We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Binkley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I wouldn’t say that I *pursued* in the past tense, more that I am pursuing. It is an ongoing process that I don’t believe will have a particular end in sight. In my case, I started a band at seventeen, and I did that largely for personal reasons. I was going through a deep depression at the time, dealing with a lot of uncertainty and general angst. The band was – and is – an outlet for that. I know that music certainly has and continues to help me through difficult times, and if my music can resonate with someone going through something the way that so many artist’s music has resonated with me, then I feel I’ll have accomplished something worthwhile. That’s why I pursue this creative career.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Heliosheath is an alternative-metal band with an aggressive, guitar-driven sound. Our lyrics tackle a variety of topics ranging from mental-illness and relationships to politics.
I started the band in mid-2017 shortly after my junior year of high school. It originally started out as a cover-band, however after going through a bad breakup shortly before the start of my senior year, I began writing the material that would eventually become our first EP. That’s when the real journey began.
My teenage years were spent constantly listening to some form of music – mostly hard rock and heavy metal. Whatever emotion I was feeling, positive or negative, there was always a band or song that seemed to capture that experience and help me process it. As my guitar playing improved and my mental health got worse, I started trying to capture these emotions myself through my own songs as a means of processing them. I’ve been doing it ever since. Just as listening is a cathartic experience, writing is a cathartic process. I have hard drives full of demos I’ve recorded over the past few years just waiting to be polished and released. Some of them are already out there.
I am incredibly proud of the recent singles we have released this past year – they’re certainly a step up from our initial EP release in early 2019. That being said, the material that Eli, Zack & I are writing at the moment is an even larger improvement. We’re really coming into our own and finding an interesting and intense sound with these new tracks. I cannot wait to get these recorded and am beyond excited at the prospect of getting to finally share them with everyone – particularly on stage.
I live for live music – feeling the movement of a crowd and connecting with performers on stage is the closest thing I’ve had to anything I would describe as a religious experience. It’s a cathartic, grounding feeling, one that I hope to generate and share with others whenever we’re on stage. We’ve had the opportunity to share the stage with some fantastic groups, both locally and touring, and made some fantastic friends and connections along the way. I’m looking forward to where our next steps take us and who they introduce us to.
The journey thus far has been challenging. We’ve had bad gigs, issues with past band members, long stretches of writers block, you name it – but it’s all been worth it. Every challenge holds a lesson, one that can’t be taught but must be lived. That’s what I love most about Heliosheath – the challenge of it. Through every obstacle we overcome, we learn important lessons that help us grow as both people and as artists. That’s what being in a band is all about – navigating the challenges of life together, capturing those experiences into songs, and sharing those songs with others, hoping that they resonate with it and that your experience helps them in turn.
It’s a cycle of catharsis, one that I’m proud to be a part of.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite spots in Denver are most definitely the venues! I would try to grab a show every day of the week if we could, one at each venue. Globe Hall is a great place to start, but I think the venue that I have the fondest attachment to in Denver is Lost Lake. I’ve seen some great performances there and met some great people.
I also love the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and go every chance I get!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give a shoutout to my mom, for always lending an ear, giving honest opinions about my songs and supporting the process throughout the years. I’d also like to give a shoutout to my guitar teacher and friend Alex Ben-Kori, who financed the production of our very first EP. And of course I’d like to thank Eli and Zack for putting so much effort into this band as well as Katherine and Ivy for being the best partners and merch girls we could ask for.