Friday, March 3, 2023

Building an Active Fanbase to Promote Your Band with Mike Seidel of VANAHEIM

In this episode of The Rock Metal Podcast, we're chatting with Mike Seidel of the band Vanaheim about their new album ‘Een Verloren Verhaal’ out now.

During our chat we touch on a lot of great tips for musicians, such as building an active fanbase to promote your band.

'Een Verloren Verhaal' was mixed by Joost van den Broek (Epica, Powerwolf, Ayreon) at Sandlane Recording Facilities, mixing of the second CD (Folkestra version of the album) was done by Mike Seidel, Mastering was done by Mikka Jussila (Nightwish, Ensiferum, Children Of Bodom) at Finnvox Studios.

For fans of Ensiferum, Moonsorrow, Finntroll, Nightwish.


Guest Resource - Connect with Vanaheim!

Guest Music Video

3 Heavy Hitters

1. Use every available tool to get your music heard, such as magazines for reviews or reactors to react to your music videos

2. Think quality fans rather than quantity of Likes on social media, as those real fans will be there for you in tough times, as well as the great times

3. Program MIDI orchestrations like a real orchestra by using layers and changing the pitch of each instrument in the mix


Asher Media Relations: Doing PR for everything loud! For your band needs to be seen and heard in print, online and radio!  Let Asher know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Tue Madsen: Tue Madsen is responsible for producing, mixing, and mastering some of the best metal for over the last 20 years.  Let Tue know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Syndicol Music: A full service agency for musicians, offering record label services, marketing, branding, production and management.  Let Charlie know Jon from The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Wormholedeath Records: WHD is a modern record label, publishing and film production company fit with global distribution, publishing and marketing using a roster of global partnerships. Let Carlo know The Rock Metal Podcast sent you.

Show Notes // Transcript

Jon Harris: Mike, go ahead and say hi to all of our beautiful listeners. 

Mike Seidel: Well, welcome to everybody. Thanks for checking this out. This podcast is beautiful to be here. I hope you have a nice day wherever and whenever it is. But greetings to you all. 

Jon Harris: Absolutely great to have you on Mike. Now, this record Een Verloren Verhaal. Hopefully I'm saying it correctly, but --

Mike Seidel: Yes, it's Een Verloren Verhaal that's completely you're right, you didn't butcher it. 

Jon Harris: Haha, very good to hear. Now, tremendous record. Epic pagan folk metal. There's even like a violin duelling guitar solo action going on. Incredibly cool stuff. Music video will be posted on today's show notes. But nevertheless, what was the greatest moment for you producing this record? 

Mike Seidel: Well, the greatest moment definitely was when we knew that the time has come the album is going to be finished. Because this album was definitely like a big progress for us all in the band and we have never done something that big and that was such an effort for everyone. So we definitely didn't know exactly how it will turn out and if we could match our goals that we set for ourselves. But, I mean, at some point we knew, okay, this baby is going to be released in February and it's actually not that far away anymore, so this is definitely a great moment.

Jon Harris: Biggest progress for the band ever. Never done something this big with someone such effort. Didn't know how it would turn out despite the fact of setting goals. So for any other musicians listening in right now, maybe you're working on a podcast yourself, but nevertheless, you set a goal for yourself. Are you going to get there now? Something that you'd mentioned there was we've never done something this big and of such effort. So what was the biggest challenge then for you guys on this record? 

Mike Seidel: The biggest challenge was definitely to handle the workload that an album brings itself next to having a day job and a normal life. Basically because we have a lot of orchestrations in the music and the whole recording process. Definitely takes a while, especially when you quad-track the guitars and then you go to the studio to record drums and all this kind of stuff. So this is really like a big task to handle next to usual things that you have going on in your life. So I would say the most challenging part was the orchestrations because it's basically the instrument. I will call it an instrument where the most time goes into.

Jon Harris: All right, who listening in resonates 100% with what Mike just said, making an album, it's a lot of freakin' work, especially if you're in the case of, like, epic pagan folk metal. You've got orchestrations that need to fit into the mix, quad-tracked guitars, baby, I'm running out of breath here. 

Mike Seidel: Haha.

Jon Harris: It's a lot to talk about. Plus day jobs, girlfriends, boyfriends, the people that want to spend time with you. While you're holed up in the recording studio doing drums and everything else. Now, towards the end there, Mike, you were talking about thinking of the orchestra as one instrument, which is smart, and I just wanted to un-package that. What what went into creating the orchestra? What did you learn from the process? 

Mike Seidel: You have all kinds of tools today to to make orchestrations. I mean, you basically can use MIDI and program it on your computer, but the challenge is to make it somehow sound real, to make it believable that it doesn't just sound like a keyboard, for example. You have to use certain tricks to make it sound more believable and more real. For example, you put more layers of one instrument behind each other so it sounds more thick and you adjust the pitch. For example, when you have multiple tracks of violin that are stacked on top of each other, you adjust the tuning a little bit, the pitch so it sounds thicker and all these kind of things. So, yeah, that's it, basically. 

Jon Harris: All right, everybody listening in right now. There's the trick, there's the tactic. If you want to make keyboards sound like more realistic orchestrations, layer everything up and even change the pitch of each individual track. Because if you think about it, that's basically what an orchestra is, multiple violins playing a part, and each one is going to be tuned a little bit different, even playing a little bit different because there's individual people now. Mike, I'd like to turn the conversation over to when you reached out to me as a reactor to react to one of your music videos, I was blown away. I thought to myself, is this the strategy? Is this how bands are building up fan bases and active fan bases? So anyway, take us through it for everybody listening in right now, who's surprised, shocked, wondering should I be doing 

Mike Seidel: Yeah, I will start with especially when you're a smaller band like us and you're independent, you don't have any label support, you know, and all that stuff, you really have to stand your ground because you have a lot of competition basically from all the other bands. And if you want to get out there, you have to use every available tool that you have. Which of course means you write a lot of emails to a lot of people. For example, a lot of reaction channels like you did, you did reaction videos and we saw that and we looked into it when we thought, okay, it's a cool job. I mean, his reactions are nice, why not? Let's try to write him and see if, you know, you like them. Yeah, more on that later. It was actually really funny to see, but yeah, you have to use every available tool to bring yourself out there. Whether it be for reaction videos for every kind of promotion, writing to magazines just for reviews, for example. Like we wrote a ton of emails to magazines and webzines if they would like to review our album because basically this gives you free publicity. Without doing any of this, we wouldn't be where we are at the moment. I mean, we're still not the biggest band at all, but still, we know that it worked out definitely, and that we gained a lot of fans over the last year since the release of the album. And you have to put a lot of effort into it. That's it, basically. 

Jon Harris: All right. Raise your hand if you resonate with what Mike said. Independent band, no label support. Or even if you have some label support, a lot of times you still got to get out there and do your own thing. You got to still do your own hustle using every available tool. And Mike mentioned some really good ones, getting onto that email and emailing, webzines, magazines asking for reviews of your work, trying to get as much free publicity and free exposure as possible. And then you've been mentioning this new tool in reaching out to reactors to get reaction videos. Take us a bit more through that. What are you looking for in a reactor? 

Mike Seidel: Of course, you try to get on the bigger reaction channels because they have a lot of publicity, and if they react to your music, I mean, that's basically free advertisement for you. So that's good. Otherwise, these guys and girls also get a lot of emails and a lot of requests, so it's naturally that they don't react to your email or to your message, whatever. So we went from the big reaction channels to the smaller ones also in the meantime. And yeah, what we were looking for is basically you have these reactions channels that are very interactive with their audience. They really catch them and bring them into the video, so to speak. And there are also reaction channels that are a little bit more boring to watch. They just watched the video, pause the video or the music for, I don't know, two times and say two sentences and that's it, basically. So these were not really the ones we were looking for, but the ones that have more interaction with their audience because you have to bind your audience to yourself and to the video, of course. And that's what we were looking for. 

Jon Harris: Wow. Okay, so in a nutshell, finding reactors that are interactive with their audience, or even just in general, you mentioned emailing, magazines or webzines. Finding an outlet that is interactive with their audience. 

Mike Seidel: Absolutely. I mean, if you manage to build up your own fans without buying likes or whatever, because that never works, you basically build a base for yourself with people that support you, that like to support you because they're so into your music and so into what you do. And you really build a base for yourself. And without this base, at least in my opinion, you go nowhere. Because whatever, if you take any kind of hit in the future, I don't know, you write a bad album, I don't know, you made a bad promotion deal, whatever. The base of your fans that has always been there will still support you because they have faith in you. If one album doesn't turn out that great, well, there will be next one, right? And these people, they will always support you. 

Jon Harris: Yeah. Building an active fan base to help promote your work and support your work. Mike, how would you define success at this stage of your career? 

Mike Seidel: Well, in this case, I can absolutely say that we feel successful with this band because we see that our audience is growing. We see that we play more shows and more festivals, for example, and we see that people want to hear what we can produce. And this is basically the biggest gift you can get as a band to have an audience. Of course you can write the music for yourself, which we also do because we do it because we like this kind of style. We like to do music. So if there wouldn't be any audience at all, we also would do music. But the appreciation that people give you is such a big boost for keep on going. And keep on going doesn't matter if it's hard or if it's challenging, you go through it also because of the people, because of the fans, the people that listen to you. And in this case, I think we are very lucky to have the fans that we have because these people are just awesome. And in this regard, I also feel that we are really successful in what we do at the moment. We may not have the biggest numbers, but that doesn't interest anyone, right? 

Jon Harris: Like you said, Mike, you may not have the biggest numbers right now, but the quality of the audience is there. And as you had said, the audience itself is growing. The gigs themselves are growing. 

Mike Seidel: Indeed. It doesn't really matter if you have, like, 100,000 fans or 100, because if these 100 people give you a super good time in what you do and they listen to your stuff and they make you happy, then it absolutely doesn't matter if it's ten people or 100,000, because at least for us, speaking, ten people would be enough to make us happy. Ten people that support us to keep on going, writing music, because in the end, it's just broken down to writing music. 

Jon Harris: Yeah.

Mike Seidel: You keep on going. That's basically it. And you it doesn't matter if you keep on going for ten people or for 100,000 or for yourself, but it gives you a reason to write music. 

Jon Harris: Yeah, keep on going for ten people or 100,000 people. The reason you're there is to write music. 

Mike Seidel: Yeah. 

Jon Harris: Beautiful. What's the number one thing that you want people listening right now to do? Is, is there like a website that you want them to go to? What would you what's the number one thing you want people listening to do? 

Mike Seidel: If you want to have the full package, basically, you go to our website,, and from there you can be directed to Facebook, Instagram, even TikTok and Spotify. Whatever you want, whatever you are into, our website will direct you. But we're also on every social media channel available, and YouTube, of course, Spotify. Did you know that you can follow bands on Spotify? You can do. And we would really appreciate if you would follow us on Spotify. 

Jon Harris: Thank you so much for using the tools that Spotify has given bands. 

Mike Seidel: Yes, indeed. 

Jon Harris: But yes, go to for all of the relevant links. Go ahead and head over to for today's show notes. You can see the music for today's show notes for some extra goodies from today. So, Mike, thank you so much for coming on today. 

Mike Seidel: Jon, thank you very much for having me and having my band Vanheim. It was an absolute pleasure. I really liked your questions, so keep on going. I mean, your reaction videos were good. We liked them. I think you put them down too much, but this was absolutely fun. Thank you. Bye. 


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