A seven piece electronic metal band is not something you see every day. That alone piqued my interest in who Frontier Season are. Then I had a listen to their latest single Ambivalent….
Cooper, Darcy Luke, Sam and I hung out for an hour and they filled me in on what being in a seven piece band is all about, the many influences that seven people bring to song writing and what we can expect to hear from them.
Alright so there are seven of you in Frontier Season??
Luke: We didn’t know where to stop! Darcy and I just kept on bringing people in and then we were like shall we get an eighth!! Na I think we are good here…
Cooper: Darcy and Luke started the band as the bassist (Darcy) and synths (Luke). So obviously beyond that they were still going to go with the two guitarists, vocalist and a drummer so there was six people. I came in and I guess they just like my unclean vocals, so we still needed a clean vocalist, that was what their vision was, so that’s how we got to that seventh person. Would you say that is accurate?
Luke: Yeah that would be it. When we added Cooper in with us the tones and everything about it was awesome. Then we thought lets get a second vocalist. I think it was the right idea having two vocalists in this. People have told us that the sound is just so wide and so full. It’s good for us.
I remember Steve (Cannatelli) saying something about a seven piece metal band and I remember thinking ‘What!!!’
Cooper: It’s too many!
Luke: It’s too many I’ll leave thanks!!
Yeah it’s not your standard metal band it’s more like an orchestra!!!
Cooper: We’re almost at Slipknot… almost.
Frontier Season has been around since 2016?
Luke: Darcy and I were doing music before that, so we had been working together for a couple of years.
Darcy: Around 2013-14
Luke: So we did about 2 or 3 years there. We were writing a lot of electronic music. Darcy approached me one night at a gig that their band was playing. Darcy said that they wanted to do electronic music. I started showing Darcy stuff and they showed me so of the music they were working on. It sprung from there. Darcy was writing a lot of heavier stuff and I said I think I know where you want to go with this. Then we started getting more and more people on board and that’s where we are at now. It’s been a long road so far. It’s been awesome though.
So how long have the seven of you been together?
Darcy: Four years now.
So you’ve obviously played some gigs in that time then?
Luke: Yeah we’ve played The Bendigo, The Workers Club, actual Bendigo
Cooper: Stay Gold, Wrangler.
Luke: Stay Gold and Wrangler were awesome. We’ve been here and there.
You’ve been around
Luke: They’re always fun. People are always like there are seven of you Wow!
How’s the latest single going?
Luke: yeah its been good. We have had that track for a while now.
Sam: That’s actually an old track that we have been playing for a long time but when we went to record our EP that was the only one that we had already been playing.
Cooper: That made it on to the EP
So Shadows will be on the EP too?
But My Illusion won’t be?
Darcy: That’s a standalone. The original plan for us was supposed to be Shadows and Ambivalent and three or four other tracks we were going to release as an EP but of course Covid happened so we decided to release one single at a time and then once it is all released we will compile it to an EP.
So then you still have three or four tracks to come!
Cooper: Yes we do, and we are planning on a video for everyone.
At least with lockdown easing that will be easier.
Luke: It’s a massive relief for us to be out of lockdown. It really sucked to not be with the band. Even though we got to do online stuff, internet glitches and things were still busy, and it just wasn’t the same. To be able to go back in to a room and be all together is just, you know, family being brought back.
Cooper: In saying that Luke has particularly bad internet….
Luke: My internet is absolutely the worst!! Hence the reason I was invited here…
I’ve been watching the last few days and people are getting back in to the studio and rehearsal rooms. It’s so good to see.
Luke: Everyone is just excited.
Your new single Ambivalent, what’s the story behind that?
Cooper: I guess the meaning behind the song Is around inadequacy and being made to feel like every effort you make is not noticed. Being asked to do more and more, when what you do is not enough even though that is all that you are capable of. There is a metaphor in the song about ‘Every day I fight with death, but you say I don’t fight for you’ It’s like your fighting something so powerful and doing so much but it’s not being recognised.
What can we expect from the songs on the EP?
Sam: There is definitely emphasis on emotion and mental health in general. Which I know in our genre is very common. We generally try to put a positive spin on the negative things that we write about though. I think that is pretty evident in Shadows. All of them have got some sort of positive spin
Cooper: We present the issue or the feeling or whatever but then try to put that positive spin on it or solution like how to deal with or get past it.
Luke: We have always been like that from the start. We all know everyone deals with issues but in our music instead of just venting about the issue is to say there is a solution. We want to try and impose that. We just want to spread big positive vibes in that sense too.
Darcy: On the musical side of things the EP is bringing more about who we are in terms of the genre. Metal bands have that sort of raw dissonance, would that be the right word? They rely on that raw sound of guitar and vocals. With us, we are very influenced by electronic music. So I guess with Shadows, that actually came from a lot of Japanese rock which I based the music off, as well as pop. So we don’t just use metal in our influences.
Sam: I think Steve Cannatelli probably said it best. He said we are a pop band dressed up as a metal band!
Darcy: Yeah that’s pretty accurate.
Luke: We’re the Backstreet Boys with instruments and screaming….
Darcy: In todays metal scene we are trying to find our niche sound, something that people haven’t done before. I fell like incorporating a lot of electronic elements, so like in one of our future songs which is called Wasteland we can say that there is about six genres worth in there!
Luke: We were sitting in the room when we were writing that, and Darcy came up to us and said, “Hey Luke put a house beat on that” Alright kick drum – done! Yeah that song there has got a lot of different styles in it. We were stoked with how that came out too.
Darcy: Going back to Ambivalent, usually with the song writing process when it comes to instrumentation normally I start things off. I hardly had an input into this one. It was actually mostly Leon our other guitarist. He has a lot of influence I guess in the orchestral side of music.
Cooper: Leon comes from a far more melodic metal background, like melodic death metal and so I think Ambivalent definitely has it’s own individual sound on the EP because of that.
Yeah it definitely has an orchestral sound to it.
Luke: I feel like that song was our big power, just having that huge, huge impact. Even with sprinkles of synth bits in it, just making those little trickles. Just making it really full sounding. We were rapt with how that came out.
Is the writing process shared amongst the seven of you?
Darcy: Yes it gets shared amongst us.
Does that get interesting??
Luke: There’s challenges with it absolutely, having seven opinions we are always going to have disagreements amongst ourselves. I said it from the very start with everybody, I feel like we should always come to a happy medium. So we might not agree with absolutely everything but as long as everyone is happy enough then I feel like that is okay. Then there is those odd moments where everyone is just so stoked with it. We really do work on that because it is a big project with seven people.
Cooper: I think definitely when there is so many heads at play there is an element of having to leave the ego at the door a little bit. It is definitely hard to make seven people happy, but everyone here wants to make this the best thing. If I don’t agree I’m sure its still going to be cool because those guys like it.
I spoke to another band the other day and they said the same thing. That one person just has to trust that the other members can hear something that they can’t.
Cooper: It’s about trusting that everyone in the band wants what is best for the band. Because we have so many different influences our opinions on what the best thing is are different.
Where do you all draw your influences from then because with seven of you there would be a lot!!
Darcy: My influences come from bands like BMTH, Enter Shikari, Lincoln Park. Other influences outside of the metal scene are Japanese rock. Also a shared influence I have with Luke is a lot of UK electronic music sounds like dub step and drum and bass which will be included in future releases.
Luke: I think with me it’s more Pendulum, that would be my heavy hitter. Just looking at Rob Swire and his sound design and everything. When I heard that for the first time I was pretty mind blown. Other guys when it comes to sound design would be Jean-Michel Jarre from 70’s Oxygene and that kind of stuff. That’s what really got me into synthesis. From the metal side my big thing was Slipknot. Seeing Syd Wilson and Craig Jones and what they were incorporating was phenomenal. Those would be my biggest influences.
Sam: I’m only capable of writing stuff from 2007. Stuff like Bullet For My Valentine, those kind of riffs.
Luke and Cooper: Real 2007!!
Sam: I can channel that pretty good. Vocally it’s things like the melodic tones of Linkin Park, later Bring Me The Horizon and nowadays things like Architects. I’ve been trying to get more into that vocal pitch-screaming and stuff.
Darcy: Something else I’d like to add is that I am also influenced by the sounds of Periphery
(Big mistake Darcy!!!!! I won’t bore you guys with our Periphery chat…)
Cooper: My influences are pretty diverse. Bring Me The Horizon is one that comes up with most of us. Metalcore, Post hardcore, even pop and hip hop have worked there way in. Especially I think K-Pop has definitely changed the way I approach stuff in this band for diversity’s sake in what the band and I do.
Darcy: Mike our other guitarist is mostly a blues person.
Sam: Blues and Prog
You guys have pretty well got every genre covered!!!
Sam: Leon is more into his melodic death metal and thrash.
Cooper: Real riffy stuff.
Sam: Them Lezlie our drummer is into stuff from black metal
(Thanks to Coach we had a little discussion around Mora Prokaza!!)
Luke: It’s a very big spectrum
Cooper: I’d be surprised if there was a genre of music in this band that somebody doesn’t like.
You guys can take this anywhere with those influences.
Cooper: I think once the EP comes out you will see that we have taken it everywhere.
Luke: we are always pushing for new ideas so when we are working on new stuff we are pushing into different genres. We incorporate a lot of different elements into it. It’s the fun part about it, getting into this and realising that music has no limits.
How has Ambivalent been received?
Darcy: it’s been well received so far; a lot of people are digging it. Obviously with people leaving lockdown now It hasn’t got to as many as what Shadows did as we were still in lockdown then. We are still pushing it so that people know that we have released it. I actually looked at our Spotify stats today and we have had streams from Russia.
Luke: It’s interesting to see that people around the world are actually listening to it. It’s crazy to think that when Darcy and I started this we wanted to push it and seeing how it has grown is pretty awesome. It’s good to see that people are actually enjoying the stuff that we are putting out. On a personal level that makes me really happy. To be part of a creative collective and putting stuff out.
Cooper: It’s good to finally be able to put that stuff out given the year we have had.
Darcy: Right now the current push for us is getting some traction onto Triple J Unearthed. We have been putting our stuff up on Unearthed. That is where a lot of local acts get found and we really want to gain that traction on there. Because we have something new to offer with our sound that is our goal at the moment.
(So go listen and leave some feedback)
Luke: Yeah getting more radio play, it is awesome because we have been getting it.
Which radio shows have you guys been played on?
Darcy: Not Quite Midnight (3MDR)
Cooper: And we love them, so when we release a song we give it to them first.
Luke: Short.Fast.Loud for My Illusion.
Cooper: When we released that a year or so ago they gave it a spin.
Luke: That was sick
That’s the dream isn’t it, to get Josh to play you on the radio.
Luke: Our guitarist said he got emotional over it. I was like fair enough mate.
Darcy: We have had some day time air for the first time too. New Grooves on 96.5 Inner FM are playing us during their show as new emerging Australian artists.
Anything else that you guys want to get out there into the world about yourselves?
Darcy: I guess this is me personally, as having a non-binary identity, I like to let people know. We are kind of misrepresented just in the music industry in general. It is always males, or I guess the really girly sexy females. I hate to be misogynistic or sexist or however you want to perceive it but for some one who is queer, I want to just raise more awareness about us.
Luke: When Darcy mentioned it to me because we have been working together for a long time, it was just more of an open arms thing with myself. I was like this is perfectly okay, to the point where it doesn’t faze me whatsoever. I think, just on that, with music I have always believed that everyone should be welcome with open arms. It doesn’t matter how you identify. I personally believe that it shouldn’t faze anybody, but we are just here for love as a collective family. We want to spread that kind of compassion whilst blasting some killer music.
Darcy: I think as well, the two vocalists here will agree with me, it suits with our theme because our music is all about mental awareness and most, if not all our songs are about over coming those obstacles. So we are sending out positive messages. It fits I guess with me because our music shouldn’t hold any boundaries for one particular type of person.
Luke: It’s for everybody to enjoy.
Music is the universal language.
Luke: All I really want to say is that we are ready to take this rollercoaster on. It’s awesome to see where we have started. I personally can’t wait to see where we go. I would love to be in the centre of Rod Laver arena with everyone here one day as the headline act. That would be the absolute dream but wherever we go I know I am going to be making some awesome memories for when I am old and withered.
Cooper: On the business side we have more to come!! There is more coming. Like you said earlier, 3 or 4 more songs, there is definitely going to be that.
Luke: And more after that.
Frontier Season have really caught my attention and I am super keen after talking to them to hear just where they are going to take this.