Dylan Gers, Son of Iron Maiden Guitarist Janick Gers, Talks About His Singer-Songwriter Single “Moon Rise”

It’s always quaint to see the children of heavy metal’s most esteemed artists strive to make similar careers for themselves as musicians, but far more often than not, such attempts fall well short of expectations.

Dylan Gers, though, might wind up being an exception. The son of Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers, Dylan is following in the footsteps of such Maiden offspring as Lauren Harris, George Harris (The Raven Age), Austin Dickinson (Rise to Remain, As Lions), and Griffin Dickinson (SHVPES). However, what sets Gers apart from the rest is that his music sidesteps heavy metal and hard rock entirely.

More similar to the likes of Richard Thompson, Nick Drake, and Vini Reilly, Dylan Gers is drawn more toward the introspective, confessional side of dark music, and today he releases his debut single “Moon Rise.” Equal parts pastoral and brooding, he captures that unmistakable, English singer-songwriter style impeccably on the new track. We caught up with Dylan to learn more about “Moon Rise” and his upbringing as the son of a metal icon.

What can you tell us about your background?
Dylan Gers: I was born in London and moved to the Northeast of England (a place called Middlesbrough where the greatest football team in the world reside) at the age of 3 and lived there until I went to university. So I consider myself a Northerner! I would consider my upbringing quite normal: I went to a state school and tried to fit in, so I shaved my hair off trying to be like everyone else thinking I was cool. Until I moved to uni, I realized you can be who want, so the leather jacket came out!

What drew you to be a singer-songwriter?
Ever since I picked up the guitar I wanted to do music for the rest of my life, initially In a  band, but it’s very hard to get a band together and keep them together and keep that engine  running and after joining many bands I decided the only real person I can trust to keep the  ‘engine’ running was myself, then I just spontaneously started writing lyrics which I believe  could become songs and that a how moon rise became my first song.

Who are your biggest musical influences, especially regarding your own songwriting?
Nick Drake, The Doors (Jim in particular) The Beatles, Jeff Beck and so on. I would consider many of the musicians I’ve meet throughout my life also very influential seeing how they work and incorporating that in my own style. A range of different musical influences I grew up listening to Led Zep and Deep Purple with Gillan’s banshee screaming which still blows me away. It’s hard to pinpoint just a few bands but that’s an overview.

I like the sparseness of “Moon Rise.” What can you tell us about the track?
I guess the sparseness was to how I felt as a person during that time in my life, I went through a horrible breakup and everything was flipped upside down, the story of it is trying to get back but realizing that there’s no point and the ‘copious demand’ was too much and it’s just better to move on.

How much does “Moon Rise” inform listeners about where your songwriting is going? Is it similarly minimalist?
Moon Rise was my first attempt at songwriting, I enjoy the track myself and I’m confident in it, but I feel as my songwriting will evolve my songs will change, incorporating different elements but keeping the same vibe. I guess the reason why it’s so minimalist is due to the specific emotions I was feeling at the time which are very much easy to explain but so difficult to let go of. I believe it is also something most people have gone through in their lives which is why it didn’t need to be maximalist. The feelings I felt at the time were so heavy that I felt the song needed to be minimalistic and lighter bodied.

And here come the inevitable questions. What was it like having a dad in one of the biggest bands on the planet?
A blessing and a curse. My entire childhood I was just known as the “son of Iron Maiden,” so trying to carve out your own identity is hard and always will be when your father is in that status of a job. When I was in college I had people come up to me saying, “Why are you studying? You don’t need to do that, your dad is in so and so,” but that’s not what life is about and it’s not what I want my life to be about either.

How daunting is it to try to create your own art that stands apart from your father’s?
Very much so, I hope everyone doesn’t just pass me off as someone who’s trying to make an ‘Iron Maiden 2’ and realize that I have a style which gravitates away from the gain of guitars. As much as I do love a Strat going through a Marshall stack, that’s not what I’m about as of now.

How supportive has Janick been of your own journey into music?
He is very wise, and has always given me the best advice, telling me about the beauty of being a musician as well as the difficulties.

Just for kicks, what’s your favorite Iron Maiden song, and why?
“Strange World”, it just takes you away to a different place, a happier place. Something which is completely different from any other Maiden song they ever did. Closely followed by “The Prophecy” for that beautiful outro. Thank you, Dave Murray!

Is there an EP or a full-length album on the horizon? What can we expect from you in the immediate future?
Hopefully I will be releasing an EP in the future. I have been writing many songs, so am hoping to get them out. I cannot give an answer to whether or not this future is near, but I can guarantee that meanwhile I will continue working on my songwriting and create as much as I can.

Follow Dylan Gers on Instagram.