LOST IN THE LIGHT… INTO THE SEA
IN THEIR FIVE YEARS OF EXISTENCE, BOSTON BASED SYMPHONIC METAL BAND WINTER’S END HAVE PRODUCED EXACTLY ONE EP 'LOST IN THE LIGHT' (2016) AND ONE SINGLE 'FIREFLIES' (2016). THIS YEAR, THEY WILL DOUBLE THE AMOUNT OF EP’S WHEN THEY RELEASE 'INTO THE SEA' ON AUGUST 7TH WITH 6 BRAND NEW TRACKS. REASON FOR US TO CROSS-EXAMINE LEAD VOCALIST JESSICA FROST ABOUT THEIR LUSTRUM AND WHAT HAPPENED SINCE 'LOST IN THE LIGHT'. AND WE WILL DISCUSS SOME OF THE TRACKS ON 'INTO THE SEA'.
Let’s start at the beginning. It’s 2015 and you decide to form a symphonic metal band. Who came up with the name WINTER’S END? Has it anything to do with your last name Frost?
JESSICA: Originally, ‘Winter’s End’ was just one of our song titles. As we were brainstorming ideas for a band name, we wanted to come up with something that represented who we are and the message we hope to deliver to our audience. A message of hope and overcoming darkness that we all face at some points in our lives. I suggested we adopt ‘Winter’s End’ as a band name because those two words encapsulate that sentiment perfectly. So, no it has nothing to do with my last name but I do remember when I had first auditioned for the guys back in 2015 I thought it was a funny coincidence that there happened to be so many winter themes in their music!
On your first EP ‘Lost In The Light’, there’s also male vocals on three of the five songs. Who’s voice was that? Ryan Johnson who also composed all the music and lyrics (except for ‘Only Through Darkness’)?
JESSICA: No, actually the male vocals that you hear on the first EP are that of Devin Fauteux, our original bassist and also the lyricist to many of the songs. He even contributed some of his lyrical genius to our new EP!
After that, WINTER’S END have only released one more single, the monster hit ‘Fireflies’, originally from Adam Young’s Owl City. What happened since then?
JESSICA: Since releasing our cover of ‘Fireflies’ we have stayed busy recording acoustic arrangements of a small handful of songs from our first EP. Those videos can be found on our YouTube page. We really enjoyed doing them and hope to film more videos of the sort in the future! During this time, we’ve also gone through quite a few line-up changes. That made things like live performances a little difficult, but behind the scenes we have continued writing and recording and have quite a large back log of music that we plan to make use of on the next album and in the future. Now that we have a solid line up we plan to be on a more consistent schedule for releasing new material.
Besides what makes a band symphonic (lots of keyboards and orchestrations), another ear-catching thing in WINTER’S END are your classical trained soprano vocals. What kind of vocal training did you have?
JESSICA: When I first became interested in singing, I would spend most of my time listening to and studying other vocalists and picking up different techniques that way. Then, while attending high school, I began taking lessons at a local Philharmonic orchestra & music school for a couple years. That really fueled my passion for music and from there I decided to continue my studies and enrolled in Berklee College of Music, later earning a degree in Vocal Performance.
When listening to your latest lyric video for ‘Empty Page’ from your new EP, it seems that the line of ‘Lost In The Light’ is continued on ‘Into The Sea’. Is this a justifiable conclusion or do you have another opinion?
JESSICA: ‘Empty Page’ does certainly have that ‘overcoming adversity’ kind of theme we did last time, but overall, I would say ‘Into The Sea’ is darker than ‘Lost In The Light’. ‘Dawn’, the last song on ‘Into The Sea’, also carries a hopeful message, but the others are more varied. Overall, there are more personal songs than philosophical ones this time around.
‘Into The Sea’ was mixed by guitarist Nevin Mychal and mastered by the legendary Jacob Hansen, who seems to do almost every big symphonic metal band (Epica, Amaranthe, Delain, to name just a few) nowadays. How did you get in contact with him and why did you let him master the 6 tracks on the EP?
JESSICA: Our main goal with reaching out to Jacob Hansen was to not only get a fresh set of ears on our mixes but to also help bring the production quality to a more professional standard. By giving someone of his expertise the opportunity to help shape our EP in the mastering process, it provided us with a more dynamic sounding record that would hopefully share a similar level of quality with other artists in the genre.
The cover artwork was made by Jill Colbert of Manfish Inc. and quite honestly, an enormous improvement compared to that of ‘Lost In The Light’. Can you elucidate the drawing a little bit?
JESSICA: Thank you, it is most definitely a huge improvement! Jill was wonderful to work with and really helped us to create one unified image that represented everything the album has to offer. Compared to our last EP, ‘Into The Sea’ was written from a much darker place, hence the image of a girl sinking into the ocean depths. At the bottom lies different objects: mirrors, candles and pages strewn about, which were all direct themes taken from the lyrics of each of our songs.
Let’s get to the songs on ‘Into The Sea’ and pinpoint 3 of them: ‘The Twenty-Third Candle’, ‘A Rose In The Ice’ and ‘Empty Page’. Who wrote the lyrics for these songs and what are they about?
JESSICA: Ryan wrote the lyrics to ‘The Twenty-Third Candle’ and ‘A Rose In The Ice’. Devin, our former bass player, wrote the lyrics for ‘Empty Page’ – we had that song done all the way back in 2015! ‘The Twenty-Third Candle’ is about a period of time of hopelessness, lost innocence, guilt and self-loathing. It explores how thoughts twist in desperate times, inspiring horrible and irreversible acts. It stands in stark contrast to our previous message of hope and happiness, but Ryan prefers to write genuinely than to adhere to what we once believed our ‘brand’ would always be. It contains references to works by T.S. Elliot, Henry David Thoreau, Fredrich Nietzsche, William Butler Yeats and a few others. ‘A Rose In The Ice’ is another personal song about being unable to let someone go completely, even if they phase in and out of your life over years and the frustration, bliss and helplessness this dependence fosters. There is a single reference to ‘The Great Gatsby’ at the end of it, one of Ryan’s favorite novels. ‘Empty Page’ is lyrically in a similar vein to some of our earlier songs, overcoming a sense of ‘what now?’ when all one’s plans have failed, hopes extinguished and they are left looking at an ‘empty page’ of their life. That emptiness can be daunting and terrifying, but it also signifies a chance to start a new.
‘Into The Sea’ will be released digitally on August 7th on all major online retailers. Physical copies are available upon request. How many copies have you had made and what would the retail price be?
Any chance the next release will be a full-length album?
JESSICA: Yes! The plan as of now is to release a full length concept album within the next two years. We’re actually already in the writing and recording phase for that now.