Archive for the 'The Frozen North' Category

A brief thought of The Frozen North, 4 years on

Digging through some photos in a long-forgotten hard-drive, I came across a collection of early photos from the first photoshoot we did as the Frozen North, and it occurred to me that on Friday it will be 4 years since the band began. I occasionally find myself missing the music that we created together, and the camaraderie that we shared, certainly, in that first year. Tomek and Aga remain very good friends, and of course though I don’t see the others much, I do keep an eye on what they’re up to. It feels good to be getting “back on the horse” with Spy Stories, and with my solo record, but I do wish my, ultimately futile, attempt to bring us all back with each other for an occasional stint as our respective side-project had come together. Alas.

Frozen

There’s a saying in Scotland that offers solace in times of feelings of missed opportunity, “whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye”. It was often used, with surgical precision, though in something of a sympathetic manner, by my gran in times of my own personal teenage heartbreaks. Those moments when one feels the world is ending, but in actual fact, the crush disappears like snow on the face of the sun. I was always terribly fond of this old lady’s – often mentally unrobust – wisdom, but this idea, a primitive sculpting of the idea of fate, often gave me a sense of optimism despite the post-pubescent misery I may have found myself in.

This optimistic viewpoint stuck with me, long after I stopped believing in the idea of fate, and in late 2013, when struggling to find myself musicians to write with, I wrote it down in a text file on my computer and forgot about it. With the benefit of hindsight, it was remarkable that within 2 weeks a friend had introduced me to an Irishman and my short 2-year career as noisemonger for The Frozen North had begun.

I write about this, this evening in the absence of something better coming to mind. I suspect, having listened to our single for the first time in some months has something to do with this nostalgic reverie I find myself in. It goes without saying that I miss the time we spent together as a band; the shows we played, the rehearsals we made, and the songs we wrote; particularly as two favourites were never recorded and are likely to never see the light of day again.

Listening to Origin this evening, it’s easy to hear what our band was attempting; merging classical music and the ambient delays of post-rock, with a heavier, more immediate and aggressive rhythm section. It rather worked, too. Alas, as time wore on, each of us seemed to gravitate towards our respective extremes. The metalheads craved more metal, the experimentalists desired more risks, I wanted to make noise. Either way, we let it slip away, as extremes became less compatible than our shared, common, centre.

It’s hard to listen to Origin / Electric Mistress tonight without feeling a degree of sadness that we don’t do that anymore, though each of us has his/her own musical endeavours. If we agreed to play together again, as something of less priority, I’m sure I’d plug in the tele, turn the AC30 up to screech, and start those delays delaying once again. Such as it is though, I don’t see any of us having time for that, in anything like the near future.

Then again, “whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye”.

You can listen to Origin / Electric Mistress here:

A well overdue return

Probably should have backed up the blog!

Probably should have backed up the blog!

It goes without saying that neglecting to back-up a blog for over 18 months is careless, but that negligence doesn’t mean a thing until your forgetfulness (read laziness) leads a year and a half of writing to wave goodbye in a botched server migration.

Pain. In. The. Arse.

Still, after a few months licking my insubstantial wounds, it seemed like no better time to get the blog back up and running – and I used the opportunity to make a new start. Of the 140 posts that were backed up, I trashed 135 of them, keeping only a small series I started on my favourite concerts and a couple of other pieces I wrote – one on singing and the other on twitter – as they were popular.

So what has been happening? I suppose for folk who may come to this blog over the next few months, I should give a brief update of sorts.

The Frozen North
July is the 19th month in the life of The Frozen North. 2014 was a fast, frenetic and fruitful year. Television, radio, industry events, TEDxWarsaw, flat-shows and a single release. 2015 has slowed down a little but we’re working hard writing what will become our first album and we have several irons in the fire. New songs, new ideas and new plans are in the works.

Bands 2 and 3
Meanwhile, behind the scenes I’ve been working on two other musical projects. The project once known as Circles in stars fell by the wayside when I joined The Frozen North but recently I’ve had a little more time to start writing indie-pop songs again so something is happening there. The songs that don’t really fit this first project are then placed in a pile for the second indie-pop project; Heads Down, Thumbs Up. The former, a power-pop, jangly, harmonic project similar to Big Star, BMX Bandits and Teenage Fanclub; the latter a more dense, baroque-pop idea similar to Belle and Sebastian or maybe The Left Banke or Love. Either way – early days and work to be done but it’s all fun.

Too many fireworks
Too Many Fireworks is on an extended hiatus after the server mess. Ironically it coincided almost perfectly with our separation from our old digital distributor and thus the back-catalogue disappearing from the internet. Funny how life works. Anyway, I could have thrown up the old website again but it feels dated and, with everything else, there won’t be time to release any records this year so we’re having a year’s break. A new website is in the works and I’m scouting for some new music – all to play for, as they say.

Then there’s the new stuff.

Dźwiękownia
Aga from The Frozen North and several friends and colleagues, myself included, have started a small independent music school called Dźwiękownia. I’ve been drafted in as a teacher and have been preparing classes on Social Media for Musicians, Intro to the Music Industry, and I have plans for a couple of others. Aga recently had an application accepted for some money to hold workshops at high schools and cultural institutions so exciting stuff happening there.

Studio Three Fourteen
Studio Three Fourteen is my shamelessly DIY attempt to put The Frozen North’s rehearsal and recording space to some good use. So far, I’ve engineered / produced 4 recordings – 3 of which are at some stage of mixing and one of which was lost in a hard-drive accident; though thankfully we weren’t too far down the line with that one – which was the first.

If You’re Feeling Sinister
Pre-Y2K, a Polish member of Belle and Sebastian’s e-mailing community – Sinister – named Ola, talked to some Scottish guy called Neil who was talking about some band called Troika on the same list. 15 years later, in another life, they accidentally met face to face and shared their deep love for all things indie-pop.

What?

What?

If You’re Feeling Sinister – an indie-pop club-night and occasional internet broadcast / podcast – is the fruit of this particular friendship and is the latest project to get underway, just this month, in fact.

So there you have it, lots to be getting on with and hopefully I’ll write a lot more about everything above as the year rolls on. Oh… and she is still a hyperactive devil, mind very much set on sending me to an early grave – but I love her.