Today, we sat down with Dan Heathcote to talk music inspiration, heroes, advice for musicians and much more. Be sure to check out his music and social media below after the interview!
What is your inspiration to write your music? Is it your surroundings?
My inspiration to write music comes from writing poetry, which comes from thinking about themes and stories either from books, films or the world itself and the inner world of imagination. I like to write in abstract and in metaphors.
But I am writing about feelings essentially. From Joy to despair and all the many shades.
I wouldn’t want my music to be just one thing.. and my relationship with the music, the notes, the scales, the rhythms, is that I want to play with both harmony and discord, both melancholy and happiness.
The best music appeals to all our emotions..
My band Zadkiel is named after an archangel and has a very ethereal sound, dark chords with euphoric lyrics / harmonic chords with dark lyrics..I don’t want to be pigeoned holed..
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
Alternative Rock and Grunge.. back in 1991 with MTV it felt like the sky was the limit if you had the talent, you could succeed. Outsiders succeeded in the 90’s. Guitar music was boundary pushing. I started playing guitar in 1996 as a teenager.. and my first proper songs of my own were recorded in 1999 with my first band Endorphin.
Then as the decade changed at the turn of the 21st Century, Electronica seemed to become another interesting world to explore. I now am making more electronic songs on my own.. since I started to learn how to use Logic music software. I like how it can take the music into a futuristic or a retro direction. Drum machines can sound 80’s or they can sound abrasive and cutting edge!
Is there someone you looked up as a hero?
I do look up to Jeff Buckley vocally as a hero.. he’s probably the best male singer of the modern age.. he inherited his voice genetically from his father Tim Buckley (the folk/jazz singer from the 60’s) who also had an incredible range. It’s how he stepped out of his father’s shadow that impressed me most. He added something unique to the 90’s alternate scene which touched me.. with both Grace and his unfinished 2nd posthumous album Sketches for My Sweet Heart The Drunk. He was fearless, technically brilliant but totally convincing emotionally. His songs sounded like real heartbreak not the work of a hack. Authenticity is key to being the best kind of artist you can be.
I have lots of other influences too but I sound like myself. Cynical people tend to crucify you via your influences, but I‘ve kind of gone out of my way to sound like me too.. embracing both my best traits and faults. It’s hard to match up to your heroes.. and you know what?
you don’t have to. I can sing. I can sound like me, influences are there to be outgrown as you find yourself. I still listen to Jeff a lot.. because of the spirit of his recordings.. but its too easy and lazy to label me as his disciple.
Radiohead and Muse were influenced by him too and were vocal about it..both groups went on to reinvent themselves several times over.. that’s what it’s about.
If you weren’t a musician, would you be doing today?
I would probably be writing books.
I love to write and live to write. I get inspired to put pen to paper everyday and am trying to build a psychedelic vibe with my poetry/ lyrics. I love poets like William Blake, Charles Baudelaire, writers like William Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Edgar Allan Poe, the risk takers, the world builders, the haunted visionaries, the driven ones.
I love sci-fiction, Horror and Philosophy.. the existentialists like Nietzche and Kierkegaard.. they attempted to deal with the psychological problems of modern living.. looking for meaning in the apathy and anxiety, answers in what appears meaningless. There is much meaning to be found even if it sometimes appears to be futile. I’m not afraid to spend time on my own and create my own vision of the world on paper. I am also interested in spiritual ideas such as enlightenment and reincarnation.
What advice do you have for our fans out there that want to create music?
Just do it. Do it for love not money. Otherwise your work will be a second rate copy. Find you. Be you. Do something different, unexpected. it’s not easy but it is rewarding. Keep your integrity, find your authenticity. Quality over quantity. Capitalism wants to rank you, keep you pegged somewhere in the hierachy of successes and failures.. Fight it, transcend it..
Making music is the reward in itself. It will teach you more about yourself and your subconscious if you let it. Also if you can take your friends with you.. surround yourself with people who believe in you.