"If there's a really good show we're always ready to play, it's not all about the money"
With the Swedish retro hard rockers Horisont releasing their new incredible album, we ask from lead singer Axel Söderberg to share with us his thoughts and to answer some questions regarding the sound of "About Time". Read bellow all the interesting things he had to say.
Before we start talking about the new record let me ask you a couple of things about the current status of the band. Between "Odyssey" and "About Time" Tom Sutton left the band and you find his replacement in David Kalin. Why Tom left and how you came up with David?
Well Tom started his bands Order Of Israfel and Night Viper where he writes all the material before joining Horisont, and in Horisont it's mostly me. So when shows with the bands started to clash he had to make a choice and he decided to go with his other bands. No hard feelings and we wish him the best. The good thing is if he hadn't left we would never have found David. We put up an ad online not saying that we were Horisont because we didn't want someone in the band just because they knew about us. He auditioned and that was that. He is a great guitar player and singer.
The second major event was your moving to Century Media. How the deal came up? Are you satisfied with the new record company and was it hard to leave Rise Above?
We wouldn't be where we are if it hadn't been for Rise Above. We had a 3 record deal with them and when that ran out and got in touch with CM we felt that it was time to move on.
Now let’s talk about the album. First of all I want to congratulate you because once again your work is amazing...
Thank you! We started writing around the time Odyssey came out so it feels like ages ago that we wrote some of the songs. We did as we always done. We did some demos to start with before starting to record for real.
The production is simply perfect. When I was listening to the album I had the feeling that I was in the same room with you guys playing. How you manage to make the album sound so warm, real and organic? Who was the producer?
The thing with recording demos before going in to the studio is that you sometimes end up liking the demos better than the album. So, to prevent that we recorded the album ourselves and in our own studio, so most of the demos ended up on the actual album. The only thing we did to get this sound was to record the instruments the way they sound in being there listening to them. We don't want them to sound any other way and I don't think we have the technical skills. We had some help with the drums but other than that it's all us.
Although "About Time" has the distinct sound of Horisont, I think that you let yourselves in a more '80s mood. You know... I’m talking about this AOR feeling with the synthesizers taking the lead here and there and some certain melodies (like “Boston Gold”). Was this something that you did deliberately or the songs just came up that way?
I'm a big fan of AOR and been trying to get that element into the band since day one. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don’t like the seventies hard rock that's my main inspiration but I think that the fact that I've been pulling in that direction while the other guys wants more blues and metal is the thing that has made us sound the way we do.
How you came up with the idea of having a cover song as an opener in the album? Why did you choose this certain song? Great job by the way you really made it sound like a Horisont song. Would you consider doing another cover in the albums yet to come?
I like doing cover songs, and I think the Hive is a perfect choice because there's no way we can make it exactly like the Richard Harris version with the whole orchestra and everything. But it's still a really heavy and dark song. You have to do something with the arrangement when doing a cover otherwise you can just go back to the original. But still you have to pay homage to the original and I think we pulled it off with this one. More covers will come, rest assure.
You didn’t make a whole album in Swedish like you said to me the last time (haha), but we have the melancholic “Letare” and it’s quite obvious that your language fits perfect in that song. How you decide which song you going to sing in Swedish? And... maybe it’s weird but the singer doesn’t sound like you.
Maybe will do it the next time [laughs]. It's actually our bass player Magnus making his debut as lead vocalist on that one. So he wrote the song and lyrics for that one. It's always hard to decide sometimes we do two versions of a song one in English and one in Swedish.
Your tradition in making cool videos is preserved. “Electrical” has this retro kind of aspect but let me tell you that “About Time” was beautiful. I’m thinking though that it is quite a bizarre choice because it’s not the “commercial” song that someone could use as a video/single? Would you mind giving us some more details about them?
When we recorded the song we had no idea how it was going to turn out. It was a last minute addition and there were no vocal melodies whatsoever finished. But it turned out great. We put out music that we think people SHOULD listen to, not what we think they would like.
Give us some info about the title and the sci-fi/horror cover. Was it something you asked and has to do with the lyrical themes of the album?
It's actually from the lyrics from the song "About Time". A guy trying to stop himself from going back in time...
I see that you already have announced some European shows. I saw the schedule and once again it’s quite tight with you giving a show every day for 2 weeks or so. How difficult is that, to play then get in the van and go to the next city, day after day after day...?
Well I guess it gets pretty rough after about one or one and a half weeks, but then after a while you get into some sort of mode and go on autopilot for the rest of the tour. It's always the beginning and the end of the tours you remember the rest is sort of a blur of good times.
Last year you did an American tour. How did it go? Share with us some of your experiences.
The tour went awesome. We got a very good reception over there and we loved it! From the time when Magnus got lost in Hollywood while partying and the 24h drives oozing with pain in back and butt cheeks.
Because I don’t have money to travel abroad to see you again performing live, what you would say to a Greek promoter in order to convince him to make you an offer and bring Horisont in Greece again?
If there's a really good show we're always ready to play, it's not all about the money.
I told you before and I’m telling you again, your country has an amazing rock scene. In your opinion which are the current active Swedish bands that everyone should check.
Yuri Gagarin, Gehenna, Mellowmen, Stratosphere, Lady Banana and Uran.