Halcyon Drive’s stellar new single is inspired by a near death experience

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Halcyon Drive’s stellar new single is inspired by a near death experience


“This song is kind of funny,” begins guitarist Michael Oechsle, “I was going for a run on a really rainy morning and I almost got taken out by a tram – I got home and wrote these lyrics. It wasn’t exactly a near death experience but it was along those lines.

Just how nearly getting hit by a tram is funny is anybody’s guess, but if Oechsle can get inspiration for a banging new song from such an event, more power to Halcyon Drive. “It wasn’t that close,” Oechsle continues. “It’s like the thing when you stand on the edge of a cliff and you get the temptation to jump off – there’s a word for that, the void or something – it’s the same kind of feeling.

“’What if I had been hit by that tram and what would happen next?’ Stepping back and observing that from an outside perspective, it was this weird moment of reflection I had – ‘Only Youth’ revolves around that moment, it’s reflective.”

And in a positive way. Where many people would have returned home and written a morose I-should-have-done-something-better-with-my-life kind of song, Oechsle preferred to look on the bright side, capturing the essence of life in an alt-pop banger in that typically meticulous Halcyon Drive writing style. In words made famous in Monty Python, ‘Only Youth’ teaches us to “always look on the bright side of life.” 

Despite the unassuming stories behind their music, Halcyon Drive have an excellent reputation as live performers. Their reputation precedes them, and if you’re trawling the internet for videos or have seen the band in action for yourself, you’ll know their energy is intense. “Yeah, that’s kind of what we’re all about,” Oechsle says.

“It’s the type of people we are – I think it especially comes from [drummer] Max, he’s something to watch. A lot of people just come to our show to watch Max because he’s just so into it, he gives 120% at every show.

“It’s [also] about giving a really good performance, making sure every show is 110%.”

In Halcyon Drive’s early days, Oechsle attests they had some pretty flat shows, realising quickly they had to stop. “Every show, no matter whether it’s a tiny pub or a huge stage, it’s 110%. That’s kind of an ethos for us.

“If someone’s not stepping up to the plate we have no problem telling each other about it. So that’s the kind of internal culture we strive for at Halcyon Drive HQ.”

Oechsle says that their “honesty is the best policy” mantra has been a contributor to their success to this point. “Max and I have a pretty good creative relationship,” he says. “We drive each other nuts sometimes I’m sure, but we’re pretty used to telling each other what we’re thinking, we don’t really hold back. It’s all healthy, it’s all good.”

A reflection of that healthy banter and strong work ethic will certainly continue in Halcyon Drive’s future music, but we might not get a follow up to ‘Only Youth’ before the year is out. Instead, Oechsle says 2018 will go out with a great song and a few greater shows. Halcyon Drive sat on ‘Only Youth’ for a time, much like the steady trickle of releases we’ve had this year, but Oechsle says they could only put out the songs when the time was right. 

“This album process has been very drawn out, new songs a year, year-and-a-half old, it’s nice to get this out there in the world – it’s nice to finally have people hear it. I do remember being excited about this song once upon a time,” Oechsle says.

“I’m excited about it being out there in a different way – not the same excitement of when we recorded it, but you get excited about different things, new people hearing it, playing it live.”