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Frostbite - Interview

Interview with: Christopher Lee Compton
Conducted by: T.V.

"Clawing, tearing, screaming, scratching, ripping through my skin" are the words used by Frostbite's mastermind Christopher Lee Compton that best describe what his music is about. Ok, Christopher is active in the music scene for more than two decades and this band is his darkest musical incarnation untill now. The beginning of Frostbite was in 2009 and since then one album entitled Valentine And Other Stories Of Hope was released in 2011. Now the second Frostbite's full lenght, Everything That I Crave, is just about to be spread out to all the lovers of heavy dark gothic music. Album is set for release on 18th September (read a review over HERE) through their recent signing with the label Crysella Records, who had a fortunate hand finding out this artist. Frostbite did on both albums something spectacular with uniting gothic rock, gothic metal and doom metal with some standard heavy metal into something compact, dark, very fresh and tasteful. The new album was in the making for more than two years and is nothing less than a dark journey through the forbidden forest that is Christopher's psyche. Christopher Lee Compton was kind enough to share a lot with us, about the new album, his past activity, inspirations and yet much more.

T.V.: Hi CHristopher, how are you? Frostbite's second studio album is just about to be released in a couple of weeks, so how are you satisfied with the final result?
Christopher: I'm doing well, thank you. Yes, Everything That I Crave is set for release soon and I really am happy with the end result! This one was a litle bit more collaborative than the first album and I think it turned out quite well.
T.V.: I thought that the album was done completely by yourself?
Christopher: For the most part, yes. I bring in guest musicians for guitar solos and, on this album, the bass player for our live shows, Rob Rampley, played on "Lullaby" and co-wrote "Until Your Tears". Brendon Cook, who will be playing guitar live, played all guitars and co-wrote "Reach Out (frostbite)" and "Afterlife Mine". Everything else is me.
T.V: It's interesting how you combine more typical heavy metal and alternative rock tracks with obscure and atmospheric gothic sounds. Is this the result of your varied influences?
Christopher: Absolutely! I've been listening to various styles of heavy music for quite some time and Frostbite is the the culmination of those genres blended together and poured out of my head.
T.V.: I haven't heard before any band covering the legendary Warrior Soul! How came this idea?
Christopher: I was a huge Warrior Soul fan, the first 3 albums especially. I'd been thinking of covering one of their songs for quite some time and "Lullaby" is such an emotional song, it fits well with the Frostbite sound.
T.V.: Same here! On the other hand, but I believe that for the same reason, as a bonus track is added hundred of times covered "Venus In Furs"...
Christopher: You're exactly right! But with "Venus In Furs", I'd never felt it was done quite right. I've heard a lot of covers of that song but, I didn't feel, anyone had ever really captured the intensity of the original while adding a more modern, heavy twist. I feel Frostbites version does that relatively well.
T.V.: Yes, and if you've read my review of the album you've found out that I think exactly the same. Still, I got a feeling that you are doing things like bands were doing it 20 or more years ago, not really burdened with classifications...
Christopher: I'm not terribly concerned with classifications, you're right. I just write whatever I happen to be hearing in my head at the moment! Sometimes it works, sometimes not.
T.V.: I think that it works out just fine. Ok, let's return to the album. I think that the album title must have some kind of a deeper meaning?
Christopher: That's an interesting question. The first song I wrote for this album was "Everything I Crave" which is about wanting something very badly, not getting it, and substituting that desire with other, probably not so healthy, alternatives. When I had finished rest of the songs, I realized that, in one way or another, most of the songs have an underlying theme along the same line. The album title came from that realization. I wanted it to be a bit more "all-encompassing" rather than just using the same title as the original song.
T.V.: And yet, where do you get the inspiration for the lyrics?
Christopher: Very much from personal experience. I have tried to write lyrics that aren't conceived out of something that has actually happened to me and that normally doesn't work for me. If I don't have personal attachment to the words I'm singing, I rarely feel I perform very well.
T.V.: As you mentioned singing. There are often two names mentioned and compared to your style - Geoff Tate and Carl McCoy. How do you feel beign compared to those two?
Christopher: Both are incredibly unique and wonderful vocalists in their own right! Of course, they're very different stylistically. I believe the comparisons are a bit of a tribute to my varied influences and I couldn't be happier when I hear either name mentioned in the same sentence as mine!


T.V.: I was a bit sceptical when I read about this comparison, but when I've heard it I was pretty much positively surprised. Btw, have you ever taken any singing lessons?
Christopher: It would be a much more interesting answer if I had some great story about an amazing vocal coach but, sorry to say, don't have a story like that. I just started singing when I was young and this is what I ended up with.
T.V.: Haha, no, it's more interesting this way to be honest... Have to ask you if you can give me any kind of your personal insight into my favorite track from the album "Afterlife Mine"?
Christopher: Thank you, I really like that song too! "Afterlife Mine" was written about one of the most devastating times in my life and that's just how I was feeling after that experience. Of course, in the song I took it to a much more extreme conclusion but, those thoughts were definitely present!
T.V.: Can you tell me where do you see the major differences between both Frostbite albums?
Christopher: There are two major differences, I think. There are more guitar solos on Everything That I Crave. I think it makes it seem more of a "Metal" album and there was more collaboration on this one. Getting other peoples input has been good and I think it diversifies the album a bit.
T.V.: And which is your favourite song you ever done?
Christopher: That is a really difficult question to answer! With each album, my favorite song changes. But... If I had to come up with one (or two) favorites, they would probably be "Valentine", from the first album and "Until Your Tears" from the new album.
T.V.: Both of them are top songs, can't argue with that. You are active in the music business for more than 20 years. Can you reveal to our readers in which bands/projects you took part in the past?
Christopher: There are several, probably none you've heard of unfortunately. I lived in Seattle for several years and was a part of that scene in the early 90s. The best known non-gothic/metal band I was in at that time was called The Naked Sun. After that group disbanded, I started what would end up being the foundation for Frostbite. It was a gothic rock band called Frost and it was absolutely the beginnings of what was to come later. Brendon Cook, Frostbites live guitar player, was a part of that band. There is an on again off again industrial project that I've been working on for many years with Rob Rampley, Frostbites live bass player, called Winds Died Down. After Frost broke up, I moved to Los Angeles and didn't do much musically for quite a while. It wasn't until I moved away from California that "Valentine" was written and I realized I needed to start down this road again.
T.V.: Do you in any way miss the 90s?
Christopher: No.. I had some great fun, played a lot of shows and it was, in general, a good time for me but, I'm doing exactly what I want, on my own terms now so, I'm much happier.
T.V.: That's good to hear! And why did you changed the bands name from Frost into Frostbite?
Christopher: Frostbite is a continuation of what we were doing in Frost and, originally, Frostbite is all me, no outside contributions. I didn't feel that I should use the name Frost without those members being a part of the project. Frostbite seems to fit the mood better too.
T.V.: And what about the live shows, have you played many as Frostbite?
Christopher: Not yet. The musicians that I want to work with live in different parts of the world so, getting us all together has been a challenge, to say the least! We've had some great offers, it just hasn't happened yet. Now that I'm with Crysella Records, Frostbite will be playing live.
T.V.: Anything arranged already? And beside Brendon Cook and Rob Rampley, who else is the part of the live line-up?
Christopher: Nothing is set in stone but, we're looking at a few different options. I'll let you know as soon as anything is official. As for other members, I am talking to a couple of different people about schedules and other details but, once again, nothing has been confirmed so I'd rather not say just yet.
T.V.: And how are you satisfied with the work of Crysella Records so far?
Christopher: It's a very new relationship but, yes, absolutely. They have been great to work with and have been doing a wonderful job at getting the word out about Frostbite!
T.V.: Sorry, but must ask you also about the production of your new album. It's not that bad, but I think it could be much better. So, who's responsible for that?
Christopher: Heheh... No problem. I guess I am. Everything is done in my studio. I've had some tracks sent out to be mastered and, I just haven't been happy with the end results. The tracks are loud but, they seem to be missing something. I think it's the modern extreme compression and maximizing that I just don't like. To me, it makes current music sound one dimensional with very little dynamic range.
T.V.: Fair enough. Do you plan to release any video before the album is out?
Christopher: There are some lyric videos up now at YouTube. I would love to do an "Official" video for something off of Everything That I Crave and have been in talks with some individuals about doing that but, I don't see it happening before the release.
T.V.: I believe that there are plenty of visual options for your music. Have you already decided which song would you like to have in a video form?
Christopher: I agree. Several visual options for what I do! I do have a specific idea in mind for "Everything I Crave" at the moment though. I should say, a friend of mine has a brilliant visual idea for that song I want her to be the "lead" in the story too so, I'm really hoping we get to do it.
T.V.: Your music is often labeled as gothic rock/metal, but I wouldn't completely agree with that definition. Still, how would you label Frostbites musical output?
Christopher:  Well, as I said before, I'm not too concerned with classification or labels so, whatever it's being called is fine with me. It is heavy and some of it's really heavy. I sing in a lower register most of the time and the subject matter is pretty dark so, I understand Frostbite being placed those genres. I honestly don't have a "label" I can give it. It's just what I do! It seems to me, people need to put things in categories so they feel comfortable discussing them. I try not to do that so, I'm no good at labeling anything, let alone my music.
T.V.: I perfectly understand you! Yes, you are right, most of us find it easier to put the music in different categories. It's often interesting to hear who are the musicians who influenced other musicians. So, who influenced you as a composer, vocalist and instrumentalist?
Christopher: My early influences may sound a bit strange, considering where I've ended up. I was a big fan of, what I suppose is now called, power metal. At the time, it was just metal! Mostly from Germany Helloween, Stormwitch and Running Wild were three of my favorites when I was growing up. I absolutely loved Manowar too! Not so much what they've become but, the early albums are still great! Probably not too surprising, I really liked the first few Queensryche and Crimson Glory albums too. So, early on, those were my vocal and musical influences. All of that changed when I heard The Sisters Of Mercy!!! I found them late, because of my "metal only" attitude when I was younger. I had ever heard anything quite like what they were doing so I started my search for similar bands. When I finally learned about Fields Of The Nephilim, I knew I had found something special. I know a lot of people don't particularly care for them but, the original band, and those first albums, for whatever reason, resonated with me in a very strong way. I guess it's not so suprising that the music I do sounds the way it does.
T.V.: Beside making music what else do you do in life?
Christopher: I do some graphic design work, all of the visual side of Frostbite is done by me. My day life isn't nearly as exciting as my musical life so, I don't want to bore you.

T.V.: Haha, and what's on your playlist right now?
Christopher: My IPod is set to random at the moment. The last three songs I heard were: Oingo Boingo: "Stay", David Bowie: "I'm Afraid Of Americans", The Bronx Casket Company: "Who Wants To Live Forever".
T.V.: I don't hear to often USA based bands playing, let's call it, gothic rock/metal. Do you know any beside of course Frostbite worth checking out?
Christopher: I'm not aware of many (any) either. I was going to mention The Birthday Massacre but, it turns out they're from Canada!!! They are a very cool band though.
T.V.: I know them for a long time. As you are coming from Atlanta I must ask you how's the scene there and how do you enjoy living in that area?
Christopher: Well, Atlanta is the Hip-Hop capital of the world! That aside, there are some great bands here. The scene seems to be doing quite well. Lots of heavy bands and eclectic stuff to. I saw a band a couple of weeks ago that just blew me away! I'll need to look up their name but, they reminded me of Oingo Boingo (no idea what to call that genre) without the horn section. It was really interesting. As for Atlanta in general, I am exceptionally happy here! It's a big enough city that you can do anything you'd like but, it doesn't have the attitude that Los Angeles or Seattle have. It has been a wonderful change for me.
T.V.: There's a lot of bad stuff going on in the world right now... Any thoughts about that?
Christopher: Must have a few days to talk about it!!!! There are so many different, awful things happening right now that I wouldn't know where to even begin.
T.V.: And what's the goal that you want to achieve with Frostbite?
Christopher: To be completely honest, my original goals with this project have already been meet. I was really just getting the noise out of my head when I started writing Valentine And Other Stories Of Hope. I hadn't planned on releasing anything at all. I wanted to maybe get a group of musicians together and play a few shows and that was about it. The response to both albums has been so fantastic that, anything from here on out is just that much better. Considering that things have gone so well, I suppose my next goal is to work with Crysella and start playing some shows in places near the fans.
T.V.: So, someday we can expect you to play in Europe...
Christopher: I'm pretty sure that will be happening!!! I'm hoping sooner rather than later.
T.V.: Do you have in your pocket any new or unreleased music, maybe planned for the third Frostbite album?
Christopher: I do! You may not know this but, I was planning on releasing Everything That I Crave on my own, like I did with Valentine And Other Stories Of Hope. When Crysella stepped in that freed me up to continue working on music rather than having to worry about the business details of a release. I haven't been dormant for the last few months. The new album is already started.
T.V.: Fantastic! And let's stop with this interview right here. When you'll be around in Europe we can talk more. Still, any last words at the end?
Christopher: Heheh... OK.. I'll absolutely let you know when I'm there. Thank you for taking the time for this, I really appreciate it! And thanks to all of your readers and the Frostbite fans, if all goes well, I'll be seeing you soon!

Frostbite links: Official website, Facebook