- Can you quickly introduce the band for us?
We started the band in November 2001. We had played together in other bands so we more or less knew each other already. The first period we basically just jammed on different riffs. We released a demo called "Fluctuadmission" in late 2002 and we sent it around to different labels. In the summer of 2003 we signed a deal with The End records and we later received a license deal with Elitist/Earache for Europe. Our debut album called "The Sense Apparatus" will be available in February. The line-up on the album consists of: Patrick Scantlebury (Guitars, Synth), Eywin Sundstrøm (Guitars), Sten Erik Svendheim (Drums) and Paul Mozart Bjørke (Vocals, Bass).
- What's the meaning of the intriguing band name? Whose idea was it?
It was something Patrick and I came up with, it wasn't taken from anywhere. We wanted a name that stood out from the crowd since we're a band who writes different music. It's something that grabs people's attention I think, and we've gained some extra awareness because of it. That was the whole point and the name also matches our ideology of trying to keep things a bit out of the ordinary.
- Let's get to the main focus of this interview… Your first full-length album, "The Sense Apparatus", will be available in the first days of February after more than a year of work. The first observation is that this album was worth the wait! What is your "description" of this album?
We're very proud of this album I must say and it ended up even better than I thought it would. It did take forever to finish but when I look back at it, I do think it was worth it as well. "The Sense Apparatus" is a very dramatic album with a lot of variation and different types of moods and styles, but without ever getting chaotic. People have used tags like Avant-garde and Experimental etc, but I don't really agree with any of them. I would rather use words like atmospheric, dramatic, original etc.
- "The Sense Apparatus" is a very diversified album, making Frantic Bleep hard to label. How do you see yourself in terms of styles?
The only label I would use to describe our music is that we're a metal band. The reason why we sound differently is basically because we have so many influences other that just other metal bands. But I don't think you have to sound like Iron Maiden anymore to be categorized as a metal band. We play Heavy Metal period!
- Can you tell us more about the recording sessions?
Well, it certainly took its time. We recorded the album with our own equipment so we didn't have any pressure about studio time or money. We also recorded in many different locations so it was kind of chaotic that way. We basically wanted the sound to be as big as possible and we used a few unconventional methods during the recordings, especially guitar wise. We're a bunch of perfectionists and we wanted the album to be as perfect as it could be. The reason why it took so long is basically because we went back and forth between different singers. Our original plan was to have Paul singing the whole thing, but we figured that since he only was a session member, we wanted to find someone else who could join the band full time. When we worked with other people we had to compose vocal lines and record at the same time, so it took forever. This was our own fault since we didn't really prepare the vocal lines during pre production. So we got Paul to finish the album basically. We also got some friends to sing on the album as well, and we're very pleased with the result.
- Even though your sound is very progressive, toward the end of the album, your sound is not without reminding me of the band Death. Which bands were the biggest influences for you guys?
We're listening to a lot of different music in this band, so that question is a bit tricky. We're listening to everything from Bjork to Radiohead to Darkthrone, and we never get directly inspired by any bands. We just write what comes natural and we don't really think about it that much. Back in the day we would listen to bands like Metallica, Testament, Morbid Angel and Carcass. And I would say that those bands influenced us a lot back in the day. Our tastes are rather varied as well. Our tastes in metal are quite similar, but we have other bands that we listen to more or less individually.
- I was amazed to see that you are all relatively young musicians yet your first album is splendid. That will make Frantic Bleep on my shortlist for best newcomer for 2005. Were you at all prepared for such positive feedback on your first album?
Well, we have played in different bands for the last ten years so we're not new to this. And I guess the album doesn't exactly sound like a debut album. I guess we were prepared to a certain degree. We all love the album and it would be natural to expect other people to do the same. I think it's an album that's very hard to dislike if you're into metal in general. The reviews so far have been great and we're very happy with the feedback we're getting.
- One of the most representative features of Frantic Bleep is Paul's vocals. I can't stop wondering, did he take singing lessons prior to Frantic Bleep?
Not that I know of. We're very pleased with his singing on the album and he sings a 100 % better than he did on the Fluctuadmission demo. We also had Agnete M. Kirkevaag (Madder Mortem) to produce the vocals on the album, and she did a great job. She really got the best performance out of Paul I think.
- The artwork of your album is quite unusual and refreshing, were you involved in the pick of the artist? Is one of you obsessed with biology ;-) or it's that it fits the title of the album?
Yeah, we picked the cover artist ourselves. Christian Ruud (the cover artist) is a friend of Patrick so it was natural to ask him to do it. He's extremely talented and we liked the work he has done before for Madder Mortem. We wanted a cover that stood out from the other metal covers out there. It was Christian who presented the whole concept thing to us and we basically based the whole thing around his ideas. The title is also based on the cover art, not the other way around.
- The progressive Norwegian scene is in full explosion with bands such as Winds and now Frantic Bleep. Do you have the feeling that your country has been underrated in terms of prog/melodic Metal (being known as the main country for Black Metal…) for the past years?
I think that the Norwegian scene is way more interesting and better than it used to be just a few years ago. There's been a few other experimental acts coming from Norway lately, but I don't think it's an explosion or anything. It seems like many bands have started to grow up more and also finding other influences. The interesting thing is that many of these bands started out as Black Metal bands. But I think the development is very positive and it makes the scene better and more interesting.
- Your official website is right to the point but rather sketchy right now. Do you envision a more comprehensive one in the future or do you cultivate a sense of mystery?
We're currently working on a new homepage, and we're hoping to be able to update it very soon. We do want some mystery around the band and you won't find any member pages with a lot of personal info or anything like that. We do want to keep things to the point without too many details. We'll update the new page more often than we used to with interviews and reviews etc.
- Do you already have some new material on the way? Do you have any touring plans yet? Tell us all about your vision for the band in 2005!
We do have ambitions to become a touring band and we want to play live as much as possible. We're currently working on new material with our new line-up. We hope to start recording the second album this summer. Hopefully we'll play some gigs as well. The only thing booked so far is a festival gig here in Norway.
- Today's music business is tough but worldwide networks surely work seeing a Norwegian band signed on a US-based label reaching to a French guy living in the US (that would be me) representing a Metal webzine from Estonia… Any thoughts on the globalisation of the music industry?
I guess that's the way it got to be when you're playing heavy metal music. It's a very global network. The Internet makes it a lot easier to communicate directly with people all around the world. It makes it very interesting as well and we're in contact with people all over the world. I guess you can't really concentrate on smaller areas when releasing metal albums, since there are fans all over the place. But I think the globalization of the music industry is positive and it makes it all more interesting.
- Alright! Thanks again for taking the time to share the Frantic Bleep experience with Metal Storm's readers. It's a habit of mine to leave the last word to the band I interview, so feel free to end this session with whatever you feel like expressing!
I encourage everyone to check out our album when it's released. I also encourage people to check out our homepage http://www.franticbleep.com.
Thanks a lot for the interview and the support!
Thanks again to the guys of Frantic Bleep and to Jake at The End Records who made this interview possible.