When we started Metal Jacket Magazine, we wanted to somehow bring our readers closer to bands that might have a harder time breaking through to listeners in the sea of bands and music.
To begin with, it would be best if you introduced your band.
We are IRON KINGDOM, from Vancouver, Canada and we play Heavy Metal. Traditional Heavy Metal, like Dio, Saxon, Helloween or Judas Priest! We formed in 2011 and we’ve been keeping it steel ever since!
Is it hard to keep all the members together since this music has no income?
It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve managed to scrape by album to album, and we’re noticing improvements when it comes to our finances over the years, but ya the odd member has taken off from time to time, its not always about money though, there are many factors involved when a member leaves. That being said, I think many people, if paid the right price would continue regardless of some of those other factors.
How do you finance yourself and can you cover the costs of recording, equipment, and concerts with music?
We essentially cover the costs to run the band with the money we make from touring and online sales, but so far we haven’t made enough to go beyond that.
What made you start playing metal music? Who were your role models in the beginning and has that changed over time?
For me personally (This is Chris here by the way! Hey everyone!) I started getting into Heavy Rock and Metal from bands like Deep Purple and Van Halen, followed by AC/DC and The Scorpions. Yes my musical taste has certainly grown from my early years in music, however, you could argue not by a whole lot haha, some of my favourite bands still include The Scorpions and Deep Purple but I have grown to include others such as Helloween, Savatage, Saxon, Accept, Iron Maiden and so on and so on! Overall, I’d say I’m pretty stuck in the 80s when it comes to my general taste.
Is it hard to find a publisher or is it better to self-publish considering the internet?
To be honest, we haven’t really looked for a producer, I don’t think the budget would really be there at this point for that to happen, and to be honest, I think we really enjoy writing and producing the music on our own. Now, does that mean we’ll never work with a producer? No, certainly not, but so far it hasn’t come up as a serious topic to consider.
What have you published so far?
So far, we’ve released 4 full-length studio albums, plus 1 live EP. Plus coming up soon, we’ll have our 5th studio album, ‘The Blood Of Creation‘, releasing on Nov 4th, 2022, and we’re very excited about it!
How do you create songs, how do you record them?
We write our tunes in a sort of Jam oriented fashion, usually one or two people come into the rehearsal space with an idea or two and we jam them out and see if we get some cool vibes going, then we usually add some lyrics and start playing with the song’s structure. The first few records we recorded with a proper engineer, and then we figured due to financial struggles, we’d try more of a DIY style of approach, that started with our 2019 release, ‘On The Hunt‘ and we’ve learned so much since then, so going into ‘The Blood Of Creation‘ was a lot smoother and I think you can hear the difference.
Where do you get inspiration for the lyrics?
Our Bassist, Leighton Holmes, has been one of the main lyricists in the group, but overall we usually write about fantasy, history, religion, or our pure love of heavy metal!
What is your favorite song you’ve made so far and why?
Well as most musicians usually say, it’s the new one!! Haha, but I really do think our latest single ‘In The Grip Of Nightmares‘ is quite enjoyable to perform and really just a cool song! I love how progressive it is, and it just flows so nicely, especially considering how much is happening.
Where can readers listen to you and maybe buy your material?
Depends on how you like to find music, for me it’s usually YouTube, and yes, we’re there too! You can find pretty much whatever we’ve released on our YouTube channel.
For Purchase or Streaming in a Digital sense, there are plenty of options there, we’re on Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp you name it, we’re probably there!
As for purchasing physical products, well, there are actually quite a few options, we have Vinyl, Cassette, CDs, Patches, and lots of other merchandise on our website: www.iron-kingdom.com or from our Bandcamp site: https://iron-kingdom.bandcamp.com
For Europeans, Asians and Australians there’s also Underground Power Records (Germany) who sell a decent amount of our albums out that way, but they have a focus on CDs or Vinyls.
How do you organize concerts, is it difficult for you, and how many people come to such concerts?
We usually book our own tours, but have done a few with agents as well, it’s a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding to play places that people never thought they’d get to see you.
As for attendance, well that really depends, we usually get good crowds in Europe or Canada, we toured with Blaze Bayley in Brazil so that was pretty much guaranteed solid crowds, USA can be a little hit or miss, some cities are absolutely amazing, and others you sometimes question why you bothered at all, but we always look at the fans who did show up, and you know for some of those rougher nights all I can think is that those 10 people or 20 people who truly gave a damn, well, for them, it was worth it. Plus, we never lessen our show, every band has had bad turnouts from time to time, but when you still give it your all, the crowd can feel it. They can feel that the show was for them, and we won’t back down just because the show was poorly promoted.
In which countries have you played and where did you have the best time, where is the crowd the craziest?
Oh man, Poland definitely stands out, they were crazy in just about every show we played out there. I remember specifically after all the moshing and craziness just hearing the whole crowd chanting Irrron Kingdom, with a rolled ‘R’ for an encore at the end of the night, oh man, that made my heart jump for a second, I loved it.
What do you think about the digital release and is it serious like CD or LP?
Hey look, if you love the music, and this is how you can afford to listen then I’m happy you got that chance if you get the opportunity to buy a shirt or come see us play then go support us that way. I personally am all about physical formats, but I also get that some people just don’t have the space for that kind of thing, and that’s okay. I don’t believe that you’re getting the same quality or experience but hey if that’s what you want then it’s your choice.
Was metal music more honest than today?
Metal music I think began as honest and true as it could have ever been, just as most things do upon inception. However, I think there are lots of cool bands out now, putting out rad records, and ya I think they’re genuine too, but I think a good album is a good album no matter when it came out.
How do you comment on this bunch of sub-genres in metal and is it good for metal or is it destroying it?
I think there was a time when some sub-genres took some really extreme directions and we were followed a bit too closely, which sorta ruined the whole scene, but I think that time has passed, and I think people can now find whatever they like and can jump around between sub-genres and enjoy a variety. I listen to a fair amount of Thrash, Power, Speed, Traditional, Neo-Classical, Progressive, and a few more. I think it gives Metal variety, I think it keeps things fresh and interesting and I think it keeps Metal around even in the tougher times to always have it evolve just a bit. That being said, sometimes things evolve too much in certain directions and it’s cool to take a couple of steps back and dig deeper into something that really made its mark.
Do you support this commercialization of metal music and how about the wearing of metal t-shirts by some “exposed” people who do not belong to this philosophy of metal music?
I’m not too sure that metal has been commercialized as of late, but if you like the album buy the shirt, if you like the band, and think that art is sick, buy the shirt, hell ya, you don’t need to know every album from every band, but it’s cool when you do and it’s fun to talk to people about their favourite albums and stuff. I’m not huge on people who know nothing about a band and start wearing the shirt, but I guess you could also see that and think, well I guess Iron Maiden just made another thirty bucks off another poser haha. I mean, in the end, whatever, we’re all allowed to do what we choose, if you dig it that’s a good enough reason.
What would you change in the world of metal and would you like to go back to the time before the internet if you remember it at all?
Well I pretty much grew up with the internet being born around when I was, or at least when I could recall anything, so it’s hard to say that I’d prefer no Internet, but I do like the idea of people going out to buy albums, there’s something really cool about that, and I feel it is missing a bit in today’s music culture. Not to mention getting tickets or even just people being more social and wanting to go see shows, I think that the 70s or 80s were a lot cooler in that sense. Do I hate the internet, no, it has its perks, but I’d probably be better off as a musician and probably happier in a time before.
How important is supporting the local scene and can you single out a band from your area that you would recommend to our readers?
Ya, I think its absolutely important to check out your local scene, that’s how most great bands get their start. Locally, here in Vancouver, there are a few killer acts for sure, we recently had the band Hyperia move into town and they’ve become great friends of ours if you like thrash they’re a super killer and great people too!
How do you see this situation in the world and how do you think it will develop? Will they imprison us again, scare us or maybe send us into a big war?
I’m not certain what the future of our world will be, there is already a war, will it get bigger? I truly hope that it won’t. The health of the earth is declining, gas prices are terrible, the stock market isn’t looking great and housing is getting tougher, but we have live shows again and we can travel, so, as much as this world can be miserable, there are also some great things happening and life feels a lot more worth living these days, so I say focus on the positive, make the best of what we do have, while we have it, and help those who need it.
Finally, what would you say to our readers and why should they listen to you in the sea of bands that are offered to them every day?
I think many newer acts have stayed away from the more progressive side of metal that we like to delve into, I think it gives us a very grand or epic feel and you never really know what we’re going to do with it. No two albums take the same approach, however, overall we’ve got a feeling or vibe that does remain the same. It’s just my opinion, but I think we’re not afraid to keep creating fresh ideas, we’re always evolving and as a writer, I personally find that very exciting.
Thanks so much for the interview, and thank you to the readers as well for listening! Feel free to find us online, feel free to check out the new single ‘In The Grip Of Nightmares’ and tell us what ya think!
Answered by Iron Kingdom – Chris OSterman – Vocals / Guitar
Keep It Steel www.iron-kingdom.com
Line up: Chris Osterman (Lead Vocals / Lead Guitar), Leighton Holmes (Bass Guitar), Megan Merrick (Lead Guitar), Max Friesen (Drums)
Photo Credit – Caitlin Delaplace