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Interview conducted February 17 2017
Interview published February 28 2017

"It often starts out as a joke, but develops into some kind of stupidity that becomes a song."

Swedish retro hard rockers Horisont put out their 5th record, About Time, on February 3rd. Exactly two weeks later Metal Covenant met up with bass player Magnus Delborg and new guitarist David Kalin before the band's performance in Stockholm.

"As long as we can play and drink beer we're good."

Tobbe: About Time, your new record. How would you guys personally describe it?

Magnus: Well, our initial plan was to go for a little bit more 60's stuff, but then Axel [Söderberg, vocals] came down with his damn songs so we kind of went both ways; towards the 60's and the 80's at the same time. So we ended up in the 70's anyway, you know.

Tobbe: David. It's your first record with Horisont and what was it like to enter the group for an album recording?

David: It felt good, I must say. (Magnus:) You didn't start playing with us that long before the record. (David:) No, it wasn't, really. We met and then we played 2 gigs together. But it has been really fun of course. They're good guys.

(Magnus:) We didn't have so much when we started the recordings. Well, we're recording in our own studio now, but we only had 3 or 4 songs, you know, finished, and then we built the rest of them in the studio, so David has contributed to many songs from scratch. We were toying with stuff in the studio and so.

Tobbe: About the album's first track. What made you decide to put The Hive, a cover song, as the album's opener?

David: It's an awesome song. (Magnus:) Well, it was really tough to pull that song off. If you've heard the original version you know that it's a tremendous difference. (David:) It's an extremely odd song. (Magnus:) We worked really hard to put it together, you know. Well, I guess we were so happy with it, so.

Tobbe: There's only one song sung in Swedish this time and sometimes you've had up to about half the record with Swedish lyrics. So why only one song on this record?

Magnus: At least 2 were supposed to be in Swedish in the beginning. I don't know, but things change in the process and not so many in the band are interested in it. I usually write the Swedish songs nowadays and the urge for it in the band isn't so strong anymore.

Tobbe: So why does a band write songs in 2 different languages to begin with? I mean, what's the basic idea to not only stick to English, which is the universal language in music?

Magnus: I would have liked it to be in Swedish, but then again it's so much easier to write in English and it's hard to not sound goofy in Swedish, you know.

Tobbe: You obviously have strong influences of the 70's and how do you try to find your own sound in this type of music, which was originally made in 40-50 years ago? A lot of it is kind of already made, you know.

David: Everything is already made, isn't it? Is it even possible to find your own sound anymore? (Magnus:) Well, it's really tough. But it's nothing we focus on, really, but it's the music that we like and that's what we wanna come out like in a way. But, of course, we are influenced by more than just one band so we don't follow a specific band, you know.

(David:) We have never had a fixed pattern, like "We're gonna sound like this production-wise" or "We're gonna sound like that band.". It's more been that everyone likes that kind of production and therefore that's the way it turns out.

Tobbe: Without really knowing, but the style of music that you're playing could have come out in your parents' younger days and do your influences even derive from your parents' taste in music?

Magnus: Absolutely. My dad's record collection was the start of my own record collection. I took about half of his collection, you know. (David:) I took them all. [Laughs] (Magnus:) I left some symphonic rock, even though that has come to me a little bit recently, like Peter Gabriel and stuff.

Tobbe: How do you generally develop the songs from a first idea to a finished track?

Magnus: There's really not just one specific way and there's actually very different from one song to another. Not so often, but sometimes we basically jam in the studio. When I write songs I usually make a complete song and come down with a demo and "This is what it should be like." and then everybody just do it kind of, but with a few changes though.

Axel is the one that comes with some awkward recording on his cell phone, with an acoustic guitar, and then you have to try to interpret it in some way, you know. I don't know, but everyone has the same mindset in a way, so it comes out pretty natural, you know.

Tobbe: Where do you find inspiration to write your music, besides the influences?

David: Well, I think you get inspiration from everywhere, really. (Magnus:) Sometimes it's just coming up with a cool line for the lyrics. The song Electrical was supposed to become something a little more Saxon-ish thing in the beginning, you know.

And Saxon often writes about trains and Biff [Byford, vocals] is a train fan, so we were thinking about doing a Gothenburg version about that and write about a cable car instead. It often starts out as a joke, but develops into some kind of stupidity that becomes a song.

Tobbe: How do you personally feel about your progress over the years?

Magnus: Above all maybe everyone has more input in everything now, you know. In the beginning Axel was pretty much the one who wrote the songs. Or rather, he came down with his… [Laughs] (David:) …drunk ideas... (Magnus:) Yes, drunk ideas, and then in some way we put it all together. But now the work is spread out a whole lot more and everyone knows where we're heading, you know.

Tobbe: When a band plays retro music, is it possible to develop yourselves and take a step sideways and diverge from that type of music, or are you kind of already stuck in that section forever?

Magnus: We're kind of trying to at least make something new with each record, you know, and bring in some sort of element that we haven't used before. I don't know if we think about it that much, but it probably comes pretty natural. We're not AC/DC, you know. AC/DC found a good thing and only does that thing, you know.

If I would make, which I would consider to be the same album again, I would be really bored. Something has to happen and the band must at least develop a little bit. (David:) It's just that, and we have discussed it, a good song is a good song and quite a few of the songs, like Boston Gold, could have been made in a hundred different versions.

I mean, it's not just always about how you write the song, and it becomes what it becomes. So no, I don't think that you get stuck actually, just because you get influences from that period.

Tobbe: Do you feel that this is the right time for you guys to take the band to another level? Or have you had that feeling before, like "This time it's really gonna happen!"?

Magnus: Well, I don't know. We're quite comfortable and pretty lazy, really, in a way. So what happens is kind of what falls upon us a little bit. I mean, we were doing this for 4-5 years before we even got our first record deal. It was just like we were playing in a club and Peter from Crusher Records were there and they released our first album. So we haven't really been chasing anything, you know.

Tobbe: You've got a new label [Century Media] and what have they been able to do for the band thus far?

Magnus: Well, they have already done a whole lot. Quite soon after we signed we noticed that things started to happen, even if we hadn't released the record or something else at that point. It felt like it was up one level instantly, you know. They have an extreme spread, so. It will be awesome, I think.

Tobbe: And when signing with a major label you're not worried about ending up on the periphery? You know, if it doesn't work out you might be out in the darkness pretty quick.

Magnus: Not really. I haven't thought about it. But if it happens it happens. I guess we'll have to go back then and play the pubs in Gothenburg again. [Laughs] As long as we can play and drink beer we're good. (David:) Yes, then everyone is quite happy.

Tobbe: But you have come a little bit on the road to popularity with the band still.

Magnus: Yes, and a good example of us signing is that we soon after that went to the USA for the first time. And that's something we've been longing for. You know, the rock dream and just going to the USA and play. Yeah, that was cool.

Tobbe: What does Horisont have which, hypothetically, make you a better band than your competitors? And that goes without putting other bands down, you know.

Magnus: Well, everybody else are worthless and we're better. [Laughs] (David:) Without putting anyone else down… Yeah, that was easy. But does it really have to be that way, really? I think it's just very much a matter of taste. (Magnus:) But I think we have a different way of writing song than quite a few bands. I don't really know how to put it, so.

Tobbe: What will the new record be able to do for Horisont? Besides that you're on a bigger label and something that your previous records haven't done for you already.

Magnus: Well, I was just about to say that it is first and foremost released by a bigger label and it will be the record that will reach most people so far. But it's probably the most diverse record that we've made. It has a little bit of both sides of the spectrum and it's a little extreme in both directions, you know.

(David:) Yes, indeed. There are many different types of songs on it. It would be easy to pick 3-4 songs that could be on 3 completely different records and by 3 different bands almost. (Magnus:) But yet they merge in some way.

Tobbe: So what will the rest of 2017 look like for Horisont?

Magnus: I know what's happening this spring at least. After these weekend gigs in Sweden we will tour Europe and then hopefully we'll get back to the USA again before the summer. During the summer things will slow down a bit with just some festivals and we have just a few booked at the moment.

Tobbe: And finally. If someone is allowed to purchase only one record right now, why should that someone spend money on About Time and not purchase another album that is being released in the same period?

Magnus: Well, probably because you have great taste in music. (David:) Yes, exactly. If you want to buy the album of the year the choice is quite simple. [Laughs]

See also: review of the album About Time

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