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Interview with Frost by David E. Gehlke (June 2006)
Now notorious for taking extended periods of time in between releases, Norway's Satyricon return with the first album in four years in the form of "Now, Diabolical". Capitalizing off the primitive, rocking vibe of 2002's "Volcano", "Now, Diabolical" emerges as much more straightforward, hardlined album that may draw some comparisons to Darkthrone, although Satyricon avoids any punk connotations altogether.
Along with singer/songwriter/lyricist/guitarist Satyr, drummer Frost remains as the only other fulltime member of Satyricon. Renowned for his assaults on the drums on such cherished Black Metal albums like 1997's "Nemesis Divina" (see Frost's comments later that totally disagree with my praise) and 1994's "Dark Medieval Times", Frost also does time in the extreme Black Metal act, 1349. While some may argue that his talents are going to waste in Satyricon thanks to the dearth of blast beats and active drumming, the fact of the matter is that without Frost, the bottom of the band would certainly drop out.
The well-spoken Frost took his time when answering Blistering.com's questions, perhaps due to his shy and introverted nature (the man has always taken the public backseat to Satyr), but on this day, he was talkative and lively, and was a great conversationalist. Here's what followed...
What's your status in 1349?
As you probably know, I am concentrating 100% on Satyricon these days, but I was supposed to go the U.S. and play with 1349, but they're going to use Tony Laureno (Nile, God Dethroned, Dimmu Borgir), even though I thought everything was ok with that situation in terms of the visas and everything. It's very hard to get visas these days and that's how the situation is. It's hard for everybody and it's a time-consuming process.
Do you feel "Volcano" could have been a bigger hit in the US?
As far as I know, it did pretty well. It was our first experience on (System Of A Down's) Daron Malakian's (EatUR Music) company, so we didn't know what to expect. There were some positive things about that corporation like Daron was willing to do things for the band, he loves Satyricon and he wanted to do something for us. But on the other hand, running a company wasn't really the thing for him and I guess that's the reason he's not doing it anymore. I think that things happened on both the positive sides and negative side. Now we're back on Century Media (for the U.S., Roadrunner for the rest of the world) and it's going well.
Are you comfortable with the primitive Black Metal style Satyricon has taken up?
I'm very comfortable with it. I think that Satyricon has moved in the direction that is right for us and we can do the heaviest work. The style of music that we're doing now is closer to the original Black Metal of the 80's and our earlier stuff and of course, we have given it a very Satyricon-touch and have done something very unique to it. I don't view it as modern and [all that] detached from general Black Metal expression. That's mostly done by people who haven't done their history lessons I guess. I like that kind of music, I like more rock 'n roll based Black Metal like Bathory and Celtic Frost and I definitely like the very strong, dark substance that has found its place in Satyricon's music. In the later years, Satyricon sounds far more black and refined that we ever have before.
What was the goal when you and Satyr headed into the studio to record "Now, Diabolical"?
To create really good and powerful songs. We felt that we have started to discover how to do things with "Volcano". We had started to put to focus writing songs and making them as powerful as possible. We wanted to take the concept of that to its fullest extent on "Now, Diabolical" and we were 100% focused on writing good, powerful songs. Each song represents a main idea that is supposed to be permeating all of the different parts that makes up the respective songs. Doing something like that calls for simplicity and rigidity, but also makes the songs come true as a very wholesome unit with power and strong identity. There is no doubt in our mind that this is the right way of doing it. When I listen to the songs now, I feel how nice the energy flows through the songs; I understand it was a very wise move indeed. All of those different tempo changes we had on some of the songs on our earlier albums...
[cutting in] Like "Rebel Extravaganza".
Right, like "Rebel Extravaganza". It was too much of it and it wouldn't be the right thing for us to do in 2006. I think that the songs have become so much stronger and they have more of an identity. You can pick a song on the album and get the song's identity now matter where in the song your start from and that certainly wouldn't be the case on "Rebel Extravaganza", you could it play it at random and you could be at any song (laughs).
What was it like working Mike Frazier? I know he's done some pretty big acts over the years.
You would have to ask Satyr. He was the one working with him, I wasn't there. I was touring with 1349 while he was mixing the album with Mike. From what I heard from Satyr, I understood that Mike was a guy with very good experience and that was one of the reasons why we chose him. We knew he was used to working with the best and they had been choosing this guy for more than one record. I guess that his strength was that he could listen to our music with very professional ears and he could bring something into that Satyr himself couldn't bring in because he wasn't that experienced. Other ears hear other things and we wanted to make use of his expertise.
How would you say that your drumming style has evolved of late?
An album like "Now, Diabolical", it would have been totally out of place to have a lot of blast-beats and fills. It would distract the mind and the core atmospheres in this album, plus blast-beats would have as much of a place on "Now, Diabolical" as they would on (Celtic Frost's) "To Mega Therion". It was necessary to keep the drums simple because the atmosphere of the songs demanded a central position. Too much mumbo-jumbo going on would be distracting. But on the other hand, I get very strong kick out of playing fast and I need to maintain that ability. The lucky thing is that I have a band in 1349 and I like the music in the band a lot, I find it top notch. I can go all the way with my extreme qualities as a drummer, so that makes it possible for me to live out that side of me musically.
Do you consider your drumming "Nemesis Divina" or even 1349's "Hellfire" to be your best work?
"Nemesis Divina", I can't listen to that album without feeling insanity because I feel the drumming is really weak. By my standards today, it's extremely amateurish, and there's no way to look at it in another way. The drumming in "Hellfire" can be looked in a different way and of course it's going to be better because it was recorded 10 years later. I think that I've done a pretty good job on "Now, Diabolical". It takes a lot to drum like that, plus it's all acoustic drumming, it's all true, no triggers. Playing simple, but correct and powerful takes a lot for me. It's a lot more mentally challenging than physical and that's a bigger obstacle than anything to overcome.
Is it true that you joined Satyricon with very little drum experience?
[laughs] I could hardly play at all! Satyricon needed a drummer, and originally they asked Faust to do it, but he ended up joining Emperor. Faust knew me beforehand because we were both living in Lillihammer and knew I was moving to Oslo. I was playing the drums, but I didn't have a band. In fact, I quit playing the drums when I moved to Oslo. I told Satyricon to give me a tryout and I came to the rehearsal place. We jammed a little, tried out some songs and I couldn't play at all. I couldn't even do double bass drumming, but the guys heard certain qualities in my playing. The thought there was that there was something with potential and since the band was in the early stage and the rest of the guys weren't that technical, they decided to give me a shot and I seized it.
What were the feelings when the band enlisted Slipknot's Joey Jordison to take your place for the 2004 North America tour?
I feel that I have work to do in the United States and it would be right to go there and play, but I am denied doing that (note: Frost's problems relate to a late 90's criminal charge in Norway). For as long as I can't over there with my band and perform, we have to find someone to step in there. Even if I can't go over there, the band has to, for we have a quite a few American fans. We also want the band to grow and strengthen and go on headlining tours of the states. Because of that, I was glad and thankful that Joey could do the job for me. I know him as a good man and as a good, skilled, experienced drummer. He has all the qualities you could ask for and quite a lot more. He was the man to do the job and he did it well. To sum it all up, I think it was a shame that I couldn't go, but I'm glad he did it.
Taken from: Blistering
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