Sebastian Kluth: Hello and thank you a lot for taking some of your precious time for this interview. Frost Tears is a young and promising Gothic Metal band from Taipei, Taiwan that has been around since 2010. How did you come together?
FROST TEARS: Taku (Japanese pronunciation, and it means “burning” in Chinese), the guitarist, and Yu (Japanese pronunciation, and it means “rain” in Chinese), the keyboardist, got to know each other in a Power Metal cover band which was started by a friend. In order to write songs by themselves, Taku and Yu left that cover band and began piecing together a new band. In the meantime, they met Len (Japanese pronunciation, translated from her Chinese name), who has studied classic vocals for years and majored in performing arts. The original members were recruited in a short period of time, including Lee of Silent Hell and Peggy of Roughhausen. Frost Tears combines each member’s unique strengths. After a few replacements, our current band members in 2013 are: Len on the lead vocals, Van of Seraphim fame on drums, Yu on the synthesizers, Taku (who has already been involved in Morpheus) and Ken (who has been with R’aie XIII) on guitars, and finally Mone of Sonar fame on the bass guitar. Now our members have known each other for a long time, and we understand our individual musical styles very well. We are confident that we’ll keep a long-term relationship and keep on making good music in the future.
Sebastian Kluth: Tell us a little bit more about your music. How would you actually describe it and how does it work into your song writing process? Which artists or bands inspire your lyrical and musical direction? What are your favorite bands and albums?
FROST TEARS: In the first place, we hope each member brings their talents to make our own music we love. Since we get a very good female classical singer, a keyboardist from classical music, and a guitarist who is really good at speed/power Metal, our music spontaneously shifts to gothic and symphonic metal. Our former drummer, Ibara (Japanese pronunciation, and it means “thorn” in Chinese), also brought us a more progressive sound. Frost Tears is influenced by many bands and artists such as Helloween, Stratovarius, Rhapsody Of Fire, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Lacrimosa, Dream Theater, Epica, Tarja, even ABBA and many famous Broadway musicals. However, Seraphim, the metal band who was the first into international markets, gave us the confidence to keep on. Seraphim was an avant-garde ideal among masculine metal bands in Taiwan. Chthonic, another famous metal band from Taiwan, adds Erhu to their musical elements, and encourages bands in Taiwan to add traditional elements to their music as well. This is the reason that we considered adopting Guqin and Chinese Opera in our music. Because we’d like to open our music to all possibilities and keep the varieties of the melody that we valued when starting the band, we change our process and style all the time while we are composing songs. Another advantage of keeping to this variety is that it allows our members to cooperate in different ways in order to create the unique character of Frost Tears. So far, the styles of our songs are different. We try to compose all kinds of music, and that’s how we get our musical creations featured. We’re writing new songs and planning to release a full new album in 2014. Len writes lyrics and composes melodies, Taku and Yu are responsible for musical architecture and styles, while Mone and Van make our gigs more dramatic with their great musical techniques.
Sebastian Kluth: You have released a total of two EPs in 2011 and in 2012. Could you describe them? What do they sound like and is there some sort of evolution between the two of them? What are your lyrics about and in which language do you prefer composing your lyrics?
FROST TEARS: As we mentioned before, when we’re writing songs, we used to consider our members’ talents and preferences. These two EPs came from an experimental stage and phase in many unusual methods while writing songs. We focus on creating a self-style as “Frost Tears” instead of conforming our songs to some kind of music style. Therefore, these two EPs blended musical styles such as gothic, power, speed, symphonic, and folk metal, as well as Chinese opera influences. After an experimental stage, we are now writing our lyrics in Mandarin. We are familiar with Mandarin, so we’re trying to adopt Chinese Opera to increase dramatic tension. We are also changing pronunciation methods to make up for the disadvantage of Mandarin that lacks rhymes. Of course, we may write lyrics in English, Mandarin, and Japanese at the same time if possible.
Sebastian Kluth: On several internet sites, one can also find your version of the Christian hymn “Amazing Grace”. How come you decided to cover this rather unusual track? How important is Christianity for your band and its development? Why are many bands from Taiwan religiously inspired while western gothic metal bands seem to care a lot less about this intriguing kind of spirituality?
FROST TEARS: We covered this song because we’d like to express our gratitude for everything rather than religious reasons. Taiwan is a multi-religious country that respects everybody’s religious beliefs. For example, Yu comes from a Catholic family, and he was baptized in his childhood; Taku comes from a Taoist family, and he is a “religious investigator”. Len comes from a Taoist family as well. This song, “Amazing Grace”, attracts us because the lyrics are full of grateful heart and not because of a religious dimension of Christianity. Just before the date of the end of the world according to Mayan predictions, we chose this song to show our gratitude for everything. Gothic music always impresses us with darkness, horror, and solitude while “Amazing Grace” doesn’t. We only extract gothic music elements and visual aesthetics and then apply them to our songs and performances. It does not affect our true lives, nor do the lyrics we wrote. The cover of “Amazing Grace” shows the attitude of our real lives. Because some people say that our songs don’t fit each other, we issued EPs with different themes. We’ll give a thought to the entire atmosphere when we write songs in the future. Let’s wait and see.
Sebastian Kluth: As far as I know you have signed a contract with the Taiwanese Magnum label. How did you get this opportunity and how does the deal help you to spread your music? Where can we purchase your music?
FROST TEARS: Our contract with Taiwanese Magnum label is agency issuing, which means Frost Tears is still an indie band. We appreciate the opportunities and recommendations provided by our friends. FanTwn also helps us a lot. Thanks for all you guys. We’re not experts in marketing. However, our priorities are making good music and waiting for good opportunities. Fans may purchase our works from these platforms as below:
Sebastian Kluth: After two promising EPs, are you going to release a full length debut album anytime soon? What would this album eventually sound like?
FROST TEARS: Now we’re working on it and planning to release it in the middle of 2014. Our full-length debut album would be like our second EP, Reminiscences. It will be more dramatic than ever. We can’t define this album with any music style we know. The theme will be existentialism and humanistic issues, and the style of the music will be changed with the lyrics. Sometimes the style will be gothic/symphonic and sometimes it may rather be heavy or power metal. The music styles will be diverse and rich, just like our lives.
Sebastian Kluth: Apart being artists and musicians, what are you doing for a living? What kind of impact do your jobs or your family lives have on your creative processes?
FROST TEARS: We are artists and musicians, and we’re also normal employees in companies. We can’t avoid illness and death, nor get away from the economic pressures, either. Making good music is our focal point, but not our main source of income. We care about our society and politics, and we love our families. We have different religions. And we enjoy and experience living in this true world. For us, these are fonts of inspiration.
Sebastian Kluth: You are soon going to play live with three other bands – Gunpowder, Sonar, and Ultra Violet in your country. Can you tell us something about these bands and the event itself?
FROST TEARS: At every performance we try to take the chance to invite different bands to join the performance and to work together with us, so we can improve our bands together. This theme, “Alchemy”, intends to promote metal music and to express our appreciation for fans’ supports by giving free tickets to those who bought our albums. We’ll keep this same style of event theme going if possible. Gun Powder is a power metal/ hard rock band; Sonar is progressive metal, in which the bassist is our partner; Ultra Violet is a progressive band as well, and they pay attention to modern fashion. We had this concert together and we are also friends in private, where we discuss music.
Sebastian Kluth: Do you have often occasions to play concerts or even festivals? What are the best locations and festivals in your country one should not miss out on? What are your favorite concerts you have attended in your life? Have you ever played outside your country? With whom or where would you like to give a concert in the future?
FROST TEARS: We often play concerts in small live houses. We’ve played at “Spring Scream Festival” and “Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival”. We also played in “Taoyuan Hakka Music Festival” this August. Taiwan is a very beautiful island with very friendly people. “Spring Scream Festival” is held in April every year and “Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival” is held every July. If you’re in Taiwan and into metal, you should not miss them. We haven’t had the chance to play outside Taiwan yet. We’d like to have a tour and play with great bands all around the world. We believe every band has their strengths that we can learn from. Whoever we could play with, we could have a lot of variable experiences. Our dreams are to bring Taiwanese music to the world with Taiwanese bands, and to play with good bands around the world. About the world’s top festivals, we hope we will play in Wacken Open Air Festival and the Metal Female Voices Festival someday.
Sebastian Kluth: Can you tell us a little bit more about Rock and Metal music in Taiwan in general?
FROST TEARS: In the early 90s, Taiwan rock and metal music were affected by America. European-style music was rare in Taiwan. Because of the success of Mayday, Britpop is among the most popular musical styles in Taiwan. On the other hand, because of the success of Chthonic, there are also many melodic death metal bands and symphonic black metal bands in Taiwan. Female fronted bands have begun to grow in popularity over these last few years as well.
Sebastian Kluth: What does the gothic scene look like in your country? Can you name some favorite albums or bands?
FROST TEARS: For Taiwanese people, gothic is not our original culture. So it’s kind of a yearning and fancy to us. But we can find the same scenes and atmospheres in history and our culture in comparison. We hope to add our own cultural elements to this style of music the best we can while imitating it. We also hope to create a unique gothic music style that belongs to Taiwan. When we talk about this kind of music, we must recommend Seraphim. Besides, Crescent Lament and Renascimento are also good Taiwanese bands in the style.
Sebastian Kluth: What are your plans for your musical year 2013?
FROST TEARS: We focus on creation in 2013. Our plan is to release the first album in 2014, and begin to accelerate the career of our band.
Sebastian Kluth: Thank you once again for this great interview occasion. The last words are yours. What would you like to leave readers with?
FROST TEARS: Music enriches our lives. It replaces language to express our feelings, and it even breaks the language barrier. You may not remember us after many years have passed by, but you’ll never forget how you loved music in the very beginning.