Yorkshire-based Rock/Prog artist Nick Daniel released his new single ‘I Forget (There’s Something to Remember)’ on the 28th of October 2022. The track was the lead single from his new dystopian space opera concept album ‘Elevate’ due released on 4th November 2022. The album features a plethora of well-known artists including Bernie Torme (Ozzy Osborne, Gillan), Rob Bendelow (Saracen), Lips & Robb Reiner (Anvil), Carl Dixon (The Guess Who), Dave Hill (Demon), Veronica Freeman (Benedictum) plus many more. We caught up with Nick Daniel to find out more...

Hi Nick how are you?
Currently sitting at home with a chest infection, unfortunately, but otherwise happy about the release of my new Elevate album.

Tell us about your latest release I Forget (There’s Something to Remember)?
It’s probably the most commercial song off the Elevate album which was why it was picked as the single. It boasts some excellent additional guitar from Rob Bendelow (Saracen) and some fantastic vocals from Barrie Jackson (Angels of Kings).
It’s part 7 of the Elevate story:

Our hero Storm Nader, when crawling through a gap in the rubble of an abandoned London Underground tunnel sees a flickering light through a doorway. Never having seen such a strange light he proceeds further. What he finds is an entrance to one of the old Molecular Transportation System (MTS) Gates left on Earth. Excited he investigates. The device needs a passkey to operate. Seeing a small hole in the metal railings he crawls through to the back-office room and searches the cabinets and drawers. He finds a key in a broken locked drawer and inserts it into the slot. The machine hums into life. A large screen above the machine lights up showing red dots on various places on the Earth as well as some in space and one on the moon.

The console appears to be asking for a set of numbers to be inputted. The boy gingerly types in various numbers only to be met with the same response ‘Access Denied’ accompanied by a harsh electrical beep. In desperation and resignation, the boy types in his own date of birth – just on a whim – 17 12 2243 – a red dot on the screen turns green and the wall becomes a shimmering image – an image of being high above the World – of looking down on the Earth from above.

Scared and excited Storm runs as fast as he can, back through the hole in the rubble to the upper tunnels, intent on telling friends and family what he has just witnessed. As he nears the exit to the underground, in his haste he trips and falls, smashing his head on a brick and blacks out. When he comes to, he is in bed with concerned parents looking down at him. ‘What on earth were you doing down there’ they cry? ‘I ... I can’t remember’ says Storm. The blow has erased the memory of the days events but a flicker of this will haunt him for the rest of his life – something at the back of his mind, lurking, compelling but not revealed until years later.

Well, you did ask

The song is part of your upcoming concept album, tell us a bit about the story of the album and the creative process in developing it.
Elevate is a dystopian Space Opera. A concept album. A vast, sprawling, engaging musical story spanning hundreds of years.

A story about greed, poverty, climate change, conceit, apathy, betrayal, murder, the end of society as we know it and its eventual salvation.

In a nutshell:
By 2050 the Earth’s population has risen to 9.6 billion. The land is over-populated. The air and water are polluted, food and clean water are becoming scarce. Climate change has heated the planet up faster than ever imagined, rendering many areas inhabitable. A massive campaign has (secretly) been underway for years to explore the real possibilities of terra-forming other planets and moons to make them habitable for humans.

Oil Corporations run the planet, exploiting what little resources the Earth has left for profit. As time progresses wide scale looting breaks out across the Globe culminating in Civil Wars, then genocide as society as we know it collapses.
Commercial flights had been drastically reduced then completely withdrawn in 2040. This is ‘sold’ to the general populous as a bid to reduce the effects of Climate Change, but in reality, the rich fat cats at the top, knowing that the Oil is going to run out completely in the very near future, horde what’s left for themselves.

With the invention of the matter transporter - capable of transporting humans and matter between portals - a base is set up on the moon to explore the terra-forming technology in a series of vast underground caves. The experiments are successful but 'hushed up' from the general populous.

The rich begin building a series of space stations to live 'off-world'. The 1st of these 'Adonis' becomes operational in 2082. Funded by billionaire playboy Leonard Silo. More follow in a short space of time.
As resources become even scarcer the decision is taken by the wealthy to build an armada of space-ships to head off into space to find new worlds to inhabit. Places on the armada are strictly limited and very expensive. As the fleet is completed, the rich - taking the terra-forming and matter transport technology with them – head off into Space, effectively leaving those left behind to rot. What is left of society collapses and much of the Earth becomes a wasteland ... eventually a hero arises out of the ashes and, with will and determination sets out to save our World.

The story is inspired by such films as – Soylent Green, Silent Running, Logan’s Run, Rollerball, Blade Runner, Star Trek III (the search for Spock), Mad Max, Freejack, Gattica, Equilibrium, The Road, The Island, Wall-E, Children of Men, In Time, Hunger Games, The Age of Stupid, Cowspiracy, Divergent series, After Earth, Elysium, Interstellar, Tomorrowland, Badland and Vesper.

The music is basically inspired, by anything that has moved me since I was a child. The album, although rooted in Rock/ Metal/ Prog includes such diverse influences as: New Model Army, Levellers, Teardrop Explodes. Blondie, Gary Numan, NIN, Dead Can Dance, Spear of Destiny, Yes, Genesis, Hawkwind, Kansas, Porcupine Tree, Rush, Marillion, Saracen, Arena, Pink Floyd, the Who, Sweet, Mike Oldfield, Jean-Michel Jarre, Adiemus, Slayer, Metallica, Rammstein, Judas Priest, UFO, Rainbow, SAHB, Status Quo, Fortune, NWoBHM and Orbital.
Some influences are obvious, some more veiled, but all in there somewhere ... even a bit of Elvis!

When I had finished the writing and basic recording process, I had to think what else I needed to complete it. I play all the instruments – rhythm guitars, bass, keyboards, drum programming and backing vocals (with the exception of the contributors’ (below) parts. I thought about, in an ideal world, who would I like to do the lead guitar, vocals, violins etc. I then came up with the idea of asking some of my all-time heroes to play on the album – which many of them did! I just mailed them, described the project and asked if they would help me out with a contribution – a solo, a vocal, a narrative ... the ones that replied are on the album – and a huge thanks to them all – the late Bernie Torme (Ozzy Osbourne, Gillan, Electric Gypsies), Lips, Robb Reiner (Anvil), David Reece (Accept, Iron Allies), Carl Dixon (Coney Hatch, Guess Who, April Wine), Rob Bendelow (Saracen, Moon Chamber), Dave Hill (Demon), Paul Gaskin, Barrie Jackson (Angels or Kings), Rob Cottingham (Touchstone, Cairo), Veronica Freeman (Benedictum) and Roger Patterson to name a few.

There were a lot of other heroes that replied and couldn’t do it but it was great to communicate with them too. Most notably Peter Criss (KISS), the late Fast Eddie Clarke (Motorhead) and Graham Bonnet (Rainbow). There were also a few nameless disappointments that promised the World and delivered absolutely NOTHING! You know who you are!

What are the challenges of creating music to go along with a concept story?
The creative process with me almost always starts with the music. I get an idea or riff and I lay down some drums and just play whatever comes to mind. Sometimes this can be just a short idea, sometimes it evolves into a new longer piece with many changes in it. When I am happy with the rough musical format, I then write the vocal melodies – usually by recording me singing any old words to it in the car. I then take the melodies I’m happy with and create the lyrics around the piece usually from an idea of what the song should be about in the context of the actual concept. I do the research to make any facts about what I’m saying as correct as possible, then I record the vocals.

The biggest challenge I had was to cut the songs down to a suitable length so it could all fit on one CD. That’s hard! If you have to cut 2 minutes from a song it’s really difficult choosing which bit(s) to cut as I wouldn’t have recorded them in the 1st place if I didn’t like them.

The song has a great music video too, tell us about the experience creating and filming it.
Well, it’s not something I was comfortable with, to be honest. Barrie Jackson sang the vocals on this song and when I asked him to do the video he basically said ‘Look it’s your song, your story and your words – It’s best if you do it’, so I had to basically mime along to his singing. In the end it wasn’t too hard as it my words and melodies I was singing – just to someone else’s voice.

It’s filmed in Wykeham Forest near Scarborough, UK. It’s actually filmed on my Huawei P30 phone by my wife so who says you need a big budget! It’s filmed over 2 days nearly a year apart, so in some shots I look old and haggard and in other shots, I look even older and more haggard! We needed the extra day to film some additional footage to make the theme of the video more consistent.

Rob Bendelow kindly came out of retirement to film his guitar solo for the video.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about being an artist and what advice would you give anyone thinking about releasing music?
I suppose the biggest lesson to learn these days is – do it for the love of doing it! Don’t do it for, or expect the ‘money and the fame’ of old as the music industry doesn’t work like that anymore. The competition is fierce. I was told recently that there are over 65000 songs uploaded to Spotify every day! Just build your fanbase, be the best you can and stay true to yourself...

Talk to us about your influences as an artist.
Anything and everything, basically!

My parents used to listen to a lot of early Beatles when I was young and I liked that. Musical ‘epiphanies’ for me are seeing Queen do Seven Seas of Rhye on Top of the Pops – it just ‘blew my mind’, and hearing a Space Oddity by Bowie on the radio – it made me want to cry. I realised then the power of music.

In the 70’s It was glam bands – Sweet, Slade, Gary Glitter, Mud – they were my favourite. Then ABBA – I watched the Eurovision song contest in ‘74 and they just blew me away! Then it was Hawkwind and some of the heavier bands of the time – Deep Purple, Rainbow, KISS, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest then YES and Genesis, then NWoBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) hit and I was hooked. A lot of the contributors on Elevate were (or connected with) NWoBHM.

The 80’s were very confusing – I loved my heavy metal, but I’d hear bands like Duran Duran, Gary Numan and Adam Ant on Top of the Pops and I loved that stuff too. I could never admit it to any other metallers though! I remember walking into a record shop in my cut off denim jacket with Iron Maiden, Rush, Saxon etc. patches on the back and asking for Wild Boys by Duran Duran. The assistant said it came in 5 separate covers – one for each band member. Which one did I want? ‘John Taylor’ I replied without hesitation. ‘Were sold out of John Taylor’, he said. ‘Nick Rhodes’, I replied, again without hesitation! I then had to sneak it back into college without being caught! I think the 80’s is my favourite musical decade – a total melting pot of so much good music.

I heard the Sisters of Mercy on the John Peel Show and that got me into a lot of the 80’s alternative scene – Joy Division, Sisters, New Model ARMY, Spear of Destiny, Psychedelic Furs, Killing Joke and a host of other ‘weird’ stuff all made me the artist I am today.
Then came the thrash metal and industrial genres which had a massive effect on my playing and song writing as it seemed so different from what had come before. Then in the 90’s I loved the new rave music that was coming out – Shamen, Prodigy, 2 Unlimited, Snap, Capella, Quadrophonia, Bomb the Bass etc. To me it was music to go nuts to – jump up and down and wave your hands in the air – just like metal, just played differently.

Then indie hit in the UK. I liked a lot of those bands – Supergrass, Cast, Charlatans, Blur and eventually Oasis, I hated them at first. They just seemed so arrogant and confrontational. But the music eventually won me over! A lot of the songs by them that I like carried a positive message of hope – A Bell will Ring, Stop Crying You’re Heart Out, Born on a Different Cloud, and Turn Up the Sun - that carries through to a lot of my lyrical threads i.e. ‘It may be shit now, but it won’t always be’ ...

Also the mid to late 90’s produced a lot of euphoric dance music – Energy 52, Josh Wink, William Orbit, Delerium – these artists have had a huge impact on my next project – see below ...

What can we expect from you next?
I have 3 songs currently finished from my next musical adventure. I have taken the bold step of trying to cross 80’s classic hard rock/ metal with 90’s euphoric dance music. It just makes sense to me, with the above influences, to try something like this.
Both styles of music totally lend themselves to elation, movement and basically waving your arms in the air – so why not combine the two? I’ve not heard anyone do this yet, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens. All I can say is that the 3 finished songs are all thumping monsters which:

A: make you feel good ... and

B: make you want to go bananas! Lyrically the themes are uplifting positive psychology focused – the titles say it all – Life is Now, You’re Not Alone and Higher & Higher! So far, feedback has been VERY positive!

Watch this space!

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