With a killer album (“Sudden Death”) in hand, nothing seems that can stop Horisont. The Swedish hard/heavy rock machine is working to the fullest and Myth of Rock grabbed the chance and spoke with Axel Söderberg (vocals). If you are in search of info about Horisont and their story, you are in the right place!
by Antonis Mantzavinos
Hello Axel and thank you very much for this interview, I appreciate. I come from Athens Greece, now living permanently in Stockholm, but I have seen Horisont playing live in Greece, so I am a big fan of the band. First of all, how are you and the band coping with all this Corona situation? Do you have a permanent job? Do you work from home?
Hello, I am doing fine, thank you, just came back from work. I work as an audiologist, with hearing aids and stuff for elderly people. I don’t have so much work to do these days, so my work is not too hectic I must say. So, the situation of course is difficult for the whole healthcare system of course, but I guess that hearing aids and hearing check is not a top priority for the people right now. But of course this whole period is very frustrating.
About Greece, I remember very well the first gig there, was that the one when we were super drunk?? We had a really great time, we really enjoyed that gig!
We would like to know a few things/details about the writing process of this record, which follows the highly appreciative “About Time”. When and where was recorded? Who contributes to the music, lyrics etc?. Do you have your own studio, or do you rent one?
We have our own studio that we record our albums. We started basically with the first drum track back in 2017, so it was a long process. Both Charlie and Pontus have kids, so we only recorded when we felt liked it and when time allowed us to do so. I don’t think we were on the studio all together at the same time more than once actually, or maybe not even once! I wrote this time around, didn’t pick up the guitars, I wrote the songs on the piano, I am not a good guitarist, so I am very limited so to speak. I played the bass and guitar on the couple of gigs at the very early gigs of Horisont. The songs came a bit different this time. I wrote the lyrics for my songs and Magnus wrote the lyrics for his songs, I changed some stuff not fitting my singing style, but Magnus always delivers finished songs to the band. Because he can play drums, guitars and he always brings us finished demo songs. That is very convenient of course except the cases that we don’t like them! (laughs..) But, I always write a verse and a chorus and maybe have a bridge and then of course the whole band contributes to finish the song, but on this album I did not write the guitars.
What I find very interesting is the hockey theme related cover. What is the story behind that, which I am sure is related also to the title “Sudden Death”. I know that hockey is very popular in Sweden, so I thought about asking more about hos this is related to the band. Does someone play hockey on a professional or amateur level?
We are definitely not Hockey fans! I think Charlie played Hockey when he was younger, but we are not into Hockey. For the second album we thought about a similar cover, but we never made it that way due to various reasons. We just had that idea on the back of our heads the entire time. It’s not the sport, but it’s the fight theme behind the whole thing, and hockey is ideal to do that, so we would not do a football album!
“Sudden Death” to my humble opinion is the reasonable and obvious continuity of the sound from the previous two records, incorporating a lot of AOR elements, beautiful keyboards with a strong early 80s feeling. How does the band draw influence from that era and generally speaking, which are the main influences of the band? How do you relate to that?
For me, the first time I heard “Turn on the Night” by KISS, I said “wow!” and that was it. I said, well, this might be something. And then I started listening more music from the late 70s, early 80s, and I always tried to get the other guys to that stuff. When I tried to convince them about “Nightrider” (from the first album) they laughed at me and said “no, we can’t play like that”. For me it was like trying to get them to play like that, so the first album was like “72”, the second like “73”, the third like “75”, etc. And now we are at “82”, right? (laughs). So, they always laugh at me at first when I present them with the songs to play, and then at the end they agree with me! I’ve always wanted to challenge the people who listen to us, and the people who love the first album, I wanted to challenge them to like some else, something different. The first 2 albums are really straight forward, they sound like early 70s rock. And then I really wanted putting more heavy metal elements because they were few who played like that at that time. For example, I thought about “why not putting more Status Quo for example?”, and other stuff as well. I don’t want people to get comfortable when listening to Horisont. I am sure we have lost some fans over the years, but I don’t care because I want us to play the music we like and enjoy ourselves. I want new people to join in. We are not AC/DC and we can’t play this the whole time.
There is a song with Swedish lyrics “Gråa dagar”, and its not the first time that the band incorporates a song like that. What do you think about that?
I think it’s the last song that I wrote in Swedish, because usually Magnus writes all the songs with Swedish lyrics. He is a fantastic singer and songwriter as well. I like to write songs in English because it sounds better probably and it comes more natural to write in English, at least I think so. Magnus has totally different influences than me, but of course he always writes great songs in Swedish that I absolutely love. We recorded a couple of songs in both languages, but I prefer the English versions.
Which city does Horisont come from originally? Is it Göteborg, Örebro, or another one?
The first guitarist Kristoffer and me we come from Karlstad in Värmland, but we moved to Gothenburg around 2004 or something. The other guys come from Gothenburg. We wanted to start a band, and I started with Pontus, Magnus and Charlie, they were playing in a Deep Purple cover band, no vocals, only as an instrumental band let’s say. And they had a keyboard player back then. So, I turned up, there was no one to sing! Another funny thing is that Joakim from Graveyard auditioned for that band as well! Then Kristoffer moved to Gothenburg as well, and we wanted to start a band, like power trio, I always had excellent musicians in all bands. I said “Pontus, you can play drums in my new band”! And then also “Kristoffer, come and join my new band, Magnus, you can play bass”. We needed a second guitar, “Charlie, come to the band please”! Instead of us joining their band, they finally joined our band!
If you had to choose favorite tracks from your new album, which ones could be and why?
“Archaeopteryx in Flight” (Magnus came up with the idea about that one! Which is so hard to pronounce, not for you of course because you are Greek!) is among my favorites, because its so much fun to play, but then I would say that “Free Riding” because its about a friend of mine who committed suicide, and I really love the song, although he would hate it, he was more into heavy metal than me, and this is an AOR song, but it is definitely dedicated to him.. And I would also say “Hold On”, probably my favorite of the whole album. People who have listened to Styx, probably recognize some of the stuff on that song (laughs..). That is and that is not a progressive song, or an easy going progressive song so to speak.
Do you listen to new music, new bands? Any favorite artists in Spotify or any contemporary music you recently bought?
I really like a Canadian band, Freeways, which just released an album recently, a really good album along with their first EP. And then, I must say I am a big fan of Hot Breath who are also from Gothenburg, with Anton from Hypnos and Jennifer from Honeymoon Disease, a great band. But, probably my favorite (modern) Swedish band of all is Troubled Horse. Ever. I really wish that they could make an album every year!
If you had to describe the path, the way that the band wishes to go in the future, how would you describe that?
I would like to tour more, than we did the last years. This is very important for us, and all bands actually. For example, go on tour for a month and then back home for 2 months and then back again for touring. If I could only quit my day job...! (laughs) We had a really nice online gig a couple of weeks ago, along with Spiders at Pustervik in Gothenburg, it went really well and we all enjoyed it a lot! Even though, physically speaking, we played in front of no one! But, overall I can’t really complain at all!
Last but not least, any special message to the Greek fans, or music fans in general? The floor is yours.
I love Demi Roussos! He is the best singer ever, in the entire universe!
All the best to the Greek fans, cheers till we meet soon again!