What used to be a solo project has evolved into one of the country’s most exciting electronica duos, Frost, who is set to return with a much awaited album this spring.
Frost is made up of Aggie ‘Frost’ Peterson and Per Martinsen who both hail from Tromsø. Frost initially began as Aggie’s solo project, with 1998’s debut ‘Bedsit Theories’ which spawned a string of domestic hits such as Clouds Across the Moon and Close to You. Peterson and Martinsen have since begun to collaborate on a professional as well as personal level, a collaboration that resulted in 2002’s ‘Melodica’ a mellower and more introvert synth-pop outing. Now the duo has a new album up their sleeve and the two successfully debuted the material live at the recent by:Larm festival in Tromsø.
The duo’s gigs at by:Larm offered the audience an opportunity to hear new material from the upcoming album which is scheduled for domestic release in May. The duo’s live gigs at by:Larm were well received by both the home crowd as well as domestic media.
Says Aggie ‘Frost’ Peterson: ‘The new tracks are much more up-beat than the material on our previous album. The new songs are a lot more club-oriented, more energetic and up-tempo but also more song-based than the old ones. We’ve been focussing on writing real songs, not just making cool productions with groovy beats. This time we feel that we’ve made an album with some really strong singles.’
The duo’s first taster in a recorded format is a new 12” titled Sleepwalker that will make its way to DJ bags around the globe in March.
Whereas Per would do the bulk of the programming on earlier outings, Aggie is now contributing an equal share of time behind the computer. ‘This album represents a conjoining of two producers’ says Per. ‘We’ve got separate studios and we’ve been working independently on much of the material – this has given us more time to focus on writing strong tracks and creating a coherent sound. In the past, the whole production process used to be a bit accidental or based on a trial and error approach - it’s much more focussed now. I also feel that I’m able to distance myself more from the material now. I’m more objective and it is also much easier to spot the musical ideas that, after all, are the foundation for the songs.’
Aggie feels that by doing her share of the programming she is less dependent on her male counterpart: ‘Instead of wasting hours in the studio trying to explain to Per how it should sound by using vague phrases and strange words I can now program sketches myself, save a lot of time and in the process create songs that are more true to the original idea.’
The Barry White Stripes
What can the live audience expect from the duo when they now return to the live stage? ‘We’ll stay true to our club roots and play a set that’s very electronic; we might bring in some synth drums, a Robo-synth a triangle and some other stuff, but apart from that it’ll be a strictly laptop and vocals set’ says Per. ‘From time to time, I see that some electronica acts are struck by a form of live-panic that causes them to bring in a crew of guitarists and drummers as a last minute attempt at creating more energy on the live stage. Unless you’re in a position to do what Kraftwerk are doing live it can be difficult to create the energy and stage presence that the audience craves. In a traditional clubbing atmosphere the energy is created in the room by the dancing audience and the DJ with little focus on the guy on the stage, while in a more traditional concert setting the entire focus is on you.’
Frost’s live-alter ego says a thing or two about the duo’s diverse influences: ‘When we’re in the synth drums and robo-synth/vocals mode we like to look at ourselves as a kind of Barry White Stripes’ laughs Per.
The duo’s new album is set to hit domestic record shelves in May and an international release will likely follow in the autumn. Frost’s last album ‘Melodica’ has received a string of strong reviews in international media and has proved to be a lasting outing in the years after its release. ‘The album has been better received abroad than back home. It kind of lives its own life now – reviews and licensing offers for radio and TV still keeps ticking in. ‘Melodica’ has built up a foundation that we hope expand with our new album . We’ve got an audience out there and we’re going to give them an album that is more focussed, coherent, faster and more true to our roots in club culture’ concludes Aggie.
Listen to tracks from Frost’s previous outing, 2002’s ‘Melodica’ here.
Formed in 1998
Line-up: Aggie ‘Frost’ Peterson and Per ‘Mental Overdrive’ Martinsen
Discography: Bedsit Theories (Sony 1998) Melodica (FrostWorldRecordings/Universal 2002)