Interview: Russ Custard of Frozen in Shadows

I recently reviewed Frozen in Shadows’ self titled EP where I described it as a refreshing take of melodeath and a darker In Flames meets Night In Gales. I must admit, I am not a huge melodic death metal fan as I like my death metal old school, but I found myself listening to the EP on repeat spins due to the musicianship on show here. Manchester has unveiled a diamond in Frozen In Shadows and I had to get in touch with the band in order to find out how this supergroup was formed, the recording process and what the future plans are for the band. Vocalist Russ Custard was polite enough to give this interview and I wish him and the band success in the future.

First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions for our readers at Moshville Times up here in Scotland. In August, you released your self titled debut EP. How have the fans and the press reactions been so far with your sole release?

Thanks for asking the questions! Honestly, it’s been huge. We all love the EP and we’ve had such a great time writing the tunes and playing them in practice, but I think there was always a feeling that maybe it wouldn’t translate to others on release… but it has! We’ve had so many kind words inboxed to us, sent over Facebook, down the pub, you name it. We’re chuffed people are digging it, we really are.

How were the songs constructed in the studio? Are there the main songwriters of songs that take care of everything or is Frozen In Shadows a band where all members contribute to the songs?

Kyle is our main song writing force, he’s enormously prolific. He’ll get an idea, record some demos, get together with Badger to get the drums down, and I’ll write the lyrics. Then we’ll get together in practice and tweak the songs, Robbo will write his bass riffs and Christian will sort the solos.

How often is the band able to get together and rehearse in the studio?  Where do you get together and record?

Due to the fact that we’re all super busy with other projects it’s not a definitive “we practice x times a week”. We’ve obviously done a fair bit of practising to get the EP done and to play our first show, but I’d be lying if I said we were in the room together every week. Rough and ready.

As a five piece, you all have been involved or currently involved in a host of other bands. Whose idea was it to form the band and how easy was it to fill the positions in the band?

Kyle and I were the founding members of Footprints in the Custard way back in 2006, he left the band in 2011 but we’ve always been sending demos back and forth. By my reckoning we’ve been wanting to do this for about 10 years now. Kyle messaged me saying that he thought he’d found a drummer for us to finally write some melodeath; once we had Badger on board it was all systems go really. It was pretty easy to fill the bass and lead guitar roles, it kinda just fell into place.

How was the lyrical content of the EP created? What are your lyrical themes with the new EP?

I write the lyrics to the songs. The idea of Frozen in Shadows revolves around fear. I wanted to explore ideas of things that truly send shivers down your spine, things that frighten you. I suffer from sleep paralysis, which is one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced so a couple of songs explore this, along with other sleeping disorders and hallucinations “Harbinger”, “Tides” and  “Depths”. Another is about being scared of losing someone you love “Behest” and the other is about the fear of forgetting someone you’ve lost “Ashen”.

Can you tell us readers where the EP was recorded and mixed? Did it take some time before you got the sound you wanted?

The majority of the EP was recorded by our guitarist Kyle, who also mixed it himself! The vocals were recorded with Ian from Footprints in the Custard and the drums were recorded at Skyhammer studios. Ian from FitC also mastered the EP. Kyle absolutely slaved over the mix for this and considering that he’s by no means an experienced producer I think he’s done a phenomenal job.

Thus far, your debut EP is being released on Bandcamp as a digital release. Are there plans to release a physical copy of the EP in the future?

There are no plans to do that at this stage. We’re just trying to find our feet at the moment and there isn’t much financial backing. I think the plan is to release a few EPs digitally and save up to release a full album with physical copies. We may well look to print some of the EP at that stage, who knows?

You recently played your first gig at the Manchester Grand Central. How was the show and are the band looking to gig more and further afield?

It went very well, the room was packed! We were so humbled by the reaction from everyone. Yes, absolutely – we’re playing Badger Fest in October (another Manchester show) but we’re looking at booking stuff further out.

What should a metal fan expect from a Frozen In Shadows live show?

Fast, heavy, and technical riffs. Raw, emotional, harsh vocals. Fast smashy (running out of adjectives) drums. And hopefully a good time!

With members being in bands beforehand and now currently a five piece band in Frozen In Shadows, do you feel that you are all writing the music that you want to record? Is there a bit of negotiating between members when songs and ideas are being recorded or are the band always on the same wavelength when it comes to song writing?

As of this point it’s been fairly smooth going. We’ve all got our role to fulfil and we just get on with it – this is the kind of music I’ve been wanting to write and perform for a long time, I can’t speak for the others!

Obviously it may be too early to say but how hard would it be for a melodeath metal band like Frozen In Shadows to survive in the current climate where bands have to tour non-stop and sell merchandise in order to bring money back into the band?

It would be extremely difficult at the moment, with our other commitments such as FitC, Prognosis, and Impavidus. Plus our bassist Robbo is the conductor for Manchester’s Skaparis orchestra. But at this stage we’re not worrying about it too much – it’s actually really nice to just get back to playing music for fun and not having to worry about things like that. We’re still in our infancy.

Historically, the UK and Ireland has had a tough time when it comes to being internationally recognised in terms of extreme metal compared to Sweden and Florida for example. Yes there are Carcass and Cradle of Filth but what is it do you think that prevents British and Irish bands from reaching the next level?

I’ve never even considered that before! I wonder why that is. Obviously there are lots of huge British metal bands but if we’re talking extreme metal and Scandinavia we’ve definitely got our work cut out for us! Maybe by drawing our main influences from Swedish bands we might be able to break that mould! I’m not too worried because even if things never go international there are loads and loads of amazing bands in the UK and Ireland at the moment, I feel very lucky to be a part of the scene.

Manchester has an abundance of talent, showcasing in this years Badgerfest in October. Is there a good healthy friendship between bands on the Manchester scene? What are venues and recording facilities like in Manchester for bands like you?

There is, the Manchester scene is incredible! We all get along and help each other out where we can, go and see each other play and that. There are so many great metal bands in Manchester at the moment! And although plenty of venues have shut down over the years we’ve still got plenty to choose from, can’t complain at all!

It appears that the EP is doing well with fans and press alike. What will Frozen In Shadows be doing for the rest of the year and beyond and is this a band that will be releasing a lot more material inbetween main bands?

We’ve already got a few songs from the next EP in the works. As I said before, Kyle’s a machine. Don’t expect to wait too long to hear from us again.

I thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. A fun question to end this interview.  If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would you bring?

Wow, what a question… I’m very changeable actually, but let’s keep it melodeath:

  • Above the Weeping World – Insomnium
  • The Jester Race – In Flames
  • Damage Done – Dark Tranquillity
  • New Dawn – Countless Skies
  • Holographic Universe – Scar Symmetry

Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?

Thanks for reading, please check out our EP if you haven’t already and let us know what you think! See you on the road!

Frozen In Shadows is out now

Frozen In Shadows: facebook | bandcamp

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