LOMM: Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up?
Brian: Well, Nordic Frost is based out of central California and was initially conceived in 2006, but the directional shift of the first few practices ultimately put the whole idea of doing a symphonic black metal project to rest in favor of running with the death metal band Etched in Stone. It wasn’t until 2015, during a US tour with that band, that the initial groundwork to making Nordic Frost a reality came to pass. From its beginning to present day Nordic Frost is just myself helming all duties of the band, though I am hoping to recruit members for live performances once everything opens back up and we get to go back to playing shows.
LOMM: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you have been holding up?
Brian: In short, staying busy. With everything shut down and nowhere to go there’s been nothing but time to write.
LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
Brian: Correct. A short few months after releasing 2019’s Ov Blasphemy And Other Rites the pandemic went into full swing and writing for 2020’s Ad Inferna commenced almost simultaneously. After completing that record, before it was even released, ideas for this Spring’s forthcoming EP started flooding into my conscious.
LOMM: Tell us about your genre, what does it means to you, why did you choose this genre?
Brian: I like to say that this project is symphonic black metal, but there are other elements at play as well. I grew very fond of that genre at a young age and of all the different music I’ve listened to throughout the years, symphonic black metal is what has truly struck a chord with me through every era of my life so far. The way the orchestral compositions compliment the raw brutality of black metal music is much like pairing a fine wine with a meal; when done properly the resulting experience is nothing short of exquisite.
LOMM: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
Brian: Like most raw metal, it is music born of negative emotion. Music has always been a most cathartic outlet for expressing what really eats at you, even if it is mostly conveyed in metaphor. In particular, the very first EP was written on the road back from an unsuccessful national run. Being 3000 miles away from home and finding out that the rest of your dates are cancelled due to reasons beyond your control is something most musicians can relate to I’m sure, though I’d wish that disappointment on none.
LOMM: Are you happy with your product? What aspects of it do you think you nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?
Brian: Each release has been a step up from its predecessor, and I’m hoping that trend continues. I’m happy overall with how each has been for its time and still am pleased with the product today.
LOMM: How has the overall reception been?
Brian: Far better than anticipated! There’s always a certain level of criticism that comes along with putting your art out there, so it hasn’t been a 100% positive reception, but an overwhelming majority of those who’ve been listening have given it their seal of approval. I appreciate ALL critiques though, even the sometimes ridiculous ones, as they are an opportunity for me to grow and learn what I can improve upon!
LOMM: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?
Brian: Indeed. Though not with Nordic Frost (yet). It’s been nearly four years since I’ve been on stage and that simply will not do! My focus is primarily on writing and recording currently to try to build more momentum, but once we are given the green light to play shows again I do hope to being doing exactly that not long after!
LOMM: What is the next step for you? How is the future looking?
Brian: I suppose that the next step is best determined by the reception of this next EP. I’ve already begun writing for the next full length which I’m hoping to release in 2022, so I’d say the future looks optimistic.
LOMM: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? Who is writing the lyrics?
Brian: Concepts have been varying throughout each release, one common thread that binds them all together is a vehement disposition towards religion, primarily the Christian church. I’m very thankful to have the freedom here to say what’s on my mind about the subject without fear of violating some archaic blasphemy law (looking at you, Poland).
LOMM: What bands do you draw your inspiration from?
Brian: I grew up listening to symphonic black metal bands like Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, and Agathodaimon; so I guess those would be my primary influences. But I also derive inspiration from bands like Behemoth, Cattle Decapitation, Opeth, Tool, Deicide, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin. I have somewhat of an eclectic taste in music.
LOMM: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
Brian: For me, it’s the road. I love playing new venues and meeting new crowds. I’m a wanderer at heart and I feel like touring is an adventure.
LOMM: What first got you into music?
Brian: Initially, listening to my grandfather play. I played around with his guitar as a kid and when I was twelve my parents bought me my first acoustic. I’ve been hooked ever since.
LOMM: What do you like the best about being a musician? And what is it that you do not like much?
Brian: Music is deeply therapeutic, it allows me to express myself in a way no other words or actions can. When something you play deeply connects with another person I feel like that transcends language and is a universal connective bond we all can share. The worst part of it is the self-criticism.
LOMM: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
Brian: When I’m not doing the music thing I work as an AV Tech for live events, run a graphic design company, home-brew mead, and hang out with my wife and kids.
LOMM: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Brian: I’d start by fixing the broken streaming systems. The minuscule amount of royalties paid to artists through apps like Spotify or Apple Music are a slap in face to the thousands of dollars spent on recording, mixing, mastering, etc. Then I’d address the issue of what the industry values as musicianship. So many of the Billboard chart toppers wouldn’t know how to play an actual instrument if their life depended on it.
LOMM: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
Brian: Music, if I must choose one. But I believe strongly that it’s most important to find the balance between those things.
LOMM: What is the most memorable gig that you have played to date?
Brian: There was this little hole in the wall bar with a 50 person capacity that we played in Eugene, Oregon in 2015 called Black Forest. We played a festival they were throwing there and that place was at nearly triple capacity. When the pit broke out, our merch booth was destroyed, glass cups of beer were shattered all over the place, and one of the members of the band we were on tour with was passed out drunk on the sidewalk out front.
LOMM: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Brian: By far and large I think the greatest accomplishment is the working relationships and friendships that have been established as a direct result along the way. Partnering with Rebel Pyro Musick back when it was Rebel Pyro Management has led to many great things, even having music featured in a video game. It’s been a great ride so far and I feel like it’s only going to get better!
LOMM: Who would you like to collaborate with?
Brian: I can think of several people I’d love to work with, one of which I won’t divulge just yet but is already slated to be featured on the next full length album.
LOMM: Who would you like to go on a tour with?
Brian: Any of the bands I listed as influences and bands within a similar genre and with strong work ethic!
LOMM: If you could play any festival in the world, which one would you choose? Tell us why.
Brian: Wacken Open Air. I’ve dreamt of playing that festival since I was a kid watching videos of black metal bands playing to massive crowds of thousands upon thousands of people. There’s not love for extreme metal in the United States like there is in Europe, and one day I’d love to see that change!
LOMM: Name some of your all-time favorite albums? Include controversial ones.
Brian: I’ll give you five that I feel have truly shaped my musical taste:
Dimmu Borgir’s Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia
Opeth’s Blackwater Park
Cradle of Filth’s Cruelty and the Beast
Led Zeppelin’s IV
LOMM: Great ones indeed! What does your collection look like? Mostly Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, Digital? A bit of everything? A total mess?
Brian: Mostly CDs, though there’s a couple vinyls in there and some cassettes as well.
LOMM: What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Brian: Central California, USA. The scene here is alive and well, there are cliques that spring up from time to time that seem to exclude newcomers (or anyone that isn’t thrash metal), but for the most part I’ve found the local scene to be relatively supportive and welcoming.
LOMM: You can invite 5 people to a dinner party, from the future, the past, rock stars, a movie characters, you name it. Who are you having dinner with?
Brian: Jimmy Page, Adam Jones, Mikael Akerfeldt, Jim Carrey, and Ryan Reynolds.
LOMM: Oh wow! Ok… What is your weirdest memory in your music career?
Brian: Having a conversation with someone at a store wearing one of my old bands shirts and them not believing I was the singer.
LOMM: What is the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Brian: A blank Qualcomm check.
LOMM: If you had one message to your fans, what would it be?
Brian: My eternal gratitude goes out to the fans! Keep your eyes and ears peeled because this is only just getting started!
LOMM: Anything else you think your fans should know?
Brian: Sovereign, the new EP releases on May 7th on Rebel Pyro Musick via digital download and limited CD! There’s also a cool surprise coming sooner than that, so stay tuned!
LOMM: Thank you for taking the time.