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1. so are you the only member?
yes, but i consider myself more of a composer than a musician. i’ve written everything you hear in horst, horst was a recent addition in early 2007 but its concept was long in the making.
2.your music sounds influenced by many bands and styles….infinite quandary has a weird feel to it…like a doomy slow grindy mortician…brainsick is almost hardcore but with melody and death metal vocals….and one man weaker reminds me big time of burzum….and then you go almost in a thrash direction with ritual in humanity…..whats your thoughts and take on this?
if i had thought as a kid that i would end up making music, i would’ve told you it’d be a mix of megadeth and priest. but once i found edge of sanity’s spectral sorrows & anacrusis, i saw something i hadn’t seen before, and my search for music skewed off into at least two different paths. around that time that i started finding similarities between very different bands like running wild & edge of sanity and forming an understanding & setting my standards based off the connections i was making. its like how maiden & priest are always grouped together but their unique nuances are endless, and its those nuances that i feel are getting forgotten today. the rate of evolution of metal has slowed severely and its sad because i feel like metal is one genre that has the highest potential for progress.
the resolution to the main riff in infinite quandary always made me think of ‘countdown – youthanasia’ era megadeth, and that just kinda stuck for the whole song’s feel for me, though i can see the doomy feel in the half note progression in the main riff & the grind style in the bridge. the solo seems dead on amon amarth to me though. brainsick was after i had developed greater range for my death metal voice and the main riff was altered later to add more of a rhythmic nuance; it was geared to be very accesible, but i cant say it was influenced by any hardcore bands. one man weaker’s middle part was almost purposefully exploring what i could do with a sound like depressive age and that claims the song’s feel for me, but the verse riff does have a slightly more carcassy anacrusis feel to it. and yeah ritual in humanity, when i was writing it, did feel like another carcass influence to me with the verse riff & vocal effect, but later i found that the square dance image i always got from the chorus that i hated, really plays off the lyrics while making you mosh old school to it. all together it gives me this dark anthrax feel.
3.ok so for those of you that didn’t go to college “delineating the lugubrious” means defining the sorrow….at least that’s how i understand it….correct me if im wrong…so why did u choose this as your album title?
to be honest, i was doing a thesaurus search while writing lyrics, and came across the word lugubrious, which to me sounded way too much like insalubrious to not make a play on the carcass title ‘descanting the insalubrious’, and delineating the lugubrious came to mind in seconds. but yes, you are correct, the album is about finding the root of depression. all of the songs are either about the effects of depression like Glaciated (“being forgotten is your death, a living phantom a waste of breath”), or the source of depression like Apocryphal Providence (“what do you find with synthesized emotions, people clinging to nothing with legendary devotion”) or the depth of depression like Full Circle (“infinite dreams await me there, at the end of the nightmare”). most of the songs were written and named at the time and the wordplay for the album title just seemed like a perfect cherry of humor on top a sundae of pain
4.what turned you onto metal?
my older brother gave me a copy of “and justice for all” on cassette when i was 11 and when i showed interest, he opened the door to a vast world of metal. with all of the logos & artwork i knew i was in the right place, but i think what really locked it into place for me at the time, was the drumming of nicko mcbrain & lars ulrich. i’ve always been one to focus on the percussion of all music, and their rhythms always remained interesting.
5. name some influences….im got some dough sayin that neurosis is one for sure after listening to your album haha.
i find influence in any originator over the imitators, but the albums of megadeth, skyclad, anacrusis, anthrax, depressive age, edge of sanity, king diamond, blind guardian, in flames, carcass, amon amarth, rotting christ… inspired & motivated me to do more with my life even before i could play music. so my tendancies may shift, but my overall genre will always remain within a stone’s throw of those names.
6.alright well….final word bro….got anything to say to the metal scene in washington!
as martin walkyier of sabbat & skyclad said, “only dead fish float with the stream.” it seems so backwards that to get noticed in a crowd, you have to sound like the crowd, let your voice be heard in your own invention! HORNS UP! -christopher horst
When did you first start getting interested in drawing?
The true answer I rarely give for this question is a time in 2nd or 3rd grade, I was shown how to draw a 3D cube with an X on the front panel, and you could see the X jump to the rear panel. I was instantly amazed with mental imaging and illustration.
What inspired you to start and to continue?
There were many things to follow once I could draw a cube, such as mazes, big colored Ed Emberly books, deadly robots, comic book & video game logos and symbols. The addition of text into my drawing was the next logical stage. I knew I couldn’t draw animals or people as well as objects and I knew I wanted to draw things that were more engaging and interactive with the audience, rather than just a pencil rendering of a tiger or a still life.
What triggered the decision to go professional with your talent?
Seeing my name inside the first Estuary cd bearing my logo is most likely what first put the idea into my head. And once I started making my own metal in 2007, doing art for bands seemed like a great way to promote my music. And then over time, it just kind of became its own entity.
Now, you’ve done logos and artwork for dozens of bands. What kind of work goes into the process of creating so many unique logos?
I’ve actually done logos for a couple hundred bands/projects, around 400, I think. The process is kind of like any creative process. Sometimes I like to just begin and see where it takes me and not turn back, and other times, I like to create duplicates as the piece changes, so that in the end, I have many different versions for me to choose from and mix and match between them all¬¬¬.
Over 400? Wow. Who are some of your most notable bands you have designed for?
Some of my more recognizable logos are Wretched (Victory), Battlecross (Metal Blade), Spellcaster (Heavy Artillery), Estuary (Ibex Moon) and Archspire who just toured Europe with Decapitated, Bborted, & Fleshgod Apocalypse.
If you have to pick 3 favorite logos which ones would they be and why?
My most influential logos are hands down, the Metallica, Megadeth & Emperor logos. The world of metal logos would be infinitely different if not for the Metallica logo. To my understanding, it was one of the first symmetrical logos out of hundreds of thousands. The contrast created by the M & A to the middle letters, the descending outer letters, the lightning bolt style serifs… in my eyes, it set the standard for just about everything that’s been done with metal logos since. I love the Megadeth logo for its use of dominant straight edges with such elegant curves, and the fact that it always appears with its beveled chrome typesetting. And lastly, I love the Emperor logo because it redefined what we recognize as symmetry in logos. The symmetry that Christophe Szpajdel created in the Emperor logo is as perfect as it gets.
You have a few original fonts on your website, how did you get into creating your own and how does it differ from creating logos?
I took a type class when I went to art school, and making a font was one of the assignments. It was really cool. One assignment was to whittle my own quill from bamboo then write with it, and another was to carve roman lettering into thick foam. Designing letters in fonts isn’t much different than in logos. In logos I try to eliminate as much negative space between and try to create symmetry, and both of those affect how the letters come out. However, with fonts, you need to focus more on continuity throughout at least 26 letters.
Do you have any other sources of inspiration for the art you create, aside from music?
Outside of metal logos I think my next biggest type inspiration would be graffiti & tag letterforms. I feel, despite how distant it feels from metal, it manages to bear hints of the style into my metal letter work. There’s some tag designs out there that I could stare at all day.
Well thank you for taking the time to answer some questions and to design a killer logo for me. Have anything to say to bring this interview to a conclusion?
Thanks for giving me chance to blab about letters for a bit, man!!! Cheers & Horns!!!
Today we are joined by Christopher Horst, graphic designer and originator of Horst Type Foundry and the designer of our very own Napalm Strike’s logo – a killer logo I might add. You also might have seen some of his art without even really realizing it, as he has done work for many up and coming acts as well as some already established and known acts throughout the world. Chris I want to thank you for joining us today, I look forward to picking your brain and learning a bit about you and your work, as well as who/what inspires you to do the things you do.
Thank, you, it is an honor every time someone takes an interest in my work
So Chris, I noticed your biography indicates that you had an early start with art and drawing; when did you first realize that being an artist was something you wanted to pursue?
I never really realized I wanted to be an artist until I started making music. All the artistic things I did as a youth were pretty unconsciously done. But, looking back, it might have sparked a bit when I learned cursive in 3rd grade. It took a lot of concentration and I got a lot of satisfaction when it looked good.
Everyone has their own special story as to when and how they got into metal, when did you first become a fan of metal and who was that gateway artist that opened that door for you as a metal fan?
It was between July and August of ’91, right before the black album came out. I was playing my cassette singles of Come as You Are by Nirvana & Enter Sandman with Fade to Black live on the other side. Before that, I listened to Michael Jackson and Genesis and stuff, so, it was a pretty rapid shift. And after that, my brother dubbed a Master of Puppets & Rust in Peace tape and a Judas Priest & Iron Maiden tape. At that point I was locked in.
Was music something that fueled your abilities in becoming an artist, or did your passion for art and passion for music parallel one another as two separate areas of your personality?
I always wanted to play drums and didn’t get into music until 18, so art helped channel my creativity. Once I did get into music, I left visual art behind until design helped make my musical projects look better.
You have some formal education in the arts if I read correctly, what school did you go to, what was the process like getting into that institution, and most importantly what did you take away from that experience?
I went to School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The application process seemed pretty loose. What I took from there is the most valuable understanding of all things creative. It’s that art used to speak for itself, but now people do a lot of speaking for it, and it’s because of the one constant rule to art: it’s only (good) art if you want it to be. A lot of art today, and at that school was mostly hot air, and less actual art, if you ask me.
Now you aren’t just an album art/band logo graphic designer, you are also a musician and a bit of a producer, describe your journey into learning your instrument(s) and how did you get your start into being a musician and writing music?
I had a little casio keyboard as a kid, and fiddled with it, but I only began recording anything when I got my first computer at 18. My friend showed me some audio editing software and I wanted to sink my teeth in right away. My time with production eventually gave way to me learning guitar, bass, learning vocal pitch, and finally learning the drums.
Tell us a little bit about some of the projects you have been involved with and what style of music would those projects fall into?
My first musical project was in 2000, in the form of drum-heavy techno with occasional metal riffs looped into the mix. This project became Beta Project. That same year I began a comedy-improv band called Technolicious. And in 2007 with more instrumentation under my belt, I started a one man metal project by the name of Horst.
What is your software of preference when recording/producing music?
I like using Acid Pro, Reason, Audio Mulch, Cool Edit Pro. They’re not quite the industry standards, but I have grown accustomed to them.
You credit the Boston-based thrash metal band, Razormaze, for essentially thrusting you back into the world of logo design after some focus on various musical endeavors and your own solo project, Horst; what about that experience catapulted you back into the world of graphic design and creation?
Well, I have always loved angular thrash logo and I could tell that’s the style they wanted. It ended up looking so good as a thrash logo, that I just had a hunch to keep it up and see where it takes me.
How does an artist build a platform to hold over 400 clients world-wide; is there a breakdown of how much customer base you receive based on people seeing something you designed on another band’s page or album vs. how much you put forth advertising or maybe reaching out to artists yourself?
My list of client logos might be more like 700 now, and currently I’m kinda coasting on word of mouth & liner notes credit. Back in the days of myspace, I was able to advertise quite easily on many pages, and I feel that’s what really gave me a boost. But I still am thankful each time I receive a new request.
How has your design process changed from the time you first started designing artwork for bands to now?
My artistic process is generally the same since I started; draw something, keep what I like, delete the rest. But I am thankful to have had the opportunity to expand my style with the diverse art requests I get. I have definitely learned and achieved some styles that I would have never imagined in 2007.
There are specific art styles that we’ve all grown accustom to in Metal, Thrash metal typically consist of sharp clean edges, Black metal logos are often times intricate and interwoven, Death metal can be intricate, but also gruesome and jagged; What are your most/least favorite sub-genres to design artwork and logos for?
This is a good question. There are good designs even in areas of design that aren’t ones preference, and I think accepting the areas that aren’t instinctually accepted can help. But what really makes me dislike a logo project is when I am not given consistent or clear artistic direction from the band.
What band has claim to the very first ever “Horst Logo”?
Estuary, from Cincinnati, Ohio, on Ibex Moon. Check them out, excellent and melodic death thrash!!! I first saw my name in liner notes for their album, To Exist And Endure (2004).
What are some of your favorite bands you have worked over the years? (That could include nicest band, bands whose music you enjoyed the most, etc.)
Arkhum from Eugene Oregan has always been a pleasure to work with, they’ll send out free cds & merch. Archspire was a great privilege because of the music they play, and Excrecor from New Hampshire makes wonderful music as well, I could go on and on… haha
What are your top 3 favorite logos you have designed?
Wow, damn this is going to be tough. Well, first I will go with the HTF monogram for Horst Type Foundry. I designed it in a total of 20mins I think, and it still impresses me today. Razormaze, because it was what really helped me embrace a certain shape & style that I use (and see others use) often now. And thirdly, Archspire, for similar reasons. I had never really tried or seen a style like that before, and I have referenced it much since then.
Alright, say a band that is legendary in your eyes, the best band you have ever listened to and followed as a fan, decides they want to change their logo. This band comes to you and asks you for your help and you feel like you’ve just won a million dollars because of it. Who is that band to you?
Ooo, this is another good question. There are many favorites I have, like Amon Amarth, Katatonia, but I would want to pick one whose style would be complimented by my logo style. So, with that in mind, I would love to work on the Obscura logo, or perhaps the Anacrusis or Atheist logos.
Chris, on behalf of the Masters of Metal Productions Webzine and its readers, we appreciate your time today. Is there anything else you would like to say before we wrap this up?
I would just like to thank you for this opportunity to let me blab about the stuff I do, it is an honor and a privilege, thank you. Horns up! And defend the faith!
(will add links and facebook at the bottom of the interview for easy access to interested readers as well)
– Hello! At first, please, tell us about your current project (s). What
are you working on?
I’m currently working with Swiss band Defaced for a new look for them, and on October 16th I will be doing a Facebook live video with Red Bull energy drink company about Metal logos. Usually though, my clients are bands that are becoming established and not as recognizable
– Our readers would like to know about you little more than the kind
of information that they can find online. About your childhood.
Where are you grew up?
I grew up in California and Cincinnati, Ohio
– How did you come to metal music and metal art?
When I was young, I liked Michael Jackson and Genesis, but I turned 9 in autumn of 1991, and then I got cassettes of Nirvana’s Nevermind and Metallica’s black album that just came out and it started me off. Soon I was into Megadeth, and then Iron Maiden & Judas Priest, Helloween, King Diamond, etc with the help of my older brother, and then it became a deep and passionate fandom of all things heavy, and just music in general.
– The question about influences. What brings you to this way?
I am always drawn to anything with a lot of order, internal logic, and patterns, no matter the style or presentation. That applies to music as well as visual art
– Once upon a time…you took a pencil for the first time to create the
metal-logo. It was a visualization of your imagination or you
copied the logos of the heroes of the metal scene at that time?
Back in the 90’s with taping cd’s, you needed to have a hand drawn logo on the cassette liner, and then in high school drawing my own logos for fictitious bands became my distractions during class & homework
– How would you describe your own style? What are the key
elements in your works?
Much of my work can be described as thick bold letters with a striking shape, and with little dead space around the letters, meaning the letters fit into the empty areas a letter would normally have. Examples of this are thrash logos of the 80’s; they are usually tightly packed. I have taken that tightly packed style of thrash logos from the 80’s and brought it into death metal and black metal styles that have become popular looks for metal bands today
– Tell, please, how do you work with logo? How do you
communicate with the band and then … begin to draw?
Once the client contacts me, we talk about the style they want, and then we can sort out payment, and I try something rough, and see what the client thinks, and we can make it right if the style isn’t exactly what the client wants. Customer’s needs should come first!
– How do you work? Paper with a pen, graphic programmes…?
I started out with pen & paper of course when I was young, but once I went professional, it made more sense to draw digitally. It is basically the same process as drawing on paper; similar to how recording an album on tape is essentially the same as recording digitally, just different tools. There are purists of course who think computers are an inauthentic way of making art.
– What is about your schedule. Are you very busy? How many
orders you receive?
I usually have about 10-20 clients on my to-do list steadily. I try to keep everyone in rotation so no one waits too long, and I can have a sketch ready to look at a few days after payment.
– How much is the logo from Christopher Horst. And what it
depends on the price?
I have logo options starting at $120, you can find more info at horst-art.com
– How long do you work on design? A few minutes or month? what
it depends on?
The majority of the work is done on the first day, in about an hour, but there is usually a lot of time after that to finely tune everything and or make edits. I do like to be able to step away from something before finishing it, so my perspective isn’t exhausted. I usually come up with better ideas for a logo a few days later, and can quickly redraw everything for the new idea.
– Do you draw only logos? In Facebook I saw many of your
drawings and illustrations? What is this?
I illustrate digitally as well, and can do photo manipulation as well. I also make fonts that you can install on your computer
– Logo and cover art are must to correlate or may live their own
lives – what do you think?
a logo can be a different style from the cover art, but as long as there is a logic to their differences it could be harmonious. I can’t think of an example, but essentially any should be possible as long as it is handled carefully.
– Is symmetry very important when you are working on a logo?
symmetry is important for a classic metal look, and it is very fun to work with! Although asymmetrical logos are really fun to work with as well, but for different reasons
– What the key points should have logo to be recognizable and
You should be able to read it quickly, and depending on the genre if you’re not meant to read it quickly, there should at least not be any letters that look like different letters. Like for example if there’s a spike that connects the bottom legs of a capital R, then it’s no longer an R, it’s a B!
– Are there schools, direction in this kind of design? Scandinavian,
European, American – or it’s all nonsense?
I think there are ideas that may originate from certain people or certain regions, but ultimately it is about the sharing and mixing of those ideas to create new styles of art as well as music
– What do you keep in your mind making a logo for concrete styles.
What we should to see in death-metal logo and what and not to see
on logo for power-metal band, for example.
That is something to be mindful of, you don’t want to put pentagrams in any logo that isn’t fitting, you shouldn’t have a bunch of thorns and spikes in a power metal logo. In certain genres, you can do just about anything, for example, a death metal band could have just about any style of logo and it would not detract
– In your opinion, what is the biggest mistake in the work on the
logo – which should not appear in it?
Like I mentioned before, I would say it is to just not make it too confusing, remember you’re drawing letters, don’t let symmetry become more important than the design
– It is not enough just to design the logo, you need to keep in mind
how it will be look at the merchandising products, in different size.
What is important here?
This is more of a merch design issue, as long as the art file is high enough resolution, any art can be strategically sized and positioned on clothing or whatever. There are times when some band’s merch makes the logo look weird or small, it happens, but it shouldn’t be blamed on the logo. The logo should be allowed to be what it needs to be, that is more important than one piece of merch
– Is every name of band may have a cool logo? Or…there are words
you should avoid when naming the band, keeping in mind the
creation of a cool logo?
This is definitely an issue depending on the style the client wants, if there needs to be symmetry And the last letter is a capital L, it can throw things off because of the line at the bottom, and the lack of a right vertical stroke. So it pays to think and plan for a moment before drawing.
– What in your opinion are the modern trends in metal design, know-
how or something like that in working on a logo?
I’ve seen a couple techniques I’ve used catch on, like thick letters and V shaped profiles, but I think mostly people just want extreme AND legible for potential fans
– What is more difficult – to create a logo from the beginning, from
the clear blank or redo existing logo?
I wouldn’t say difficult, but sometimes it can be easier to see how I would do a logo that a band shows me, and I just see it how I would do it instantly, and then just need to do some tedium to make it happen and make a few smaller decisions. I love both processes though
– What from your work most significant for you?
I have perfected many existing styles like thrash & death metal, but I feel I created a new style of logo with the tech death style you see with Archspire & The Zenith Passage, which was a signature blend of styles I had always loved like Voivod, Megadeth & old sci fi fonts
– What is more important – music for recognition of logo or cool
logo automatically brings fame to the band?
I think it can work both ways. I think there can be bands that are serious and get a serious logo and then they become even more serious- I love it when that happens, and I can help. But there are definitely bands who focus on the brand side of things before getting studio time; it is unique for everyone
– Can you name some of colleagues’ work what you really like?
I really enjoy the logo work of Mark Riddick, Christophe Szpajdel, Steve Crow to name a few
– Do you remember all your logos, What are you doing for not to
drawing the same logos?
I do remember all my logos and if I see something that is too familiar looking when I’m drawing, I’ll try to redesign it. But at the same time, people also want your work for what they’ve seen before, and that’s what they expect. So there is a balance to be mindful of, but ultimately I do try to evolve my styles
– What needs to happen for you to say no for the band that ask you
to create the logo? Beliefs…or something?
It hasn’t come up yet but if there was a band that wanted me to do something racist, I would not do it. I do not care about religious persuasion though, I’ll turn the cross right side up or upside down if you want me to!
– Do you have the desire to create the logo for band yourself,
without interest from the band or label?
There have been some occasions where I would have liked to do something for certain bands, like or I remember Shadows Fall had a logo contest a while back, I wanted to try some things out, but ultimately my current clients come first and I try not to let myself get too distracted with side projects
– Are you freelancer or have constant contract with some label?
I am just a freelancer currently, but I would be interested if there was any labels that needed a logo guy.
– What do you know about Russian metal-scene and bands?
I know of a couple Russian bands, but I wouldn’t say I’m familiar with the scene
– Did you work with Russian bands by the logo? what can you say
about their demands.
I am sure I have worked with Russian bands in the past, but none are coming to mind, or band location might not have come up. I did a logo for Ukrainian band Purefilth earlier this year, and they were great to work with!
– What must happen to you when you decide to come in Russia to
show your logos for our metalheads?
Haha, well, I’ll need something to mix with all the vodka
– Sorry for my shamelessness =) But, maybe you will draw a little
picture for our anniversary issue of magazine?
No problem, here is a quick logo I have put together that you can feature in the issue or use for whatever you like, let me know what you think, thanks & cheers!