Lost Horizon - Sworn In The Metal Wind
A conversation with Preternatural Transmogrifyer
(AKA Christian Nyquist), drummer and metal hero!
Interviewed by EvilG
Not often does a band on their debut album grab me with
such intensity. Everything about this band from the music to the
attitude and lyrics are 100% true metal. This is the kind of band that
gives me faith in metal and in new bands. The kind of band that
re-assures my faith in metal and in it's power to affect me on many
levels. The once lost horizon is found again...metal forever!!
In my opinion, your debut album has raised the bar in terms of standards for a band's debut album. [Thank you] This does not sound to me like a brand new band or a band's first album. How much preparation went into the songs?
Well we spent one year rearranging and composing the material for the demo. Considering we spent like one year to perfect the material and I have to mention that most of the material on this album is almost ten years old in its original form. It's songs from a band called Highlander who have been active off and on during the 90's. Lost Horizon is a result of Highlander.
So it took a year, but how much of that was recording time?
Rehearsing and arranging the instruments and the material (took one year). Then the recording process for for five months I think.
Yeah I read you used a lot of different studios [That's right.]. I guess this increased the amount of time it would of taken if you would have done it all at the same place. [Yes of course]. Can you give me the reasons why you decided to use so many studios as opposed to just the one?
We bought our own recording system, we bought the pro tools system and a
Macintosh which we used to record all the instruments except for the drums. The drums have to be recorded traditionally to get that real big powerful sound. Se we started recording the drums in studio
Fredman here in Gothenburg. Then we rented rooms in different studios where are suitable for different instruments. We used our own equipment to record the rest of the instruments and the vocals. This gave us much more time to put in on the production rather then feeling stresses about paying technicians in the studio or paying very much money for equipment that we might not use anyways.
Is this something you'll do for the next album as well?
I think so because of the result and the way we feel about this production. We don't see any point in trying something new when we know that this works.
According to the CD liner notes, I noticed you attended the Musicians Institute of Technology. [That's right!] Can you tell me a little about that experience and how it prepared you for Lost Horizon.
I can tell you that is was the best experience of my life - the year that I went to
Hollywood, to live there and study percussion. Me and Martin (Martin Furängen, AKA Cosmic Antagonist - bass guitar) went with some other friends of ours. I learned so many things, not only musically of course, but this gives you the knowledge that you need to develop your ability as a drummer...to become as good as you can be. Anyone can learn how to play an instrument, but it's really heard to use what you've learned to express what you feel, if you know what I mean? [Yeah] It's a very long road and it takes many years but it was a very
important thing for me to do.
You were obviously already playing drums before you went there [Right]. How long have you been playing anyway?
I started when I was 15 I think, I started pretty late. I always wanted to play drums but I didn't get the opportunity until I was 15.
I was wondering if you could explain to me what is meant by or what you had in mind when you came up with the band name Lost Horizon.
Well, when we first signed the contract for Music For Nations, our name was still Highlander. But there was a German act with that name who had already released a couple of albums, so we had to change it. We sat down and discussed what we wanted the name to say and we felt that finally Lost Horizon was the name that went very well with the rest of the concept of our band with the lyrics and message and everything that we were about.
That also brings me to the idea that each member has a title representing who you are or what you stand for I guess? [That's right]. Yours is Preternatural Transmogrifyer. Can you tell me what that represents to you?
Ohhhh...it's very hard to....I mean, this is a very personal thing of course. To try to explain it n a short time, just turns out very cheesy I'm afraid. So I just tell you that the thought behind those names was for us to give the people who buy the record, a better picture of us, something that reflects our personalities in a bigger spiritual way and to go with the artwork in the cover. These are not artist names or anything, it's just the spiritual titles that we are using in the concept of the whole artwork and well everything with the CD.
Yeah I noticed when you called you didn't say "Hello I'm Preternatural Transmogrifyer" (laughs).
That would never happen (laughs).
Regarding the lyrics, I read through them when I first got the album and what I got out of them is that you are promoting independence, self-reliance and in some songs you promote the idea that you make your own destiny, it's not about fate. Are these some of the messages that you hope people will come away with?
Yeah, that's the main ingredients in our music and the message behind Lost Horizon and it is what we stand for in our private lives as well. These are just our thoughts about different things put into music.
Can you pick a specific song or two that stand out for you as having this message you'd like people to pick up on?
There are a couple of songs....but I can personally identify myself with all the songs on the album. Especially "Heart of Storm", the lyrics are about how you break out of the misery you have experienced. It can be whatever you have experienced in your life. It can appeal to a lot of different people with how you climb out of this well that you're in and to find your strength and your power to take control of your life again and to achieve what you want to achieve. The same thing with the "Sworn In The Metal Wind" song - how the song is arranged...in the verse there is someone complaining about the situation he is in and in the chorus there is the "metal spirit" or whatever from deep inside telling you "Hey man, what are you doing? You can do much better then this!". Sometimes that is all that people need, something to just lead them back to the power that they have
inside themselves because it's very easy to get stuck in this moaning and complaining and not try to do something to break the pattern.
So this is the issue of self-reliance, you look into yourself for your own power as opposed to relying on everyone else to help you?
I assume this is the reason why in the "thank you's" in the liner notes of the album some of you, including yourself, firstly thanked yourself.
When I first read that, before I had read and understood the lyrics, I was thinking "Who do these guys think they are thanking themselves, are they better then everyone
else..." (laughter) But once I understood what the lyrics meant, I understood why you would put it that way. Some people will probably get the wrong impression if they don't bother to READ the lyrics.
Yeah, of course but there are always people who get the wrong impression about everything so...(laughs) you might expect that.
I noticed, I believe it's also on your website, you say about the message that you are promoting that it's realization can change not only your life but the world. I assume this is
still refering to the message of your "inner strength"??
Yeah, if people around the world would start to find themselves and do things that they are happy with, that would lead to a change of the world automatically of course.
Another thing of interest is your album cover! I was hoping you could explain it to me because it is a very unique cover, especially since it is coming from (and I'm not sure if you'd agree) a power metal band. From power metal you don't typically see these types of covers...there is usually a lot of fantasy artwork. so can you tell me how the artwork relates to your lyrics?
The idea behind the cover is something that we discussed in the band and came up with. Then we had contact with Niklas Sundin from Dark Tranquility who we knew had made covers for some other bands and we knew he was a great artist when it comes to this. So we explained to him what we wanted to have happen in this picture then he visualized our ideas. Together with the whole concept behind the band it's the way we look upon things, how we look upon the word, how lost we feel that this world has become - the people in it are feeling very lost and depressed and having trouble finding their place in this world. This is what we try to show with this picture, to show people that there are more people out there thinking the same way. There are millions of people thinking those thoughts and feeling those same feelings that we try to describe in our music. When they hear the music they can very easily identify themselves and obviously that gives them some kind of positive feeling.
What would you say the animals (the pig, rat, the vulture...) represent? The peoples emotions or negative thoughts?
It's institutions, companies or powerful people all around the world controlling and exploiting both nature and humans, and animals....people not being aware of it, blindfolded on the cover as you can see - just
performing different labors for these animals...it's all symbolic for different things in the real world.
Well I thought it was pretty cool that when I first opened up the CD when it came in the mail and I looked at the cover and I did not have any idea what the music contained within would be like. Usually you can look at a cover and make a good guess about the style of metal it might be.
Here's a typical question but one that is well suited for a band on their first album, and that is,
what are your musical influences?
Well the whole band is obviously influenced by the great acts from the 80's like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden of course and Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Riot, you name them...all the big ones. I'm sure that some people can hear this in the music where we are coming from. This is the
music that we grew up with and the music that made us start playing in the
beginning. So of curse these band have been great influences but then we are getting influences from everywhere. I listen to very different kinds of music and I can be influenced by anything. That's why people have problems, they try to label us, they have trouble with that because they can't find ONE band to compare us to but it reminds them of a lot of bands. That's something we
tried to achieve intentionally because we wanted to make a classic metal album with that old 80's kind of feel but it should sound and feel modern,
suitable for the second millennium.
Would you call yourself a power metal band or just heavy metal?
Power metal has become the definition of a certain kind of bands that are coming out in Europe. Of course we play metal and there is a lot of power in it but we don't want to be mixed up with this trend back in Europe. The same thing with the definition "true metal" - that's a better definition of our music I think. So true metal I would say because we try to make it as true as we can.
When I first played the CD, referring to bands that people probably think of when they hear your music, two bands that I thought of, both who are now defunct,
were two Swedish bands - Persuader and Freternia. I got a bit of that and a little bit of Primal Fear / Gamma Ray of course with a big 80's classic metal vibe as well. With regards to the Swedish metal scene right now, what is your opinion on the scene and what newer bands besides yourself do you look to as promoting what you'd consider to be "true metal"?
Actually, I've stopped searching in the metal scene in Sweden many years ago. I've been so busy with my own music the last couple of years so I really don't know all the new bands coming out. I know that there are tons of them. I also know that a lot of them sound pretty much the same as metal has done for the last ten years....and well, that's pretty sad. But of course there are great bands as well,
often very good musicians. I don't want to say anything about it because I'm really not that into it.
Well, like we discussed, your band was originally called Highlander who had on vocals Joakim
(Cans - HammerFall). What is your opinion on what he's went on to do with his own band now, do you stay up on what he does and stay in contact with him?
I'm better friends with Stefan (Elmgren - HammerFall, lead guitars). Me and Joekim, we are not like personal friends, of course we meet up sometimes but.... I'd have to say about HammerFall that they are playing a very traditional kind of metal and they do it very well. There are a lot of people who like it. A lot of people have begun listening to metal again because of them, that's always positive. Unfortunately we always get compared to them, just because we had a mutual history together. But I feel we really don't have that much in common musically, because they are very traditional and we're not as far as I'm concerned.
Well I wouldn't compare you to HammerFall as much as I might maybe compare you to Primal Fear, Gamma Ray, heavy Helloween and Priest/Maiden. You might not agree, but as a listener that's what I get out of it anyway (laughs). [Yeah.]
So let's talk about your vocalist, Daniel Heiman (Ethereal Magnanimus). He wasn't originally in the band Highlander, so can you tell me where you found him and what his background was before coming into Lost Horizon?!?!
He came from a band called Conviction. I don't think he made any appearances
on their CDs or on any recording, he just did some gigs with them. The thing was that Wojtek (Lisicki - lyrics / guitars /
synthesizers) and Martin (Furängen - bass) had always been talking for years about this great singer that they met at this birthday party that they had went to years ago. Well his name came up again and again and finally we decided to try and contact him. We got a hold of him and we explained the situation and he was interested and later ended up joining us.
He definitely has a very powerful voice...awesome.
Yeah, he has a great voice.
I was kinda surprised....this is your first album and your music and the vocals already sound so professional. Sometimes it takes a singer a couple of albums to find their niche in a band.
Yeah he is!
I read you were doing some festival dates this summer, so can you elaborate on what you'll be doing in terms of touring and if you will be joining any tours with anyone?!
We were supposed to play at the Dynamo Open Air this Friday, but it's cancelled as you've probably heard (Ed. Note: fears of spreading the Hoof and Mouth disease lead to officials
canceling the festival for this year). Now we don't have anything booked until the fourth of August when we'll play at Wacken. Then we go straight from there to EuroRock on the fifth of August. Yesterday we got an e-mail and we are booked on a European tour together with Iced Earth. So we'll be going out for all of September doing 25 gigs all around Europe. Besides that, nothing is really confirmed yet but obviously we are looking forward to going to America to play but that depends on how fast the word travels there.
Yeah....a lot of bands from Europe have problems coming over....
How about your label, Music For Nations...not a lot of metal bands are coming out on that label recently, so can you tell me how you hooked up with them and what it's like being a metal band on MFN?
After finishing off our demo, we sent out a 2-song demo to a couple of labels around Europe. We didn't send any demos to the big labels that are holding like 200 bands because we knew that we
wouldn't get the support that we needed there. So we got answers from a couple of them and after further discussions we came up with and agreement that was very, very nice for us and for MFN. They have a few bands which are all very different form each other. So there is no competition between the bands, or who will get high priority. It was a pretty easy choice and so far they have done their job
amazingly well by setting up the release of the album in Europe and in Japan. Everything is going perfectly.
The label "KOCH Records" is on my copy anyway, they are the ones releasing it for North America?
I wanted to ask about image and how it relates to your band. I'd like to get your reaction on what the purpose of what looks something like "Braveheart like" warpaint that you wear.
This is something that we will use live later of course. We feel that the whole concept of this band is to make a maximum metal experience for the listeners. When you come to our concerts we want to make sure that you are not just listening with your ears. There is something to look at with your eyes and to experience the concert with all your senses. It is a way for us to emphasize the whole
appearance of the band, Lost Horizon.
Is the reference correct regarding the Braveheart thing, is that where you got the idea for the war paint?
Ahhh...actually...of course it's an influence but I don't want to say that we ripped off that movie. I mean, the whole look that we came up with is something that has been growing since the
beginning of the 90's. We wanted to make an appearance that is not tied to any specific time period. We wanted it to looks like it could be any time - the future, the present or the past. But I see your comparison with the paintings of course, but ahhh....
Well the reason I though of it was because some of you use the blue paint - that reminded me of Braveheart and where you are standing out in the fields (The Highlands?) like in the centerfold of the album - I got the feel of Braveheart a little bit. :)
Yeah and I think it's more Highlander.
Yeah, Highlander as well.
That was originally our name and obviously we are very influenced by that movie.
And the opening of the album is called "The Quickening" (Ed. Note - the name given to describe what happens when one immortal kills
another in the Highlander series). So you are obviously pretty big Highlander fans!
Are you a fan of the series or just the movies?
Mainly the movies, but not all of them though....
The first and the third right?
Yeah, the first and the third.
What happened with number two?!??!
I have no idea (laughs).
Neither do I. I love the movies/series and with the second movie I have only seen twice.
That was enough (laughs).
For more information visit www.oncelosthorizon.com
Review for AWAKENING
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