Recently, I sent Jem Godfrey of Frost* ten questions. This is what he came up with for me.
The Prog Mind: It’s been a decade since Frost* debuted with “Milliontown”. How does that make you feel? Do you feel the prog community is different since then?
Jem Godfrey: There seems to be a lot of metal guitar about these days, and shouting. Everybody seems to be rather cross about everything. Scowling into camera and having songs called “Lung-Ripper IV- The Death Nexus”. The only time I feel like that is when I’m in IKEA. There doesn’t seem to be much humour in prog anymore. It was all a bit more genteel in my day. Go onto the Frost forum even now – the most recent heated argument was about Marmite. I can’t do much about Trump, but I can tell some people to calm down about Marmite. In this small way, we make the world a better place.
TPM: The band’s current line-up is the longest running line-up, even though the new album “Falling Satellites” is the first album released. What do the new guys bring to the table?
JM: Their own transport mainly. No, they are my friends first and foremost, secondly they take this very seriously whilst also being able to take the piss out of what remains of my hair, thirdly they are utterly phenomenal musicians….fourthly, they have their own transport.
TPM: What kinds of obstacles kept this album from coming sooner? Was it a creativity problem, or were you just too busy?
JM: Lack of songs worthy of the band was one thing. I don’t think “The Butter Looks Past It, But Let’s Give It A Go” was an instrumental I could have got away with, even though it was in 6/8 and had a small, albeit frantic accordion solo in it. I also had to get 3 proper jobs concurrently as, thanks to the glorious internet, trying to make a living doing proper “creative music” is now right up there with Bee Taming or Attacking-Crocodiles-With-Spanners as a sensible thing to do with one’s life. My porn star and librarian and friends feel equally aggrieved.
TPM: Are you aware of the legendary status of “Milliontown”? Do you feel like fans expect you to remake that album with each new release?
JM: I wasn’t to be honest and I disagree with that if it’s true. It was the product of a strangely lonely winter that I don’t recall with a great deal of fondness as I wanted to be in the house with my new wife and my new born baby son rather than in a shed in a wood in a force 9, programming drum parts for a song about zombies. Also I genuinely don’t read what people say about us good or bad. If I ran a restaurant I’d be very concerned with reviews, but unlike somebody running a restaurant, I’m hardly about to rush back into the studio to rewrite an album or remix it just because somebody says it’s cack. Just as I’m not about to pour myself a drink and gaze lovingly at myself in the mirror whilst listening to my latest effort if somebody says it’s good.
TPM: What was the primary goal of writing “Falling Satellites”?
JM: To justify buying an ARP Quadra. To gig in Japan if possible. To get away from the day job caused by the internet.
TPM: It’s obvious to me that Frost* has leaned towards a pop sound. Is there a certain decade that influences you most?
JM: The 80’s was my decade. I became a teenager in 1984. Synths were an obsession of mine. It was the perfect storm for a keyboard player – everything was possible and everything was larger than life. We’d come out of such a depressing few years at the end of the 70s in the UK that we needed a break frankly. Plus the microchip happened, and I was there at the start, man!
TPM: Do you think the prog community will accept the riskier portions, such as the dubstep in “Towerblock”?
JM: Some will because they’re prog fans, some won’t because they’re prog fans. It’s not dubstep by the way.
TPM: I’m a lyrics guys: What is the basic theme of the album? Does this arise from personal experience?
JM: It didn’t initially. It’s about somebody looking back on their life in the last few hours they have, reconciling their life’s experiences and deciding that good or bad, it was a good thing to live a long life and be alive at all in hindsight.
Then, 4 weeks before the album was finished, my Dad became that person. I was with him when he died, it was just me and him in a room that stank of disinfectant, I played him out to some of his favourite big band tunes on his iPod. Then it was just me in there. Then I imagined being my own son, looking at his dad in about 30 years…
The message of the album is – Get out there and don’t waste a moment of what you have left because I’ve seen it now first hand. We really don’t have long to get things done either as eternal, silent, unknowing, unfeeling, cold oblivion is coming for all of us. It’s a hopeful message.
TPM: Can we expect Frost* to be more active album-wise in the future?
JM: Hopefully. Life is a funny thing and doesn’t always give you what you want though. I similarly hope to always be married to same woman, win the lottery and end up in a jar, my brain attached to a computer controlling a mobile pepper pot shaped indestructible war machine.
I’d say probably. Let’s see.
TPM: Any tour plans besides Europe?
JM: Definitely, it’s just a question of money and visas.
TPM: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!
JM: Thank you! 🙂
“Falling Satellites” releases on May 27, 2016.