Interview with Advent Horizon

Septemeber 22nd 2015

Advent Horizon are Salt Lake City, UT based prog band (not from Boston, as I originally thought), and recently they released their second studio album "Stagehound." The band was happy to answer our questions about their music.

Hey Rylee. How are you doing these days? How was this summer in Boston?

Doing great! Thanks for asking! We actually live in Salt Lake City, UT. Though, I wish I was in Boston this summer. A lot of great bands toured through there that I've been wanting to see!

Advent Horizon has released a brand new album this year and I would love if you'd tell us something about it. How did the creation process go, and how are you guys in general satisfied with "Stagehound"?

Stagehound was a pretty big step for us as a band. This album marks the first time that we have "collaborated" on songwriting. In the past, our music has been mainly written by Rylee with occasional input from the others. For Stagehound, we made a pointed effort to make sure that each band member had a voice in the songwriting process. Because of that, this album turned out much more diverse in style and feel than our first album "Immured".

We are mostly satisfied with Stagehound as a final product. We would have liked to spend more time in the studio in the production process. But time is money, and we had limited resources to work with this time. I think that, for what little we had to work with on this album, we are all very pleased with the outcome.

As I always like to make my own theories about the bands' albums, I’ve got one about this album as well. “Stagehound” feels like that you wanted to create an album that is an homage both to the bands from way back in 70’s, but also to modern artists. How much truth is there in it?

That is VERY true. One of my favorite descriptions of Advent Horizon was given by a fan last year. They called us "A contemporary hybrid of 70's Rock and 90's Grunge with a Blues twist". We admire much about the musicianship of 70's Rock, the raw energy of 90's Grunge, and the Passion of Blues. Though, these are not the only influences at play.

Would you gives us closer insights to the topics you explore in the “Stagehound” songs?

Stagehound is an album about many topics. Invasion Theorem is about the connection between Paranoia and failure. (though, at the time that we wrote it, we had no idea what it was about)

Diary tells a story about a psychic who is world renowned, and is rumored to be able to tell anyones future by merely looking at their hands. Until one day he meets a woman who cannot be read. This causes him to question his powers, and eventually drives him mad.

What is the artwork supposed to mean? Also, how much in your opinion should artwork complete a full “image” of an album?

I have always seen album artwork as a large part of what makes the whole "Album" experience. Since I was young, I have always loved putting on a record, and listening to the songs while I read through the lyric book, and admire the pieces of art inside. Many of my favorite bands are masters of using the visual medium in the booklet to complete the story that the lyrics tell.

The Artwork for Stagehound was drawn by Jennica McDonald. She is a local artist from Salt Lake City, who does fantastic impressionist work. We were hoping to convey the idea that the main female character, while beautiful, was haunted beneath the surface by her looming fate. The title "Wilted Grace" is a reference to the Album Cover.

I have to say that you did hell of a good job with the new album and I find it interesting in every way. How is it when the time comes to create something new? Is there more focused creative energy in the writing process or are you always surrounded by inspiration?

Thanks! Im really glad you enjoy it! My creative side is very visually stimulated. I find myself most inspired to write new music while I am in a scenic place. Often, I will drive up into the mountains with a guitar, and just start writing. A good friend of mine used to be known to say "You can't rush art!" The truth of this statement has really sunk in over the years.

I don't know if it only happens with me, but I have a feeling that in some way your music is somehow "layered", meaning that those progressive elements are hidden in comparison with other elements that build structure. Does that make any sense to you?

Our music is not "All out progressive" like many other prog bands. There are many elements of Pop/rock, Alternative, New wave and other more popular genres. At heart we are definitely a Progressive Rock band, but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to see the "Prog" Roots. We have worked to create music that does not compromise on quality of musicianship, and complex song structure, but that will still appeal to the general public. We want to make music for the world! Not just Progressive Rock fans.

The most recent news from the Advent Horizon camp are that you are working on some new acoustic music. What can you tell me?

Something that should be understood about our music is that almost all of our songs start out on the acoustic guitar. The majority of them go on to gain full instrumentation. The songs that we are currently writing will likely follow that path. We aren’t planning on releasing an “Acoustic album” anytime soon. But I do think there’s a good chance that our next album will feature more acoustic elements than our last two!

How would you describe Advent Horizon’s music on your own? I do not ask for generic labels. If there's a word that fits well to your music, what that would be?

That's a question that we have always struggled to answer. Our influences are so widely varied that it can be difficult to come up with a specific definition for what we are. I like to call us a Progressive Pop Rock band.

Where do you guys stand when it comes to playing live?

My two favorite sides of the music world are: Live Performance, and Songwriting. Playing live with Advent Horizon covers both of those areas. We strive to play live as much as possible. We try hard to make our live shows as authentic to the album as we can. This has proven to be quite difficult since Stagehound has so many vocal parts. Over the summer, we have worked hard on perfecting our live harmonies. We are pretty proud of that. Lately we have become well known for our covers of well known classic rock songs. A few of our biggest audience favorites are "Spirit of the Radio" by Rush, "Highway Star" by Deep Purple, "Carry on My Wayward son" by Kansas, and "The Ocean" by Led Zeppelin. Covering other peoples music has been a great way for us to branch out musically. It has helped our live show tremendously!

Speaking of playing live, is there any venue around the world that you dream of playing at? Or maybe a festival?

We have always wanted to play the Progressive Nation at Sea cruise. The lineup of bands each year at that show is incredible. It would be an honor to join so many incredible groups for a weekend!

Let's talk a bit about your musical background and influences. Which bands or musicians influence you?

As a band, we have many influences.

Rylee: My primary influence is Rush, but I have also been hugely influenced by 80s new wave music, such as Tears For Fears, U2 and Duran Duran. My biggest guitar playing influences are Alex Lifeson, Jimmy Page, Neil Schon, and Djengo Reindhart.

Mike: I think my biggest influences have been straight up rock and rollers, such as Neil Peart of Rush, Dave Grohl of Nirvana, and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. I've also been heavily influenced by metal and progressive drummers like Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree, Martin Lopez of Opeth, and Josh Eppard of Coheed and Cambria.

Cason: I grew up playing in jazz bands and listening to my dad’s Rush collection, so when I was younger I was listening to fusion projects like Weather Report and Return to Forever. From there I got into progressive bands like Yes and Porcupine Tree, which led me generally to 70s rock bands as a whole. I’d say my strongest bass playing influences are Jaco Pastorius, John Paul Jones, Geddy Lee, and Chris Squire.

What have you been listening to recently?

Rylee: I've been really getting into Stevie Wonder lately, along with a lot of pop rock bands like Silverchair, Mutemath, and The Zombies. But I have also recently found several great new prog groups. Haken, Eidola, and Dead Letter Circus just to name a few.

Mike: Lately I've been binging on some new releases. Mainly hand cannot erase from Steven wilson, and coma ecliptic from between the buried and me. I've also really been enjoying +4626-comfortzone from beardfish.

Cason: Lately I’ve been listening to some records that I haven’t listened to for a while, mainly The Mothers of Invention, Jaco Pastorius, Porcupine Tree, Yes, Muse, Jellyfish, Between the Buried and Me, Miles Davis, Opeth, and Lucifer’s Friend.

Is there anything you would like to add and that I didn’t ask?

Not that I can think of at the moment. We are very grateful to all of our fans for keeping us in their hearts, and in their headphones. It is amazing to us to see the amount of support that we have received from around the globe. Stay tuned, more great music is coming!!!

Track Listing

  1. Invasion Theorem - 4:20
  2. Motion - 3:57
  3. Diary - 4:28
  4. Down the Vine - 4:38
  5. The Dying Blue - 3:33
  6. Magic Chef - 4:23
  7. Oceans - 4:06
  8. Wilted Grace - 3:55
  9. Midweek Maniac - 4:30
  10. Serpentine - 10:15
  11. Sanctuary - 6:12

You can follow Advent Horizon at: