Transcending Recording artist Frost Giant Interview
I know this is your third album has the band always need a mix Black, Viking ,power and epic death metal.?
Matti Frost: (vocals/rhythm guitar): I guess to some degree, sure. I am not really thinking about or aware of genres when I’m writing something, I just think, oh, that sounds like the mood I’m trying to convey. I want something to sound dark and brooding, or epic and triumphant, or just something that either knocks me back several feet or brings the energy down, or here’s a chorus everyone can sing to. Genres are just a loose parameter for me, to be disregarded whenever it doesn’t fit what I’m writing.
There is a folk meets sci fi side to it as well.How did that come about?
Matti: I’ve been a science fiction enthusiast since I was a very little boy. I was the son of hippie folk musicians who took me to see Star Wars in 1977 on opening weekend. When I was 9 my folks bought me a telescope. I couldn’t shut up about binary stars, the possibility of faster-than-light travel, and redshift when I was 10… and I wondered why I got these bizarre looks from other kids and adults, but that was just me. On The Harlot Star I explore a lot of themes related to folk tales and pagan religions and how they tie into celestial events. I didn’t set out to do that initially, it just flowed from the lyrical direction as the writing progressed.
How did you come to work with Transcending records?
Matti: Pure luck. We weren’t even sure if we wanted to self-release this album or shop it to labels. A friend of mine from the Lehigh Valley (Allentown PA) area sent me the contact info for Transcending Records, and we sent them the video we did for Prisoner of the Past, then a link to the album. Mike Ramirez liked what he heard and offered us a deal, we talked it over, and agreed. I wish I’d read the fine print, though. Had I known that I was obligated to do his laundry for the next two years I’d have insisted on vinyl immediately.
The art for "the harlot star " is over the top and beautiful.. how does it play to theme and story of the album?
Matti: Thanks! It was done by Mallika Sundaramuthy from Abnormality. She did the cover art initially for an ex-member’s old band and he gave it to us, and we decided to have her do the full layout. The thing I loved about it right away is that blending of Renaissance style art with the cosmic, outer space background. The Da Vinci pose of the skeleton, the seeming stretch into the vastness of eternity, these really tie into the existential themes I’m working through in the lyrics. The story is set in the 1500’s which was a time of burgeoning astronomical discoveries and breakthroughs which challenged the established teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The artwork is deep and vast, and I like to think that the story and theme of The Harlot Star, as well as the music, have that depth as well.
How do live shows differ to recordings?
Brook Duer (bass, backing vocals): In the studio, you’re comfortable. You have the chance to polish everything to perfection. Live, it’s a totally different beast. It’s all energy, raw emotion, totally unpredictable.
Scott Breustedt (Lead Guitar): The live shows are slightly stripped down due to the heavy amount of tracking we did in the studio. I went overboard on guitar harmonies because it sounds fucking awesome. With me, personally, I enjoy playing live over recording. I love the adrenaline and the rawness of a live band/
Matti: I tend to prefer recording and writing to playing live, but that’s probably due to the fact that I don’t have a lot of experience as a frontman. I spent most of my musical career behind a drum kit, and when I started this band, most of the work I did was all recording. However, I am really loving how the live performance is coming together. We’re still working out live arrangements and backing vocals and such. I’d say we’re rougher around the edges live, not so polished, but still intense and energetic and fun. We want folks to have a good time when they come and see us. As with everything, it’s a work in progress, and things are getting better for us each time we play.
What bands have influenced you .I heard bands like Borknagar and Satyricon immediately?
Matti: Really? That’s cool, I don’t really listen to either of those bands all that much. I love hearing what others say they hear, though. I’d say for me, definitely a lot of Finnish bands like Ensiferum, Wintersun, Sonata Arctica, Moonsorrow, Insomnium, Korpiklaani, and Finntroll, then some atmospheric black metal and blackgaze like Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room, etc, maybe some symphonic death and black metal at points, or even some prog elements now and then. I’m a huge Devin Townsend fan. There’s also this love of American pop-punk, skatepunk, and melodic hardcore that I shove in there too. Bands like NOFX, Lifetime, Strung Out, Descendents, Lagwagon, Saves the Day, Hot Water Music, and so on. I know Scott loves old In Flames and s lot of blackgaze too.
How has the digital age and social media changed the way underground bands work?
Matti: It’s changed everything about the industry. Nothing is the same as it was before 1999. For every one thing that social media has made easier, it’s also posed new challenges. For every benefit the digitization of music has granted, it’s come with a drawback as well. Independent bands have to work harder and make do with far less. Labels have to find a way to keep operating despite a decline in sales of physical media and royalty rates from streaming services that are utterly laughable. It takes a lot more to stand out these days. In the end, regardless of social media or digital music, there is no shortcut. There is no quick and easy path to success or longevity. It’s one foot in front of the other, or you stop. At least that won’t change even if everything else about the industry has.
Scott: It’s turned “it” (the industry) completely on its side to the point where it can’t get back up on its legs to continue. We all have to figure out how to adapt to this current state of the music industry. Back in the day people bought your CD’s because everyone had CD players. Now it’s pretty much all digital. My new car didn’t even come with a CD player. It’s Bluetooth only. CD’s are a hard sell if you aren’t already well-established. Even then, the number of streams and downloads will outdo physical CD or vinyl sales. It’s just the way it is.
Brook: The digital age has devalued music, but it’s completely blown open every local scene. Every band is now open to a national audience. It’s really been incredible for music fans because now we have access to ,ore great music than we have time or energy to focus on.
What new bands are impressing the members of Frost Giant?
Brook: There’s this great hardcore band called Backswing from Michigan. Kinda like a cross between Incendiary and Knocked Loose. 10/10 music for lifting weights.
Matti: I dig Corpse Hoarder a lot, they’re a Philly death metal band that just put out an album called Hard to Kill. Our drummer Armen Koroghlian played on it and it’s just absolutely vicious. Oh, and Scott introduced me to a band called Heretoir and they pretty much blew me away…
Scott: I was Google searching blackgaze bands to check out and came upon this band from Germany called Heretoir. I liked their sound a lot. They have a unique twist on that genre that incorporates sounds from other subgenres. It reminded me of us kinda, because we’re a “folk metal” band, yet we have a bunch of other elements to throw in the pot with that. I showed Matt this band and he fell in love instantly and ended up ordering their vinyl straight from Germany. As far as other new bands, there’s a band cal;led Vexes, which features members of A Life Once Lost. They’ve got a good sound if you’re into some catchy atmospheric riffing. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Solstafir, Foscor, Be’Lakor, Grief & Bliss, Myrkur, Wolves in the Throne Room, Numenorean, Bell Witch, Vukari, and Nothing. I know, I know, not metal enough, whatever.
If you could cover any song and make it sound like Frost Giant ..what song and why?
Matti: I really love doing this with songs. We’ve covered Adele, Peter Murphy, 7 Seconds, Peter Schiling, Hum, Kansas, Ensiferum, and even did an arrangement of Song of the Dragonborn (Skyrim theme). I’ve kind of always wanted to do a Ben Folds/Ben Folds Five song, something like Magic or Narcolepsy, or maybe more uptempo like Jesusland or The Bitch Went Nuts.
Brook: Bitch Called Hope by Blood For Blood.
Scott: We covered Adele. ‘Nuff said.
Youre from PA what is the scene for extreme metal like in the area?
Matti: It’s amazing. I can’t even count how many bands are kicking around here from all over the heavy/extreme music spectrum. Corpse Hoarder, Jesus Piece, Dark Waters End, Duskmourn, Windfaerer, Malphas, Prosper or Perish, so many great bands and they all crush.
If Frost Giant could tour with any band who would it be and why?
Brook: Blind Guardian. One of my favorite bands. I’d love to share the stage with them.
Matti: Sky being the limit? Wintersun for me. Although I’d be absolutely terrified, at least the first few times.
Scott: Wintersun because I want Jari to give me epic guitar and wocal lessons.
Matti: But he will settle for a money shot or two.
Three words for description of band go..…
Scott: What. The. Fuck.
Matti: Accessible, playful, whole-hearted.
Brook: Punkified troll metal.
Would Frost Giant be interested in signing to large label or in 2018 no need is good pr and supportive indie what needed..
Matti: We are always interested in whatever gets our music out to more people. I’m not sure if large labels will be banging down our door but if they did, we wouldn’t rule it out. We would all rather be doing this than going to our day jobs and punching a clock so, yes. Large labels, get at us. I’m not young and pretty, but I’m dynamite in the sack.
.Thank you for time .. any closing thoughts here..
Matti: Thanks for checking in on us. If your readers are so inclined, they can follow us on Facebook and Instagram @frostgiantofficial, listen/stream/digitally purchase all of our music at frostgiant.bandcamp.com, or (the best deal), go to transcendingrecords.com and pick up The Harlot Star on CD!! That would make Mike a happy boy and I can stop washing the moose tracks out of his underwear and possibly get a vinyl release going.