Casagrande is not a typical thrash metal act. Led by Simone Casagrande (guitars, vocals), this Italian band starts from the basic thrash metal sound, but ends to a unique music character, which shocks the unsuspecting listener. Thus, Myth of Rock decided to contact Simone and discuss with him, in the process of understanding Casagrande’s same-titled debut album, out by Soman Records.
by Michalis Kapetanakis
Welcome Simone. We are so happy to have you with us. Congratulations on your new homonymous album!
The pleasure is mine.
Give us a brief overview of the history of the band.
Well, I got this idea in 1998 after two years without playing in a band. My boss changed all the computer networks at work due to the "Millennium bug" issue foretold for the year 2000. Using my Windows PC at work, I started wondering if digital recordings had improved, since 1992, when I issued a couple of demo tapes with the help of a friend of mine who was already producing electronic music through his Commodore Amiga. I called him and he sold me my first PC and some software. Unfortunately, results have been very poor and in 2003 I stopped for about then years, when I released the “Old school” demo. I was thinking also to start up a cover band for thrash classics, but I lost my job and I preferred to save money. In 2016 I moved to London and took some singing lessons and finally released this one.
How would you describe the Casagrande sound and what bands have influenced you the most? I grew up listening to thrash icons such as Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, but I have also a classical background, as I played contemporarily the classical guitar. I haven’ t graduated from a music conservatory and to be fair, I am not that good at reading scores, but we may define my sound as progressive post-industrial thrash metal.
What do you think about modern metal?
The most modern I listened to is Korn, Slipknot, Nevermore. I am afraid I am really not into it... I subscribed to many major labels’ YouTube channels, so I have heard a lot of interesting sounds. I don't like the looks these bands have.
Do you think that Casagrande have a place on this modern sound?
Nope, but it honors me if someone thinks otherwise.
Tell us a few words about your debut album that was released on October via the French record label Soman Records.
Loud, unexpected, cheap.
Have you been pleased with the response to the album from fans and critics?
What are the band’s plans for 2021?
I wish to work on new songs and be able to rehearse the vocals. A new global lockdown is coming, so the future is really uncertain.
Lyrics or music? What comes first? Tell us a few words about how you compose your material.
Lyrics should come last, but I remember to have written some parts before, then I adapted some riffs to it.
What do you think are the most negative moments in your career?
The times, when I had to quit bands I really liked to play with for other people’s whims and fancies. I think it has happened to many other musicians. When you got a good number of songs and you reached the right chemistry live and the project begins to be serious, the genius of the moment listens to a new emerging band and decides to change his sound. He/she successfully convinces other members to follow his/her new direction. Your ideas become outdated and you feel just stupid to have wasted all this time.
And what is your biggest dream about Casagrande?
If I was younger, I would like to act like the other old school bands, but I know the music industry is completely different nowadays. CDs are not sold so much as in the past and making music for a living it's really harder than before. Let's say my biggest dream would be to make another record and reach a lot of people giving nice feedback.
Last but not least, please share something you need to mention. You are very welcome and thank you for giving this opportunity to me. I really enjoyed this interview. Catch you soon.
Thundermother released recently their latest LP “Heat Wave”, so we seized the opportunity to have a little talk over that (and much more) with the band’s voice Guernica Mancini, who spoke to us from Stockholm Sweden, straight out from the band’s rehearsal studio. Enjoy reading!
by Antonis Mantzavinos
Hi Guernica, how are you doing?
Hi Antonis, I am fine, I hope the same for you. We just finished songwriting with the rest of the girls so, it feels really good this afternoon, even on a busy Friday afternoon! Its all good considering Corona and everything, so we are all well.
How has this whole situation with COVID-19 has affected you personally and also the band with the new album, etc?
We have been mostly affected by all the shows cancelled. And the shows we get to do right now is with seated audience and very limited amount of people, so it feels very weird actually, very different than what we did. We feel happy that we are able to play of course, but it is very strange, our year has changed so drastically, very strange times overall.. For the new album, it has been very well. I think we are very blessed in a weird way, considering the whole situation.
Does the band own a studio, or you have to rent one each time you need to rehearse and write music?
We have our own rehearsal space which right now is more of a storage room, we don’t all live in the city. This weekend we will all be in Stockholm, so we need to have a good planning ahead, each time we are about to meet and rehearse. We try to maximize the time we’re together and be productive by this means. When we’re apart, everyone is doing their own part, write music, doing interviews etc. The band is based more or less in Stockholm, even though when Filippa started the band she was living in Växjö in Småland, in the South of Sweden. But with COVID now, we definitely need to have better planning so that we arrange to be and play together.
Ok, so, let’s move on with some information and background about your new album “Heat Wave”, which I personally really like. Give me please some details about the writing process, what was your contribution to that, etc?
That was a new process to write an album like that, meaning altogether. My contribution could be around 25% more or less, I have provided lyrics and some melodies to the songs, and I think the magic of this album is us all coming together, giving our best aspect of ourselves, our influences and experience. We are all very proud of how it came out at the end. Speaking about this line-up, we have been 3 and a half years together, we share everything equally, we bring everything forward together, and we have a great time altogether, if you ever going to see us live, you will immediately sense this energy and boost from our side (boost from hell!), so that is a great common feeling we all share. Moreover, every song is different of course, meaning that every ‘jam’ brings on new ideas, riffs etc. so, Filippa brings a riff and then we create something together from that riff, or Emily and myself bring something from ourselves. This week we tried to create lyrics based on some ideas we have, its always different and we try to grow as creative artists and music writers, we try to push ourselves and see what else is out there, we want to grow and evolve further. The whole thing is a very dynamic process. We are all good on many different things with each other and we bring our own ‘vocabulary’ so when this is blended with all 4 of us, this is something very unique and special.
“Heat Wave” is more diverse and different than the previous ones, so, was that an intentional effort towards a specific direction, or it just came up like this while jamming and improvising in the studio, blending your ideas?
First of all, we all share different music backgrounds, influences and music origins so to speak. You can hear that I believe, all the different music flavors which stand out with our songs and performance. The album itself is very diverse also because we wrote so many songs and we try to pick the strongest ones to our opinion, the ones we felt more comfortable to be more representative of what we wanted to present. We spend a year and a half preparing for that album, and then when we started the pre-production we had to be selective and decide. Some of the songs remained the same, but others evolved and changed from their original form. For example, the song ‘Bad Habit’, we had a few moments there, questioning even whether it should be on the album or not, and then, boom!, you know? And also ‘Purple Sky’ which is a different song for Thundermother but it was really cool for us to show a different side as creative musicians.
If you had to distinguish one or more songs from “Heat Wave” as special for you, for your own special reasons of course, which ones would that be and why?
Tough question. Well, personally I like “Somebody Love Me”, because it’s a very emotional song, making me showing my vulnerable side to the world, so to me it was uncomfortable from the one side, but I enjoy it, and I know that some people could relate to that as well, making it very personal to them as well. Also “Sleep”, a heartfelt ballad, which Emily arranged and recorded the guitar strings, and I love as well “Purple Sky” which is a very cool track. But overall, I love every single song of this album, honestly.
As a vocalist, how do you challenge yourself to perform and improve the way you perform? How exactly do you address that situation?
In the studio, it all has to do with people who make me feel comfortable to push myself and challenge my boundaries and try harder. I know that I have been able to do that more for this record, because we have been working with our producer Soren Andersen, who knows how exactly to bring the best out of us. He has made the whole experience a lot fun and productive at the same time, and I really like the blending of those two. So, working in the studio has been very effective and not boring at all. It’s helpful being in a group that allows you to ‘fuck up’ sometimes, you know? Give you good energy, pushes you, that’s why I have been able to evolve. Initially, when I joined the band, I had a more blues background rather than rock, so all this time, it was super exciting to get myself into new territories, challenging my skills and trying a different style. I want to be the best I can be, and I feel comfortable, I say “Why not?”
It would be interesting to get some personal musical background for you, and also, how did you get involved with Thundermother, what is the story behind that?
I’ve been singing as far as I can remember, singing is a huge part of my life. Once I graduated from high-school, I came into terms that I really wanted to do music full time. I just had to make that happen. So, I applied for a music school in Los Angeles, called ‘MI’ (‘Musicians Institute’), moving to LA and living there for almost four years. During that time, I studied vocal performance, music business but I really found myself and what I really wanted to do. Found my way so to speak. During that time, I also grew up with a lot of ‘80s rock crowd’ (laughs). I’ve always loved soul, r n' b, blues, I still listen to that a lot, but started back then to also focus on hard rock. And tried to sing Hard rock and see how my voice works that way, I liked it, I got a rock music teacher as well, who specialized in extreme and rock vocals as well. I learned how to scream without losing my voice! Moving back to Sweden, I started a band on my own, which was sounded more like Led Zeppelin, that kind of music. I guess you could compare it in a way to a Blues Pill-ish sound. Very retro band. So, that way I got to meet Filippa, and we became friends, and then as all bands sometimes goes through some difficult phase, my then band faced a similar situation. I reached out to some friends, Filippa also included, to get some advice, maybe they knew a bass player etc. I remember telling her, “if you need a singer, I’ll be there tomorrow”, then we discussed that I could audition, and the rest I guess is history! That was early 2017 and then we just been working together since.
If you could freeze the time, which moment you could characterize as your best moment, the one you’ll never forget?
I have a few of those moments, but I would say the first time we played in Wacken was incredible! I have never played in front of 10.000 people before, so that was absolutely overwhelming! It was just an amazing, euphoric, magical day, on all aspects. Great show, Fantastic audience, everything was perfect. And also,, last year, when we played at Sweden Rock, that was a unique experience as well. I was flying high after that show, could not come back down to earth in a way! It was spectacular. My expectations for the Swedish audience were quite not very good, but they proved me the absolute opposite! I swallowed my own words because we had 15.000 people cheering like crazy for us ...! Amazing!
What would be the artist(s) that influenced you as a musician or a singer?
I am influenced by so many, but I consider myself to be more influenced by Prince. Both as a songwriter and a performer. I am a huge Prince fan, all the way! I love how he was at the same time, rock, pop, electronic, funk, he was so many things altogether but everything in him was so sexy, so awesome, and he could be everything he wanted to be and also be very good at it. I think it was amazing the fact that he was also very bad ass and very talented, that made him very special to me. And I feel that he is one of those artists that someone does not think about too much or too directly, it seems that people do not understand his greatness in a way, I don’t know.. He wrote so many great songs, he was not only a great performer but creatively speaking, he was a fantastic music writer.
Currently, do you listen to music the old school way, like putting records in your stereo, or you prefer the digital way (Spotify, etc)?
I am a constant listener, always putting some music, mostly on Spotify at the moment. I have a vinyl player somewhere in my apartment, because I just moved to Stockholm to my new apartment.
Any new music band that you have listened recently and you would like to recommend?
I always love finding new bands and discovering new stuff that might be interesting for me. For example, the singer of Tribulation has released his solo album, and that one I really like. I also found out a band from England who play indie rock, they are called “The Amazons”, and they are really good. And there is also a punk band from Malmö, called ‘Arre! Arre!’, their latest single is called ‘Sit on My face’!
A lot of artists have passed away this year, the latest Van Halen, I would like your comment as well about that.
It’s heart breaking, so sad, all these legends are gone and they leave a huge void behind. They’ve done incredible things for music, have inspired all of us so much, I don’t know what to say. I hope we will all keep the torch high and flaming. And be able to do it with dignity and honor them the best way we can, continuing their work.
Any special comment for the fans and our readers?
We had a fantastic time during the festival in Thessaloniki, it was so much fun! Even though we had a problem with our luggage. It was a great party with the audience and everything. We definitely look forward to come back to Greece soon, as soon as the whole situation world wide gets better!
Despite the hard to bear lockdown measures in most countries, music activity, either way, finds a way to go on. Voivod remained active during the confinement period, preparing their new EP, “The End of Dormancy”, and working on new ideas. Michel “Away” Langevin, the band’s drummer and one of founding members, was very friendly and kind to inform us about the current Voivod’s issues regarding the forthcoming EP, the next live album and the eagerly-awaited 15th studio album. Though, he didn’t hesitate to share with us some thoughts about the band’s past, present and future, and of course science fiction and Dune, since he’s a genuine sci-fi geek! Read the very interesting interview that follows.
by Alex Nikolaidis
Hello Away, how are you? I hope you are healthy, safe and above all COVID-free.
I’m fine. I live in Montreal, which was hit pretty hard, but I’m confined at home working on several projects, so life is OK and I’m healthy.
The band is due to release a new EP next month, “The End of Dormancy”, which contains a brass version of the title track. Why did you choose to make an alternate version of that specific song from the last album (“The Wake”)?
Well, it started the summer of last year. We were invited by the Montreal Jazz Festival to play a special show and Chewy thought it would be a great idea to invite a brass quintet for the song “The End of Dormancy”. So, he wrote the score for every musician and we performed the song live. The reaction of the crowd was really amazing. When the time came to work on a video for the “End of Dormancy”, we thought it would be interesting to invite the same quintet, which we call “The metal section”, in the studio, to record on top of the original studio track (but just for the video). In the end, we wanted to release both the brass version of the video and the live version of last year’s Jazz Festival on vinyl. Also, we added a live of “The Unknown Knows” from “Nothingface”, performed at the same festival.
The video was actually shot in November last year and we were debating about its release, since we live in very sensitive times due to COVID and many deaths. So we were not too sure if it was a good timing or not, but we decided to proceed as planned because the scenario was pure science fiction. It was a strange timing indeed.
Also, we are mixing a full live album from a show last year in Quebec City. I’m working on the front cover art of this album right now.
At the same time, we keep on being very busy because, even though we are under social distancing, we are writing a new album, sharing dropbox folders. We try to move on, as all Voivod’s concerts have been cancelled this summer. So we just want to remain busy.
How difficult or demanding it is to perform with jazz musicians? It’s something that we don’t see it happening every day.
Actually it was surprisingly easy. We only had one rehearsal and did the song two or three times. Then we did it again at soundcheck. These are very seasoned and professional musicians. They’ve been playing a lot in Montreal with avant-garde jazz outfits. Hence, not only was it easy for them to adapt, but also for us, since we always had a progressive rock approach to our music. So, somehow the Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson style of Voivod ties with experimental jazz.
“The End of Dormancy” is an extremely peculiar and technical song. The addition of brass instruments gave a more theatrical or cinematic feeling. Do you think that Voivod could compose the soundtrack of a sci-fi post-apocalyptic movie? Have you ever thought about it?
Yeah, we always dream of doing a soundtrack for a sci-fi movie with Chewy’s knowledge of writing music and composing scores for musicians, since he is a music teacher in college and a jazz music teacher as well. His knowledge of the subject would make it quite easy for us to write an interesting soundtrack with lots of dynamics. Chewy did such an amazing job on “The End of Dormancy” with the quintet and I am fully confident that we could do something interesting for a dystopian movie.
Let’s talk about the upcoming album. The band is in the composing process. How’s it going on? Are you satisfied with the process so far? Are there any delays?
Well, the only obstacle for us is that the studio is not available right now due to the pandemic situation. It just opened on June 1st but it’s still really uncertain to go there. It’s a huge building, three floors of heavy metal bands. So we’re not too sure if we should rush to the jam studio right now. Before the lockdown we had already recorded a bunch of improvisations and had started some embryos of songs and we’re trying to build on that right now, sharing files online. As soon as we are confident that we can go back to the rehearsal safely, processes will be accelerated significantly.
On my end, I have a lot of work as I’m using these confinement months to prepare publications of my art, to release more books. There are tones of art on the road and I’m scanning all of that right now. I have a book ready. I’m very busy with publishing material.
The fact that we decided to release a live album, hopefully before the end of the year, is a lot of work for me, just for the layout, and for everybody, listening to the mixes and trying to have the proper balance. It’s a constant work. What we learnt from the situation is that you have to keep going on and doing homework. That’s a new structure and it’s going to be beneficial in the end, because we learn from it.
When do you think the new album will be available? Is it too early to talk about it?
We were aiming at early next year, but I think it’s more probable it will be completed next summer. It depends on what will happen in the next few weeks, because they are putting people out of confinement slowly here. Now everybody’s talking about a second wave. Since the Montreal is the place that’s been hit the hardest in Canada, we are taking small steps right now. Hopefully, if everything goes well, we’ll have the live album available by the end of the year and the new album next spring or summer.
Can you give us a clue of how the new album will sound? Will it be somehow related to “The Wake”, or it’ll be something totally different, exploring new musical landscapes?
Well, we try not to repeat the same things. These are tough choices, as I feel like I’m back in 1989-90, when we did the very successful “Nothingface”. Everybody was hoping for “Nothingface Part 2” and we did “Angel Rat”, which was a totally other spectrum. These are risky moves that can play against you, but that’s the way we are. Right now, the material doesn’t really sound like “The Wake” at all. We enjoy a lot of success with the “The Wake” and it made the band bigger. We gained a very good momentum. It’s very tempting to go into that psychedelic prog path again and enjoy the same success. But so far it seems like it’s gonna be a bit different than “The Wake”. It’s obvious it’s gonna be experimental again and maybe proggy, because that’s the band right now, but I suspect there will be more post-punk songs, like Killing Joke and staff like that as well. We’ll see!
Do you think that Chewy had a major influence in the band’s sound and way of composing? What are the differences between the Piggy era and Chewy era?
Chewy was able to capture Voivod’s essence perfectly. He comes from a different background than Piggy. Piggy was a lot more old-school and he had a sort of a boogie-metal style. Chewy is more of a surgical, technical metal background. It’s a different approach and makes me play differently. However, when we write songs and Snake adds his vocals, it ends up morphing into a Voivod material. The way Chewy and Rocky play and interact with each other makes Snake and I approach the song a bit differently. In the end, it’s Voivod but with a different sound than the Piggy era. There’s probably a little more fusion in the way now instead of a mixture of prog, thrash metal and punk music. It’s all that, plus some short of a jazz feeling to it. That’s the way I hear it myself. Regarding live, it’s the same old Voivodian mixture of thrash, punk and prog. I feel the same when I play live, but when we write songs I can feel the difference.
Voivod is a highly technical band. Out of the 14 albums, which one of them has the most difficult and demanding drumming patterns?
I’d say “Dimension Hatröss” or “Nothingface” have the most intricate parts, but I think “The Wake” is at the same level with these albums in terms of difficulty.
Do you listen to other progressive metal bands? Have some new bands drawn your attention?
Gojira! They played in Heavy Montreal two years ago. I thought, I have heard a lot about these guys, so let's check them out. We ended up watching the whole show with our jaws to the floor. They are more in the Meshuggah school and they are really great, popular and very intricate. This band really struck me. I’m very old school and I only become aware of newer bands because we play at lots of festivals around the world. That’s where I see new material. I’m not really familiar with buying CDs or downloading or streaming material from newer bands. I’m very bad at that!
I’d like to ask something about Canadian bands now. In recent years many new bands from Canada have emerged from the underground scene, with a more classic heavy / speed metal sound. All of them have released critically acclaimed albums of high quality. Why does the underground scene of Canada thrive? Is it a matter of tradition, or just a coincidence? Do you have an explanation?
Well, it’s a difficult question. When we started, there weren’t that many bands (Exciter, Razor, Anvil), but the excitement for heavy metal was already there in Canada and in Quebec particularly. All of a sudden, everyone was into the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Venom, Slayer and the newer bands of Metal Blade (which we became a part of) made metal popular very quickly.
Around 1986-87 bands started to form in Montreal. We were rehearsing in a building where most bands were rehearsing at. Half of them were hardcore and the other half were metal. We all hung out with each other and listened to each other through the walls. Crossover, between hardcore and metal, emerged quickly in Montreal. Many bands engaged in technical metal, with a mix of punk and hardcore, and just developed very rapidly. All of a sudden, when we were touring the world, we were meeting bands from Montreal all around the planet, like Cryptopsy, Kataklysm, Gorguts. So, the scene has always been super active here. I don’t know if everything comes from Rush in the 70s, but somehow the Canadian metal is very technical. No matter the background you come from, hardcore, progressive or some short of Canadian technical metal, which has a very good reputation with Annihilator, there is in a way some short of a Canadian sound in heavy metal.
I know you are a sci-fi fan. Are you looking forward for Dennis Villeneuve’s Dune? You may know that he was born in Quebec, as well.
Yes, of course! I can’t wait for the new Dune, but I’m still dreaming of Jodorowsky’s Dune with Magma’s music. I’m trying to imagine it! In the past few years movies have become really mind-blowing due to the high-tech approach of the special effects. I was already a sci-fi fan in the 70s and the early 80s when the first cyberpunk movies were shot, like Mad Max and Blade Runner. These were spectacular for me, but now it’s just insane. If you also have the chance to see a movie, like the remake of Tron, with 3D glasses, it’s just mind-blowing. Now with virtual reality, helmets, glasses and all that, watching movies has become a sci-fi experience. It’s really amazing!
Do you think we’ll see Voivod in Europe again, possibly next year, when conditions will be more normal? Is it early to discuss about this?
As soon as we are allowed to travel and play, we’ll do so. As I said before, the summer shows are cancelled. We do have a European tour planned in the fall that’s not cancelled, but I’m not counting on it right now. We have some Japanese shows as well planned this year, but I don’t know what’s gonna happen with these. Everything is postponed, but as soon as we can get back on the road, we’ll do so. The last 2-3 years we’ve been playing more than ever, with so many shows per year, so it’s strange for us to just stop touring. There is a lot of catching up to do right now, in terms of mixing the live album and writing new material. Thus, we are sort of using the opportunity to catch up with many things. So, the business goes on! We’re not about to stop. In terms of playing live, I don’t know how many years we have still in us, but we can definitely record material for ever. The chemistry between Rocky, Chewy, Snake and I is just wonderful. We enjoy so much success that we just gonna surf on it.
Away, thank you very much for this contact. I wish all the best to you, your family, all band members and the crew. Stay healthy and creative and we’ll be very happy to hear further news from Voivod in the upcoming months.
Geometry of Chaos … an Italian band with a peculiar sound, a band which differs from the average metal bands. You may find so many different elements in their music – classic rock, hard rock, heavy metal, progressive rock/metal etc., in a great, awesome mix. Brainchild of guitarist Fabio La Manna, Geometry of Chaos steps out from the dark and has just offered us the “Soldiers of the New World Order” debut album. Strange and beautiful, Geometry of Chaos’ music will impress you – Myth of Rock was impressed too, and contacted Fabio in order to explore the phenomenon named Geometry of Chaos!
For those who don’t know you, who are Geometry Of Chaos?
It is a musical project by me and Davide Cardella on drums, based in Torino, in the northwest of Italy. Our music has a focus on emotions and heavy riffs, it sounds atmospheric, melodic, but also with some kind of rage, with a concept of freedom from control, and liberty.
Which word do you think is the best definition of your sound? Metal? Rock? Something else?
Progressive … Maybe, in terms of doing things with total freedom and do what we want without trying to sound like others. Metal and rock are our basis, with sick drums, cool guitar riffs and everything. A sort of progressive metal band that sounds like no others.
Which moments do you consider your highlights and which ones as the worst?
There are some moments in the “Soldiers of the New World Order” album, on the song “Premonition” and the title track, that always come with a shiver on my spine, after all the work I’ve done with the songs. Maybe these two are the highlights, the worst, now … that’ s a difficult question, maybe “Joker’s Dance” could be a little bit shorter!
Which were your influences from the very start? What has changed now?
From the very start, when I was very young, I was listening to a lot of classic rock and then metal, then I discovered a lot of subgenres, a lot of other music styles. So, there are many bands and artists that have an influence on me, also on Davide. At the moment, I am more on heavier stuff, maybe because I feel angry about our society.
Talking about your new album, which is the concept of your record?
Imagine there is a New World Order out there, for real, an elite who controls the existence, the lifestyle, fate, and everything, of everyone. There are also some persons who have specific work to do, in order to maintain the power of few people that no one knows who they are. They just have missions, sometimes they clearly know their activities are for the Order’s interest, but in many other cases people don’t know why they are doing what they’re doing, they don’t know why they are living the way they’re living.
One of the band’s characteristics is your perfect musicianship! How difficult is to sound so great? What do you have to sacrifice for technique and theory lessons?
Thank you very much for the compliment. Well, we have worked hard since when we were younger, to achieve some level on the instruments. I personally have enjoyed jamming and composing, since I was a little child. So it’s a lot about practice and never giving up! We can always be better than what we are now, so it’s quite a challenge with ourselves. I think that music is the best way to express our emotions, so it is necessary.
Many things have changed in music, since the ‘90s. How do you see these changes and music, in general, now?
Things always evolve and change, society is changing rapidly, and music is changing too. The only thing that counts sometimes is to appear normal and nice, but it’s good to be different, to be not so much involved with the masses. It’s a question of education and how personality develops. I don’t want to be part of the mass control, so I try to stay away from the mainstream music. I want to hear much experimentation, I want to hear someone who is not aligned with the system. There is a lot of great music, both entertaining and innovative. Nowadays, there is a more technical approach both on instruments and technologies, in comparison to the past, so it is good, when this stuff is in smart and brave hands.
Italy was always mighty in culture and especially music. Why do you think this happens and how’s the scene nowadays?
We have changed from being pioneers in many arts, to be too influenced by the UK/ USA lifestyle and fashion, culture and everything. Cultures developed really in parallel with the wellness and health of the nations, so probably in late 90 the richer and more powerful nations have blazed the trails, also from the cultural aspect. Italy is in an endless crisis since 1970, maybe even before. Our scholastic system is one of the worst, and there is a growth of poverty. We are struggling a crisis after another crisis.
What can we expect from Geometry Of Chaos in the future?
Music, passion, a strong effort to put out there our emotions and something unique. I want this project to be a sort of concept over the music. It is a bit philosophical too.
Would you like to leave a message or add something left unspoken?
I can say, try to give us a chance and listen to our music on digital platforms, we are out there also on YouTube on my channel.
Thank you for your time and congratulations for your great album!
Thanks for the opportunity. Have a nice trip on this world.
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!