Please introduce your band
We are a 2-5 piece Celtic Infused Alternative Rock Band from Colorado! Our style is unique and doesn’t fit any one genre.
Tell us about your lineup
Melissa Lycan the vocalist was privately instructed in piano for 6 years from the age of 7 when she began to compose her own songs and focused heavily on academics, Though she never stopped writing. She had three vocal instructors including Lance Bendiksen of Bendiksen Productions and has compiled thousands of songs/poems over the last 20 years. In addition to her Bachelor of Music Business at Full Sail University, she holds a Masters Degree in Business Intelligence.
Jason Lycan has been building unique melodies on his guitar for 25 years as a self-educated musician. Jason has played music in several bands playing stages with artists like TRAPT, THC, FLAW, HED PE, ONE-EYED DOLL, SALIVA and more. He is endorsed by Talon Pics in Denver, CO and continues to pursue a wide range of musical endeavours including his Hard Rock band Something For Tomorrow.
Haiden Davis is classically trained through Denver School of the Arts for both Middle School and High School. He has performed in venues like Carnegie Hall, Denver CPA and colleges and orchestras across the United States. He is a Currently attending the University of Colorado Denver as well as having a strong live performance background with his own EDM project called Haise India.
Tracy Stokes has been on the keys for over 40 years. Her talent and ability to write and perform adds a unique season to the bands already tasteful flavour. She has produced and performed in many bands over her tenure. Notably a prior producer with Avalanche Recording in Boulder.
Joe Ponzi has been on rhythm 🥁 for 25 years playing both bass and drums. His tribal drum additions to Nordic Daughter in 2020 have brought the band to the next level as he insists on click tracks.
How did the band meet?
Nordic Daughter is more than just a musical project it is an experience in variety, acceptance, love and logic. The musical concepts behind the music build a sense of intimacy with the audience that can only be described as genuine and authentic. The vocal stylings of Melissa Lycan are unique yet classic and the songs she delivers are heartfelt and blended. The project began in 2014 after years of working in the music business the members chose to write the first versions of the songs and debuted in 2016.
What's the story behind your band name?
The husband and wife team that formed the band are both heavily Scandinavian in their DNA. Melissa was born in Alaska and is heavily connected to her family. Her father and son share the name Bjarne. It was not a difficult fit.
Tell us about your influences!
We are influenced heavily by 90s industrial and new wave but we are also children of the ’70s. We grew up in an analogue and a digital world so the appreciation for raw music and the ability to perform it as well as manipulate the sound is what makes the music timeless. We also love the outdoors, so our tours are influenced by where we want to spend time off stage!
Could you describe your approach to songwriting?
Traditionally Jason will pluck away on a new riff and Melissa will begin humming along to it. Once the song has a melodic structure, Melissa will write the lyrics to it. Once we are solid there we add the rest of the band into the process and work our timing and dynamic from there. Sometimes, Melissa writes a poem and the music comes after but it is more difficult to match her classical training to the alternative style.
Describe your band's first big break
We were finalists in our first songwriting competition with CoMBO, our first single in 2017. The duo performed live at the Hard Rock Cafe in Denver as a result. Since then the band has performed with artists like Lita Ford, Trapt, Cold, Stitched up Heart, Jack Russell and Great White, Lost Point and Michael Morrow, selling out venues up to 500.
Tell us about some of your most memorable gigs - both good and bad!
Interestingly enough our best gig wasn’t huge but it was a memorable part of our very first tour, and our worst gig was at the same venue a year later on tour. We were touring the West Coast with Haven Yates, an amazing up and coming songwriter and producer. We booked a gig in Redding, CA at a dinner theatre joint called Armando’s. The gallery of antiquities was impressive and the dinner was incredible. The room was packed wall to wall with the most wonderful fans I have ever met. The hospitality was on point! The following year we returned expecting a beautiful welcome like the year before and we found a handful of fans from the previous year, no food, no host (he was MIA), and a filthy run-down establishment. We also were never paid or fed by the owner the second year. It was night and day!
What advice do you have to those who want to start a band?
Make sure you have a strong core. Vocals and guitar. These are the focal points of writing and they have musical control. If you lose them you start over from scratch in most cases. Register with a rights agency. Build yourself on your own but work with local video, studios and promoters. Tour at least once a year on your own dime. Enjoy the process and consider it an adventure.
What are some of the challenges you face being in a band?
Our drummer decided not to come on tour with us last minute like the day before we left on our second tour, you know how girlfriends can be. Fortunately, our bass players first instrument was drums. We were able to find a studio to practice at before our gig in Salt Lake City and get him up to speed. The band ended up touring without a bass player instead of a drummer.
What does it take to be successful as a band?
Marketing and catchy music really. I think people are looking for authenticity and unique styles because many things have been done before. Persistence is also important. We have had to replace our violin player three times and we are also on our third drummer in just four years. We had two bass players and now have a keyboard player instead. Guitar and vocals are the crux of the band and the music. That pair has been together for 14 years and touring goals are aligned. Make sure musicians want the same things because many people can’t even tour for a month every year.
How important is music theory?
Music Theory is important for songwriting, scratch tracking, recording and performance. The old adage, timing is everything is so very true. The dynamic and feel of the music is dependent on the little starts and stops, the notes, the keys for the vocalist’s range and for the band itself to align on stage. I can’t tell you how many times we drop songs half steps to accommodate vocals.
Tell us about the releases you've put out to date
Our first and second albums were received very well. The first; “Forgotten” was recorded & released in 2017 in Boulder with just Jason and Melissa. Our producer Ahrue Luster programmed drums and bass and we found a violin player at the end of the process to track a few songs on the first album. The second album; “The Path” was recorded at The Keep in Denver and released in 2018. We began recording the third album in 2019 with Haven Yates in Oregon and finished 3 singles that were released in 2020. We didn’t have as much of a marketing budget in 2020 due to a lack of touring.
What has been your band's biggest achievement?
The bands biggest achievement has been our songwriting. We are being considered for a few sync placements right now but I can’t discuss them yet. We have been working hard to make a touring agenda and recently began practising our keynote concert series. Just being able to create music is an achievement, and the fact that we play with people we love and admire makes all the difference.
How do you view the current state of the music industry?
The current state of the industry is bleak. Independent artists will continue to struggle and now that COVID is changing the touring market many bands won’t survive unless they can get out full time. Sync becomes more important than ever to keep financials on track for artists but I have heard many big bands sold their royalties to their labels to pay the bills last year.
What are you working on right now?
We are finishing our third album now that things are opening back up in Colorado. I have a song we are tracking now that is just epic. I know you will love it. This new album with host the three singles from 2020 and build upon the new lineup. We have ten songs on the new album that will speak to the soul and stick to your bones!
What is your focus for the year ahead?
We are planning for 2022 tour seasons. We have been a bit tentative In booking this year due to the number of gigs we cancelled last year. Taking this time to truly plan our marketing strategy and tour routes will only serve us as a group moving forward. We are offering keynote concerts to a few lucky people at a discount to get our feet underneath us. Fortunately, 2020 has allowed us to build a stronger team that has the same goals and aspirations for touring.
Thank you so much for dropping by the WeJam studio! Where can we follow your progress?