DAN HEATHCOTE – interview

DAN HEATHCOTE – interview

Introduce your band and describe your latest release?
Hi my name is Dan Heathcote and my band is called Zadkiel. We’re named after an archangel from a book on Reiki healing. We are an Alternative Rock / Modern Prog Rock band from Nottingham in the U.K. 

We are a four piece, with two guitars, bass and drums. We released 2 new Eps last year online to add to the Discography.. we have an Album and 4 Eps finished and released. The 2 new ones are called Transient Resurrection and The Science of Wrath. Transient is like a mini album with 6 tracks one of which is over 10 mins long and very proggy and heavy for us..  The Science of Wrath Ep is like a single really with Lover’s Pains being the main track and 2 more experimental b sides. I also write and release music on my own and brought out a solo acoustic album called Limbic System on Cd last year. I have released one track so far digitally (Hive Mind) with a 2nd single (Dying Art) to follow soon.

What is the hardest part about being in a band in this day and age? 
I think that music seems to have become more of a background thing now a days. Which is hard because it feels like the golden era of music being culturally important is over. Although Vinyl is coming back, but it is expensive!

Things are this way in my opinion due to a lack of ownership and buy in from the general public. It’s hard to get heard and get further unless you have the machine behind you. The industry model of streaming has devalued songs as a commodity. Those tech companies that control access to it are the ones that make the money. The pay rate is tilted massively in their favour.  We do it for the love of it which is what it’s all about anyway. The other way to look at it is Alternative music is an underground thing again, which is good as it’s vital and less watered down than the mainstream as it currently is..  which only seems to be able to market the mainstream. I’d rather be on an independent label than a major label because the music is more cultish and beloved by fans than just flogged purely for profit to the masses.

When did you realise that your project had the potential to be much more than just a fun idea? 
My first band Endorphin made an Ep in the early 2000’s and when friends and friends of friends came up to me saying that good things seemed to happen when they played our records.. I couldn’t quite believe it. It struck a chord with some people. I was a bit more naïve and optimistic back then.. but one of the songs from Endorphin Compound Problem Ep called Astral Lady made It on to the first Zadkiel album The Saturn Return. I’ve been told many times how great a song it is and I can’t write another one quite like that because it was written in my early 20’s with starry eyed hope. The music I make is weirder, darker and richer now in its ideas and form within the current incarnation of the band. We take more risks in terms of being more progressive. The darkness is there lurking behind some of the chord changes but so to is a euphoric fascination with all of the mystery of this existence. I write poetry and that becomes the lyrics. I write stream of consciousness style with cut up technique and I strive for originality. Authenticity is the key to having something to say but it also takes courage to be yourself whatever that is. The feelings you get from Zadkiel is its own thing, another world, It contains all things, dreams as well as the Jungian shadow. 

Tell us about your latest release, why should we check it out?  
Zadkiel Transient Resurrection Ep is an evolution from The Saturn Return album.. 

There are more elongated guitars and grooves. It’s kind of like a Pink Floyd Record, 6 tracks a couple of long ones.. about 40 mins in total. There are Biblical references on Sephiroth and Behemoth. Some of it was co written with my guitarist George Beedle. He brought a more Prog Metal influence into focus. Hypersleep is a hybrid of our styles, we bonded over Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree which are the obvious reference points. We have some time signature changes and different tunings. Hypersleep is in Eminor tuning and Sephiroth E Major tuning.. (variations on standard tuning) as well as some DADGAD which a few of the Zadkiel songs tend to be written in.

How does a song typically come together for you?
The music comes first more or less. I write a chord progression or a riff, George does or we write together. I then add lyrics by choosing from my poetry which lines fit best. The themes are on going, I get inspired by films and books. I like Sci-Fiction, Horror, and Philosophy. Hypersleep is sort of written from an Alien perspective. Crash landing on a planet.. having to start again. We both record songs, demo them and then bring them into the rehearsal room with the other guys. I tend to write songs with vocals and lyrics. George does write some lyrics also (which ended up on Propaganda). Once they are there in the set and established live we then commit them to tape properly with a producer as our next recording project. 

How would you describe your sound to an unfamiliar reader? 
Visceral, Sensual, Apocalyptic, William Blake’s spiritual symbolism, H.R. Giger’s  weird haunted aesthetic. Jeff Buckley meets Nirvana. Darkly euphoric. A rabbit hole of surreal searing imagery. 

What do you want listeners to take away from listening to your band? 
The imagination is both a weapon and a key to unlocking your experiences. The better your imagination is the better chance you have of creating something that will leave an impression on others. We are story tellers and the music conjures possible worlds, some of which may seem appealing others outlandish, nightmarish. The music is a place to resolve internal conflict. The slaying of archetypes. Escapism is the escape. I want to to feel alive by feeling the full range of emotions. Happy and Sad sometimes both at the same time. Art is supposed to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. 

Where would you really like to tour that you haven’t done so yet? 
We would love to tour in America. We have set our sights on New York as our drummer Michael Bawldry has friends there. We are thinking about arranging some gigs and going over in either Autumn 2023/ Spring 2024. It’s an exciting and daunting prospect but we are seriously considering it. You only live once! 

How would you say that the sound of your band has progressed over the years?   
As eluded to earlier the music I first made with Endorphin was more uplifting and Indie Rock.  I still write some happier songs, but I am not a young person in their 20’s anymore. Some of the band are though! Our bassist Josh Marsh is in his mid twenties. We are both really into NIN, Deftones, Tool which is not exactly happy go lucky! Since he and George joined in 2015.. the music has got heavier and more proggy. I still write songs that are more Alternative/  Indie, (sometimes love songs) but we have a an added dimension where the music can take unexpected twists and turns. There is more of a juxtaposition between dissonance and harmony. The songs have more mood swings! And the timings are more odd than when I began. This is what progress looks like in Modern Progressive rock!

How excited are you for 2023 and what can fans expect from you? 

We are working on some new material. We have about 4 or 5 tracks we could potentially record this year. We hope to add Manchester to Sheffield and Nottingham in terms of place we will play later this year. Also as I said before there is the possibly of some gigs in New York. Probably dive bars but let’s see what it’s like.. CBGB in the 70’s is what I imagine in my head, although the reality will make itself known if and when we get there!  It would be a great adventure and good to make some contacts in America, it’s in the planning stage.

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