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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Interview: Ghost Horizon

On February 26th, Ghost Horizon will release their new EP called Astral Possession. Time for DutchMetalManiac's Martijn Bakker to ask them some questions.

I just reviewed your new EP (here) and must say I am impressed by it. As a European, when I think of black metal, I see dark Scandinavian forests in my head...yet you come from Arizona, a place full of deserts and palm trees. Does that influence your take on black metal?

D.S.: First of all, thank you for checking out Astral Possession—we appreciate it!

I think that in general, most people would agree with you when it comes to black metal first impressions. In the past, I lived in the northern part of the US, so I have experienced the extreme cold and shorter days. Coming to the desert was different for me though, and in many ways changed the way I think.

I can say with much confidence that the desert is so drastically different from the northern climate in the US, that it's something of a culture/climate shock. I welcomed it however, and I do think that my relocation directly correlated with me learning an important music lesson. Music can be not only one style in particular, but also several styles...sometimes all at once.

U: For me, most of the influence is emotionally derived. Certain tones and musical structures seem to resonate with the emotion that we aim to convey in the compositions. This is true regardless of our environment. Being that Dan lives in the desert and I currently reside in a frozen hellhole, the mood of the music can tend to be cold and brooding.

What kind of experience for the listener do you aim for with your music?

U: I hope for a visceral response and a thoughtful reflection of the self while listening to these tracks.

D.S.: My goal is to give the listener an experience, and perhaps invoke certain feelings or emotions inside them.

I hear a nice balance between brutal aggression and melodic contemplation. Was this a conscious decision when you started on this EP?

U: We managed to bring a little bit of ourselves into this music. I'm more of an aggressive writer when it comes to extreme metal, whereas Dan finds his ebb and flow in the more expressive end of the spectrum. If it sounds like it's balanced it's because we found common ground on which to craft these tracks.

D.S.: Definitely. I played with a few different approaches on Astral Possession until I figured things out. The light and the dark—it's all contrast. I think one without the other sometimes comes off as plain, or boring.

The song Spectral Threnody shows both sides of dark metal: dark, soundscape-like music, speedy guitar and drum riffs, yet with an almost ´catchy´ melody. I have never heard that in this way in black metal. Do you aim for this or does it just come into existence?

D.S: The basic goal of expressing both sides is always in my mind somewhere, but once the song starts taking form, I just let it come naturally.

U: This goes back to the previous question. Our differing musical needs bring together songs that can sometimes seem to be off the beaten track. We don't aim to be unique in this respect. We're just weird fucking guys.

What quotes do we hear in the First song Pale Apparation? Is it a theme in the album?

U: If you pay attention to these words, you get the sense that we're looking at the decentralization of human life. No one is special. Nothing is certain.

The songs on this EP are linked. They flow more or less into each other. Are the songs thematically connected as well?

U: Glad you asked. Lyrically they follow a very concise, thematic progression. I leave the listener to glean his or her own meaning from these tracks. For me, it begins as a loss of love, followed by the loss of life, finishing with the erasure of self. The prospect of getting flack from readers for mentioning love in a heavy metal interview has dawned on me, but I know for a fact that the four letter word has caused a lot of murders. So that's pretty fucking brutal and deserves an aggressive musical treatment.

The band at this moment consists of two members. How do you work together on the songs?

U: Dan gets guitars all hashed out, written and recorded, which are then sent my way. I'll then write drums, lyrics and any synth layering that's appropriate. We're hundreds of miles apart. Technology is a helluva thing.

Will you perform live and what will then be your band line up?

D.S.: Prior to the current lineup, I had a short-lived version of the band that played one show where we opened for Abigail Williams. At the moment there are no plans to play live.

U: If we perform live, it'll be on top of a mountain in Spain and our lineup will be Scooby Doo on Bass, El Chapo on Keyboards, Dan Stollings on rhythm guitar, Me as frontman, Dana Carvey on Drums, and Yngwie Malmsteem getting his ass beat in the bathroom for being such a prick.

Musically, what bands would you say inspired Ghost Horizons music?

D.S.: Alcest and Lantlos are big ones, but also Emperor and Satyricon, just to name the first few that pop into my head. There's also a few darker bands from the 80's that inspire me to do things a little differently.

U: I don't listen to a ton of music so I'd have to pass on the question. For me, Ghost Horizon is inspired by failure and tragedy and death.

Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

D.S.: Astral Possession comes out on 2/26, so pre-order on our Bandcamp!

U: Support local music.

Thank you very much for your time, I am looking forward to a full album!


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