Frost*
Milliontown
24/07/2006
Along with creativity and a talent for developing great visions, self-reflection and the ability to accept criticism are certainly among the most important characteristics of a good musician. Only artists who dare to keep challenging themselves and their own creative standards and learn from the past will be able to grow. For composer/keyboardist/producer Jem Godfrey, the debut album, Milliontown, was not only the first statement by his band Frost but also – as has materialised now, a good two years later – the basis for significant changes. “We were a four-piece for the last album, but one of the main criticisms of Milliontown was that my voice was rubbish. So I got Dec in to un-rubbish things,” summarises Godfrey public reactions to the debut offering and the consequences he drew from them. The aforementioned Dec’s second name is Burke, and he has proved to be a definite boost to the band on their new album, Experiments In Mass Appeal. “Dec is the new boy, but very much a revelation. To say he exceeded all my expectations would be massively understating it. A fantastic guitarist as well, he’ll outgrow us all and be a Prog megastar I’m sure.”

Together with Godfrey and Burke, Frost features a truly top-class line-up in guitarist John Mitchell (Arena, It Bites, Kino), drummer Andy Edwards (IQ) and bass player John Jowitt (Arena, IQ, Jadis), who – along with their great experience – have brought into the band their determination to leave tried and tested paths and take musical risks. In Experiments In Mass Appeal, Frost have succeeded in recording an atmospherically dense, varied and in parts highly unusual album. “My aim was to not do another Milliontown. I’d done the 900 mile-an-hour solos, proved a point and was keen to move on. What could possibly top a 25 minute song about Zombies in a Frost context? So I’ve gone for more concise songs about slightly less teenage/sci-fi/dungeons and dragons themes.”

Experiments In Mass Appeal was written over the course of 2007 and 2008. Godfrey wrote about 25 songs, not even for Frost initially: “Once I’d decided to do another Frost album, I had to “Frost” a few tracks up a bit with guitar, keyboard solos and some more involved arrangement ideas. Otherwise I’d be accused of just making a rock album which as criticism goes, is faintly curious. But this is Prog and Prog fans are famously exacting.” Indeed, the band have succeeded in blending traditional styles with fresh, innovative ideas and the progressive standards of this musical direction. Godfrey: “I think the typical elements in Frost’s music is that there aren’t any. I’d hate to think that we have a ‘sound’. No song on Experiments In Mass Appeal sounds like another one, and that was entirely deliberate. At least I hope that’s how it comes across!”

And the future? Will Frost continue to be a band who strive for innovation with the release of this extremely accomplished album? “The new material is where my head and therefore Frost is at the moment,” Godfrey explains. “I’m not ‘Milliontown Jem’ anymore, in the same way I won’t be ‘Experiments In Mass Appeal Jem’ in two years time. I see Frost as a constantly changing thing. The next album could go anywhere, which is partly what’s so exciting for me. I think of Frost as a proper progressive rock band where one album isn’t the same as the next. A lot of what’s called ‘progressive’ these days is actually completely regressive – full of portamento, Mellotrons, Spinal Tap clichés and shit. That said, bands like Man On Fire, Lazuli or Tinyfish are admirably pushing the boundaries of Prog. I hope we will be counted among them eventually.”