horizon i formed in the summer of ’09 when Cliff & Mark’s previous band (The Roaming Ambassadors of Goodwill – R.A.G.iD) suddenly disintegrated, and the two found themselves with an opportunity to go in a musical direction that they had been discussing for some time. Both wanted to create a wildly energetic, yet focused rock band with attention to mixing melodies, dynamic song structures and lyrical content. They adopted the phrase, “melody heavy beat dynamic rock and roll” as their creative mantra and decided to make it happen. With Cliff’s music as seed and Mark’s ideas and enthusiasm the earth, they immediately began to cultivate what horizon i would eventually become.
First – they switched instruments. Mark hung up the sax, Cliff passed him the bass then grabbed a guitar and a mic. Now, with favored tools in hand, they faced the challenge of finding the right drummer. Cliff’s brother, John Hockersmith, jumped on board and the three began writing new tunes and playing shows. They recorded their freshmen 2 song release, ‘no disclaimers’ with AZ Knobmaster Mikey Bolenbach of Full Well Studios, and used it to get into the hearts and heads of local clubs and listeners. … Things were rockin’ … horizon i was on the scene and connecting to people with their diverse and original set lists, fueled by socially charged words and explosive sound. This continued as the band gained local recognition as a rock band who could deliver live. They got a fitting nod from local ‘zine Yab Yum Music & Arts (www.yabyummusic.com) as “best protest band of ’09” which served to strengthen their claim as a group that cares as much about what they say as how they say it.
Second – In the spring of 2010, just as the group’s momentum was gaining it’s own gravity, John left the band to pursue other interests and Mark & Cliff found themselves neck deep in a Spinal Tap situation; they needed another drummer fast. John’s legacy was a tough act to follow; tight, fierce rhythms and an innate churning groove. Not to mention, replicating the sonic bond of kin that he and Cliff had developed while growing up and playing together in other projects was going to be impossible. The remaining duo knew that they had their work cut out for them if they were to fill John’s heavy shoes with a drummer that was worthy of what horizon i was becoming. Luckily, their solution was a familiar one and not too far off.
Then… – Cliff & Mark began scouting and approaching local drummers. They posted flyers, ads on musician networking websites and the infamous Craigslist with no luck. Months passed and still they could not find anyone that had what the band needed. The two continued to write and rehearse and even played a few full volume shows without percussion, but knew that they needed more. Then one day, Anthony Napoleon Francis replied and the sun rose on horizon i…
Anthony had played with Mark & Cliff as one of four drummers in the R.A.G.iD, but had left the band years before to move West. Now back in town and looking for a new project, he answered the band’s want ad not knowing that his two friends were involved. When he made contact with Cliff to set up a rehearsal try out, and the two realized their unexpected reunion, they knew it was fate… or some such horseshit like that. Whatever the cause, horizon i was complete.
Third…ish – In the spring of 2011, just 10 weeks after adding Tony, the band traveled to (SEATTLE, WA) in order to record its first full length album. They settled down in the basement at Entheos Audio; A studio run by Garth Hockersmith, Cliff’s other brother, and Tim Karman the studio’s lead engineer. They spent the better part of a week there getting themselves on tape and fine-tuning their song approach while enjoying each other’s company as well as that of Seattle ally-band, The People Now.
The sessions were a huge success.
horizon i returned to Phoenix a satisfied and stronger group. Exhausted, yet energized by the cathartic experience in the northwest, they began to reassert themselves in the scene as a focused force to be reckoned with and enjoyed. The self-titled, 12 track ‘horizon i’ was released online in late 2011 and on disc in March of 2012.
Now – The band continues to write and record, and is planning a busy 2012 with many live shows, an EP release in the summer, and it’s second full length album by year’s end. To date, Horizon i has certainly had more good times than bad. Their high energy shows are, at once, intense and lighthearted due to the band’s favor of positive intention over apathy that is apparent in their songs and personal affect. Like many bands, they have faced challenges of resource and energy and managed to keep growing. They have dealt with destructive forces from within as well as opposing forces without and kept going. horizon i still exists simply because they refuse to quit. Silence is one thing NOT to expect from this bunch: until there is no music left in them to communicate with, they will strive to put on great shows, and have fun doing it. To be continued…