itsnatevendahk aka Sam Frost is a multi instrumental musician who has been working for the past few years in Manchester. Their sound could be considered as off-kilter video game soundtracking with a variety of digital and physical instruments being used and eschewed vocals drift over all of it, both haunting and welcoming.
The project has been building up quite the fan base after playing Fair Play, Do Your Best residencies, The Emerald Planet and M1 Festival. The work Sam has done on this project has earned him recognition from many other musicians and has joined Donna on the project Bunny Hoova and more recently enjoyed the company of 6a6y 6 on the project Fopstar.
On April 23rd Do Your Best (a local experimental record label) will be releasing a lost album under the name 'FILMER 22' which was recorded back in 2019 and cast aside to the realms of the hard drive. The album is a twisting release and provides a window into a world of a textural nostalgia and video game ambience.
Old friend Rhys Davies caught up with the musician on a few different dates over the last year, catching up on his music, his projects and where he got to over the course of the pandemic. Rhys tells us more...
It's the 6th of July 2021, and I'm at The Windmill in Brixton for a socially distanced gig in the early evening. the regular gig time had sold out due to limited tickets, so a last minute matinee was scheduled. Itsnatevendahk, Sonny Bliss, Plastic Gift and Fopstar are on the bill. There are groups of friends in the audience, the atmosphere is relaxed with a busy hum. I talked to Sam Frost AKA Itsnatevendahk.
What's this new thing with you, Donna [Bunny Hoova], Nuria and Robin [Sonny Bliss/6a6y 6] tonight? I kinda joined that band a few weeks ago, they had some ideas which I played some keyboard over the top of, whilst controlling the delay for Nuria’s saxophone. So yeah they were jamming for a couple of weeks before that so it's all kind of come together really fast. What’s the project called?
Fopstar, but tonight it's 66y Hva on the bill [like as in 6a6y hoova] which was a temporary name. and then it became Fopstar.
How does an itsnatevendahk song begin it's life? It starts with an idea. It could be anything like a keyboard part or a drum beat or some bass, which could even sit there for a month or so. And then I'll gradually build on it. Does new gear tend to inspire new stuff? Like using different pieces of equipment? Yeah, I think I bought my sampler a couple of years ago, when I got that I would put ideas on to it and then play around - it would take the song in a completely different direction. So unlike before where I was purely doing stuff on software. A lot of songs have come from using the sampler- using the effects in a live kind of way.
If you had an unlimited budget for a music video, and nothing was off limits, what would you do?
Hmmm, maybe I'd go somewhere ridiculous.. like.. go to space or something, and everyone would think it's not real but it is.
Did you know, Jamiroquai broke the record for worlds highest gig on a flight to germany in 2007. S: That’s pretty good, did anyone go? R: I think it was like select few, gotta have the Guinness World Record official referee of course. What gigs have you got coming up so far? [Edit: the current record for highest concert is held by Kim Wylde and Tony Hadley] S: I haven’t got any coming up [laughs], this was the first I've played in a year and a half, I've not got any more! Where would you want to play?
Everywhere, book me, [laughs] it was good to play in London, would be nice to play again.
What’s new with your painting and art in general that you do? S: I graduated from MMU a year ago, but I’ve not been painting much lately or anything.
R: There was something I saw recently.
S: Oh yeah that was made whilst doing my degree, it was in a show. Cause there’s not been any shows for a while so that was like-[sees a fox] whoah a fox. R: Where was that?.. not the fox, the gallery.
S: That was in Air Gallery in Altrincham, so that was nice - to have my work shown after it not being possible to do that.. for a bit. R: Did you get much of a degree show last year?
S: No, no degree show... I think I've gotta go back on stage. R: Well fuck, I'll ask you one more thing- any releases lined up? S: Yeah I’ve got some ideas.. I've got lots of stuff.. but I'm gonna like form, yeah. And there's lots of excess things from the album that I put out that yeah, lots of remixes and fun stuff I've done so I might put that out or something. R: One more cheeky question- why are you called itsnatevendahk?
S: Cause, there's always.. there'
s always.. some light. Okay I gotta go on the stage.
R: Okay thanks for doing that, that was sound.
We continue the chat months later over the phone, both slightly older as humans and hopefully wiser, but potentially the same people who once conversed outside of The Windmill in Summer.
So you’ve been playing more gigs since we last chatted, with itsnatevendahk and other stuff. How was the M1 festival in NQ?
S: It was really good, I played on the Sunday and I missed the Saturday cause I already went out to The Peer Hat on the Friday, I didn’t wanna be at The Peer Hat all weekend but I heard good things about Saturday. Sunday it felt relaxed but.. crazy bands. Sonny Bliss were upstairs in Studio B and yeah it was great, good energy. Sonny Bliss finished it, also watched Beau Mec earlier on and Algernon Cornelius.. all of those sets I really enjoyed.
Any other gigs recently?
S: I did one at Fuel recently with Tigers and Flies, it was fun.. it was weird it was like a student night. And it was like a.. freshers.. [unintelligible] ..so there was lots of younger students.
R: It went down well?
S: Yeah it was good.. the room was full.
R: Have Fopstar played any more recently? I enjoyed the set at The Windmill
S: Oh, we were gonna play a show and then Donna became ill, so we decided not to play, so we’ve not actually played since that show in London, but..
R: [Interrupting] Ah right, but you’ve been playing in bunny hoova?
S: Yeah I’ve been playing bass in bunny hoova
R: Cool so I guess that came about from when you were jamming with-
S: [Politely finishing my sentence] Yeah Fopstar and then Donna was just looking.. for someone to play bass.. and.. I was down, so.. it’s been nice, played loads of shows in September.
R: Any highlights?
S: We played at the Psych fest that was pretty fun and strange because it was a pretty big scale.. event, we were on stage in the Ritz but..
R: [Interrupting] The Ritz?!
S: Yeah.. [laughs] R: That’s mad. S: ...in the basement and we were walking and running around and stuff, but I kind of enjoyed the running round, drinking.. I wasn’t that into many of the bands that I saw but.. felt kinda weird and corporate.. oh we played The White Hotel’s five year birthday thing, and other support shows that month, but not as many friends at those ones, The White Hotel show was great.. good fun.
R: So we talked about music videos a bit last time I wanted to ask how the music video with the rabbit guy came about.
S: Rabbit guy? R: Yeah it's two songs I think and there’s a sample from a kids show or something. [Must Find Out Who He Is // BESTFRIENDS].
S: Yeah that was a show called Totally Spies. These three high school girls.. who were spies, it was on TV when I was a kid. I ended up re-watching the first episode and was really into the sounds. There were some good sound effects going on, so I sampled their voices into the song- it’s not really a song- I dunno what it is but my friend Dylan (Serventi) made the video. I had an idea to give him the audio, but not tell him where any of the samples came from, and a rough outline of what I wanted to see, he went off and made this 3D animation of what he thought was going on. It was fun to remake the visual for some audio that already belonged somewhere else. That was kind of the idea.
R: I feel like if you watched it out of context, it could be like a batshit meme video.
S: That was a fun one, I’d like to do more stuff like that.
R: Where did you get all the pictures that are at the end of the video to Even In The Ice?
S: Ah yeah um, I was finding lots of images off.. peoples old Flickr accounts.. I’d go on Flickr and set the date parameter to 2002-2011 and type in random key words, I’d do deep searches and save all of images that were intriguing to me.. and then turned them into a slide show at the end of the video. It’s kind of west cause the first half is just a normal music video, and then you have to look through all of those images to get to the end - could be off putting to watch.
R: The messing with the ice in the dark with the flashlight, that to me suits the images at the end. It’s quite unsettling and confusing in a way.
S: There’s a feeling behind it definitely.
R: I love the Nights Ago video as well, how much of that was made up on the spot? I guess it was somewhat planned cause you had the police hat.
S: Well I was at.. basically I don’t plan too much with the music videos if I’m filming them because I find it hard to do that.. but I think that day I was in.. did you ever go to Ren’s flat near fuel?
R: No is it down that thin alleyway where Chan lived..
S: Yeah Chan and Ren lived there, I think one night I was over at their place and.. I was like ok come and help me with this video, so Ren grabbed the police hat, and we walked around behind the back alleys of Withington and came up with kind of a narrative on the spot.. about.. what happens does Chan get arrested? Yeah I get shot.
R: Yeah yeah and Ren is like the most "unauthoritative" police officer ever you know what I mean? They’re sort of reluctant to arrest and trying not to smile.
S: Mmhmm yeah was pretty much all made up then and there. I remember when I was editing the video I was really struggling to fill it out with the amount of clips we got, I think we only filmed for about an hour, and then I was like “alright this is enough”. I often make the videos by myself, and a few friends, I don’t even ask anyone who directs videos, I don’t know why maybe i’m too controlling (laughs), I don’t even have any ideas in the first place so um.. but yeah.
R: Is there any videos you’re thinking of now?
S: Well I made a video in the summer for a new song that I played at that London show. I wanted to put it out but I think I’ll wait a bit. I’m gonna release some songs with 6a6y 6 at some point, so I’d like the video to be a part of that. I tried to make the vid really drag out, and boring (laughs). Everything’s in super slow motion so it just really drags, but that’s the feeling I wanted.
R: So you have new music coming out soon on the label Do Your Best.. what kind of release will that thing be?
S: So I basically re-discovered lots of old music on my computer, all recorded just before “Wedontdothatanymore” was made. At the time I was thinking “I wanna keep writing and see what else I get before I release any of this”. Then I ended up coming up with what became “Wedontdothatanymore”, and I was more excited about that than these other songs, so they were pushed to the side. But yeah I’ve gathered these lost tracks.. they’re kind of sketchy, fun, short tracks, mostly instrumental, they feel like a complete set, and a moment in time for me.
'Filmer 22' is out via Do Your Best on April 23rd, a collection of old tracks repurposed for today's climate and after the variety of gigs Sam has played so far this year it does feel like the perfect time for it.