The No Label Needed Contest & Series is a collaboration between Metal Insider and Scion to give one unsigned artist an entire DIY music industry education and launch a release without the help of a label. We’ll be posting features and updates on the contest & series periodically on Metal Insider. Find out more about No Label Needed here.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a closer look at each of the No Label Needed finalists. Today, we’re featuring Iron Thrones.

Formed in 2006 in Minneapolis under the name Everest, the group was renamed Iron Thrones in 2008. The band is comprised of Adam Clemans on vocals, Steve Henningsgard on guitar, Curtis Parker on Bass and Peter Clarke on Drums. Henningsgard took some time aside from campaigning for the lead in public votes to answer a few of our questions.

What do you hope to gain from winning this contest, beyond the prizes?

Having done the DIY/independent thing from day 1, I can say that the one thing holding us back is simply not knowing how to do what we need to do in order to accomplish our goals. For instance, we can record ourselves pretty decently, but even one session with someone like Machine, who knows how to make a killer record, would dramatically increase our ability to do so ourselves in the future. Same goes for the marketing and promotional advice we’d receive: I’m sure it would help us in our future efforts in getting our music heard. I’d also like to think that having a band in our local music community bestowed with such advice could really help the scene grow, by helping our friends’ bands out with the same information we’d learn in the contest.

Plus, we could all really use a new pair of pants!

What has been your most challenging moment as an unsigned metal band?

I think the hardest moment we’ve had was having to cancel an East Coast tour that we’d been working on for a few months. We just flat-out couldn’t find bands to play with, and venues are generally completely unhelpful when it comes to finding locals. We learned some valuable lessons in booking shows and tours, and I’d imagine we’ll have an easier time next go around, but it was incredibly disheartening to cancel the few shows we did book because we didn’t have enough money to make it out there. Sitting at home when you’re supposed to be playing in New York really sucks, especially when you basically have no one to blame but yourself!

Who’s career do you admire?

I’m not sure what the other guys in the band think, but I admire Trent Reznor’s career quite a bit. I wouldn’t call myself a Nine Inch Nails superfan by any means, but the way he’s taken hold of his own destiny and done pretty much whatever he’s wanted for the past several years, is really quite admirable. He’s lead the way for bands to record and release their own albums on their own terms, and people can’t even comprehend his live shows, never mind imitate them! Regardless of what you think of his music, the dude’s paving the way for a lot of DIY bands to do some really amazing things. And having gone through the whole major label thing, he’s provided some real insights into the industry.

If you could get one endorsement/sponsorship, what would it be?

If there were a way to get endorsed by Chipotle, I think we’d be pretty much set. We’d also each gain about 40 lbs. Either that, or getting sponsored by Exxon Mobil would make touring a lot easier, although ethically we’d probably have to kill ourselves, so we’ll go with Chipotle.

Public voting for the No Label Needed Contest & Series presented by Scion runs through March 8. Visit the No Label Needed microsite to listen to Iron Thrones and the 19 other finalists and cast your vote!