Interview: JEM GODFREY of FROST*

Frost* release their new album ‘Falling Satellites’ on 27 May and here we catch-up with Jem Godfrey for more on the album, tour plans and the perils of ironing board keyboards…

An obvious one maybe but why has the rather good new album ‘Falling Satellites’ taken so long?

I ended up getting busy raising a family and working all hours to get three music related businesses off the ground to pay the mortgage as illegal downloading rather ruined things for honest artistic endeavor where music was concerned. That said, Frost wasn’t entirely dormant, we recorded the song “The Dividing Line”, we did a cover of ELP’s “Fanfare For The Common Man”, did a few gigs, released a live album called “The Philadelphia Experiment”, we also recorded and released a DVD called “The Rockfield Files”.

The album once again sees Frost* trying some new sounds with dubstep on ‘Tower Block’. Do these come about as part of the natural song writing process or do you have a sound in mind and then mould a song around it?

Towerblock was the result of about a year’s worth of sporadic tinkering, I wrote the chorus in my head while I was out walking one morning, the rest was put together in the studio in fits a starts over the course of a year. I don’t see that particular section that everyone’s talking about as “Dubstep” though. We did something similar on Black Light Machine 10 years ago before Dubstep was invented albeit in a much shorter format. It’s more Glitch-y to me.

How did you get your first break in song writing and what tips would you give to aspiring new songwriters?

I lucked in and worked my arse off once to remain there once I was in basically. Sounds like a massive cliché, but keep going and believe in yourself. Many people will tell you you’re shit. Ignore them and keep going. You have to have a cast iron belief in yourself as the only people who will tell you you’re good are the people you employ. Everyone else wants to run you into the ground and nick your gigs.

You have written recently with Gary Barlow, including the recent Eddie the Eagle film. What is it like working with him and what challenges does say writing pop songs pose compared to the more progressive music of Frost*?

Writing for yourself in a prog rock context is a much freer experience that writing a chart intended song for a bigger artist. If I want to start a Frost song with a 10 minute keyboard solo I could do that and nobody would bat an eyelid. I couldn’t do that with a Katy Perry track unfortunately so there are more rules structurally.

What have been the live highlights playing with Frost* to date? Also where did the ironing board on stage come from???

I’ve always thought that keyboard players look like they’re ironing onstage. It’s quite a static experience visually so I thought I would play up to it therefore the MIDI ironing board was a natural conclusion. Sadly I’ve had to throw the ironing board away as I kept it in my garage over last winter and it went mouldy!

How did you get involved in touring with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai?

I was kindly asked to contribute a keyboard solo to the Big Big Train track “The Underfall Yard”. By a strange quirk of fate, Dave Gregory of Big Big Train was asked by Mike Keneally if he knew any keyboard players in the UK who might be able to cover for him for some Satch shows he couldn’t do as he was going to be in New York playing keyboards at VaiFest. Dave suggested me and I ended up doing it. One of life’s stranger random moments, but an incredible opportunity.  I loved every minute of it.

What sort of set can fans expect on the upcoming summer tour dates and any plans for mainland Europe gigs?

Our set will be a 50/50 balance I hope of old and new stuff. We plan to hit the EU and anywhere else further afield in ’17. For once the UK will be put to the back of the queue so if you want to see us in the UK, this year is your best chance. Edinburgh and London are already sold out and many of the other venues are, thankfully, selling well so now’s the time to get involved if you want to. We’d love to see you.

I did read awhile back plans to re-issue ‘Milliontown’. Is this still likely to happen?

Definitely. Once this album cycle dies down I plan to look at both previous albums with a plan to remix and remaster plus hopefully vinyl versions of both.

Anything else to add and a message for your fans…

Sincerely, thank you to everyone for continuing to believe in us, I know I haven’t always made it easy so I truly appreciate the support over the years. We definitely owe you all one. 

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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Featured Albums w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 MANDOKI SOULMATES Living In The Gap (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
12:00-13:00 MAGNUS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL – We Are The Night (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BEN REEL The Nashville Calling (B.Reel Records)

Power Plays w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

ZENITH MOON Gypsy (Golden Robot Records)
RARITY Leave It Alone (New Damage Records)
THE RISING I Want You (indie)
MANDOKI SOULMATES Young Rebels (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
LA GUNS Well Oiled Machine (Golden Robot Records)

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