UK Heavy Prog Rock band HeKz have announced a new line up, with a double concept album ‘Terra Nova’ set for a 2022 release. A single will follow shortly (teaser below), with the first part of the album set for an EP release later in 2021.
Having built up a cult following with their flawless musicianship and sound that marries Prog, 80’s Melodic Metal and AOR, HeKz told MetalTalk that Matt Young has been joined by drummer Moyano el Buffalo and Pieter Beemsterboer on keyboards, with a guitarist set to be named since contractual obligations are satisfied.
Young said: “HeKz has always been a musical chimera, fusing elements of Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and Progressive music. The new line up reflects that perfectly – we have got a Prog guy, a Metal guy and a Rock guy. On paper that is an odd mix, but the chemistry is undeniable. This album is the next logical step in the band’s evolution.”
MetalTalk spoke in an exclusive interview with HeKz founder and leader Matt Young about the changes and what to expect from the band next.
Can you tell us about the new lineup and new music HeKz are creating?
Matt Young: “This all happened by accident, really. I had been feeling frustrated with the progress of HeKz for quite a while.
“This band has been my baby since I was 12 years old and, in spite of my best efforts to move forward with new music, I felt that HeKz was stagnating. Right when I was starting to lose hope, the new line up came together quite unexpectedly and gave me a renewed sense of purpose.
“I’m currently sworn to secrecy on the identity of the new guitarist, but I can tell you about the other guys. I’ve known Moyano [drums] for years now, and we’ve played dozens of shows together under various guises, not least Metalworks and Shot Through The Heart. We also had a short-lived stint as the rhythm section for a great hard rock band called Trophies of Man.
“Last year, Moyano recorded drums for my ‘Maidens of Mercury’ project and I was so impressed with his approach on that project that when it came to putting the new line up together, he was my first thought. He is such a versatile and musical drummer and is a perfect fit for HeKz.
“I hear shades of Nicko McBrain, Neil Peart and Ian Paice in his playing, but he has a flair all his own. He can really crank up the heavy dial too. His double kick playing is ferocious and just wait until you see the kit he is using for this new record!
“I’ve known Pieter [Beemsterboer (ex-Black Rabbit)] for a few years. We first met when he was working as a tech for a gig that HeKz played in The Netherlands. We got on well and kept in touch and I soon came to discover him to be a man of many hidden musical talents, particularly on the keys.
“His lead playing is out of this world and his musical ear is incredible. Whenever he sends me something he is working on, I’m equally blown away by the quality of the performance and the awesome sounds he is using.”
How has it felt creating under these strange circumstances?
“It sounds crazy, but this is the most productive I have been in years and that is thanks to these guys. They are so enthusiastic and proactive, it makes working remotely surprisingly easy. And they really sweat when working on their parts!
“Every time they send me a new performance, I drop it into the song we are working on and everything just fits. We’ve managed to find quite an organic process. Starting with my original demos, Moyano will compose and record his drum performance, I will add the bass before sending it to the others, then guitars and keys happen almost simultaneously.
“And everyone is playing for the song, which is the most important thing about this music. There is a time to be technical and impressive and a time to reign it in and tell the story.”
What are you hopes for this year in music?
“2021 will be all about finishing the album. The first single is coming in the Spring, then after that the first part of the album will be released as an EP. Though it is something that I really have been missing, knowing that live shows are not going to happen for a little while makes it easier to double-down on getting this new music made to the highest possible standard.
“Of course, as soon as it is possible and safe to do so, there will be some live HeKz shows, but until then we want to focus on creating something truly extraordinary.
“If things continue the way they have started, I think that we just might.”