Horizon Wireless: The Interview

Horizon Wireless has become a familiar name to many in the music scene over the past few years. Sensible Reason founder, Greg Sarafan (that’s me ;), recently had the opportunity to sit down with members Harrison Waxenberg and Daniel Lyons.

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What is your biggest accomplishment as a musician so far?

HW: I’ve been fortunate enough to play a lot of places I never imagined I would, with artists I could only have dreamed of sharing the stage with. I would say the “biggest” accomplishment would be playing The Theatre at MSG on New Years Eve in 2013 with The Disco Biscuits… although getting the opportunity to be the first DJ to play The Capitol Theatre, and also playing a sold out Irving Plaza with Parov Stelar are up there as well. When Bad Tango and Abakus both hit me up to say how much they loved my Parov Stelar / Bad Tango remix, that was awesome too since they’re both pretty big inspirations to me.

How has it been playing with D.s Lyons of SOLARIS. Do you feel you work together well as a cohesive unit, and how was it adjusting from one drummer to another?

HW: Playing with Dan has been very inspiring to say the least. He has been paying attention to what Horizon Wireless has been doing for almost a half decade, so when I called him up as a ringer last August he was more than ready to hop on, and as dialed in to the sound as any drummer could possibly be. He has a wealth of knowledge and creativity when it comes to blending the live drums in with me, enhancing the experience, and overall it’s just a lot of fun just going at it with him.. pushing each other further and further till we reach some incredibly raunchy ass peaks during the set. There really wasn’t an “adjustment” period between Monty and Dan, they are both very good drummers who both have brought something different and vital to Horizon Wireless… they also have been friends for a very long time, as well as sharing drum sounds and techniques for years. Lately the shows have been pretty ridiculous and we’ve hit a solid groove, so we’re really excited to bring it to some festivals this Summer.

How has it been transitioning from playing with band-mates playing live instruments to a DJ/producer? Are there intricacies that present themselves as issues or opportunities that you otherwise dont face when playing with other live musicians? 

DL: While playing in Solaris allowed me to fill up 1/3rd of the band’s overall sound, Horizon Wireless requires me to dig a deep hole inside of the pocket of a pre-existing groove, giving me the chance to exploit the intricacies of electronic music with an acoustic drumkit. So many things that become commonplace when playing with a band get thrown directly out the window when playing with a DJ, but I’ve been finding that the overall vibe is beginning to feel the same. The more Harrison and I play with each other and come to understand each other’s musical brains, the more we begin to react to each other like live musicians do. His triggering and transitioning are vastly becoming the tools of another musician, opposed to just a DJ. We actually have the ability to react and play off one another—to jam even—while using hard-hitting, completed electronic templates as our backboard.

Years ago, I coined the term “housedelica’ to describe your sound, do you still think that description is accurate? If not, how has your sound evolved from your early year’s?

HW: Were you the one who coined that? Haha… if it’s absolutely necessary to classify us by genre I suppose it’s not such a bad term. As you know we really try to visit many different stops along the sound spectrum during a show ranging from minimal/lounge to g-house/progressive tech-funk to trance and all the way up through psybreaks… but sure, housedelica. It’s housey, it’s psychedelic, it’s groovy.. let’s dance bitches.

Do you enjoy the freedom that comes with not being confined to one particular sound?

DL: It is fascinating to be able to shift genres on the push of a button. I feel so grateful and so intrigued by the entire experience; knowing that at any time I might need to understand, learn, and listen to a new genre of electronic music is a really exciting thing. No matter what band or act or music you’re playing, all of us are students of music as a whole, even the absolute best of us have lessons to learn. As a self taught drummer, most of my lessons come in the form of new music. Being a part of Horizon Wireless means my inbox is full every day with music to learn, ideas to explore, new genres to conquer and more. Harrison just has such a brain for this stuff—and such good taste for the kind of music I’ve grown to love since high school. It’s wonderful to be in a group where the sole purpose is to explore new territory, to constantly be learning. To me, the playing and producing of electronic music is an unending and ever-evolving tapestry of ideas, sounds, and styles, and with Harrison we get to decide our own destiny and play practically whatever we want. We aren’t held down by the fact that we’re a “DJ” duo. We can morph our sets to our environment, time slot, and audience. It’s freeing, exciting, and you never know what’s coming next.

You’ve played Catskill Chill for a number of years now. What about that festival makes it so special to so many people? Or more importantly what makes it special to you?

HW: Catskill Chill is special for a number of reasons… I think it starts with the people who organize it. Josh, Dave, Pam, and all the people involved in throwing it are the absolute definition of professionals. They truly put the music and their attendees comfort ahead of anything else, which is a rare and special thing to find in today’s festival circuit. As an attendee, being able to bunk up with 40 of my closest friends within a campground filled with thousands of others is something that only Catskill Chill is able to tap into. We played in 2012, and 2013 (plus two DJ sets that year), and then in 2014 we took off. This will be the last time the festival is held at Minglewood, so coming back was a necessity. I can’t wait.

Camp Bisco just announced you as part of their first round of artists. What does it feel like to see your name on a lineup with huge artists like Bassnectar and Pretty Lights? 

HW: What is most exciting about this to me is not so much the big acts that we’re billed with, but more so the fact that this will be Dan’s 10th Camp Bisco, and my 5th… it is our #1 favorite place on Earth. This is a festival that has impacted both of our lives in a VERY big way, and while I have been fortunate enough to close it out two years in a row at the Silent Disco… this will be the first time that Horizon Wireless is legitimately on the bill for a stage set. We finally get the opportunity to bring the full live show to the festival… no headphones necessary, and no waiting in line till 6 AM for the set. This will be the real deal, and we are going to throw it down so fucking good that every dad in America will be talking about it around the water cooler at the office the following week.

You can catch Horizon Wireless this summer:

  • 5.15 Stella Blues – New Haven, CT w/ Evenodd
  • 5.29 Brooklyn Bowl – New York, NY w/ The New Deal
  • 6.11 – 6.14 Disc Jam Music Festival – Stephentown, NY
  • 7.10 TBA – Philadelphia, PA
  • 7.11 The Other Side – Wilkes-Barre, PA w/ SOLARiS
  • 7.16 – 7.18 Camp Bisco – Scranton, PA
  • 8.28 – 8.30 The Purple Pig Music Festival – Naples, NY
  • 9.18 – 9.19 Catskill Chill Music Festival – Hancock, NY (DJ Set)

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For info and tickets to see Horizon Wireless at Catskill Chill Music Festival: Go Here!

For info and tickets to see Horizon Wireless at Camp Bisco Music Festival: Go Here!

Greg Sarafan

Greg Sarafan founded Greg Sarafan’s Sensible Reason in 2007. He started blogging for HeadCount in January 2011. Soon after he organized and ran a small but successful charity festival called Binghamtronica to benefit HeadCount and OxFam America. He is a Team Leader in NYC as well as Artist Relations representative for HeadCount. Greg has BAs in political science and art history from Binghamton University. Greg has a J.D. as well as a Certificate in Intelectual Property, Media and Privacy from Brooklyn Law School . Greg also volunteers for OxFam America as a Concert Outreach Coordinator. In 2009 Greg presented his theory of Artistic Stylistic Transmission in the Royal Mughal Atelier at an art history symposium at Ohio State University.

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