After listening to their latest beautiful album entitled ‘The Fellow Traveller‘ a few times, I just wanted to, theoretically, pick up the phone and congratulate The Frozen Autumn in person. It is precious to come across such inspired work.With this album, it is as if the band created an area of ‘light’ in this dystopian world. This is not an album that makes a critique to the conditions that envelope all of us, it is an album that makes us look ‘up’ and ‘over’ what is here now.It glorifies the synthesizers, it talks about voyages, it talks about space and most importantly it has humour, not dark humour but this gentle and kind humour that lifts the spirit up and soothes the heart.Because we liked this album so much that we included it in our soundtrack for 2017, we wanted to speak with The Frozen Autumn about their work and show them through our questions how much we appreciate what they have created.

It is not a given that a band replies sincerely to questions, it is not a given that a band will find an interview interesting and it is definitely not a given that positive feedback will be provided. All these great things happened and created the impression that the new year will be very exciting. The Frozen Autumn offered us their time in order to discuss about the new album, their new explorations as musical ‘travellers’, the visuals of the new album, the merits and complexities of the distribution of music on the web and their previous gig in London. If there is one extremely important conclusion to be drawn then it is this: unless ‘we’ (and by ‘we’, i mean organizers, venues, promoters, technicians etc) here in London get ‘our’ act together, we will not get to see this amazing band perform live again!This is what Diego and Froxeanne told us:

Blauerosen: Hi guys, it’s so nice to be talking with you. We’ve missed you and it seems that you prepared this album just at the right time!

The new album is entitled ‘The Fellow Traveller’. What can you tell us about this tile and the ideas behind this album? Is there any connection with the horror film of the 50s ‘Fellow Traveller’?

Diego: Our whole album revolves around the concept of “travel” in its various meanings, as a physical travel that leads to endlessly moving from one place to another, as a mental/ideal travel or also as a time/dimensional travel implying abstract or dream-like aspects; the cover and booklet artwork is based on pictures we took in various airports around the world, during our tours. The airport thus acquires a different meaning, it becomes a non-lieu suspended in time, a kind of gate through dimensions where to leave from for unknown or uncertain destinations. Travelling together and experiencing this kind of situations often made us think of this sort of “oblique” vision of travels: the album entire atmosphere is permeated by this sense of continuous movement, which is sometimes sought after, sometimes unavoidable, some other times means exploring.  

Blauerosen: Your new album came out a few weeks ago. Should we also expect an LP version?

Froxeanne: We don’t think so, no.

Blauerosen: You have explored different things in the music of the album. As always, there is a very careful arrangement of all the elements that you have used. I noticed that the position of the samples is very ‘strategic’ I would say, the samples themselves are of different character than in your previous albums, they enhance the atmosphere and add more dimensions to the songs. This time the samples are also different. You have written dance floor songs with more pop, darkwave rhythms, songs that are more cinematic than your older ones, you have done different things with the vocals, including layering vocals and in some songs both of you hold the notes for longer. It is obvious that you have been inspired! I wonder what inspired you? Everything is so bleak…just kidding 🙂 

Diego: Thanks for this beautiful purely technical question!! Talking about exploring… It’s no mystery that synths are our long-time passion, complex sequences and evolving sound textures were our goal for this album, of course without neglecting  the rhythm department…we wanted to come out with a mostly fast-paced album with dynamic drum patterns, in order to create a sense of (sometimes even dramatic) suspense, coming up as usual with descriptive compositions…. We take great care of every single sound element, there are several overlapping layers and every sound has its spacial position, its place in the environment so to speak, an accurate yet extremely creative work!!! As far as the voices are concerned, we’ve worked a lot on the overlays and the backups yet maintaining clarity and intelligibility, by harmonizing them with the environment of the songs…all of these features are better appreciated if the album is listened to with some good headphones!

Blauerosen: I know that you were looking for a label to release this album. How come you didn’t release this on Calembour? How was your collaboration with Echozone ?

Froxeanne: Calembour Records is my own label with which I released a few of our works till the end of 2014. Then I just suspended the activity due to lack of time and other personal reasons. Again, I was sure I wouldn’t have the time to manage the release of “The Fellow Traveller” after having contributed to create it, so we looked for an external label. Our collaboration with Echozone went quite smooth so far.

Blauerosen: Should we expect any other video clips to be produced to accompany the album apart from ‘Tomorrow’s Life’? It would be nice to see some visuals with such interesting subjects within the songs.

Froxeanne: I totally agree, it would be nice. Since we live apart in 2 different countries though, it won’t be that easy to organize such thing, but we’ll try our best to do so. On top of that, we’re very satisfied with how “Tomorrow’s Life” videoclip came out, so it would be great to collaborate again with Giorgio Ricci’s Blackbeat Productions in this sense.

Blauerosen: Judging from the song titles alone, a theme about space seems to be running through the album. We are not used to such themes from The Frozen Autumn. What was the idea behind songs such as the cover of David Bowie’s song ‘Loving The Alien’ and (one of my favourites) ‘The Twin Planet’?

Diego: The whole album is characterized by a vision of travel that can be interpreted in different ways such as the ‘space’ travel or even the ‘astral travel’, in more metaphysical a way, or a travel in time…underlying sounds or sequences can in fact remind of mechanisms and engines revving up for an ideal take off…what vehicles to use? Planes or starships? We leave the interpretation choice to the listener…but some tracks like ‘The Twin Planet’ are clearly about the outer space/aliens topic, and there the sense of uncertainty and mystery is even stronger.

Blauerosen: Which of the eleven songs has been written first and which, if any, is your favourite one?

Diego: Apart from “We’ll fly away” , “White on white” and “Your touch ” that had already been featured in different versions  on our picture vinyl “Lie In Wait” released by Calembour Rec. in December 2014, the first new song to be completed was “Tomorrow’s Life” and it has in fact marked the stylistic direction of the whole album, but also other songs like…”Told you at once” and “Grey metal wings”  etc. worked as guidelines…

Froxeanne: I love all each and every song of this album, but I think “The Twin Planet” and “Sirens and Stargazers” are the most innovative ones.

Blauerosen: ‘I Love You But I’ve Chosen Synthesizers’ ! What a great title!  So what’s the story behind this song? It is one of the songs that seems more evidently inspired by 80s pop.

Froxeanne: Hehehe, that is probably one of my most brilliant ideas when it comes to thinking of a song-title…the story behind is quite simple. Diego and I are synthesizer freaks and the continuous research we’ve been performing on this kind of instruments has never been acknowledged enough so far, as if experimenting with electronic sounds couldn’t coexist with the idea of ‘song’: in my opinion though, it’s way easier to experiment with synths by coming up with a plethora of unrelated “unplayable” sounds or endless drones, rather than the other way round. But that’s just my opinion, of course.In any case, going back to your question, my point was writing lyrics about this passion of ours, that many people in the world (many many more than in the past) share, and to state clearly how strong, satisfactory, absorbing and even dramatic it is, to be sometimes (in very extreme cases) almost healthier than/preferable to, human relations.

Blauerosen: I wanted to ask you about the cover of your album. It is the most realistic image that you have used so far as a cover. I find that the grid of this building in a weird way actually suits the songs very well. Where is this building and how did you decide on this stylistic change?

Diego: We’re glad you like it! We’re fond of this cover artwork. It’s a picture Froxeanne took of me at the Buenos Aires airport once we had been there for a concert a few years ago… I have it then digitally edited by adding some graphic elements and overlapping layers like in each and every of the pictures being part of the whole booklet stylistic concept…but of all photos this one was really worth the front cover!!

Blauerosen: You have already announced a few gigs in Austria, Italy and Russia the following months. Will we have the pleasure to see you perform live again in London?

Froxeanne: As things stand, probably not. We played just once in London and things didn’t go well at all as for the organization aspects. I remember the club was so poorly maintained that we actually ran the risk to get killed/seriously injured due to a huge metal T-profile suddenly falling off the ceiling onto the stage just 30 seconds after we got off it, for we had luckily finished our concert! In general we’ve never got any decent offer to play there, so I’m starting to suspect there are simply not the conditions for us to perform there ever. Sad but true.

Blauerosen: I read on your website that details of this album were leaked without your consent by unauthorized third parties. That must have been really aggravating and kind of a mood killer for you. Did this put unwanted pressure on what concerns the finalization of the album? Had the song list and the cover already been finalized by that point?

Froxeanne: Thanks for allowing me to shed some light on these facts.The album had already been finalized at that point, so the unwanted pressure was on the promotional side only. Of course we were talking about unauthorized third parties who got hold on the new material with some excuse, with the secret aim to be the first ones to spread it around.

On the one hand this should flatter us, because it means there is interest in what we do. On the other, there is always the brutal truth that spreading copyrighted material in an unauthorized way mostly damages the artists. People who aren’t directly, that is to say, professionally involved in the digital service providers world as I am because of my day job, simply cannot know the way they work, how they collect royalties and under which circumstances these are actually sent to the legitimate shareholders. So I can tell you that much: the way people often share somebody else’s copyrighted music content often makes it impossible for the artists or publishers to get any of the generated revenues in their pockets,to the sole advantage of some digital platforms who, because of this incorrect way of sharing, might never pay the artists; and the additional exposure that these”operations” should supposedly create will probably never compensate for the missed revenues. Of course the topic is much more complex than this, but this isn’t something people are normally willing to hear: as long as they can get music for free, no matter whether legally or illegally, they will consider no other option, regardless of the consequences on other parties or of their rights. It would be nice if they could ask the legitimate copyright owners beforehand, and being willing to possibly take a “no” as an answer sometimes.

Blauerosen: Times have changed since the release of the very first album ‘Pale Awakening’, the internet has become a massive tool and source of information about many things including music. How, if in any way, has this facilitated you when you work for a new album? I guess that in the past, it was easier in some ways to find some things in shops whereas now, with the internet, one can have access to things that shops did not sell in the past. The internet has changed many things, but has it made your lives as musicians any easier?

Diego: In my personal opinion, I find the internet useful at times, but some other times also quite frustrating … sometimes you can find unthinkable things there and sometimes having immediate access to everything just kills the magic of discovery… it’s a huge thing that swallows up everything just too quickly… what I really hate about our times is the excessive speed… and of course I’m not talking about the connection speed but the acceleration that our walk of life has gone through…I frankly felt no urge for anything like that. However, internet is just a tool, it all depends how it is used…

Blauerosen: You had a web radio show ‘Interferenz’ at containerradio, is this still going on?

Froxeanne: Unfortunately not. I decided to interrupt it not later than 2013, if I recall correctly. That was a very time-consuming activity, but I really had lots of fun and satisfactions working on it. The radio owner was actually considering getting a bigger server at that time just for all the listeners that programme had gained. But I simply couldn’t follow the whole thing anymore.

Blauerosen: Finally, Froxeanne you have been a DJ at club Decadence are you still there? How is the dark alternative music scene in Italy at the moment?

Froxeanne: Absolutely not and I have no more contact with that organization whatsoever. Since I’ve been living in Berlin for more than 2 years now, I’m afraid my knowledge of the Italian scene in general is not the best, but probably there’s lots going on. For example, Diego dj’s a lot especially in Treviso and Padua.

Blauerosen: Thank you very much for joining me for this interview and congratulations for the release of this beautiful album.

TFA:We thank you for this beautiful interview, clearly conceived after an attentive listening and after having read our official information channels thoroughly, which is something not to be taken for granted especially these days.

Blaue Rosen box

 

 

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