Atmospheric black metal can really be amazing, in the right hands. And with Arizona’s Ghost Horizon the genre is in very capable hands. The band got its start in 2015, released their debut EP Astral Possession (covered here) in 2016 and earlier this month released their second EP Erotics of Disgust (featured here). Both of these EP’s are living, breathing examples of atmospheric black metal and how it can amplify the emotions involved in the writing process. Recently we had the opportunity to ask founding member Daniel Stollings our set of Profile questions, read on to see what he had to say.
How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?
I first got into playing music on accident. My friend found a Hohner flying V in a dumpster somewhere and gave it to me. I was always very interested in learning how to play, but didn’t really start getting serious for another three or four years after that.
I haven’t really had a specific level of success that I’m trying to achieve in quite some time. My goal is simply to get my music out to as many people as possible. I just want to tell my story.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.
I guess I’ve been pretty lucky so far, because I don’t feel like I’ve had to debase myself at all, really. I’ve made a couple choices in my music career that I later found to be a waste of time, but nothing I would consider embarrassing.
There’s been a couple times where I could have been more of an ass kisser to the headlining bands to help my own progression, but in most cases that only makes you look like a fool in the long run. Specifically speaking, a popular black metal band originally from Arizona, actually expected that from me, I feel–which resulted in me losing all respect for them. Some people should just be quiet and play their guitar.
Since I don’t want to let you down completely, I would say the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to me is breaking a string on my guitar while playing a show and not having a back up guitar. Felt really dumb walking off stage in the middle of a song.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
The best thing happening in metal is that everyone is trying new things right now, and this results in some very interesting new ideas. The worst thing is that the extreme metal scene is becoming more and more “negatively” commercialized and thusly shittier.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music? (This question is especially appropriate for you since your music is quite an outlet for your physical and emotional pains).
Well, I don’t think that I really have any specific passion for a cause, but when you mentioned the music being an outlet, that’s when I knew I could give you a better answer.
Music has, and always will be an outlet for me. It’s a lot like going to the gym for me. It was like that for me before I could even play an instrument. I need music to extricate all the emotional baggage I have built up in my head. Sometimes it can be very intense and cause problems in other areas of my life.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
Well, considering I was 13 years old when my dad brought me to see Dio, Iron Maiden, and Motorhead, I would say my family took it pretty well. Well…my dad did. Mother not so much.
I grew up in a Christian household, so I don’t think my mother was very excited to hear that her oldest son was playing and listening to what she considered Satanic music. I think she’s gotten over it by now though.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
Well, speaking from my point of view as a musician, I would say that the most useful thing is when critics share the music and say really good stuff about it. That’s about as good as you can hope for. A lot of a band’s or musician’s success relies on the musician themselves, so you can only help give that extra push as a critic.
I also think that critics should always remain very honest and only go above and beyond for bands they truly enjoy.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
The goal for 2017 is to play a few moderately big shows in the Southwest and possibly the West Coast in an attempt to get Ghost Horizon into the ears of more people.
Starting a cult does sound tantalizing, though. Want to be a part of it? We’ll bring the black candles and goat’s blood…
Many thanks to Daniel for his time!