Interview: Everfrost

On September the 6th the Finnish symphonic power metallers of Everfrost released their new album Winterider. DutchMetalManiac’s Henric van Essen already reviewed Winterider here, now he also interviewed Everfrost.

Hello, how are you?

Well, thanks! Enjoying the spooky fall weather here in Lapland. 

Up until I got the chance to review your latest release Winterider I had never heard of Everfrost. Could you tell us a bit about who Everfrost is and how the band came into existence?

Everfrost began when songwriter Benji sought out to combine heavy metal music with Japanese anime and manga influences to create immersive concept albums. The debut album Blue Eyed Emotion was made long distance between Benji Connelly and Australian singer Hew Wagner, with Benji in Lapland handling drums, rhythm guitar, bass and keyboards and Hew handling the vocals. Guitarist Markus Laito then joined to provide guitar solos for the album. After this initial album the band decided to begin operation in Finland so singer Mikael Salo was introduced into the band along with drummer Jope Salminen and bassist Allan C Hasanen. Manga/anime artists Michiru Bokido, AD Souto and Ren have been involved in creating the visuals for the albums’ story elements.

You guys obviously play power metal, what is the reason you have chosen this genre?

Power metal gives us a lot of room to explore the various styles and emotions that the stories call for. The musical influences stem all the way from bands like Nightwish and Blind Guardian, to Rammstein, to pop icons like MIKA and Michael Jackson, to anime soundtracks, J-pop and electronic music. So power metal naturally became the glue to Benji’s writing style and it’s something the whole band resonates with. We also believe the soul in many power metal bands these days is lost, so we aim to bring that excitement and magic back.  

Although Everfrost has been around for a relatively short time, the list of releases is rather impressive. What’s the secret behind all that?

We’re determined to provide our fans and followers with content to enjoy. Our full-length albums sometimes take quite a while to make as we are always working to improve the quality of our material. It’s important then to also have fresh content such as EPs, live material and documentaries in the meantime.

You draw your inspiration from an original fictional universe, can you fill us in on the what and who of this universe?

The stories are set in a secret city called Everfrost which is hidden away from the rest of the world. The group of characters our albums focus on come from generations of people experimenting with an extremely dangerous object located in the forest outside town, however the modern generations are unaware of this. The curse of this object becomes a catalyst of turmoil in these characters lives, told through our current albums. The main characters are Casey-Rose Marshall (a girl with originally no friends as her selfish older brother prohibited it) and Tibbie Andersson, a young guy who spent his childhood in a coma after being hit in the head with a shoe somebody had thrown. In Winterider some new characters are introduced such as Timjami Varis who is a stupid nerd who believes he has magical powers and his ditzy girlfriend Chihiro Tachibana who believes it.

The cover is rather striking, with its unmistakably Manga-inspired art. Can you explain where the interest in Manga comes from and in what way it is embedded and influences your music?

Pretty much all of us enjoy anime and manga and have watched/read it since a young age. The Japanese entertainment industry is so rich and diverse and this inspires our own artistic vision along with the respect and appreciation Japan has for entertainment.  

Now, about Winterider. First off, congratulations, it’s been a pleasure to listen to. The one thing that hit me is that, to me, it seems the second half of the album is darker, feistier if you will, as if you needed to warm up first. Is that just me, or is that indeed the case? If so, what is the reason for that?

Thank you! We’re really excited to hear you enjoyed it!
The characters are trying to survive an endless winter destroying their town by hiding out in a lakeside cottage together. As the songs progress the characters go through different personal struggles and coping methods to stay positive, however this gets harder and more desperate with each song as time progresses. So the second half of the album definitely has a darker mood with harsher themes and more destructive behavior. 

You have an interesting choice where it comes to album titles, what’s the story behind that? Is there specific meaning to either of those titles?

When the first album Blue Eyed Emotion was made, it was clear we were young and exploring this odd mix of media. The story elements are also quite angsty and ‘emo’ emotional as a lot of it was written when Benji was in highschool. Being ‘blue eyed’ refers to being innocent and new to something, so Blue Eyed Emotion became a really fitting name for that record.

With Winterider, the album has a strong theme of coping through life’s hardships. Finnish winters are quite brutal, especially in the north and we wanted to channel this idea of facing the brutal cold head on by riding through it. This is just what the characters do in the songs and manga, everything is falling apart around them but they stay together and smile until the very end. One of the main villians is also a masked rider on a horse made of snow, so naming the album Winterider just clicked. 

There’s a rather odd duck in the pond called Winterider and that is Ke$ha’s Die Young. How did you get to doing that cover?

This was a song that to us had potential to work well in a heavier context because of the strong melody and bitter sweet message the song has. We wanted to take this celebratory vibe and put it into the desperate context the characters are facing, it’s another example of living life to the fullest while you’re alive despite the world being what it is. Because of this it fit perfectly with a strong sense of irony in the album before the last two tracks when all hell breaks loose. 

Now that Winterider has been released, do you have touring plans? If so, where and when? What are your plans for the future concerning Everfrost?

We are currently working on updating our live set and stage show and are seeing what type of shows would be possible behind the scenes. It’s very difficult to tour outside of Finland at the moment because we haven’t managed to find a touring agency or interest from any promoters. We hope to find a solution soon though and see everybody! At the moment we are continuing to promote Winterider and some other things yet to be announced. We will keep working to realize Everfrost into the spectacle we dream it to be. 

Last but not least something different: If you had to choose between music and manga, what would it be?

Everfrost is a band first, so the music is the top priority and we also have a strong focus on fans who don’t necessarily like anime and manga, who rather enjoy the songs alone. However our visual side needs a great deal of attention and thought obviously because it is something we are very new to as it hasn’t really been done in metal before. 

Thanks for the opportunity to question you, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Thank you for the interview! Whoever reads this and wherever you are, we wish you all the best and power from the icy wastes of Finland.

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