Interview with Wojtek Lisicki of Lost Horizon

1. How do the band come up with the ideas for their songs ?

The embryos of the songs reach the period between 89 and 94 (95). It was the year when our first original shape Highlander existed. During that time all the songs was created. Of course, in very primitive form, totally incomparable with the new versions. All music and lyrics is written by me. Although, when it comes to "Welcome Back" and "Kingdom Of My Will", the story is a little bit different. Original form of "Welcome Back" is exclusively written by Baskim Zuta (the old guitarist from Highlander). It's current, final, version is re-arranged and perfected, both musically and lyrically. Some few parts of the old version of "The Kingdom Of My Will" are also created by Baskim Zuta back then. Now this song is three times longer than the original and totally re-arranged. If Your question is about the procedure of song writing, I can say it's a very complex process. As I am the song writer I can reflect it for You, but only briefly, as I would need to have a symposium, not only this interview, to explain it in detail J. I create all the music at my home. Well, "home" is a little bit exaggerated description of the place I live in. My living room is transformed to a semi digital studio. This is my home. This is my den. As all the equipment is always on, I throw my self over it when every microscopic new idea "reveals" in my head. There is no time I don't I don't analyse music. I also have developed a dream like method of working (in practice), using a special sounding bell to simulate the vocal lines. The drums, keyboards and bass guitar are also digital while composing. When the whole songs are finished, I present it for the band. We do some few changes during the rehearsals. We are never creating anything in the rehearsal place, as that's too primitive way o f working. Finally in the studio we add a lot of new "polishing" ideas and nuances, as studio is the place there you hear the complete work sounding. You get the ultimate picture of whole the creation and are able to clearly see what's "missing".

That was the practical part.

The spiritual part is following.

Every hit, stroke, sound, note, thought and word is always being weighed in with the precision of a madman, in relation to the members' present outlook on things regarding life and beyond, and the music itself. To create the best possible balance. Everything mixed with the natural result of an ocean of very strong impressions, experiences and analyses, which has affected our lives.

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.

Compromises are absolutely not allowed in true art, to which Lost Horizon belongs. Only extreme and pure solutions are being applied.

Our spiritual inspiration is always generated by the very important subjects, such as: the cohesion with nature and its mystique and magic, the secret of existence, the compositions' and the notes' affect on human binge, the discovering of the cosmic knowledge, the will to share that and other knowledge, the will to guide and to help the ones that need it, the will to help others identifying themselves with likeminded who understands, and a lot, lot more.

Our musical inspiration/influences. The compositions are not only based on the foundations of heavy metal. All relevant musical and emotional aspects from the in the world existing music, has had and still have an effect on our style of music.

Some examples:

Heavy metal gave/gives us the first love of music, harmony, technique, passion, lifestyle, happiness
Thrash metal gave/gives us the tightness and aggression in the music
Death metal gave/gives me a stronger belief in myself, energy, control/canalization/address of the hate, freedom
Black metal gave/gives me a different mystique, experiences from the dark side, extremity, courage
Trance gave/gives us cosmic magic
Ambience gave/gives us peace
Folklore gave/gives purity and virginity

Many parts of the instrumental arrangements on "Awakening…" are made "before its time". Here meaning that very little concern have been given to the limitations of the members' instrumental skills. But with the help of everybody's one hundred percents engagement, even the most impossible parts of the compositions were overcome. The reason for this is, that the only thing that counts is the work - the result - where limitations are merely temporary problems that have to be resolved in order to reach the goal.


2. Individually how long has each member been playing and what influenced you to start?

Well, When it comes to me... I have been holding guitar in 17 years, but actively I have played in 15 years. What influenced me to start was "that incredible emotion" (the one described in "World Through My Fateless Eyes") already in the very beginning. I was 13 years old. Some of my friends "organized" electric-guitar-similar "instruments". That was when I still lived in Poland, in a country that fixing things like guitars was almost impossible. Especially for a kid. Although, I traded some valuable possessions of mine for an ugly jazz guitar at the same time hearing Black Sabbath, Van Halen and AC/DC (my first contact witch heavy metal), and the Metal spirit was awaken.
Regarding the rest of the members, their musical dawn is following:
Daniel Heiman (vocals) - Hmm. I started singing when I was 14 years old. One dreary August night I was struck by a lighting and felt the power fill my veins! :)

Ok, seriously. My mother has always thought me children songs when I was little. Since then I have always walked around singing for myself. Later on, I heard Ozzy's "Dairy of a madman" and some Kiss, and it was then I got that extra kick to be a singer. Shortly after, we started a "band" together with my old companion Fredrik Olsson, the present guitarist from Lost Horizon.
Attila Publik (keyboards) - We always had a piano staying at our home. As my father is a jazz musician, I was grown up in that kind of atmosphere. When I was ten years old, at my school we had to chose a particular instrument, which was like a compulsory part of education. I choose piano. I liked it and I already had the instrument. Music has always fascinated me. That was the beginning.
Fredrik Olsson (guitar) - I was 11 years old. I was sick and alone at my home. The boringness reached it's culmination. There was some note book laying on the desk and an acoustic guitar hanging on the wall. I kind of tried to decipher the "Chinese" symbols (the notes) in it. To my surprise, it went very easily already from the very beginning. I think I had/have a natural aptitude for it. At the same period of time, my brother was playing some blues licks on a electric guitar in a cellar. Well, it didn't take long time before I was there every day. Later, I got that guitar as a gift on my birthday.
Christian Nyqvist (drums) - I saw a drummer when I was five year ago and was totally enchanted. I got some kind of a toy drum-kit, which I totally demolished of course. But I didn't get any chance to play for real before I was 15, because the adult's inability to see the child's enthusiasm about things. Baskim Zuta (ex. guitarist from Highlander) thought me "Run To The Hills", which I handled very quickly, and since then I was lost J

Martin Furängen (bass) - I started playing music when I was about fifteen years old. At that time I was more or less obsessed with Steve Harris and Iron Maiden. It was my life. I wanted nothing more than to become like Harris. I learned all Maiden songs and even got a sparkling blue Fender Precision bass with a Badass bridge and Seymour-Duncan pickups. And off course, I got the same RotoSound strings as he used. The guitarist Baskim Zuta and me started a band, and played only Maiden covers the first year or so, then started to make our own music (somewhat Maiden-influenced...).

3. Who came up with the incredible artwork on the cover and how long did it take to design?

The person who did whole the practical part was Niclas Sundin, the guitarist from Dark Tranquillity, who also is webmaster and computer graphic artist. The work is done directly and exclusively on a computer. The ideology behind the concepts is my vision, but the whole band share it totally. We have been closely monitoring the workflow from beginning to end. There are no coincidental events, everything is planned. The entire work with graphics took one month months.

4. Are there any plans of any U.K. dates, if so where and when?

No sorry, there aren't. We can't organize such things ourselves. Some festivals are booked in Europe, but that's all. All the waiting and no gigs is overwhelming pure misery and a ridiculous wasting of time. Although, we will probably start a cooperation with an agent very soon.

5. What festival/venue would you most like to play?

At the moment, I think Wacken in Germany and Dynamo in Holland. But that's for Europe. Outside it I do not have any experiences with the festivals, therefore no direct wishes.

6. Have you been approached by many bands to be a tour-support - if so who?

No, we haven't. Well, the album have not been out more then two months. Besides, I don't think we will be contacted too often about that matter, as many bands' managers will probably shake with asses fearing "stealing attention from their bands", which would be ridiculous of course.

7. What is your stage-show like? Do you wear similar costumes on-stage? Who came up your look/make-up etc?

Well, I'm not sure. I have planed it in a long time, but who really manifested the idea… I don't remember. That's not important, as all of us love the paintings. Live, we look like on the album. Of course, not that perfectly "choreographed". We don't have any stylist yet, so we have to do everything by our selves. I guess it will force us to a little bit "barbarous" approach the nearest time. But, that's cool that too. Our real show we have to wait with, as we need to get more routine first. But when we decide to do it, you will not forget it. Promise!

8. When do you plan a follow-up to 'Awakening the World'? How's the album doing in Sweden?

The album is doing very well. Specially in Japan, Sweden, and in the south Europe. We plan to be finished with the recording of the second album just before the next summer. Than go on vacations and do the mix directly after, with fresh minds. This is the most optimal effective way.

9. Would you simply describe the material you perform as 'Power Metal' or do you have alternative title for it?

At last a reasonable person!!! Nice to be asked, not put in a frame. No, we are not a power Metal band. We are a True Metal band, in the deepest essence of meaning. But it's obvious that people consider us being a power Metal band depending probably on our arrangements. I guess we ARE partially representing power Metal's points of it's definition, but we don't want to be in-mixed in this new legend-knight fashion. We are a serious band. An idealistic front. No smiling wimps on stage plying rock'n'roll. We rode under the holy standard of True Metal from 90 until 94, and we do it now too. Although we shall probably (for sure) define our own description.

10. How do you separate the style of the band from similar bands like 'Helloween', 'HammerFall', etc?

Separate? Well, actually sometime, reading different reviews, I wonder with what part of the body people are listening to the music. Very often it MUST be the ASS. Our art have nothing to do with Helloween and definitely not with HammerFall. The only kind of Heloweenish similarities can be found on "World Through My Fateless Eyes" and "Sworn In The Metal Wind", that's it. In their original form, those are the oldest songs of the band. I liked Helloween as hell once. Only Hansen's of course. The rest is crap. Still I can understand SOME conclusions. As mentioned, everything you hear on "Awakening…" is a documentation of our past around early 90's. It's a collection of all our work. That's why similarities with some other bands can be heard. The rest of the songs are totally different from the above mentioned band's music style. In the future, we will go towards more epic, theatrical and "naturalistic" (don't mix it with folklore too much) kind of expression and style. Although, it will still be Metal with the claws and purest magic!

11. What do you think to the current scene of metal that's so popular at the moment e.g. the Limp Bizkit/Fear Factory/Green Day/Offspring to u-Metal kind of styles? Is it as popular over in Sweden?

Excuse me?????!!!!!!!!! Limp Bizkit, Green Day, Offspring - "Metal"???!!! No, It's not Metal, it's music for the greyest mass. Metal is serious music. In it's proper form it contains the force, mysticism, magic... So, please, don't blaspheme. And yes, these bands are popular in Sweden I guess, as I always hear their names everywhere. I have nothing more to say here. I don't include Fear Factory in the first mentioned "statement". They have been around for quiet a while. They are known, simply because they are great. I like "Demanufacture" a lot!

12. Do the kids in Sweden still like the old-school 80's style of metal - or
do they simply follow the fashion-conscious masses?

Still? Well, the most are at the beginning stadium I guess. The biggest part are just followers. I don't blame them, they are kids and they just explorer life. The older ones still like the old school a lot. But there is of course a big amount of pure fashion rubble. There is also an other peculiar phenomenon going on in Sweden (England too?). It has namely come a new "race" of Metal listeners. Shorthaired mammas-boys with power metal T-shirts. I mean… what is this?! They are everywhere over here! Do You recognize the symptom?

13. Before the band were formed - what sort of day jobs have you done to bring the money in? Or: Do you still have day jobs, or is the band the full time thing?

Some of us work daily. Christian (drums) and Daniel (vocals) are recreation pedagogues for youngsters, Martin (bass) works at a computer company with graphic design and multimedia programming, Attila (keyboards) and Fredrik (guitar) have been more professionally involved in music before Lost Horizon. Attila used (use) to play with jazz/fusion bands and Fredrik was guitar teacher. Finally, me Wojtek (guitar), am definitely not having a normal job, as this professional music carrier (including different projects) takes all my time. I am writing music for three different albums, in different styles, at the same time, so ordinary work is out of the question for me. As that earthbound pack is not interested in employing people like me anyway, I totally concentrate my energy on the music and education. The unworthy job is out-of-the-ques-tion for me. So, I try to study as much I can. But the most important for me is composing music, as it's not only music it self you are discovering, but with it's help the puzzles in the psyche is falling more and more into place. The development of the mind is the most important for me and the rest of the band, as developing the mind you are developing your soul…

14. What is your Rock scene like in Sweden - regarding bands, clubs,
radio/TV etc?

Regarding clubs and similar, it's much better now days. Before, it was a very pour story. Now, there are different clubs with regular band performances every week, and new ones pops up every month. Rock part in TV consists only of alternative shit or mortal commercial crap. Like usually, media is proclaiming the biggest, known bands, which nobody, except the programmable mass, cares about anyway. It's 100% commercial. I don't know too much about radio, as I never listen to it. But I know there are some brave ones, who really engage them selves in that medial form, having some rock shows. Regarding bands - there is a lot of them. A lot really professional ones. Still, there is not much content in their music except the instrumental technique. People are too skin-deep here. We, are only interested in music with deep content and emotions, balanced perfectly with the arrangements.

15. What is the best gig you've ever played and what's the worst?

Actually, the both asked "opposite extremes" have taken place in March 2001. So far, the best one was definitely our first official gig, which took place in Paris the 26 Mars and the worst must be one of the warm-up gigs in Skövde (Sweden). Purest joke.

16. Do you have any humorous stories to tell since being in the band?

A couple. But… I think it's too early for an auto anti Lost Horizon campaign J

17. Have you heard of the band 'Bal-Sagoth' from Sheffield, U.K.-(Barbarian Black Metal, signed to Nuclear Blast)? If so, what do you think to them?

Yes, I know the band. Very original style! But I have only heard one studio recorded song "As The Vortex Illumines The Crystalline Walls Of Kor-Avul-Thaa". I liked it a lot! I saw them even live at Astoria in London together with Emperor (which I partially love), and I think it's a very interesting band (judged on what I saw than). If You suggest any influences regarding the face-paintings, do not, as what we do is totally independent from all other bands.

18. What music do you use as a warm-up for a show?

Do you mean in the dressing room? Well, no music at all. Have never tried it, actually. Not ether anybody in the band I think, but I'm not sure. The atmosphere before the gig is always stressful enough. Personally, I can not concentrate with music around, as I automatically start analysing the arrangements, and that steals the attention from the relevant subjects. But I plane to have the sounds of nature on, next time. It really helps you to awake the purest natural magic inside, not creating any disturbing pictures in your mind.

19. What do each of you listen to when you aren't busy with band related work?

A: Well, pure musically, when it comes to the music styles which gilds my soul, these are: ambience, trance, film or other illustrative music, computer game music, Metal in general (specially bands like Virgin Steele), Elend and similar music, mystical death, black, thrash, speed, no modern power metal (except Rhapsody), folklore, Enya similar music, western, 70's disco, grind, speed punk, classic and other emotional music. Martin Furängen (bass): Metal, techno-thrash, techno death, classic, goa-trance, techno-trance, fusion, 80's synth, Tribal Tech similar music… Daniel Heiman (vocals): Metal, trance, synth, punk, opera, hardcore, country, blues, pop, 70's disco, techno… Attila Publik (keyboards): jazz, fusion, Tribal Tech similar music, technical funk, progressive, folklore... Fredrik Olsson (guitar): progressive, fusion, groove metal, classic, doom-power metal... Christian Nyqvist (drums): Metal, trance, classic, technical funk, progressive rock ...

20. What's the reason behind having strange names as well as you real names? What do they stand for?

Those "names" are our spiritual titles. They are a manifestation of our true inner status. We spent a great deal of time to search within ourselves to find the perfect descriptions that reflect our personalities. They are just for our selves and for those who want to experience what we do on a higher level. I don't wanna explain exactly why each of us have chosen these particular "names". It's quiet a subtle matter. Anyway, these are not our artist names. It could not be possible anyway, as those are almost impossible to pronounce by normal people. So, for medial purposes we use our earthly names.

21. Will the band continue to play in this style of could it change slightly in time - depending on its popularity?

We will always change. Although, we will not change the style diametrically, only develop it and include a lot of new nuances and elements to it. Our music is a living music. The second album will be a mix of the style from "Awakening…" and the new approach. It shall be a bridge between the old and the new thought. For people who complain about our, let say, quiet archaic way of playing Metal, I want to mention once again, that all the songs' original versions are written in the beginning of the last decade. The second album is going to contain some few unused older parts, melted together with totally new visions. We want to do it that way, as we want to document EVERYTHING we have ever written. No time in the past engagement will go forgotten an wasted. The third album will be the first one in the totally pure and mature Lost Horizon stile.

22. Overall, is the rock/metal scene taken serious enough in Sweden or is ignored to an extent that commercial dance/pop music gets the majority of the limelight?

Of course it's very limited. As I mentioned before. The all-eating popular-music mass is the biggest part of the society. They are the main interest for commercial magnates. But, is this phenomenon anything new? No, it's just how it always was.

23. If you had the chance to guest with any artists either live or studio -
who would they be?

Hmm, a very difficult question. To make it easier, I will define my self to Metal. Some years ago I would have answered such question without any doubts. Now, as I don't care about other bands as much as back then it's harder. Not to be ignorant, I'm just generally disappointed in relation to many bands, or just not that impressed or interested anymore. I'm building my own music empire. This is what counts for me in the first place. But to mention some bands I could before even think to be a member of, those surely would be: Morbid Angel, Immortal, Emperor, King Diamond, Annihilator (old style) and some more.

24. Do the band have t-shirts available - if so, what are they like - similar to the album?

The T-shirts will be available very soon. Maximally in one month. Yes, for now all the material will be taken from the album. Later on we shall do all possible variations. Check our site soon, the information will always be there!

Thanks for letting me interview you guys for the fanzine.

Thank You too Glenn for a different interview, and for spreading our name.

And to all you with the heart on the right side - the time of real True Metal has come!

All the best,

Wojtek Lisicki

Check out Lost Horizon's Website for more info on this great band -