Last month I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Dakota L. Irwin, lead guitarist of the North Dakota black metal band Frosthelm. The band is anticipating the release of their new record, the follow up to their debut The Endless Winter, which is set for release on March 23rd.
Q: I know you guys have the new record coming out in March. Tell me a little bit about what audiences can expect from it.
Irwin: "Anyone who's into heavy metal. We kinda crossed a lot of genre boundaries [and] blended a couple different things together. This one has a lot of rock and roll influences specifically, and of course thrash, black metal, lot of melody, lot of dynamics. So pretty much for everyone."
Q: Great. Would you say it's similar to your first record, The Endless Winter, does it touch on the same type of sound or is it at all different from the debut?
Irwin: "It's definitely similar, but some of the smaller influences on that we've kinda pushed the boundaries on. So it's more, everything's more."
Q: Listening to your catalog so far, your first record, it seems you've pulled a lot of inspiration from a plethora of different artists. You've touched on, like you said in describing the record, a lot of different sounds. What do you think is the main inspiration/influence for the group or yourself personally?
Irwin: "I'd say probably the biggest single influence would probably be kinda that early mid-nineties Swedish sound. Like Dissection, Necrophobic, bands like that, and early Slayer definitely."
Q: Do you take any guitar stylings from any specific player that's touched you as an influence? That you listened to for the first time and they made you want to emulate their technique?
Irwin: "Yeah, definitely. Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King from Slayer. I really like the way their guitars sounded. They're real mid-range heavy whereas I think a lot of bands they're more scooped, so a little more presence, a little more in your face."
Q: Nice. You guys are from North Dakota so black metal/death metal are kind of notorious for existing in countries like Norway and all over Europe. How did the four of you find each other in North Dakota with the same vision and the same goals?
Irwin: "Most of us have known each other for a long time, probably since the early 2000's. We had played in separate bands and done gigs together and kind of just decided to pull all the talent and try something new."
Q: Did you have any long term band before Frosthelm?
Irwin: "I had been playing in bands for a long time back then but at that point I hadn't played with a group in quite a while so it was exciting for me to pick up the guitar again and play with some guys."
Q: When you all came together and decided that this group is something you wanted to focus on, did you guys come in with a predetermined vision what you guys were going to sound like or did that sound come from working together?
Irwin: "No, we didn't really have any ideas as to what we wanted to sound like initially. We actually spent probably a year in the basement trying out different things until we all landed on something we liked."
Q: I know that some musicians find tour to be tedious after awhile. It can be long and taxing. Do you enjoy life on the road?
Irwin: "I like touring. It can be tedious and very exhausting at times, but when you're setting up in a new place and when you get to play, it makes it all worth it I think."
Q: Do you have any stand out show or stand out experience playing live that sticks in your mind?
Irwin: "Yeah, we did a show in Manhattan a couple years ago. There were a couple of people who showed up to watch us that knew the words to our songs [and] wearing t-shirts and I thought that was really cool and didn't expect that at all.
Q: As we mentioned, the new record is coming out in about a month. Do you guys have any tour plans when the album is released or is nothing definite?
Irwin: "We're looking at a couple things, but we don't have anything concrete at this moment, but we should be getting out there."
Big thanks to Raquel Figlo at Raquel Figlo PR for continuing to work with us at MA Entertainment Global!
Be sure to check Frosthelm's ReverbNation page HERE to find photos, videos, tour dates, and more info.