Matti Frost: Trying to get the lineup solidified and rehearsing for the release and subsequent shows. We lost our bassist a couple months ago, and the person we asked to join up immediagely after said yes but then backed out, so now we're in the process of auditioning people. We are also rehearsing the new songs and gearing up to play them live. It will be the first time we've played onstage since May of 2015.
2.You have a new album coming out in early 2018, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
Matti: The sound is something I would describe as being rooted in extreme metal but also marbled with accessible riffing and tons of hooks, melodies, and choruses that are meant to be sung along with. It's multi-dimensional and dynamic with a lot of different emotions, and there are many parts of songs directly written to reference other songs or interludes on the album. It's meant to be listened to as one long song, like NOFX's 'The Decline' or Sleep's 'Jerusalem', and most recently, Insomnium had a record called 'Winter's Gate' that has the same type of structure.
As to how it compares with our older stuff... It's definitely more ambitious. The riffs are stronger. The vocal arrangements are more intricate. The guitar soloing is much more present. The production and recording quality are monstrous compared to our older releases. AJ Viana at Sylar Sound Studios really made us sound phenomenal. Overall, it's much more mature and pretty strong for a 55-minute release.
3.A lot of your lyrics are inspired by Norse Mythology, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic and also what are some of the other lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your music?
Matti: I've been into Norse mythology going back to my childhood. The gods and goddesses, the stories and sagas of all the heroes and the people, all of it was very fascinating to me. I was also a fan of the Greek, Roman, and Celtic pantheons too. These tales were way more entertaining to me than the Bible stories I had learned, although the Old Testament is pretty brutal too from a storytelling perspective. Yet, I've never been particularly religious. Even as a kid I was skeptical about the existence of a literal God that watches over everything you do and keeps a list and will one day spend eternity judging the souls of the dead for what they did in life. It seemed a little unrealistic to me. When I started learning about the reconstructed religion and practice of Ásatrú, I was roped in, at first, like many others. It was around this time I got into a deep interest around the Ancient Norse, Vikings, and history of those peoples. Now, I am not a hardcore scholar, and there are few religions that have a stronger basis in research than Ásatrú. It's been called "the religion with homework". I did come out of my "metal dude into Thor" phase, though, and I like to think that in my 11 or so years of being Heathen I have a more nuanced and practical view of it in a modern context.
A lot of the other topics I deal with are allegorical references to the experiences and journey I've had in my life. The Harlot Star is, if you take the lyrics literally, a priest in the 1500's who cannot reconcile his doubts about Christianity, rejects the Church, flees for his life, tries to find the gods and people his ancestors came from, fails, and yet somehow stumbles into the rest of his life. In reality it reflects my own spiritual journey, and the second half of my life is yet to be written.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Frost Giant'?
Matti: I first discovered what frost giants were when I started reading Norse myths. Then there was Dungeons & Dragons in my teens, and they were pretty formidable monsters. Primal, destructive forces of nature, wild and untamed, powerful and mighty, and fearsome. When I decided to name the band Frost Giant I was also rather surprised that it wasn't taken. That's always a plus.
5.What are some of the best shows that yo have played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Matti: Our very first show in October of 2012 was with Agalloch. We have also had some great gigs playing with Korpiklaani, Ensiferum, Turisas, Wilderun, Trollfest, Ignite, Bane, Aether Realm, Swashbuckle, as well as many other local and regional bands. I don't actually know how we look onstage. I'm always more concerned with making sure I am playing decently and not singing out of key. Armen (Korohglian, also of Cognitive) and Ty Asoudegan are new to the band but have amazing energy, and Scott Breustedt has always had excellent stage presence. How we are onstage remains to be seen.
6.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
Matti: Yes, as of now we only have a couple of shows booked, but that will change once the album comes out. We're going to shoot for playing in different areas, choosing our shows carefully so as not to overexpose ourselves in one area or venue, and possibly some weekend trips or a week long tour in Spring or early Summer.
7.The new album is coming out on 'Transcending Records', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
Matti:. I knew nothing about the label until my friend sent me a message saying that they were looking for albums to release. I sent Mike (Ramirez) the video for 'Prisoner of the Past' and a link to the whole album and he really liked it and made us an offer. It was a good deal, so we signed it. The label itself has a broad mix of bands, from death metal and deathcore to doom and sludge, to shoegaze, to desert rock and melodic black metal. Some of my favorite artists on the roster are Transylvania Stud, Grief & Bliss, Monolith Cult, and Vesperian Sorrow. There are many more bands on Transcending I haven't heard yet. It's a very diverse roster, and Mike & Chase (Brown) have done a lot of us and the other bands. We can't say enough good things about Transcending Records.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of melodic and extreme metal?
Matti: We have had some positive feedback in the past from European fans, but outside of a few good reviews of our old EP and maybe an interview or two, not much else. We didn't know how to really promote our music to international markets back then and we are really just learning about it now. It seems that the heart of extreme metal is in other countries besides the United States. That's not to say there aren't amazing fans of extreme metal here, but not as many per capita compared to other countries. It seems like metal is just more popular overseas. We're hoping to hear more feedback from international audiences and possibly tour in Europe.
9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Matti: As the main songwriter, I've always held that whatever I write under this band name will be whatever I want. Whatever sounds good to my ears. However, I now have a pretty amazing band to work with. These guys have way too much talent and skill for me to just say here, play this. Future writing might still be based on my ideas but the actual writing will probably be much more collaborative. As far as genres and styles, I have ideas for music that is far heavier, and music that is way more ear friendly. Whatever it is, it will still sound like us, though.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Matti: Wintersun amd early Ensiferum were the bands that got me serious about starting up a band that was sort of in that genre. Jari Mäenpää just has a way of writing that really appeals to me. I'd also add in a ton of skatepunk, melodic hardcore, and post-hardcore. Bands like NOFX, Strung Out, Lagwagon, MxPx, Grade, Small Brown Bike, Tyr, Avail, Lifetime, Ignite, Devin Townsend Project, Hum... So many different bands, and yet, there's a common thread to all of them that I've found.
I've been listening to a lot of non-metal bands lately, anything from 80's new wave and alt rock to modern indie rock. A few of the bands I've been really into are Strand of Oaks, Cigarettes After Sex, The War on Drugs, and Future Islands.
11.According to your fb page some of your non musical influences include Game Of Thrones, Dragonlance, Deverry and Ancient History, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in thse topics?
Matti: I love to read and I love fantasy. In my opinion, the Deverry novels by Katharine Kerr are the most amazing Celtic fantasy books I've ever read, and I've read all of the books multiple times. I have not read all of the George R.R. Martin books yet but I am caught up on the HBO series. I go way back to my teens with Dragonlance by Weis & Hickman and other authors that have written for that world setting. I've read most of those too, many times. I have the Solamnic Oath tattooed on my chest. So... I am a bit of a fantasy literature geek. I frequently reference concepts and character archetypes from many of these books, and the song 'Silver Dagger' is written about a band of mercenaries featured all throughout the Deverry novels. Actual history has been a big influence too. The Harlot Star was a term that Martin Luther used to refer to comets back in the 16th century, as they threw a wrench in the application of geocentricity. Their paths across the sky, their orbits, didn't make sense to astronomers who were trying to make them fit in a cosmos where everything revolved around the Earth. They defied the divine order of the heavens. That term alone spawned and inspired the whole story told on this album. The comet, specifically Halley's Comet, is what plays the seed of doubt in the protagonist's mind as a young child, and then it's sort of hinted that he sees it 76 years later when he is on his deathbed and the comet returns and brings his life full circle.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Matti: Thanks for asking about us. I enjoy talking to folks about music, literature, or pretty much anything. If your readers are so inclined, they can follow us on Instagram @frostgiantofficial, on Facebook at facebook.com/frostgiantofficia l as well. We have a YouTube channel that needs more subscribers so we can get a custom URL, so please, search us out there and mash that button. And our music is available at frostgiant.bandcamp.com. The Harlot Star will be available there on 19 January 2018 and CDs can be ordered at transcendingrecords.com.