Born under the wide skies of Calgary’s prairie and into a military family, Danniel Oickle has travelled all over the world but his heart has always remained in Canada. Having started studying music at the age of 5 with both the violin and the piano, his interest in the subject would only amplify with time. After the criminal conviction of both of his siblings’s teachers, his burgeoning folk-singer mother would sacrifice her career and pull her children from the system in order to homeschool them. Though her professional career in music was over, she would instill in all her children a love of music and lyrics. As Danniel grew, he would hone his musical skills at church with his mother and soon moved from singing harmonies to being a favoured soloist.
When he reached the age of 16 he started writing his own material, piano based eclectic tunes that were lyrically, emotionally, and vocally intricate. To attain a Canadian high school diploma, Danniel returned to public school for the last years of high school, and by 18, he was sneaking out of the house to attend clubs to see the local underground Toronto acts. It was there, and through the friends he met at this time, that he was exposed to a wider range of music, including experimental and genre-defying artists who would greatly influence his evolution. With a love of all art forms, Danniel delved into the worlds of visual and performance art, experimenting with all forms of expression.
By 21 he came out as an LGBT activist, and by 22 was performing as the lead in the revival of the musicals HAIR and then The Who’s Tommy, thus establishing himself as a local singer and performer all while completing a degree in Image & Communication, at the University of Ottawa. Using what he learned in school and his love for experimentation and expression, Danniel shaved his head and recorded his first live demo of piano tunes, Banshee. Using the contacts he had in school and one of the songs from his demo, he created an installation art piece where he locked himself in a barren apartment for 24 hours on camera, with only the one song playing. The resulting footage would become the music video for “This Sting in Me,” which he would later release on his debut album.
Taking a few years to focus on other art forms, and gaining international exposure for his visual arts, it wasn’t until 2008 when Danniel returned to his first love, music. With the improvements in home recording and the gift of a MacBook from his husband, Danniel was able to create unrestricted. Using three tracks from his live Banshee demo, seven new electro-pop tunes, and mastered for a lo-li 1980s underground sound, Danniel released his retro-styled dystopian debut album Poison Apples & Other Delicacies, 2011. Due to budgetary restraints, Danniel released the album to little fanfare or press. But once a copy made it to the editor of the Montreal based 2B Magazine, Danniel was offered the cover of their special Pride edition. This was only the start. Another local artist, C.C. Trubiak, invited Danniel to produce his folk album, They Say I’m Different, which would later go on to be nominated by Xpress as “Best Album 2011” and “Best New Musical Act” for the album launch performance with Danniel on the piano and as a backup vocalist.
Like a snowball rolling downhill and gathering strength as it speeds up, Danniel ran into his second release, a collection of remixes from Poison Apples and two new songs. Donning what would become his iconic satyr costume of fur pants and horns, The Corruption of Flesh - EP was released on Nov.18, 2011 with a full live performance (featuring special guests Olexandra Pruchnicky of The Peptides and C.C. Trubiak), a visual arts exposition, an installation art piece, and a videography presentation at the renowned SAW Gallery and corresponding Club SAW. Though far from mainstream, and produced and released without any financial assistance, Danniel’s first two albums managed to gain him the reputation as an “Electro-Poet,” outside the mainstream and bucking the system.
By no means hindering this reputation, Danniel had released a book of poetry the year before his debut album. Dancing in Silence would become the lyrical backdrop for his first two albums, and after their release, would rise to be the #1 Canadian Poetry book on iTunes. As with Poison Apples, Danniel released music videos for a handful of the songs from the album, each offering a different character, a different side to the kaleidoscope that Danniel was becoming. Never shying away from controversy, Danniel posed completely nude in the video For You, causing some reviewers to make accusations of “selling-sex” while others commented on his willingness to be completely intimate with his audience. One thing they agreed on: Danniel was fearless.
Taking time to collaborate with other artists, it wasn’t until 2013 that Danniel was poised for another release. Having created a visual world for each of his previous releases, Danniel wasn’t about to stop now. This time, people were waiting for it, interested in the visual and artistic realms he would dive into. Having learned a lot about the industry over the last three years but still maintaining his independence and autonomy, Danniel was ready for his most ambitious release to date. Starting, as he did before, Danniel released a book of poetry entitled My Heart Has Teeth, 2011, with a corresponding art exhibit at the internationally renowned La Petite Mort Gallery. Some of the corresponding publication photographs by Jonathan Hobin would lead to death threats and talk of whether or not Danniel was pushing too far. But Danniel wasn’t done yet.
Praised as one who never sacrificed his art for mainstream success, Danniel wasn’t about to let industry professionals tell him to tone it down. Collaborating with artists like the soulful Emmanuel Simon (previously performing with the Lauren Hill) to Daniel Lockhart and his virtual collaboration via ReverbNation, Danniel was back to experimenting and pushing the boundaries. Featuring seven performance and writing collaborations, three reinvented cover songs, and one song he had written for the Dan Ziemkiewicz erotic film entitled SILK, Danniel Oickle’s third release came out with a full frontal assault on Dec. 12, 2013. Complete with a new band and the vintage pornographic videography of VJ Ina, Danniel hit the stage and belted out Blitzkrieg!. Taking the World War II aesthetic, the German war tactic of blitzkrieg, and the iconic Royal Military College scarlets of Canada, splashing them with a vintage glam-rock appeal and a raw musical sound, Blitzkrieg! would become his most critically acclaimed venture. The reviews were in, and it was being praised from the art-sphere of New York with FourCulture calling it “perfect” to Australia with an hourlong radio broadcast interview.
Because of the fanfare and critical praise, Danniel was recognized as one of the “Top 5 Trendsetters of 2013” by Style Magazine, and “The Sun is Up” was chosen as one of the “Top 10 Songs of 2013” by Sound Seekers. After a few select performances and the release of the acclaimed music video “The Bed” filmed by the award winning Bonnie Findley, Danniel suffered an emotional blow with four familial deaths. Causing a disruption in the promotion of his album, he decided that instead of fighting it, he would take it and grow. Never one to follow the rules, he decided to sell his house and almost everything he had and move to Montréal where he currently lives reclusively, biding his time and creating. Having grown from singing at the pulpit of a southern baptist style church to being “crucified” on the cover of a national LGBT magazine, Danniel Oickle is waiting for the perfect time to rebirth himself onto the scene. There is more to come. ...like Guillotine.