“Weaving together an impressively thick sonic tapestry,” Fort Worth-based KatsüK and their “massive Middle Eastern sound” call to mind both “Dead Can Dance and acoustic Led Zeppelin” (Harder Beat Magazine). In a genre that could be classified as conscious world folk, KatsüK’s tribal sound evokes the epic soundscapes of early 70s rock legends layered with a melodic pop infectiousness.
KatsüK is the creation of frontman and songwriter Daniel Katsük who has honed a masterful quality of composition and performance beyond his years. For Daniel, music has been a kind of Shamanic journey, a way to connect with others. “My hope is that people are moved…to dance, to cry, to anger, to wonder. I have been on a journey of understanding my own inner landscape and hoping to help others navigate their own.”
2015 saw great things as Daniel was cast in a starring role in the Denver-based rock opera The Portal, a modern hero’s-journey epic told through cinema and live performance which is now set to go Off Broadway in New York City this coming fall. KatsüK’s latest project is an album called Labyrinth, scheduled to be released in the spring of 2016. Labyrinth—the band’s third album and first to be pressed on vinyl—was recorded in Fort Worth, Texas over the course of two years and mixed by Bart Rose at Fort Worth Sound. “After writing the song ‘There and Back Again,’” Daniel says, “I knew what kind of album it needed to be and so I returned back to a very organic and acoustic sound with more world instrumentation and themes.” In describing the inspiration behind the title of the new album, “Our journey here through the Cosmos is not necessarily a maze with right and wrong turns but a continuous winding path. At the center of this Labyrinth is the Answer but not the end. It’s not about merely finding your way out. It’s about finding a way to help yourself and everyone else through. This new album reflects journey of life, the pitfalls, the triumphs, the love, the stagnancy and the awakenings.”
In addition to providing the lead vocals, Daniel also plays Native American flute, keys and guitar on the album. Nearly fifteen musicians craft the expansive global sound that permeates Labyrinth, but the band’s core consists of percussionist Eric Yakula and Sam Hobbs on bass. Filmed images, live dancers, and other live entertainers enhance their performances, creating an ecstatic experience for the audience that envelops all senses. In support of Labyrinth, KatsüK will be performing at conscious music festivals around the country.
Winding his way through the deserts of the Southwest helped Daniel find his voice and his path. He has played numerous music festivals and venues across the U.S., touring with Lollapalooza, the Bob Marley Fest, and the gypsy circus known as Spoonfed Tribe. In 2008, Daniel formed KatsüK and released the album Out In the Wind. With the help of renowned producer Jeff Dahlgren, they released the highly acclaimed follow-up Zero Point in 2012. KatsüK has shared the stage with such esteemed and varied acts as Colin Hay (from Men at Work), Nahko & Medicine for the People, Galactic, Peter Yarrow, Polish Ambassador, Ozomatli, Rising Appalazhia, Trevor Hall, Los Lonely Boys, Cas Haley, Cowboy Mouth, Guy Forsyth, and Brave Combo. Along with being a Kundalini Yoga instructor, Daniel is a voice actor for Funimation, where his music has been featured in the animated series Dragonball Z, Case Closed, and Full Metal Alchemist.
Listening to KatsüK is indeed akin to having an out-of-body experience and traveling through the astral realms. Their music evokes the euphoric but somewhat dangerous feeling of falling in love—driving very fast down dark roads with the headlights off. At the same time, Daniel’s soaring vocals and songs that spiral upward to a crescendo call to mind the experience of climbing to the top of a mountain and seeing the sunrise. “The sun is rising,” Daniel says of the listener’s Shamanic journey through his Labyrinth. “Yet by evidence of all the stars in the heavens, it has never set.”