From mere acorns do mighty oaks grow!!! When Horisont released their debut album on Crusher Records in 2009 it caused a small ripple in the underground amongst the cognoscenti but with the release of “Second Assault” on the much larger Rise Above stable they’re all set to take their retro fired brand of bluesy progressive hard rock to a much wider audience. I recently fired some questions over to see what makes them tick.
Your name will be familiar with a lot of people having been mentioned around the underground for quite a while now but less people may be familiar with the history of the band. Please give us a brief history of how the band formed and the current members.
Me (Charles), Pontus and Magnus had been playing together for a few years but were still looking for a singer when we got in touch with Axl who had just moved down to Gothenburg from another city. He had a friend from back home that played guitar (Kristofer) and after a few months of different constellations we finally ended up as Horisont.
For us ignorant Brits, what does the band’s name mean?
Horisont just means Horizon and it came from one of the earlier songs we did.
You’ve recently released your 2nd album, “Second Assault” on Rise Above Records. How did you hook up with Rise Above and what prompted the move from Crusher Records who released your debut “Två Sidor Av Horisonten” in 2009?
No one in the band remembers how it happened but maybe there was an email or someone we met at a concert. We love Crusher Records and Peter who runs it is now our manager, a terrific guy indeed. We moved over to Rise Above because we liked the label and because of Rise Above’s much wider fan base. They have a really good reputation so you get a lot of attention just by being signed by them. Even if Crusher is an awesome label with great bands many people have never heard of it and that makes it difficult to get new fans.
How is the relationship with Rise Above? Is this a long term plan or a one off deal?
It is very good. It’s an awesome label and they are very generous and passionate so no complaints at all. We really like Lee and Will and had a really good time hanging out with them at our Pentagram support show in London. The deal we made is for three albums.
Your sound is very reminiscent of the classic rock and metal bands of the early 70’s. What is it that appeals to you about this era and what bands do you look to for inspiration?
We really like that authentic sound of the bands of that era, when you listen to it, it’s almost as if the band was playing in your living room. It’s not over produced and manipulated the way things are a lot of the times today. It has a lot of soul and feeling to it. We like the bluesier stuff like Fleetwood Mac and Savoy Brown just as much as we enjoy the harder stuff like Scorpions, Thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath. Inspiration comes from any good song or band really, you never know what will be the starting point of a new song.
You have achieved a very vintage sound on the new album. How did you get this, did you use vintage gear or did you manage to recreate it using modern technology?
It is all vintage equipment, from the instruments to the tape recorder and mixing table. Through the whole process there wasn’t a single computer in use and that is the way Don the producer likes to do it. As long as the end result is good I personally don’t really care if it was made with modern equipment or not even though it is kind of cool with the big old stuff. We are very pleased with the sound and that’s the most important.
The 70’s look and sound is very popular at the moment and Sweden seems to be at the centre of things with band such as yourselves, Graveyard and Witchcraft. Is there a close scene of bands over there? Why do you think Sweden has embraced this style?
This is a tricky question. Why do so many 70’s rock bands come from Sweden? I do not have a clue. We have all been listening to this kind of music and dressing like this since we where about 14-15 years old. It’s just natural for us in Horisont, we did not know about Witchcraft when we started and Graveyard wasn’t even born as a band back then. We just played music we liked and other people liked us playing it. Graveyard are awesome and are getting a lot of attention in Sweden right now which of course gets new people interested in the scene which is great for us.
Your songs achieve a balance between rocking hard but also having quite complex structures. How do you go about creating your songs?
Most of the time the vocal melody and chords come first. And then it’s all about making it better with riffs, solos, lyrics etc. Don Ahlsterberg who produced the album is a bit of a visionary and changed the structure of our songs quite a bit which opened our eyes to a new way of thinking.
What inspires the band lyrically?
Axl writes about things that he’s been through in his life most of the times. For example I know that ‘On the Run’ is about his old friend that killed himself.
Both of your albums have been released on CD and vinyl, which format do you prefer? Vinyl seems to be making a comeback recently, why do you think this is?
We all really enjoy listening to and shopping for vinyl. I used to buy CD’s but I like the sound of vinyl better. I think vinyl is coming back because the advantages of the CD, such that it is smaller and you can rewind and skip songs, doesn’t really matter nowadays when everybody uses mp3-players or computers when they are on the move. When at home music lovers like to collect and be able to look at the cover and in that department the vinyl is superior.
What plans do you have to tour in support of the album? Is it hard to juggle the band with your home lives?
We just came home from a two week tour of Germany, France and Spain. We are doing some gigs in Sweden soon and then going back to Germany in November. We are planning a big European tour next spring and try to play as much as possible in Sweden in the meantime. It is getting harder and harder taking so much time off from work and studies but so far it has been working out for us.
What other bands, both Swedish and internationally would you recommend to the Shaman’s readership to check out?
Dean Allen Foyd and Spiders from Crusher Records are both great! I think Danava is a cool band also.
What are the future plans for Horisont? Is there another album on the horizon (forgive me for that one) or plans to visit Britain (I know a good booking agent over here!!!)?
In January or so we are going back in to the studio to make our third album and hopefully we can release it in the autumn of 2013. Other than that we just have to gig as much as we can. I really hope that Britain will be a part of our big spring tour 2013 and it probably will. We had a really good time there when we played with Graveyard.
Keep up to date with Horisont over on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/horisontmusic.
Interviewed by: Ollie Stygall