ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
With: Ralph Otteson
ALBUM REVIEW HERE
Philippe André - February 2022
Profilprog (PP) : Hello Ralph thank you for giving us your time to answer our questions
Time Horizon: Absolutely! Thanks for having me Philippe.
PP : A new record, seven years after the previous one, what are the reasons, why this delay ?
TH : Well, there were a number of reasons. There had been some financial obligations which resulted in having to shut down my record label, Angelic Noise. Some of the members had family obligations having to care for family members. Two of thee members had moved out of state during the middle of writing this, so there was time adjusting to the remote nature of it, but of course the pandemic did’t help things either.
PP : A new vocalist in the band, for what reasons, Bruce sings very well ?
TH : During the 2nd album Transitions, Bruce had to leave the project. So I asked a musician that I had worked with in the past, Rich Reif to come and sing on some songs. We also had a guest vocalist Jake Livgren sing as well. Bruce came back into the project near completion and soon afterward, we were contacted by David May, who wanted to join Time Horizon. A friend of his told him about this Christian band that does Prog, so David became our front man vocalist. We thought he. would make a good addition for live concert as Bruce was stuck behind the drums and although he can sing and play, we thought it would add to a more exciting live show. Also, David is a contributing writer and adds a different perspective.
PP : Why did you invite Michael SADLER on a song? is this a collective decision?
TH : I have been a Saga fan since I first heard “On the Loose” played on the radio. Actually, it turns out all of the band members have been fans from way back. I met Michael at a prog festival in California and found him to be very humble and approachable. This was after the release of our debut album “Living Water“. Later, Iafter releasing the 2nd album “Transitions”, we had a virtual meeting with him and we brought up the notion of him guest singing on a track for our next album. He responded “Sure, as long as I can do the song justice”, so I am thinking that it should be something that is in his style and that he could get into. I met him again in 2018 at ProgStock in New Jersy and said…I am working on that song, but really was struggling with making sure it was something I wanted to present to him, Finally, I sent it to him and he liked the song!……Yes! So he did an amazing job and I still can’t believe I we are on a song with him.
PP : Which is the main subject of the album, if there is one ?
TH : We were thinking of a title, looking at song titles and wanted it to reflect that this is our third release. So we pondered the ideas of three. “Trifecta” had been discussed, but also the idea of 3D or the mathematical to the power of 3, like we we multiplying on the original , like math equation….. cubed. Thinking about 3 also brings in for us the idea of the Trinity, where God can exist as three seperate persons, yet still be one being, also reflecting our Christian world view. I think there are different themes repeated in songs through out the album like The Great Divide, where we have forgotten how to be respectful to one another, even though there may be differences of opinion.
PP : What happened to the former musicians of the group, Dave DICKERSON for example, for Steve GOURLEY I know sadly :( ?
TH : I had played with Dave in an earlier group called Iron Clay Poets. We recorded an album together along with 3 other guys This was recorded on ADAT digital tape in my home studio. During the recording of the album, the singer left to join the Police academy, The drummer joined an alternative rock band and the guitar player was just doing cover bands, so Dave and I wanted to finish it regardless. We ended up using more tracks than I could mix down on my current console, so the drummer at the time knew Bruce, who had a computer recording system called PARIS that we could mix it down on. We hired Bruce and after it was mixed, it never got pressed, but Bruce desired to do this music, so we kept a couple songs and wrote more with Steve Gourley who was in the USA caring for his mom. This became what ended up as Time Horizon. Steve went back to Cambodia to continue his work with humanitarian issues and Dave left to do his own solo projects, so Bruce and I brought in Dave Miller and Allen White to play this music out for shows. They were permanent members from then on.
PP : IRON CLAY POETS was it your first band ?
TH : ICP was a band formed in the mid 90’s after I moved to the Central Valley of California as a more affordable solution to the San Francisco Bay Area. Before that I was in a band with Allen for almost 10 years called 180. That band started out playing in prison ministry and then recoded a couple albums, played local in churches, night clubs, just about anywhere was open. to us. We had some local radio play and national college radio, but was never able to get signed onto a label. It disbanded and shortly after is when I moved to the Central Valley. Also I played in bands with friends from high school.
PP : Who composes the songs, all of you ?
TH : Pretty much. We all submit musical ideas, partially written or even fully written songs and then develop them. Most of the material has come from myself and Bruce, but with the addition of David Bradley Mau we have a lot of material now to work with. Some songs that we had been working on will appear on the next release which hopefully will be here in less than a couple years. Right now it’s focusing on this current release and getting a set together to play it out.
PP : What do you think of the current situation for musicians with the pandemic ?
TH : It’s terrible. There has been a multi front battle for musicians, with record sales being diminished through streaming and unauthorized digital copying, not that streaming media is bad in itself, on the contrary it is kind of replacing the lack of radio airplay, but the revenues paid are just a joke. MusicIans are not making enough from streaming, even those that have previously made a living from album sales and radio royalties paid. So the typical responses is “well the industry has changed and you have to adapt by playing live to generate your income” …..Then came COVID. So for me it hasn’t been as much an issue because I am not dependent on music for my income.
PP : What are your jobs outside TIME HORIZON ? And eventually your passions ?
TH : I have been very fortunate in that I have enjoyed a career in the hi-tech industry designing circuit boards that over the years has provided well for my family. I am a husband and dad first, but I have also been able to be involved with writing, recording and playing music as a passion. I think that in itself, is a gift. One day if it was possible to strictly commit all of my time to music would be a dream, but I am not dismayed that until now it has not been the case. Bruce is employed as an auto mechanic and dang he is good at it too! Allen is retired and cares for his mom, but we used to work together in construction in a roofing company back in the 80’s. That’s when we were in a band 180. We also worked together briefly in the a high tech company building wafer etching machines. Dave Miller gives guitar lessons and Michael Gregory works in various bands and solo gigs, he has a job in the medical field and David Mau works with providing music for TV . Recently, Bruce and I helped David set up Mauman Studios. He will soon be taking clients for recording projects.
PP : Do you know other musicians who draw their inspiration from religion ? Kerry LIVGREN ?
TH : There is a large community of musicians that share a common commitment in being followers of Jesus Christ. There are quite a few artists and bands with really great music, many I am sure you have heard of. You may still be able to find some compilation CDs that were put together by Randy George and Gene Crout Christian Prog Rock or CPR 1, CPR 2 , CPR 3 and CPR 4. Time Horizon appears first on CPR 3. www.cprogrock.com
PP : There is a continuity for the visual of the three albums, what is the meaning ?
TH : Not really, I mean the first album was tied to the funding of clean water projects with Living Water International who drill wells in third world countries that do not have access to clean water. we were able to help in that way. The artwork shows a large drop of water landing on a barren world. Ken Westphal was the artist for the first and second covers. The 2nd album name “Transitions” was from the fact that the band was changing into some other form as only Bruce and I were original members and Bruce was not involved in everything so, we were unsure what was going to happen, We thought of an image of a butterfly that represents change would be appropriate and make it like a flying machine, but Ken said a dragonfly would be cooler and I think it is. The current album title and meaning I think we covered already.
PP : What do you think of all digital, the path that the music industry seems to be taking ?
TH : It is convenient, yes. We can carry music on our phones and such, but I think we are missing the big picture literally and figuratiive. The trend now is to buy only songs by themselves. I mean, back in the day, if you heard a song you liked on the radio, you bought the album it was on and listened to the entire album. You got to recognize the band sound, read the lyrics and who played what. The artwork was big and sometimes an album might be purchaesd just because the album cover looked cool. I think that is why you are seeing a trend back to vinyl which am am glad this current album will be released also on vinyl.
PP : Are there any records that have marked you in recent months?
TH : I am a fan of Neal Morse and the latest Yes album is good, I like LifeSigns new one. Mystery is a band that has always caught my attention, I get their music on a regular basis, Steve Wilson’s solo stuff is amazing but that is not recent, Saga released an acoustic version of hits from previous albums that is good. I have not really paid much attention in the last couple months in just trying to get this TH album out. I have my wish list of albums to purchase like *Frost new one, Styx I heard has a very good new album release.
PP : And in other areas ? Books ? Films ?
TH : Books have been manuals recently ha, ha, I am getting my financial house in order through reading Dave Ramsey books on how to get debt free which I am still working on. The Dune movie was excellent and they had dragonfly looking spaceships, I wonder if anyone behind the making of that saw the Transitions album cover…..hmmmmm? just kidding.
PP : What are your plans for the coming years ?
TH : Currently, I am working on programing sounds and getting this music under my belt to tour this new album. I will be working on music for the next release which should be within the next couple years. I have a lot of musical ideas I want to develop and maybe get involved in some side projects.
PP : Thank you for your collaboration and all the best for TIME HORIZON
TH : It has been an honor Philippe. Thanks for the excellent questions and interest in Time Horizon.