"Odyssey" will be the fourth full length album for Sweden band Horisont and also a superb addition to the contemporary retro hard rock scene. Singer Axel Söderberg was asked for the details behind the new album. You can read below all the interesting things he told as about the music direction and the sound of "Odyssey" but you will also get the chance to learn who is responsible for the band's great video and when he was abducted by ...aliens.
Hi Axel. Can you tell us what happened these two years since the release of time warriors? I think there have been some changes in the lineup of the band...
Yes Kristofer had to leave the band for personal reasons but he's still a good friend. Replacement came in the form of Aussie heavy rock veteran Tom Sutton. We've met him a bunch of times on tour and we became friends. He then moved to Gothenburg he started filling in for Kristofer a bunch of time so we were stoked when said yes to joining the band.
I want to congratulate you for the new album. It's a great effort from you guys. What are the main differences you see between "Odyssey" and your previous albums?
For starters this one is technically way more complicated. And then we added some synthesizers to the mix. We've had more time writing and recording the album so it's a lot more thought through. Musically it's a very diverse album with prog, metal, '70s hard rock and even some AOR thrown in there.
Starting with an epic 10-minute song is quite a brave move. How did you come with that decision and how did this song come up? We haven't be used with such songs from you.
It really started as a joke but as the idea grew we realized that we had to make it happen. People tend to say it's a bold move with a ten minute song and especially as an opener. But I really think it's one of those songs that when it ends you go 'Was that really ten minutes?'.
Why did you choose the title "Odyssey"? What's the story behind the cover and the lyrics?
The cover art tells the story behind the concept of the album, a fictional Odyssey of mankind. That mankind was placed on earth by a group of alien masterminds. And i guess odyssey also could reflect the almost ten year long journey of playing in a band with four other knuckleheads. There a few songs that falls out of that frame. The usual songs about drinking and being on the road with an idiot behind the wheel.
I can't help but think of many great bands while listening to your new music. I get Rush in "Flying", Yes in "Timmarna", Styx in "Back On The Streets"... am I right? Have these band influenced you in some way?
Ideas to songs can come from anywhere and any genre of music. But I guess our influences always shines through I guess. I'm really a huge fan of all those bands.
Why did you choose to use the Swedish language in "Stader Brinner"?
We like doing songs in Swedish, sometimes you just know when a song requires Swedish lyrics. Since I always write lyrics after the music and vocal melody you never know from the start what language it will be. Maybe our next album will be the first one with only Swedish lyrics.
Once again you did great job with your high pitch performance but in this album I think you worked more with your voice trying to bridle its high energy and I think that you did a great job there. How do you feel about your performance?
I feel great! This time I recorded the vocals by myself in my home studio over the course of a month. I didn't have to rush through them like I have done before. I could record when I felt like it and i had more time to work on melodies and also harmonies for once.
The production is very warm and organic. I think that you worked this time with Henrik Magnusson. How did this collaboration take place and which was his part in the making of the album?
He's hands down the best one we've ever worked with. He totally got what we were looking for soundwise. We told him what we wanted to do and he made it happen basically. With that said it was not that he sat quiet while recording when we got out of hands with our ideas he slammed the breaks and told us how to do instead. When we were lost he'd lead the way.
"Break The Limit" was released as a single almost a year ago...why did you make such a move? Also, the '80s vibe is very strong in the video. You almost get the feeling that you watch an old VHS tape that has been recorded 30 years ago... Tell us a few words about it.
We had so much touring going on at the time and we felt we wanted give something to our fans while waiting for the album. Is there really any greater format than VHS? That was what we were looking for no doubt. I love all these late seventies/early eighties performances of that hard rock bands did back then. Every video we've made is made by our bass player and his movie-nerd friends and they always has grand ideas and this one hits the spot.
Are there any other plans for another video?
Yeah! We've just finished the recording this week and it looks great. It's for the song "Bad News" and it should be out any time soon. A really cool sci-fi story of me being probed and cloned by aliens. Lots of cool realistic and expensive hi-tech effects going on.
What goals did you set when you formed the band and where you are standing now regarding those goals?
There's only one goal, to enjoy ourselves. If this shit's starts getting boring I'm outta here.
Are there any plans for a tour?
There's a 6 week tour with cadaver and the shrine coming up in november-december and that will be epic.
You visited Greece two and a half years ago. Your performance was great. I remember the furious guitars, Pontus torturing the leather of his drum set and you drinking 2 pints every time and ending up completely drunk (ha ha). I was in the front row having the time of my life, but the set lasted only an hour. I remember that in the encore you had listed three songs but only played the two. Do you remember anything? Are you willing to return?
Ha,ha, yes sorry 'bout that. I have some memories from that night. All I can say is that it had been a really loooong day. We'd love to come back and then we'll show what a real Horisont set is supposed to sound like. If you'll have us back that is...
If you wanted to draw the attention of someone that hasn't heard of Horisont what would you tell him about your music?
Basically I think we are a straight up Hard Rock band, no bullshit.
Here's a question that I ask every swede that I interview. What's going on up there man? Too many great hard rock bands have risen in the last decade.
Much of it I guess has to do with the fact that we have free music lessons growing up. If you ask any swede they all had to play an instrument when they were young. It was mandatory. And those who liked it kept it up and became great musicians. Why the hard rock act thing has grown so much I'm clueless.
Thank you very much for your time. Hope to see you soon on the road.
Thank you! Stay clean!