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Katsuk (right): “I wanted to take my time with this album.” Photo by Vishal Malhotra.

Daniel Katsuk is always looking for ways to spark an emotional response from his audience. The renaissance man dabbles in about a dozen creative outlets, including writing, acting, and yoga. Songwriting is still his bailiwick, though even that is informed by his many other artistic pursuits. After a few years of personal transformation, KatsüK (the moniker given to his band) is readying for the release of a new album, Labyrinth, this fall. The 14 songs on the record represent a new, sweeping direction for the area muso.

Katsuk spent nearly a decade playing with Fort Worth gypsy-rockers Spoonfed Tribe, after which he formed his own group, A-hummin’ Acoustical Acupuncture, before changing directions in the late 2000s and starting KatsüK.

KatsüK’s last album, 2012’s Zero Point, was written from a dark place for the artist, and its heavy, aggressive tunes oozed intensity. Not long after releasing the album, Katsuk wrote a new song, “There & Back Again,” and started to change the thematic focus of his music. He pivoted towards long, epic, movie score type pieces. Two years ago, the thirtysomething traveled to New Zealand in an attempt to land “There & Back Again” on the soundtrack to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies to no avail.

Labyrinth is nearly the polar opposite of Zero Point. Written over the past four years and (mostly) recorded incrementally at Soul Catcher Studios in Fort Worth, the slower creative pace is new to Katsuk. The album builds, soars, and takes the listener on a voyage.

“I have studied labyrinths and our journeys through them for a while,” he said. “I wanted to take my time with this album. I didn’t want anything to be rushed. I am usually pretty impatient, so it was very important to me that this album unfold naturally.”

The result is songs of hope and personal progress. On the track “Clowns,” Katsuk emotionally croons, “Life goes on” –– a message that resonates throughout the record, regardless of how intense some of the themes of the album get.

Katsuk’s goal for the self-produced record was to allow people to “have breath.”

“I wanted movements that would build to an explosion but then allow the song to slow back down,” Katsuk said. “I want the songs to be accessible to everyone, so I use a lot of metaphor. I want people to draw their own conclusions, but I still want the core message to be heard. We aren’t alone, we are connected, [and] we care for each other.”

Last fall, Katsuk found himself in Colorado performing in The Portal, a rock-opera that has since been slated for a run off-Broadway this winter. He is still unsure whether or not he will join the cast in New York.

“It’s like moving from the minor leagues to the majors,” he said. “I’ve been a musician all my life, and being in the cast in Colorado was an amazing opportunity for me, but there are people that have trained their whole lives to make it there.”

Katsuk has been taking acting classes to prepare himself if the opportunity for Big Apple stardom arises, an endeavor he believes is helping him grow in every aspect as a performer.

“I think that everyone, not just those that want to act, should take acting classes,” he said. “I feel like this has recharged me. It has made me aware of my interactions with people, be it on stage, with the audience, in a bar, a park, or a yoga studio.”

Just as he took his time creating and recording his new material, Katsuk said he doesn’t want to rush the release of Labyrinth.

“It wouldn’t be right to have rushed the release of the record without being able to give it the proper attention,” he said. “The album is done. I have it in my hands already, but I want to plan something befitting it.”

[box_info]KatsüK
Sat, July 23, w/ The Cush at Shipping & Receiving, 201 S Calhoun St, FW. $10. 817-877-9313. [/box_info]

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