyrical ideas to work with, that I kind of molded into the songs adding some parts too it to make it whole and a couple I believe I wrote the entire lyric for, have too look to remember, it's all kind of a blur.  The guys already had some great bits that just needed to find their spot in the songs, I just did with them what I thought the song needed. The songs are a bit ambiguous in some parts and very direct in others, I like to be a bit vague sometimes because then the song can be adapted by the listener to their own life experiences and in this way can mean a lot more to them personally. In General these are songs of the triumph of good over evil, with messages of love and candor, and hope. Specifically each has it's own message, and really I would ask the listener to decide what the songs mean to them.  So go out and get this album and listen .”

“Has this album been selling well and been receiving rave reviews?”

Lance King “Regarding sales and reviews, we've been overwhelmed by the press and fans response to it. I was surprised at the level of response that I've seen so far the reviews world-wide have been stellar.  Their making some interesting comparisons out there that I wouldn't have thought of at first, like one guy said it was similar to SUPERIOR & SANVOISEN, both excellent bands, that I enjoy listening to, but wouldn't have thought we sounded like until it was pointed out. Also the more obvious ones that are  probably pointed a bit at my vocal approach like FATES WARNING, DREAM THEATER, TNT and QUEENSRYCHE.  But it's all good, these are some of my favourite's from my earlier years.”

“Does the band have a label or distro deal outside the US?”

Lance King “Right now, no, it's going out as an Export to all other countries, but we Still have hopes of securing a possible Brazilian deal.  I think it was poor timing, when we shopped it, that the labels had their plates full at the end of the year during the holidays and so we just went forward with my label Nightmare and started the ball rolling. Sales have been excellent and were going into it's second pressing very soon.”

“Will the band be playing any festivals or touring this year? If so who with?”

“We don’t have any plans to do any shows, right at the moment. We’ll just kind of have to wait and see how thing work out.”

“Does any of the band members besides Lance have any side projects? If so what are they called and what style? “

“Like I said earlier, I’m involved with Degree Absolute, which is Aaron’s solo project. It is a technical metal band that is very progressive, a lot of odd time signatures and a very unique sound. He’s currently signed with Sensory Records and the debut should be out sometime this year.”

“Well thanx for the interview, you guys rule!! Do you have anything to say before we finish?”

 “Just thank you for your interest in the band! I hope you enjoy the other two cd’s!”

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