Piercing the Polar Mist
CoC talks to Ed Godby of The Freezing Fog
(Perverse Recollections of an Incubus Fan)

by: Daniel Cairns
British people and doom metal go together like tea and cake. We're all bloody miserable here, and the majority of our metal music is pretty good at articulating our inherent glumness. After all, we live in a country led by a dour one eyed scot, overrun with baseball capped tracksuited menaces that would sell their mother if it meant they got their daily fix of crack. Doom is in our soul.

Doom is in the soul of The Freezing Fog too, but it's not a dense, oppressive apocalyptic doom. Theirs is a rollocking, '70s inspired blood and thunder variation that owes as much to Led Zeppelin and JRR Tolkien as it does Electric Wizard. With two excellent albums under their belt, and an upcoming EP, The Freezing Fog could very well be the British answer to Clutch, what with their tendencies towards the classic end of the spectrum. I was lucky enough to catch up with guitarist and vocalist Ed Godby to pick his brains and find out what makes him tick.

[I'd like to thank cleandemon for making this interview possible. Go check his art out at cleandemon.com. I'd also like to apologise to Ed as well, because I've been sitting on this interview for months like a twat, due to real life work getting very much in the way. So, yup... sorry.]

CoC: Tell us a little about yourself and the band, and why you think CoC people should perhaps step away from blacker than thou metal for a moment and pay attention.

Ed Godby: First things first, black metal is mostly awesome and so I don't think anyone should stop, per se, just perhaps allow a little room for some classic hard rock too! The Freezing Fog is, as stated, a classic / hard rock band, highly influenced by '60s and '70s British rock music, but with a very modern edge too. Our albums really show the diversity in our sound, and we've just recorded an EP that goes further to displaying how progressive we are interested in being. It includes a twenty minute song! Thanks, Genesis! <laughs>

CoC: I'm going to punch Phil Collins if I ever see him. The music you played before was very different [for those unfamiliar, Ed was in the awesome post hardcore band Beecher]. What prompted the sudden change in direction? Were you fed up of playing more extreme stuff?

EG: Not really tired of it, I personally wanted a change, and so started the Fog with some guys that weren't in my previous band. Dave (bass) was, but we got him on board after the idea was born. We've all been listening to heavy rock for our whole lives, growing up, and so it seemed like a cool idea to pay a little homage to that.

CoC: You got Kurt Ballou to produce both your records. Further Internet stalking shows me that you'd worked with him before the Fog came about. Was he into your new direction?

EG: Yeah, we've been friends for a number of years and he's worked on a lot of stuff with me. He recorded and mixed _March Forth to Victory_ over at his studio in Salem, but the latest album was recorded in sunny Wales and Kurt mixed it for us.

CoC: I can't imagine he'd be the type to kick back, listen to some '70s enthused hard rock and have a spliff. How did he find your material?

EG: He's a good man with very diverse taste in music, and in all honesty I think he enjoys working on non-hardcore / punk / metalcore influenced stuff. Making records that sound the same all the time would get very, very dull, wouldn't it?

CoC: True, man. Funny you should say that, as I was about to say your new record is less doomy than your debut, and has a lot more '70s rocking. Was that a conscious decision, or did it just happen? What prompted the sudden change? Did the spirit of Phil Lynott suddenly possess the studio?

EG: It was a completely natural progression. As we began to get more comfortable and proficient, both as a band and as individuals, it seemed like the right thing to focus on. Our upbeat, melodic, hard rock side is probably our best side. That said, our upcoming EP re-visits some of the more doomy ideas...

CoC: Quite a few (excellent) bands are referencing the past with their music now. There's yourselves, Mastodon, Cathedral, Electric Wizard and Orange Goblin (amongst others). Is it a natural reaction to the pro-tooled overworked tendencies of modern music? It must be quite annoying for you to see so many bands more interested in haircuts, trousers and sounding cool.

EG: I like trousers and having my hair cut! <laughs> I also think we sound cool! No, I know what you mean, but let's face it, everyone uses pro-tools now -- but it still annoys me that some bands simply can't play their shit and their records come out sounding fantastic because some producer has sequenced all of their blast beats! That said, modern studio technology is a blessing, and as long as bands aren't cheating, I see nothing wrong with utilising it. It goes without saying that we play everything properly and can do the same live, so it's not really an issue for us!

CoC: On that note, when are The Freezing Fog going to make a screamo-crunk album?

EG: <laughs> Never!

CoC: The lyrics and songs seem to be about wizards, alchemists and beasts. Do they serve as metaphor and allegory for your own life experiences, or do you just enjoy writing about wizards and evil beasties? I know I would.

EG: The first record was definitely like that, but as time has gone on, James has evolved with his lyric writing and I think the songs are a lot more personal now, whilst still maintaining some of the theatrical elements that were there in the beginning. I think we just found it funny to be whimsical!

CoC: Your records always seem to have fantastic artwork. How important is the artwork for a release to you? An associate and I are of the opinion that it can really help or hinder an album. Case in point, the latest Meshuggah. It had -awful- artwork, and kind of ruined the experience for me. Are we sad anomalies, or can you sympathise?

EG: Artwork is vital to me. I can download anything now, as can anyone, yet I try to buy everything I like, within what I can afford. Sweet art makes decisions for me as to what I'm going to spend money on. So yeah, it's very important to us!

CoC: Do the Fog have anything lined up in the immediate future? I know your second CD has not long been released, but I'd imagine you're not the kind of band that sits around twiddling their thumbs.

EG: Like I say, we've not sat about since making album two, and the follow up EP is recorded! Hopefully it'll be released late summer '09! As for gigs, we've got belters coming up all over the UK. We just played with Electric Wizard, and have shows coming up with Saviours, Black Sun and many more! Hopefully we'll get out to the mainland at some point soon, too.

CoC: Hooray! Right. Last question. Here's something from a mutual acquaintance. Are Incubus still your favourite band?

EG: <laughs> The singer has a nice chest and you get to see it a lot. I was listening to them on Spotify the other day actually. I prefer a spot of jazz these days, mind you.

[The Freezing Fog's new self-titled album is out now on Eyes of Sound recording. Go check it out if you can stop thinking about Brandon Boyd's pecks for a minute.]

(article submitted 5/7/2009)

7/5/2009 D Cairns 8.5 The Freezing Fog - March Forth to Victory
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