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,
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
What does Horisont have which, hypothetically, make you a better band
than your competitors? And that goes without putting other bands down,
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.
also: review of the album About