An Inside Look At The Man Within The Cage...
Some bands are formed with simply the music in mind, some just want to show off their skillset, which is fine, or some with the drive to get famous, which is beyond difficult, others are even in it just for the... "ladies" and the life of the party, you know the type, the "drugs, sex, and rock and roll" types. Not Darren of The Cage in Your Head. Darren has a purpose with his music. Does that mean that he isn't passionate about the music he himself creates? Absolutely not, he just has a message that he wants to share with the world and help others who may be in need of it. The music and his messages go hand in hand with all that he creates with his band and all of this will make more sense to you as you read and follow along with our Metal Incorporated interview with Darren Daneliuk from The Cage In Your Head, so let's get into it!
Metal Incorporated(Josh): So first off, go ahead and introduce yourself to all of us and for anyone who may be new to you and your music. Just who the hell are you?
The Cage In Your Head(Darren): All hail metal-heads!! My name is Darren from the recording project, The Cage In Your Head. I am from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada eh! I’ve been a metal head since I was 10 years old when I discovered Alice Cooper.
Josh: Nice! Yeah I remember when you helped me create a killer Alice Cooper playlist of your favorite tracks of his for when I'm working, he's always a classic. So, when did the idea of this project come to life? Any particular stories about this you'd like to share? Why is it so important to you?
Darren: The idea of this project came to life during the pandemic. Although the name came together several years before that. Lyrics in a song I recorded were “You can’t escape your prison if the cage is in your head”. This project is very important to me because it’s my anchor to life. It’s all that keeps me here. It’s a way to express myself which is absolutely essential to my mental health.
Josh: Oh ok, those lyrics cut pretty deep if you stop and think about them for just a moment. With that being said, there definitely is a meaning or a personal reason behind the bands name, is there maybe a story? What does your band name mean to you personally? Also, can you describe your music to the reader? Why should they seek out your music?
Darren: The name means a lot to me. The Cage In Your Head is the limitations that we impose on ourselves. Holding us back, and limiting our own potential with our own thoughts and actions. If you believe you can’t do it (accomplishing your goals, doing what you need to do to become a better version of yourself, etc.) or you believe that you can do it. You’re right. On both accounts.
I’ve spent the majority of my life limiting myself in every possible way. You hear about people with low confidence. I had NO confidence. And I often failed before I ever began.
My music, both vocals and sonics are brutally violent. Very, very angry and aggressive. My music is built to attack whomever is listening. Thrash metal, death metal, black metal all rolled up into one. One of my favorite bands was “Strapping Young Lad”. When I first heard them in 1998, they left a profound impression on my soul that still resonates today. I model my aggressive approach from Devin Townsend’s vicious vocal delivery and crushing attack on guitar. That band, made me feel less alone, and that best represented my feelings of anger and rage towards the world.
If you are pissed off, and your heart is full of rage…either from trauma or whatever… this might soothe the savagery within.
Josh: Interesting, so the music seems to be a coping mechanism for you while helping others out, it's not just angry for the sake of sounding angry to try to be "brutal", it all has a purpose. When creating music, what helps inspire you as an artist? What inspires your music in general?
Darren: When I create music, I feel the best when it’s extremely heavy, vicious and loud. It soothes my soul I guess you could say. One of the things that inspires me that people may find interesting is the words and cadence and sheer brilliance of the wrestler “Jake ‘the snake’ Roberts”. I know some will find that strange. If you go on YouTube and check out his promos over the years, you will find him to be the Edgar Allen Poe of putting together a promo that will make the hair stand on the back of your neck. Jake did not yell and scream his promos. He carefully articulated his words with a dark charisma and cadence second to none. If you listen to his words, they are not over the top bullshit. They are incredibly well formulated thoughts and spoken with absolute perfection. He wasn’t fukn around. He’s been through sexual abuse, addiction and pain. And that translates well into his words.
Josh: Jake The Snake Roberts is actually one of my favorite wrestlers of all time so I completely get that! His story of the things he has overcome are beyond inspiring. I see you now have a working line up of musicians and a producer... How did all of you meet for this project?
Darren: I posted some work online to a recording and music Facebook group I’m in with really kind, helpful folks. It wasn’t well produced because I was learning it all by myself. I did not have the skills, or knowledge and or experience to be able to make it the way I wanted. David Asher (my producer, and bassist) saw my post and offered to help me improve my sound and quality. Which he did tenfold. He’s really amazing. Dude can play guitar or bass like a pro and his producer skills are absolutely phenomenal. It changed everything. In 2020 we worked out a deal and he’s been my friend, band mate and producer ever since. I cannot thank him enough. He gave me a chance to have some outputs that I am truly proud of which made my dream of making good music come true.
Josh: Yeah that group you mentioned, Create Record Release is the name of it, I believe, you also invited me to that group and it has been quite the positive experience for myself and my bands music too. Once you had everything figured out for the core concept of your band and music, how long did it take until you were able to find your style that you were looking for? How has it evolved over the course of your releases? What do each of the band members bring to the table, as well as your producer?
Darren: I’ve been playing guitar for a while. My style of music has always been thrash, or death metal. Extreme in every sense. I like violent sounding music. Which is a contrast from my disposition in life. I’m actually very calm, relaxed and kind believe it or not. If you judge me by my music? You would never know. The music is evolving from album to album. But very much in the same vein as in the beginning. A touch of Alice Cooper, a sprinkle of Strapping Young Lad, mixed with 80s Metallica and Pantera and you got The Cage In Your Head.
We recently found a new addition to the cage, Michael Hinz. He’s an absolutely killer guitarist and master soloist. That dude shreds. We have already begun writing for our next album to be released after our upcoming album with Sodeh Records. Mike is very easy to get along with, very similar in taste (fast heavy music) and an overall chill and cool guy.
Josh: Excellent news, can't wait to hear the new stuff! How would you say you stand out among the other bands of similar genre?
Darren: I believe we stand out because our sound isn’t overly produced, it’s got its own unique style of combining Alice Cooper-esque vocals with the screams of Devin Townsend. I wanted the sinister feel of Alice with the aggressive nature of Devin Townsend’s vocal style.
Josh: Sounds good to me, man! Is there anything special coming down the pipeline?
Darren: Yes. Our first album with Sodeh Records will be released August 8th. It is a concept album called “Me, Myself & Hyde” which is about battling suicidal tendencies, thoughts and lifelong ideation. Two personalities sharing the same head that hate each other. It’s my experience dealing with a voice in my head that encourages me to kill myself. It’s hard to shut that fucker up man.
I know everyone always, always, always says this about their latest work. But, I’m just going to say, that the music, and lyrics will show growth and progression within our sound. It’s got heavy, fast, and dark elements all within the album. But, it doesn’t all sound the same. Each song is another tale in the decent into madness.
Josh: Yes, and I have to thank you once again for letting me play bass on your latest single off of that upcoming album, A Harrowing Descent Into Madness, it was a great experience and the song turned out awesome! Anything you'd like to say to your fans or to shout out anyone?
Darren: My friend Jasen Bellamy wrote the final song on the upcoming album. He’s a very talented musician and I wanted to have him involved with the project. I asked him to write a classic Metallica tune that would be a combo of both our favourite Metallica albums. His favourite being “Ride The Lightning” and my favourite “And Justice For All” He fukn nailed it. I wanted him to write the music because Hyde wrote all the music for this album. It’s titled “Only One of Us Walks Away”.
Also had some back up vocals on the song “Cloak and Dagger” from my bro “FroBanger” a long time friend that I wanted to share this wonderful opportunity with as well.
Josh: Awesome, man, once again, I can't wait to hear the new stuff! And finally, I like to end these interviews with quirky shit like this, who would win in a fight, Big Bird or Barnie? Why do you think they'd win over the other?
Darren: Dude, what kind of question is that?? Like wtf?? I mean, isn’t it obvious?? Fukn Big Bird would absolutely destroy that purple fukn goof Barney. I mean Big Bird is an OG. Barney is a pussy. Big bird has those long legs… he’d would kick Barney’s head right off his fukn shoulders. No contest. Then BB would peck his eyes out! Done deal bro. Barney is a bitch. And it should be said that BIG BIRD is from the streets. The bad part of town where people live in trash cans, BB has a lot more street cred, bud, and you know which street in particular, Sesame Street, he represents his turf.
Josh: You know, I didn't even take Big Bird's legs into consideration for this question, haha, good point! And damn man, yeah, BB sounds like he could be a scrapper and fight dirty as hell with that image you've painted. I wouldn't mess with THAT Big Bird, he might shank me or pull out his 9 milli, haha! Thug life, Bird life.
Darren: Thank you Josh for this opportunity bro. What you’ve done for Metal Incorporated is amazing. Straight up bud. I for one really fukn appreciate the work you put into our community. I thank you sincerely for inviting me into this creation of yours. The vast resources of talent and industry professionals you’ve gathered together is absolutely incredible. There is no way I would have a record deal without you and Metal Incorporated. I just want to acknowledge you and your work building this organization. And… The Obsidian Resurrection is one of my favourite bands. No shit. I cannot fukn wait till your album drops. First day buyer right here. Not just because we’re friends. Not just because you’re a great fukn dude, but because… holy fawk the music fukn slays bro. It fukn slays. Thank you for everything bro.
Josh: Shit man, thank you for those words, I really do appreciate it! I do all of this for my love of the music and the metal community as a whole, not to sound corny, but metal music and the scene is just part of who I am and I wouldn't be myself without it. Thank you for doing this with me and for creating killer tunes that not only kick ass, but inspire others and help them when they fell that they have no place else to turn to for help, keep doing what you do, the people are listening!