It hasn't had much time to spend in the arts world. Yet already, By The Throat is proving to be one of the most astonishing pieces of sound to reach a listener, and a perfect follow up to his previous album, Theory of Machines. After reviewing the album and experiencing it many times more, I wanted to talk to Ben Frost about his works, concepts and beliefs. He agreed to call me one morning from Poland, and during that international call, the following was discussed: Firstly, congratulations on By The Throat. It's a phenomenal listen, and critics and admirers alike seem to be raving about it. Thank you very much. How did you approach the making of this album? Did you focus much on a concept, or does that not matter to you? Actually it is pretty conceptual. The creative process I go through involves visual work more than sound. I approach it with visual methods the same way a painter does and it's less musical. For about three or four months my apartment was covered in images and texts. Image and video hosting by TinyPic That's interesting. So you take your influences very much from visual artists, rather than musicians? Yes, Theory of Machines had a very cold, clinical feel feel to it. It had sterilised elements to it, like the work of Chris Cunningham. You know what I mean? Yeah And I like the work of Damien Hirst. With By The Throat I had been spending a lot of time travelling in Europe. I had been a lot more drawn to the little European towns, and the small galleries there had stunning pieces of art with a warmth about the spaces, and glowing colours. My response to By The Throat was with a perception of quite an intimidating vibe. There was something about the feral howling and the sounds of feedback and white noise that felt sinister. It can come across as oppressive, but I really didn't mean it to sound that way. A lot of people respond in that way to the howls of wolves, reporting the animal sounds, but for me it's a formation of primal, instinctual sounds that show a unity and a family coral. It's a solo record, but I wanted it to feel like I was moulding parts together, and it's that unity of elements in nature that makes a beautiful sound. We talked about visual artists earlier. Your work is something that I could very much imagine listening to in the space of an installation, with perhaps some visual pieces to accompany it. Is this something that you would ever consider taking on? That's a good question. I like to start out in a non-linear form, and then the arrangement comes later, which makes for an ephemeral experience. It would certainly be an interesting experiment to explore the random relations between the elements of something non-linear, but I doubt it would be a far cry from what I'm doing already. I'm just trying to make a world of sonic energy and extrapolate it. There's a recurring use of white noise throughout your work. Why does it interest you so much? It's seen as an attempt to create something abstract. People view abstraction as removing forms from something until it is not to be recognised. This is actually not the case with my work, it's in fact the opposite. The closer you listen, the more attention you give and discover more defined sounds. This becomes quite obvious with the alien white noise. there's a definitive line, but not a different context or opposing forces; I like to blur the lines between the elements. I like creating beats from the clicks made by whales and playing them against processed elements of sonic sounds to make the extreme. This creates a moving space and allows the listener to find a narrative and discover drama. So which element is most important to you? The natural or the processed? I would have to say the natural is more important. However there is an infinite blurring line between sound design and music. Sound design is generally seen as experimental and a lot of people get upset if an experimental piece, which consists of an atonal drone, is classified as not being music. It's interesting in any other world, as there's a linear design in art where sound design must be music. I disagree. I see myself as a musician first and foremost. It's like designing font, but not poetry; I choose poetry over font because I'm more concerned with the content rather than the aesthetics, although they are also important. Your work is always classified as essentially minimalism, but coming across as hard rock. Does genre even matter to you? Genre gets in the way. On one hand, it can be a good thing, as if my album's classed as hard rock lots of people who are into that will go out and buy it. On the other hand, if a person who wasn't very open minded, and not a fan of that labelled genre, were to walk into a record store and see it in the hard rock section, I'd be losing out. So genre is a blessing and a curse I guess. I'd like to talk to you about the Bedroom Community. You work in a close association with the other artists on the label, constantly collaborating, working on each others' projects and performing together, particularly on the upcoming Whale Watching Tour. What's it like to have that sort of relationship with your associates? It's clever the way it works. It's a lot like an open relationship. It's funny and very different, but it happens. It's about working at a roots level aesthetic towards a collaborative effort. I spoke to Nico Muhly a while ago and he said that you often have to barter to work together It is like bartering with credit. It's very useful though, when I'm pulling my hair out trying to work on a section, which Nico is much better at doing and will do for me. Why struggle with something, when you can let someone else in on it? The latest topic on our debate section lately has been: "What makes a good film?" Do you have any thoughts on this, or perhaps on what makes a good piece of art in general? To me, a good film doesn't do what you assume of it. Something that takes the audience by surprise, and that can apply to any piece of work. And finally, what are your future ambitions and plans? I'm spending the rest of the year touring and interviewing, and then I'm taking time to get on with writing a new album, which should be finished by next Summer at the latest. Other than that I've got small work going on here and there, including film commissions. Ben Frost, Thank you very much Thank you. Ben Frost's new album, By The Throat, is available to purchase now. Check out the 405's review of it here: http://www.thefourohfive.com/reviews/1185 He will be performing on the Whale Watching Tour from 3rd November, along with Nico Muhly, Valgeir Sigurdsson and Sam Amidon. If you're lucky enough to be in Europe, check out the tour dates here: www.bedroomcommunity.net/Site/Whale_Watching_Tour