Fist Of Satan: As with all reviews I try to do my homework on the band. While there were several reviews of your debut and latest release I didn’t find much on the band (or Val Atra Niteris) specifically. Was this a conscious attempt to let the music speak for itself? Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and the band?
FOS: Frowning’s first releases appeared as singles over several months in 2011 via, surprisingly, YouTube. Funeral doom is well known for paying tribute to traditions but you took a very non-tractional path when you first started out. Why digitally and YouTube specifically?
FOS: You cite pioneering bands such as Mournful Congregation, Evoken and Pantheist as your inspiration to create moving funeral doom. Everybody talks about being inspired but very few take action on that inspiration. What was the catalyst that brought Frowning into reality?
FOS: Still on the subject of inspirations you are obviously inspired by the Romantic Era of music from 200 years ago. On your latest release you cover Frédéric Chopin’s Marche Funèbre (Funeral March).
Romantic Era music has been described as:
“more expressive and emotional, expanding to encompass literary, artistic, and philosophical themes.”
“composers including Dvořák, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Puccini, and Sibelius built on the work of middle Romantic composers to create even more complex – and often much longer – musical works.”
Traits of Romantic Era music include:
“a focus on the nocturnal, the ghostly, the frightful, and terrifying”
“fantastic seeing and spiritual experiences”
That sounds like funeral doom to me. Is funeral doom music just a modern version of Romantic Era music?
F: Well for me it is. If you take a look at the lyrics it’s pure poetry, not when I write lyrics cause I suck on writing, which was the reason I let write some lyrics for this new album. But you can also take a look to other bands like Evoken, it’s pure poetry. And on the musical side I guess you can here a lot of classical elements taken from the romantic era…
FOS: A frequent comment I hear about Frowning, which I completely agree with, is that both Funeral Impressions and Extinct are very well written and well recorded/produced. This is not something you tend to hear when discussing one man bands. The sole member usually excels in one or two places but is lacking in other areas.
Are you just the total package or were there others involved?
F: Usually I do all the musical stuff alone but I had some features on ‘Extinct’. Which includes my close friend Hekjal from my other band Ad Cinerem who sings the first lines of “Encumbered By Vermin”. Also S.G. from Suffer Yourself who did a duet together with me on “Nocturnal Void”. The organ on Marché Funebre is played by my father.
But besides that I did all stuff by myself so I played the drums, bass, guitars and synths and of course did the rest of the vocals. As mentioned earlier I suck at writing lyrics, on the last album I had some good ideas but this time I decided to let people write for me, there’s only one lyrics written by me. I guess I’m a musician only but not a writer.
FOS: Funeral doom has a very distinct sound which you have nailed perfectly. Can you talk about the gear you used to achieve your sound? Both instruments and recording. I know some gear heads frequent our site so please geek out as much as you want.
F: My equipment on “extinct”:
FOS: Extinct and Funeral Impressions are great examples of “classic” funeral doom. You draw the listener in with ethereal and almost ghostly sections only to hit them with thundering doom riffs.
I know Extinct was only just released but do you plan to continue down this path in the future or are there plans to introduce new elements into your sound?
F: Always, but what I plan is a secret yet.
FOS: Regarding the songwriting and composition specifically it’s clear you know what you’re doing. Are you a classically trained musician?
FOS It’s clear you’re inspired musically by your funeral doom predecessors and as far back as the Romantic Era. Are you inspired by more contemporary elements? Musical or otherwise?
F: Of course, there is gregorianik chamber stuff for example, the toccata’s of Bach and a lot more.
FOS: Now that Extinct is released what does 2017 hold for Frowning? Do you plan to assemble a live band and perform shows?
F: I already did perform on my release party and I will continue with that.
FOS: Stanislav Govorukha of Suffer Yourself and Hekjal of Ad Cinerem contributed to two tracks on Extinct. Can you talk about how this collaboration came about and what you feel they brought to the overall Frowning sound?
F: Already answered I guess^^
FOS: Thanks very much for doing this interview. The final words are yours.