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In Words: Horizon

- Patrick Hemer - March 2000 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Patrick Hemer (by email) - March 2000

Horizon is a new band who's debut been released by the German label Massacre Records. The band members did studio jobs in the past and I thought it would be interesting to find out more about them. Here we go!

Please tell us about the beginning of Horizon. The bio say that everything started back in 1998....

I know Krissy (drums) for ages, we had already worked together on several projects, we were good friends and we both knew that we could make it together. In '98, Krissy had just finished building a recording studio in his house and we thought that this would be the way to produce ourselves as a band in complete freedom.

Why did you chose Horizon as band name? And what does it mean to you?

First of all, we wanted a name that would not be the average metal band name, because even if we're all into heavy metal music, we all like totally different other styles of music as well and we want to allow ourselves the right to take a walk out of the borders of heavy metal every time we like, which would be a little bit ridiculous if we were known as Armageddon or Steel Dragon. We also wanted a name that could last and that wouldn't bother us if we still play together in 20 years from now. We chose Horizon, because it evokes space, some kind of freedom or the absence of boundaries, because it's easy to remember and also because it's nearly the same word in many European languages.

How would you describe your music? Which song presents the album best? Why?

It's hard to give a name to our style, because even if we know that a lot of people are going to put a tag on us, we definitely don't want to do it ourselves. Let's say that our overall sound results from our metal background and our love for big fat powerful sounds but, on the other hand, all our compositions are filled with elements coming from other styles of music. Two of my favorite tunes on the album are Living In Danger and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is and they both include real heavy riffing mixed with big backing vocals, classically influenced passages and bluesy elements. They both represent our style pretty well.

You recorded in your own studio I guess. So you had all time in the world. Next time you won't have that much time. Do you feel any pressure yet?

No, we don't feel any kind of pressure. And in fact, even if The Sky's The Limit has been recorded over a one-year-and-a-half period, it didn't take that long to make it. It's just that, by this time, Krissy and I were working separately as studio musicians or engineers and we could only work on Horizon when we had some time off together. That's why the making of the next album is going to be much easier and much faster and we can't wait to start working on it.

The album was mastered by Achim Köhler at House of Music. The idea of Massacre Records?

No. That's Kosta Zafiriou (Pink Cream 69) who told us that Achim could do a great job for us. And he was right!

Btw, how came that you signed with the German label?

They made the best offer !

Who came up with the cover artwork? And who released the idea?

The artwork was conceived and carried out by Massacre. We had given them all the artwork, but they found that our cover was too sober so we just told them to avoid all the heavy metal clichés (warriors, dragons, skulls...) and they came up with the key thing.

I guess you got first reactions from the media.... How are the reactions so far?

The best we could expect.

Are there any plans to tour? To play some festivals?

Nothing for the moment. But we'll go on tour as soon as possible.

Did you had the chance to play live in the past?

We never played live as Horizon, but this band is nobody's first band.

Have you already started writing new material? How do you write songs? Everyone on his own? Or do someone comes up with a part and you jam?

We're already working on new material and we've planned to release the next album within a year from now. On The Sky's The Limit, I wrote about 90% of the material and I will go on writing on my own in the future, but I would like to collaborate more with the other members of the band.

What are your influences? I guess there is more than just metal...

As teenagers, we've all been influenced by the sound and the attitude of the big metal bands as well as by the virtuoso playing of the shred era, but we all studied music in our respective fields and this led us to discover that the true love of music can't live from stylistic restrictions. You know, Krissy attended a Jazz school for a while, Vinnie studied classical piano and knows everything from Bach to Boulez and I played with blues and jazz rock bands, because I wanted to improve my feel and improvisational skills. All this necessarily helped us becoming more complete and open-minded musicians and I hope that it shows in our music.

In the past you worked as studio musicians. Who do you worked with? Did working with different musicians influenced you?

We worked for anyone who would pay us and even if this can be a cool, financially satisfying situation for a while, it's getting artistically frustrating in the long run. But it's true that the fact of working with so many different people helps broadening ones musical vocabulary, because when you're a 'hired gun' you always have to adapt and try to understand the musical vision of people whose tastes are generally very different from yours. Moreover, we learnt a lot as far as the technical aspect of things is concerned and this turned out to be very helpful when we became producers ourselves.

Anyone you would like to work with again? Some­one you would like to have as guest on your next album?

We had a good experience with Achim Köhler and I think that we'll work together again in the future. But we're not that much into guest appearances, because if we'd call all our musician friends to play on our albums there wouldn't be any track left for us.

Any stories to tell from the studio jobs?

Enough to write a book! There was a period of time when I was doing sessions in Paris and I got fed up by the sort of snobbery there is around equipment out there, it was like if you sounded as good as your guitar was expensive. So I ended up working with the worst piece of shit I owned. It was totally beat up, covered with stickers and sporting a Philips sticker on the headstock. It was real funny to see people wonder what I was playing with, and I knew that some had discovered the truth when, back in Paris a few weeks later, I went to a music store and heard a guy who was looking for a Philips guitar... I also like the story of this drummer of a pretty well known Pop Rock band who once explained to Krissy and me that he was the fastest studio worker in the world and king of the first take. In fact, we knew that his producer always asked him to play and recorded each song only once just to know what to program on the drum machine that you hear on the records!

Do you have a homepage? What can fans expect to find there?

No homepage for the moment, but I hope it's going to be built very soon.

Many bands say that the web is very helpful for young bands. Did you make similar experiences?

It's not been helpful in our case, but the internet is a great thing and you can already listen to Horizon on the web at:

Claudia Ehrhardt


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