Two men and a guitar

At first, when I heard the band name Five Rusty Horizons, I imagined a loud, modern hard core metal band, but you know what? It’s not. On the contrary, Five Rusty Horizons is an acoustic duo, hailing from Switzerland, featuring guitarist and backing vocalist Pat Wydler and lead vocalist Goran Bajic. Back in the day the guys played in Soul Strip, a grunge rock band that have been active in the Swiss rock scene for about ten years. After the band split and years went by, Pat and Goran at one point reconnected and felt inspired to work together again and they recently released a self-titled 4-track EP. ,,Citadel’’, ,,Room For A Day’’, ,,Listening To Shine’’ and ,,Danger Zone’’ are acoustic, intimate and fragile sounding songs, hinting to the glo-rious grunge days, a direction in which Pat and Goran feel extremely comfortable. HeadBangers LifeStyle’s Lilo got in touch with the duo to ask about the thoughts and feelings behind Five Rusty Horizons.

Why did you decide to be a two man acoustic band and not a full, electric band as Five Rusty Horizons?
Pat: ,,This was in fact an organic and natural process as it just happened. Between 1998 and 2008, Goran and myself played together in a post-grunge band called Soul Strip, we released two records and played with bands like Stone Sour, Alter Bridge, 3 Colors Red and others. So we went through it together already, but the band split up in 2008 and the two of us went into different directions. When we met again (I guess it was in 2013), we started the idea to bring Soul Strip to an official and worthy end for the two of us by playing an intimate acoustic show in our hometown of Zurich. We even tried to bring the whole band together for fun, but the rest didn’t seem to have the same desire, so we decided to do it as a duo only. This was kind of the kick-start of Five Rusty Horizons. It’s also much easier, not dealing with too many complicated people (laughs).’’
Goran: ,,I guess we had our fill with noise and we didn’t want to go back to the same old story. But it really unfolded itself when we played that last farewell gig of Soul Strip acoustically. We realized it’s a more natural and personal way of expressing ourselves. It’s not like we despise e-guitars or drums, we just don’t feel our music needs to be amplified nowadays to become greater or have a bigger impact on the listener. It’s like those Alice In Chains albums `SAP’ and `Jar Of Flies’, where you know this band is usually rock driven but you sense there’s a certain depth hearing the music stripped down to the essential. It can be somehow compared to those MTV Unplugged sessions back in the 90s, which in my opinion have some of the most iconic performances ever.’’

What is the general essence of FRH for you personally?
Pat: ,,The general essence of the band is the chemistry, the friendship between Goran and myself. We went through good and not so good times, but there was always something special between us. We try to share this with other people through our music, the honesty, authenticity and fragility. We want to share a good time and are grateful if we can send our music straight to the listener’s hearts and make them feel good and comfortable. We like the idea of calling our music Love Rock, in the spirit of the late Andy Wood of Mother Love Bone.’’
Goran: ,,The essence is to be able to make music in such a profound way that we nourish our friendship on every single rehearsal and share those positive vibes with our fans, friends and family. We grew up with the grunge scene and it will always remain a part of our lives. This transcends into our song writing as our love letter to that time. We want to share that with the world. We want them to hear that it’s positive heartfelt fuel that drives us further in life. That’s what Love Rock stands for.’’

FRH released a 4-track EP. What is for you the musical essence of this self-titled EP?
Pat: ,,Goran and I haven’t been in a studio together for about 15 years, so it was an interesting moment, when we started to record the songs with our dear friend Sandro Pellegrini (guitarist of Pure Inc / Souls Revival). It was clear that we didn’t want to overproduce the songs and keep them as pure and fragile as possible. What you hear is what we are: two guys, two voices and one guitar. To even have the full circle, we asked our former drummer in Soul Strip, Damian Fink (who lives in Los Angeles since about 13 years) to mix the 4 songs. So it’s almost a reunion (smiling).’’
Goran: ,,Yeah, it represents who we are today, with the good and bad and all the rest in between. It’s a personal musical journey of growing up and recognizing your vastly improved perception of the world. More of the new material can be heard on our live shows and this EP gives a glimpse where we’re heading.’’

,,Wherever we have space for two guys and a guitar, we’re ready to play.’’-Pat Wydler

In what way do you feel inspired by each other, both on the creative side and on stage?
Pat: ,,It’s really hard to put that into words. We somehow have a common creativity in making music. We can challenge each other on different levels and push ourselves to the next level. On stage I like the fact that it always feels like sitting at home on a couch and have fun together. This is also the feeling that the audience picks up immediately and becomes part of a very intimate environment at our shows. We play anywhere anyway. Wherever we have space for two guys and a guitar, we’re ready to play (smiling).’’
Goran: ,,I feel inspired by Pat in that sense that I see how much we are evolving as friends and band mates. This allows me to write and work effortlessly on this new chapter of our musical history. When we decided to make music again it was kind of a musical resurrection for me as I completely dropped singing for good by that time. I’m looking forward to where we’ll take it from here.’’

Were there specific bands in the back of your mind when composing the tracks?
Pat: ,,Not really. We didn’t sit down and said: “We would like to sound like this band or that band”. But I guess it’s obvious to hear, where our influence is coming from. The Seattle sound of the 90s is what inspired us the most. Bands like Mother Love Bone, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains or Pearl Jam are the reason why we started Soul Strip in the first place. And the love to this kind of music is glowing in our hearts ever since.’’
Goran: ,,We had our idols to look up to when we were young but nowadays I don’t care that much where it all comes from. I mean I’m listening to all sorts of music and more different genres than ever. So it’s a vast mixed package of experience, growth and inspiration when we sit down and try to write new material. It’s life as such in all its colours that inspires as a muse in terms of creativity. We can’t narrow it down to just a few music bands.’’

,,We can play at our friend’s home or in a park with hundred people. Our performance won’t be much different.”-Goran

The EP is released via streaming platforms. Was this the easiest way to do so and is FRH meant to be a Do It Yourself Band?
Pat: ,,Totally. First of all, most people unfortunately don’t buy physical music anymore. Secondly, it’s easier to travel without boxes full of merchandise (smiling). We are always open for help and support by others, but it also feels good to have 100% control of what we do. We don’t have to please anybody, as long as it feels right for us, it’s good. We have such a long history and experience in doing music, perform on stage and so on, we are realistic enough to know that the world wasn’t waiting for us. But we appreciate every single one out there, who takes time to dive into our music.’’
Goran: ,,Well I guess it’s “Welcome to the 21st”. We certainly didn’t pick where the industry has evolved to, where the individual is listening to music and where people are buying merchandize nowadays. I believe the more folks are involved in your musical progress the more this thing becomes transparent and a sort of business which on the other hand might make ourselves a product we don’t like to be. We’re happy to have great friends in the music industry and around us who bring our vision forward the way we want and not the way it would generate more fame or enhance record sales. We very much welcome every opportunity to evolve but we’re not feverish about it. We can play at our friend’s home or in a park with hundred people. Our performance won’t be much different.’’

There are already a bunch of shows scheduled in Switzerland, what other songs will you play besides the EP tracks?
Pat: ,,We currently play 1 or 2 very old songs from our Soul Strip legacy, mixed with a couple covers that we like and which we convert into our own songs and then we already have a lot of brand new music that we wrote together as Five Rusty Horizons.’’
Goran: ,,We’re creating new material constantly and will present it as soon as it’s ready. We also play covers who are leaned to our style and if not we make ‘m ours like ,,The Danger Zone’’.’’

Why should people come to see a FRH gig?
Pat: ,,To have a good time, to escape the madness of the world, at least for an hour or so. To feel comfortable in a very intimate environment and just to enjoy a great moment together, connected by music.’’
Goran: ,,Because it’s authentic and our songs sound live more vibrant. We also want to feel closer to the audience while performing and put the listener immediately in the front row. Bars are different then stages. For that this acoustic project is perfect.’’

Pat, you are also play guitar in the rock band Sinside, what’s going on at the moment in camp Sinside, because it seems a bit quite over there? Any news/announcements?
Pat: ,,We played a lot of shows during the recent months. We also started taking the first steps of writing new songs. At the moment, I cannot tell you more about it because the next steps are not 100% defined yet. Sinside and Five Rusty Horizons are well balanced in my life right now, but we also have to deal with the situation, that our drummer, Steve Karrer, is currently working on a new release with the legendary Messiah. So we will see how 2020 and beyond will look like for Sinside (smiling).’’

What is going on in the Swiss music scene at the moment? And do you feel rock music in general is popular? And in what way would you like to contribute to the Swiss rock music scene?
Pat: ,,The Swiss music scene is full with kick-ass bands and artists. Unfortunately, I suppose we all struggle with the same challenges: grow in your own market and then grow outside to other markets. With less and less money involved it is not easy to do the next step and conquer the world. I do have the feeling rock music is very popular, it always was. Just look at the amount of concerts, festivals, and album releases coming out of the rock and metal scene. Rock music is very sustainable and not just a trend that comes and goes. In what way I’d like to contribute to the Swiss rock scene? That’s a very good question. I see my mission in sharing….sharing meaningful music with the listeners and also sharing my knowledge and experience with younger musicians. Why shouldn’t I share my knowledge and experience with others when it means in the end that I can help a younger artist to grow and create more amazing music?’’

Five Rusty Horizons on Facebook here 
Five Rusty Horizonds Website here

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