on one with Daniel's Window
by Andy Argyrakis
Up and coming band Daniel's Window has been on a whirlwind of success throughout 2000. They have seen the national release of their True Tunes Records debut, as well as extensive Midwestern touring, including opening stints with acts as diverse as The Waiting, Steven Curtis Chapman, Chasing Furies, All Star United, and The Vigilantes of Love. They've also been written up in the Chicago Tribune, as well as numerous Christian based music publications, creating quite a buzz in the music world.
"We've been together for three years and at the beginning, like any baby band, we played lots of small shows," says lead vocalist Heather Hershey. "We worked really hard and I think that shows in our recent decisions to be a band on a full time basis and take our music to a national level." The group hails from Chicago and all band members spent the beginning of this year working jobs during the day and playing gigs on nights and weekends. "That has been something we wanted to stop and we are finally at the point where we can see our goal of being full time," Heather says. "We're poised to go full time during the summer, and we plan to tour extensively across the country and not be bound to do regular jobs."
The group may not feel like being part of the music industry is a "regular job," and their music is far from "regular" as well. In fact, the band is hard to pin point drawing together modern rock and electronica based sounds. Tracks from It's a Mystery run the gamut of styles, ranging from alternative No Doubt samplings to more dance styled grooves in the sprit of Joy Electric, the Pet Shop Boys, and Moby. "We get compared to No Doubt all the time, especially because I am a female lead singer," laughs Hershey. "We've also been influenced by people like Moby and harder edged stuff like The Chemical Brothers."
One would think that being in a band would lead Hershey to have a wide pallet of musical interests, but she admits to having minimal background as a rock fan. "I don't listen to much music" she confesses. "Before college, I didn't listen to anything. I grew up in a strict Fundamentalist home and had no radio on at all, so when I got to college, I quickly discovered that Christian Rock was cool."
Daniel's Window does consider themselves to be a Christian band because their lyrics are so bold about their faith. "We talk so much about our faith, and our audiences are primarily Christian," says Hershey. "If we did cross over mainstream it would be different, and we're not opposed to that. We really want our music to be accessible to everyone. When I talk to anyone interested in the band, I say we are a rock band and we sound like anything on the radio, we just talk about God more than average."
The group has one such story in which they could be effective lights to the world, in the form of their appearance at a mall outside of Chicago called Gurnee Mills. "The mall has had many musical acts, like us, perform in the center court for the entertainment of the customers," recalls Hershey. "Gurnee Mills mall employees also stopped by to watch us. At first some of them were a little upset that we were a Christian band, but after they heard us play, they got excited. They heard us talk about God and be good at what we do and they were drawn in by our music. They sort of walked away with the vibe that Christian music can be cool."
Hershey continues saying that it is important to stay away from the "Christian bubble" that a lot of believers may experience. "By playing a show like that, we were able to influence an audience that was not your typical Christian crowd. I think sometimes within that Christian crowd you will find believers that live in that bubble where they only encounter Christian people. They have excitement for their faith to grow outside of those walls. We want to show them just as much that God's cool and it's cool to rediscover your faith."
Sometimes in the Christian industry, artists faith can be overshadowed with the business that needs to be done. Daniel's Window has found that out by first hand experience since their move to the national level, but those situations help them build others up. "The thing with the industry is that it can sometimes bring other people down," she says. "We are living as close to God as we can, and if we do come across a fellow artist struggling, we pray for them and try to help. It is so unfortunate that dirty laundry has been aired on some artists. When you get into the industry you get under the spotlight, and you have to live the life, but you also have to live the life outside of the spotlight."
The band sticks close together in matters of faith and makes sure they build one another up when the going gets tough. " I get a lot of encouragement from the other band members and we have all grown so much by watching each other," she says. "We keep sharing things and continue to learn from that dialogue with one another."
Heather also has an interesting link to the band member Kaleb. The two got married just under one year ago. "I'm so glad that I am married and get to work with someone as wonderful of Kaleb," she says. "Kaleb and I have a great relationship and he is very laid back. He has a tremendous faith in God, and when I have trouble trusting in God, he slows me down to smell the roses and relax."
The group will have to stay
cool throughout the rest of this year, as they will continue to press on
towards the top in a very cluttered music scene. Although with determination,
perseverance, and a musical edge over some of their peers, Daniel's Window
is certainly a contender to be in this for the long haul. As for
True Tunes Records, the group has signed to a leasing agreement with "It's
a Mystery," in which the band still owns the entire project. "We
plan to continue to ride this project out as long as possible and then
will head back into the studio for a follow up," says Hershey. "We're
ready to take things to the next level and are open to however God will
use us to get his message across both in our current endeavors and future
as a group."