TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This interview with the drummer Christian Nyqvist of Lost Horizon was done through e-mail in March 2001.
Hello, how are you?
Very well indeed thank you! These are interesting times! Things are really starting to take form and I can feel magic in the surroundings as the "Lost Horizon Enterprise" is taking off.
Lost Horizon is a new name for most metal fans. Could you please give us a brief history of the band?
The year 1990 Wojtek Lisicki, Martin Furängen, Michael Niklasson (now the bas player in Dark Tranquillity), Joacim Cans started HIGHLANDER. I joined the band in 92. It was a great time. An absolute Metal-climax-period for us back then. Life was "playing the lute" - distortional! We had many gigs even though the band was only known in the Gothenburg area. It went really well. During the period 90-93 we recorded three demos, though for personal pleasure only. Who the hell gave a damn about things like labels and contracts. The only thing that counted was to play. Eventually all of the band went to the MI (Musicians Institute) in Los Angeles, to back up their interest with knowledge and technique. All except for Wojtek. The reason being, that already the same year (approximately six month earlier), him, Michael Nicklasson and Peter Weiner from Hellgoatsummoner (J), started LUCIFERION. After roughly a year, the Highlanders started to return home. What they found was the brutal truth that Heavy Metal was more or less "off the wall" completely, and that the grunge-crap had taken over all attention totally. A fact we truly hated. Filthy redneck wimps with flannel shirts playing gut-twisting-of-disgust hybrid shit between rock and all other kinds of rubbish. Damn, what an infection! We did start Highlander again anyway. OFF COURSE! Did some gigs with the partially new line-up. But after a while it all cooled off again caused of different reasons. Eventually, the guys kept themselves busy with other musical experiments. Martin, for example, jumped in with Luciferion. Highlanders break-up in 95 did not really happen because of media's disrespect, or lack of interest from us, but rather that people simply did not seem to want to listen to Metal anymore, and that you did not receive any support from "the world", thus no motivation.
And now we are here. We re-created the band due to endless love of True Metal which is always inside us. A lot of things have changed. The present songs are TOTALLY transformed and perfected compared with their embryo-versions from the past. There are new members. We are now a sex-pieces band. The fifth member is a keyboard player with name Attila Public and the sixth one is Fredrik Olsson on guitar.
We have learned how to play instruments professionally. Wojtek's composing is very mature now. We have a very clear way of life and ideology. A common such. We are a real band now, consisting of real explorers of this existence's magic. We are LOST HORIZON! The one and only!
You have now signed a record deal with the British label Music For Nations for the release of your debut album in late March. Were there many offers to choose from?
In June 1999, the demonstration CDs were sent out to several record labels. By the end of the summer, we received very positive feedback and interest from most of them. Yet, only one of them proved itself worthy enough. It was Music For Nations. The thing we knew for sure was that labels with a 100 different bands would not give us the attention and support we demand so we didn't even bother to bless them with a demo.
The power metal genre has really exploded during the 1990s and has been given some attention even in mainstream media. What do you think separates Lost Horizon from other bands, except for the name?
First off all. We are not a power metal band! We are a True Metal band. And that until we decide our own description. Don't mix us with that trend.
We feel that we possess a greater insight and experience - intellectually, spiritually and musically, than most other bands, especially in this genre of music.
For all of what we are, Lost Horizon means an opportunity to change things on a larger scale. The meaning is not only to play music and hope that people like it, but rather to actually say something with what we do, and make people take a step back and open their eyes, thus contributing to a change not only in their lives, but also to the world.
Our driving force is the endless love for music and for the artistic expression. The power to change things, and the helping and uniting of likeminded.
Our "contribution" in the scene is to show how to play real metal.
I understand the recording of your debut album has been rather complicated. Could you tell us a little about the work behind it?
Lost Horizon's debut album, "Awakening The World", was recorded in several different studios around the Gothenburg area (Sweden), for the purpose of getting the best possible result throughout all of the different phases, from late March through mid August of 2000.
Drums - recorded in late March through early April, at Studio Fredman in Gothenburg.
Bass guitar - recorded in April, at BMC/Meta 4 Music Studios in Gothenburg.
Rhythm guitars - recorded in early May, at BMC/Meta 4 Music Studios in Gothenburg.
Solos - recorded in late May, at Metalking Domain in Gothenburg.
Keyboards - recorded in early June, were recorded at Studio Fredman in Gothenburg.
The instrumental mix was made in late June, at Studio Fredman in Gothenburg.
Vocals was recorded in July, at Studio Mega in Bollebygd.
The final mix was made in early August, at Tremolo Music Studio in Gothenburg.
The mastering was made in mid August, at The Mastering Room in Gothenburg.
To record all the material in one studio should result in a guaranteed ending on a mental hospital with deportation of ALL involved parts, as we are extreme perfectionists. All studios are out-sucked on possibilities and equipment's capacity after the session, inclusive our selves. But besides that. It's important to know, that to reach the planned result, there is needed an application of some basic principles. You can not be objective enough after have sat between the same walls a longer period of time. The distance is a must. Variety makes miracles. Technical differences are also of big importance. Some studios are more adapted for different moments than other, which just are too limited, what means insufficient. Moreover. Than more fresh, objective ears than better judgement (of course sometimes it can be confusing). It's a totally different feeling coming to a new place. The answers appears by their selves and the work floats. Yet the most important is to bear in mind that some people really should be avoided at studio connections. There are those who have a devastating tendency of polluting one's artistic enthusiasm, and extinguish out ones flame to accomplish the ideas, to finally give you advices which you regret later on.
Could you tell us a little about the lyrical concept? Who writes the lyrics?
All the lyrics are written by Wojtek. He is the one who has the ability to put words to the philosophies and ideas we all share. All the lyrics of the songs have a common character, as the whole album is a big concept. They are (in general) a description about an innocent, happy and vital existence that gradually turns to complete misery through the interference and affection of extremely negative powers in different shapes, that through, among other things, misleading, corruption, confusion, indoctrination, rottenness, creating of guilt and fear, is poisoning the individual. Even the devastating features that man himself "creates", is described. The person is a victim of lies, stupidity, primitivism, blindness, limitation, weakness, self-destruction, low self-esteem, goallessness, etcetera, etcetera. He falls into the darkest abyss and stumbles in darkness. Reaching the bottom, he hears the voice of the inner self, which by the help of the Force brings the awakening. The awakening is a new start. A way back, followed by the Redintegration. The person never turns the same, but the pain has given him strength - he sees, hears, feels, thinks and senses in a much better way now. The dark experiences are turned into his advantage. The bright knowledge is mixed with the dark in a perfect composition. He finds the golden combination. The natural balance. Thus harmony and understanding. Thus knowledge and strength. Thus the point and himself. And thus, happiness.
What plans and goals do you have for the near future?
During the spring and summer we will perform at festivals all over Europe. To perform live is one of the reasons we do this. Of course as a debut band we can't get our first shows as spectacular as we would want them to be, visually, due to the small stage space, sound & lighting limits that you have as an opening act. Don't forget we have just started the machinery. When we headline our own tour we will blow everybody away, literally!
What do you do when not playing music? Do you have regular jobs as well?
Some of us have regular jobs, but if everything will continue at the same pace as until now, it will soon be impossible to maintain our jobs, luckily!!!
We all share a huge fascination of this planet's nature, creatures, and mysticism. This occupies a great deal of our spare time, when we have any. There haven't been a lot of that lately. Live has systematically turned to a great misery. Now we want to live for real, and not follow the way of living that limited blind idiots force one to do every day.
Have you done any live shows so far? How do you feel about playing live?
As I said before, live performances are one of the reasons we do this. It's up on stage we reaches our full euphoria and are able to express our inner selves.
We have actually made a couple of warm-up gigs in different cities in Sweden which went very well. The response from the audience were outstanding even though we didn't announce our name before playing and nobody knew who we were.
Our first official gig will take place the 31st of March in Paris, together with Rhapsody, Savatage and some more bands. It will be the beginning of the total conquering. We're confirmed for the Dynamo-festival the 25th of May and have huge amount of other big festivals going on but they are not confirmed yet, so I can't give you any details. As soon as we know you can get the information on our web-site: www.oncelosthorizon.com
Why did you choose these weird aliases? How did you come up with them?
Those "names" are our spiritual titles. No artist names. It could not be possible anyway, as those are impossible to pronounce by normal people. They are a manifestation of our true inner status.
This, together with everything else that has to do with Lost Horizon is very carefully thought through. We spent a great deal of time to search within ourselves to find the perfect titles that reflects our personalities.
I don't wanna explain why each of us have chosen these particular names. It's quiet a subtle matter. You will all understand in the mean time.
Do any of the band members have some kind of formal training or are you all self-taught?
Except for Daniel and Wojtek, who are totally self-taught, the rest of us have had different musical education.
What do you think of the metal scene in Sweden today? Do you have any bands you like in particular?
I think the Metal scene in Sweden and the rest of the world is a quiet sad story. I'm very pleased to see that Metal had a revival, although this had nothing to do with us and the recording of this album. We would have done it anyway. But the overall quality of the Metal released today is so low (and then I mean mostly their content, as the instrumentalism is very often of great quality), that I'm not surprised that Metal has become a laughing matter to a lot of people. There are very few bands I've heard the latest decade that really reaches to the level where the music can be considered as an art. The latest metal act that touched my soul were Virgin Steele. Of course they are not Swedish, but I actually don't have any Swedish metal-acts I find interesting. I'm sure there are great bands out there, but I never had the pleasure of hearing them.
Do you think metal will ever be as big again as it was when Black Sabbath ruled the world? To me it seems like there are too many bands today for that kind of thing to happen again.
I KNOW that Metal will be as big again, and we're one of those who will bring it there. I see your point, but with high-quality Metal the bands with the right ability, attitude and commitment can filtrate the genre and make it as great and proud as it once was. Together we will make Metal an respected art again and all the "fake ones" will be naturally filtered away. Enjoy it while you can!!!
Any final words you would like to tell the world of metal fans?
As a conclusion, we would like to announce that Lost Horizon was created to bring back to others, and at the same time to us, the lost meaning and will which has been lost or covered up during some stage in life for different reasons.
If the bands' name feels controversial in relation to the represented values, one should know that it is to be interpreted as "Once Lost Horizon", that is the once lost horizon that we strive to bring back to those who have/are going to/will lose it, and those who are looking for it. "Once" is not written, thus invisible, but it is always there.
Links of interest:
Lost Horizon Official Site
Music For Nations