An Interview with
Bassist of Black Metal Band
that took place on Monday 4th December, 2018.
Interviewed by Glenn Milligan.
Glenn: What turned each of you onto Black Metal – what stood out about it and why?
Jim: The melody and intensity first and foremost, but black metal also has that cold and dark vibe that appeals to us. It also feels like the most expressive genre in the extreme realm, and can be fused quite well with other genres as we do with the thrash and death metal aspects. The flexibility seems natural, and we certainly expand on that facet much more on our upcoming album. However the most important aspect of it is darkness and more specifically where it comes from; within.
Glenn: Tell us how you all met and how the band came to be? How were your first shows? Did it take long to evolve into what you play now?
Jim: Three of us have known each other for a long time and have played together in one project or another over the years. Brian was a local legend in our state scene and when we needed a new drummer he was the obvious choice. Billy was recommended by a friend and is a phenomenal talent.
We always had a lot of support in our hometowns in our early days. We've also had our fair share of technical and performance mishaps, but we have never become discouraged. In fact our fuck ups have always been taken as an opportunity to improve.
We spent a year in the basement experimenting and trying different things and sounds. I personally got fed up with it and started doing my own thing and it clicked with everyone else.
Glenn: Frosthelm is an intriguing name for a band – where did the band name come from? What does it exactly mean?
Jim: The name is some dungeons and dragons shit that our original drummer came up with. We let the twelve sided dice determine what we called ourselves. As for what it means I have no idea.
Glenn: Who would you say are your main influences and how would you incorporate these styles into Frosthelm?
Jim: Dissection is a major influence on us, especially their compositions and the way they could fit so much great music into one seamless song. Slayer is also one of the bands that has left its mark on us and pretty much all of extreme metal today. Their album 'Hell Awaits' is a master piece in its songwriting, tone and expression. Its always a good reference.
Glenn: What would you say makes you stand out from bands of a similar style? Why would they remember your band as opposed to others of this kind of ilk?
Jim: I honestly think there’s not many that are incorporating the different genres the way we have.
Glenn: What are your thoughts of trying to make it in the music industry?
Jim: When we first started we were very naive, and probably immature concerning what it meant to make it in the industry. We have been through a lot as far as the business side of it goes and it all just sucks. Having a label is nice, but in our eyes is unnecessary these days.
Glenn: Tell us about your new material, what influenced the songs, especially your new single, 'The Sorceress”?
Jim: The Sorceress is one of the very first songs we wrote and has been rewritten many times over the years. We felt it always had potential but the arrangement never sounded quite right. We pulled it off the back burner last fall, added the clean interlude and the song really finished itself. Our new album is a lot more introspective than our previous efforts and we have pushed ourselves into more musical directions, touching on punk and NWOBHM for example. The melodic content has has also been expanded.
Glenn: Tell us about your music scene that is around in your area? How many black metal bands are around? What was the local reaction to your band when it crossed their path?
Jim: There is not many black metal bands in the entire state. We have Demifiend from Fargo, is in Bismarck, and Ghost Bath originally from Minot, who coincidentally used to be my neighbor, and we toured together with old bands we were in, long before we did the Ghost Bath US tour in 2017, so I’ve known them for quite a long time.
Glenn: Describe what people can expect when they come to a Frosthelm gig.
Jim: You are going to get a very tight performance, We’ve definitely prided ourselves in our live sound, and all around have perfected our sound.
Glenn: Is it all live or are there any backing sections or drum triggers when you play in concert?
Jim: It’s all live, we tried drum triggers in the past, but it never worked out well for us. We also utilize some backing tracks for intros.
Glenn: What shows have been the most momentous to date and why?
Jim: I think the whole Ghost Bath tour was momentous, but the one that sticks out most was our show at the Shadow Woods festival, It was just an all around perfect situation, and the energy was electric.
Glenn: Are there particular songs you like to perform in concert most of all and why those particular songs?
Jim: Personally I enjoy playing 'Forlorn Tides' live. It just has that driving energy about it, very thrash’s, yet also very epic feeling towards the end.
Glenn: What are your fave tour stories and Spinal Tap moments that have happened to the band over the years?
Jim: Oh man, I’d have to say when our touring drummer passed out while pissing at a rest stop, he’s a tall guy, and he fell back and smacked the concrete floor hard, we ended up having to go to the emergency room and cancel our last gig of the tour.
Glenn: What would you say are both the pros and cons of being a touring band around the USA and for what reasons for both?
Jim: Being on the road is an exciting thing, you get to interact with and play in front of fans that really appreciate what you are doing. But all the travel and constant moving from gig to gig can become very tiresome. It’s definitely a very bitter sweet experience, by the end of tour you are excited to get the fuck home.
Glenn: What would we expect to see on a Frosthelm Tour Rider?
Jim: Beer, pizza, water. In that order.
Glenn: Waffle House or IHOP?– your preference – discuss in great detail! Lol!
Jim: We've had the pleasure of eating at both establishments on tour. IHOP has decent coffee. Waffle House has grits. Otherwise I feel they are too similar to choose. It comes down to coffee or grits.
Glenn: What are your personal choice of beers or drinks in general? Which member is the lightweight and who is the heavyweight drinker in the band?
Jim: I’m probably the light weight of the bunch, so perhaps I shouldn’t be answering this, but whatever. I am definitely a light beer kinda guy, give me a couple keystone lights and I’m happy. Brian our drummer is definitely in the heavy weight division, he can put them down, and you wouldn’t even notice he’s drunk. He has a very high constitution for sure.
Glenn: What are your thoughts to social media platforms of band promotion compared to old school flyers and posters? What works for you best and why?
Jim: I think both are extremely necessary nowadays, I know the social media route is simpler and easier to do, but bands would be amiss not to go the old school route.
Glenn: Do you have particular hardcore fans that regularly show up at your shows? Is there a certain name you give to your fanbase?
Jim: Yes, and No we don’t have a certain name for our fans. if we did I’m not too sure what we’d call them..
Glenn: What are Frosthelm's current and long term plans for the future? What parts of it are you looking forward to most and why?
Jim: Our current plan is to get this next album out and get it out of our system by doing a tour or two to support it. I don’t think we are a long term goal oriented band, perhaps to our detriment, or perhaps not. We just like to focus on the task at hand, be it in the studio, or shredding faces out on the road.
Glenn: Tell us abut the record company/label, Alkemy Brothers.
Jim: It’s a label that Is run by producer Matt Hyde and a business partner of his. You’d recognize his name attributed to the two latest Behemoth records, and I think he also did Slayer’s 'God Hates Us All', but we’ve moved on from Alkemy Brothers on this latest release.
Glenn: Tell us about how you go about recording your songs – what comes first in the studio – how do you build it up to get to the finished product?
Jim: Scratch guitar tracks and drums first and foremost, then we sprinkle everything else in here and there. Usually the vocals are done last.
Glenn: Any particular studios you like to work in and for what reasons?
Jim: We recorded The Endless Winter at Clear Lake studios over in LA, and for this latest record we opted to be closer to home at Makoche Studios in Bismarck. They each have their pro’s and cons, One being so far away from home, but also one being maybe a little too close to home hahaha
Overall we’ve had good experiences in the studio.
Glenn: It’s getting close to Christmas, so what about Frosthelm getting in the studio and recording your own Black Metal version of 'Frosty The Snowman'? Your thoughts....
Jim: Maybe if Frosty was a little more into black magic and human sacrifice. Until then, F*ck that!
Glenn: Who have been your fave artists to be on a bill with and also, who else would you like to be on a bill with if the opportunity arose?
Jim: We have been fortunate enough to play with many great bands and it’s always awesome to get to play and then enjoy a great show. One band that we would like to play with is Wode.
Glenn: Are you endorsed by any companies?
Jim: No we haven’t done any endorsements as of yet, perhaps that’s something we should look into.
Glenn: Which of your songs would you say would work the best if you were to do a Frosthelm Unplugged 'n' Acoustic and why?
Jim: This is an easy one, 'Glacial Eons'. It’s the acoustic opener to our album 'The Endless Winter'. I’d love for us to do that live one day.
Glenn: What do you enjoy doing outside of music?
Jim: I’ve recently got into PC gaming within the last 3 years or so.
Glenn: What else would you like to mention that I have not touched on in this interview?
Jim: We will be announcing our upcoming album soon so keep an eye out for that. Also check out our facebook and instagram.
Glenn: What work are you most proud of so far and for what reasons?
Jim: For me it’s releasing 'The Endless Winter'. We definitely had huge support from the metal community on that one. We had made a lot of year end lists for 2015, most notably Metal Suck’s 2015 list.
Special thanks to Raquel Figlo of Raquel Figlo Public Relations for setting up the Interview.