Twin Cities Music

Brass Tacks: This blog is all about giving fans of musicians extra insight into the artist. The questions can be hard hitting, funny or even sillly sometimes. We hope you enjoy.

Preparing for La Madness

Having left the southern California music scene, Kurt Vatland’s latest project, ‘La Madness’, has arrived in Minneapolis.  They’re ramping up for their debut show Thursday March 29th at Cause in Uptown. 

We had an opportunity to float Kurt, no stranger to the local scene, a few questions. 

We present to you…La Madness.

TCM:  Describe La Madness for us. 

KV:  I’ve coined La Madness as “Indie/Grind/Blues.”  That phrase seems to sum up our sound perfectly. La Madness is a very long awaited project for not only myself, but my fans as well.  Basically, it’s my solo work as a full on “rock outfit.”  I had originally planned on having this band up and running a few years ago, but it took years for me to find the group of guys that fit the vision- and are able to execute it the way it needs to be done.  I’ve got Riggs Kessler on lead guitar, Seth Levine on bass and Aaron Willey on drums.  Altogether, a dynamic group, each one bringing something unique to the table.

TCM:  What will La Madness have that Kurt Vatland did not? 


KV:  Unlike my solo music, La Madness will finally have a full and complete sound.  I believe it’s going to take “full-bodied” sound to get this off on the right foot… in the hands of the right people.  When I was performing as an acoustic performer, I was always told that my music was great and that “if you had a full band it would rock!”  It took me a lot of time, patience and soul searching to make it happen.  It’s easy to form a band with “just anyone”, but I’ve been very fortunate, after years of disappointment and frustration, of finally getting La Madness started with not only some of my greatest music pieces but with a Minneapolis super group of its own underground.


TCM:  Who are your biggest influences? 



KV:  To be honest, life experiences have been my biggest influence and are found in my music and storytelling.  With the help of my friends, girlfriend and family, I’ve finally gotten back to exactly where I should be.  Musically, La Madness is an eclectic group of talent with different styles and tastes for music.  Personally, I’m a blues guy.  When I sing, I’m all blues no matter how “rock” sounding the music is.  In addition, some of my favorite bands are, but are definitely not limited to, The Doors, VU, BRMC, Nirvana and Blind Melon.

TCM:  In your opinion, what is the Minneapolis scene lacking?  And what does the Minneapolis scene offer that other places do not? 


KV:  I think it lacks another ten million people ;).  Minneapolis is incredibly artsy and music fueled, yet intimate.  For a place this small, it certainly holds its own.  The Current is no doubt helping our national presence, too. Locally, I’d like to see more music venues in Uptown and in Northeast Minneapolis.  And of course, there’s the age-old debate of musicians needing better representation to make a better living. That’s not just a problem in the midwest, it’s a national problem.  With that said, the older I’ve gotten, having lived and experienced other places, I can appreciate it here much more now. 


TCM:  Where does style enter the equation in a rock band? 




KV:  Style is just as important in a rock band as it is in any other art form.  The true beauty of style has always been, and will always be, be true to oneself.  Rock has an incredible ability of showing the genuine style of the performers, whether it be one’s look, sound, energy or attitude.  In the end, style is all about truth.

TCM:  When you’re not churning out music, what do you occupy your time with?



 KV:  I work at Spalon Montage in Edina as a hair stylist (and yes, that was free advertisement for me ;).  When I’m not working, I like spending time with my girlfriend, my friends and going to see live music or taking in a movie. I’m a man of extremes.

TCM:  Any local bands you are fond of?


KV:  It’s hard to make a list because I risk leaving someone off,  but two local bands that instantly come to mind are The Japhies and Poverty Hash.  I know both bands personally and have a longstanding friendship with the lead singers in both of those bands.  Incredibly talented people and I’m ecstatic to see the praise they’re attaining.  There are so many great bands here, so I’ll just stick to those two who I know not only on a professional level but also a personal one.

TCM:  In a perfect world, where do you see La Madness in a years time? 


KV:  Hmmm…. “in a perfect world”… well, in a perfect world, we’d  have a much bigger budget to work with.  The most important thing to me is that ‘Mad fans’ all over can hear our music and be proud of our growth.  Also, there’s something sexy to be said about being the “best kept secret” in town.  A band that people line up out the door to see but yet no one really knows who they are or where the h*ll they came from.  There will come a day where this isn’t just a pipe dream.  It’s a real dream we’re living.  We’re on our way…..


More LaMadness here: