I received Frostwork’s debut album Lore Of Winter- Ealdspell as a gift last year, and it stayed in my CD player for a good few weeks. I was bowled over by its rich diversity and raw, melancholic atmosphere. Naturally, I ranted and raved about it to anyone who would listen. The main reason I wanted to do this interview with the band’s only member, Dagon, was so I could step up a gear in my quest to steer more people towards this exceptional UKBM project.
Can you please provide some background information about Frostwork? What was it that encouraged you to strike out on your own?
Frostwork ( then unnamed ) started in 2007 as a vessel for experimentation and musical progression, at the time it wasn’t my intention to create another project as such, at least not in the sense of releases etc, it was purely for my own musical development and practice.
Mostly it was music and lyrical themes I thought weren’t going to work with my then-projects, one of which was Heathen Deity, since it was mostly Satanic Black Metal and the ideas and soundscapes I was writing didn’t really fit.
I began writing what later became The Rites Of Winter – The First Storm and played the pre production music for a few people who suggested I finish it and release it myself, I had nothing to lose and enjoyed the process so I thought why not ?
Ever since then Frostwork has developed into more a full time project for me. The First Storm sold out quickly. I was asked to appear on a few compilations and covering Dunkelheit by on the Burzum tribute compilation Forsvunnet Filosofem was a great honour for me. Releasing my first full album Lore Of Winter – Ealdspell on Wodfreca Records in 2012.
Moving on into 2013 where I’m now currently writing the second full album, and also a split release with Cruelty’s Heart and UKEM Records.
Can you talk about the name Frostwork and how you came to it?
Frostwork can be described as patterns of ice formed on glass in extreme temperatures, it is an intricate formation that is slowly growing and developing over time. The music I had written had certain fluidity and natural feeling to it, I wanted a name that offered an instant image in your mind of an ever forming relentless expanse that is both cold and raw but also atmospheric.
Your first, full-length release Lore of Winter – Ealdspell is a multi layered, atmospheric journey, that enables the listener to experience winter, no matter what the weather is like outside the door. What encouraged you to create the album, and was it a project that had been brewing for quite some time?
To me Ealdspell felt like a natural progression from the first release The Rites Of Winter – The First Storm I wanted to expand on the imagery I had and create a soundscape to the best of my ability that would encapsulate the sorrow and magnificence of winter by creating a kind of Folklore world around it.
With Ealdspell I wanted to focus on aspects of this folklore, and develop each aspect within it.
I had so many ideas that I wanted to include into the first full Frostwork release that the album would have been over an hour long. It was hard to decide what put in at times but I’m happy with the outcome.
I see Ealdspell as a lead in to Frostwork’s realm of folklore. I have only just begun to show you what this world can offer.
What has the response been like to the album? Are you happy with the feedback you’ve received?
I have been happy with the response and the feedback so far. Mostly it’s been positive and constructive. I have had some comments regarding the production and the mix, where it may not be in line with the regular full sounded Black Metal project. Frostwork is supposed to have a desolate – empty and raw sound. If at all possible I want it to be borderline atmospheric and painful to the listener.
Music is a very personal thing to me and it is my sole intention, to create music that satisfies my needs and will, something that I myself would actually want to listen to and not to create something everyone will instantly adhere too.
Some people won’t grasp what I’m trying to achieve with Frostwork and I’m perfectly happy with that. As I mentioned above, I don’t make music for other people, I welcome constructive criticism but basically if it feels right to me, that’s how it’s going to be.
Is there anything that you will approach differently with the next release?
In regard to music, I don’t think so, or at least I don’t plan to do anything differently, If something sounds right I’ll add it in simple as that really. I write the soundscape and folklore for Frostwork in the most natural and unforced way I can. Whatever works to transcend the thoughts and images I have inside my head and satisfy my creative hunger.
I’m always eager to learn new recording techniques or anything to open more doors and possibilities with my music, so anything goes really.
I will be working on the sound for the next release, developing the guitar tones and harmonies. It’s always a learning curve. It would be good to use a real drum kit but it’s not that crucial as long as it sounds right to me.
What are your feelings about how music is distributed nowadays? Is the digitization of music something you embrace willingly?
I don’t have any problems with digital distribution and quite frankly I think you’re an idiot if you do, you can’t stop the progression of the world be it technology, music or anything.
Within the first few days of Ealdspell being released on CD there was numerous download sites offering the album. I’m not hung up on sales, I didn’t form Frostwork to make money, so found the spread of my music to be quite exiting and surprised that people had picked up on the release so quick.
What ever happened regarding the download sites, if they are still active or not I have no idea, It didn’t stop the physical release selling out so I’m content about that.
I think if people are passionate about the music and artists they follow they will do their best to support them in creating more of the music they want to listen to, by buying the CDs and merchandise etc.
What is your starting point when creating a song? Do you have a routine, or is the process more spontaneous?
I never try to create a song as I don’t want it to feel or sound forced, that would be very unnatural to me. I can’t sit there and think of music, everything I write comes to me whenever it happens. I’ve always got scraps of paper on me with random ideas and lyrical passages on them.
In a way I think it’s better for me to write like this as I believe it makes the music feel more fluid and flowing. A natural progression that is always growing and developing, one idea leads to another which forms something else entirely, it’s interesting to look back and think “did I just write that” spontaneity backed up with creativity and Inspiration with maybe just a little luck.
Sometimes lyrics and passages are formed first, this leads to a vocal line which leads to riff, sometimes the other way around.
I take inspiration from the visual and the physical aspects of nature and my own imagination fills in the gaps.
Do you have a favourite track on the album?
Ealdspell is in three parts, so I see each section as separate, each with its own strengths. I like how the clean singing turned out on “On White Carrion Wings” and that is something I may wish to pick up on again in another release.
It may sound like a slight cop out but if I wasn’t one hundred percent happy with what I was releasing, it wouldn’t be released so in a way every track is my favourite for different reasons.
There’s a number of strong connections to folklore within the album, which is something I really appreciate about it. One of my favourite parts is the spoken track When Raven Claws The Sky, which, though short, is profound and beautiful. Can you talk about your decision to include a link to Native American legend in your work?
It wasn’t as much as a link as a passing connection, I wanted to make the suggestions of the spiritual essence towards nature and the elements and use it in such a way that it reflected on my own folklore which I am creating within Frostwork.
Can you talk about your recent signing to UKEM Records and what this means for you?
The signing came about through a conversation I had with Cruelty’s Heart (who also used to be on Wodfrecca Records before it closed down) we had talked about doing a split release before the mention of any label involvement.
I have been in touch with UKEM Records for a while, I believe firstly through mutual contacts and also regarding stocking Ealdspell.
Unbeknown to me at the time Cruelty’s Heart had also been in touch with UKEM Records and the proposition of doing a split release with the label had come about, Frostwork was mentioned and I agreed to the release.
I’m happy to be a part of UKEM’s roster, I think the label is doing some really good work and I hope this release does very well for everyone involved. The release should be out in 2014, and after that only time will tell.
It would seem that winter has a strong hold on you. Can you talk about the personal connection you have with this season?
I have never lost the childlike excitement that surrounds me in regard to winter, be it a cliché or not, there is nothing I love more than walking in the woods when they’re covered in snow and ice.
I definitely feel more focused and positive during the winter months. The peacefulness and cleanliness when everything is covered in a white blanket, it is just magical to me, and my mind wanders far more than my legs could ever take me, the overall atmosphere surrounding winter is enchanting.
I don’t mind the cold temperatures as it makes me closer to the physical aspects I’m trying to achieve with my music. I think if you’re serious about what you write about you try and engross yourself as much as possible with it.
Winter to me has very appealing characteristics, not only the visual stimulus but I think it sounds different also, sounds appear clearer and sharp, tones travel further and have more definition.
Are there any other projects that you’re currently involved in?
I am currently working on regrouping the first band I ever formed back in the late 90s my Satanic Black Metal project Heathen Deity with my brother Azrael. As well as our new Dark Ambient Ritual / Medieval project Thornland, which is a totally new venture for me and I’m excited about working on.
There will be more information regarding both of these projects on their respective Facebook pages as soon as we are ready to divulge it.
I am always creating and always writing, don’t get me wrong most of what I write will never be used but nothing is worthless as it always leads to something else.
Which bands have you been listening to recently? Are there any releases that you are particularly looking forward to?
To be honest I try not to listen to any other bands that have in anyway similar styles or sound when I’m writing or trying to get into the mind set I need with Frostwork as I’d hate it to taint my vision of what I’m trying to achieve.
Burzum has been one of my favourite bands for a long time. When I was writing and recording Ealdspell I deliberately didn’t listen to the last two Burzum releases until I had finished.
What can we expect next from Frostwork?
I have already started writing the next full album, this is progressing well and I am happy with it so far. I do not wish to divulge too much at this time regarding this but I want to develop more on the concepts of Ealdspell.
As I have already mentioned the next release will be the split album on UKEM, but this will not be the full album I am currently writing. In reality I’m writing for two releases at the same time as the UKEM split will be forty minutes between the two bands.
I’m currently looking into producing some T shirts and short run merchandise to back up the Frostwork patches that are already available.
Apart from that I’ll keep writing and see where the woods lead.
Finally, where can we find you?
If its winter, you will mostly find me in the woods in awe.
Come out from the forest … Brothers stand proud !
Out from the darkness … and into winters shroud !