An Interview With The Alt-Rock Band, WINTERSLEEP on Their Forthcoming Album “The Great Detachment”, Joining Dine Alone Records and More!
Posted On 25 Mar 2016
Tag: All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Belle & Sebastian, Broken Social Scene, Dave Fridmann, Dine Alone Records, Eddie Vedder, Eleanor Rigby, Flying Lotus, Halifax, Hello Hum, Hibernation, JUNO, Keep on Rocking in the Free World, Lambchop, Late Night With David Letterman, Maccabees, Mogwai, Pearl Jam, Quicksand, R.E.M., Radiohead, Saint John, Sir. Paul McCartney, talk talk, The Frightened Rabbit, The Great Detachment, The Hold Steady, Tom Petty, Tony Doogan, Welcome To The Night Sky, Winterschlaf, Wintersleep
Alt-rock band Wintersleep has signed a worldwide deal with Dine Alone Records to release their upcoming new album, The Great Detachment in 2016. Two years in the making, the album marks a return to the organic approach of the band’s earlier works that simultaneously sees them reaching new pinnacles of songwriting and production.
Following the release of their critically-acclaimed album Hello Hum in 2012 and a heavy touring cycle, the band took a well-deserved break that didn’t last too long. The band quickly got back to work and carefully crafted the new album at their own pace, allowing them to rediscover their sound. After writing a wealth of material in their Montreal studio, the band carefully curated the 11 songs comprising The Great Detachment and returned to Halifax’s Sonic Temple – the birthplace of their critically-acclaimed Welcome To The Night Sky with producer Tony Doogan (Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai). Revisiting the approach of their earliest works, the band recorded the majority of The Great Detachment live-off-the-floor, adding an organic and transparent aural aesthetic to the collection.
The Great Detachment is very much an introspective work, both conceptually and thematically. Of course, it delivers a welcome dose of the atmospheric, entrancing alt-rock for which the band has become known – the beautifully orchestrated arrangements anchored by haunting, almost hypnotic vocal melodies. The energy and urgency inherent in these songs makes them well-suited to the stage, adding more ammo to a captivating live show that’s already earned these JUNO winners tours of several continents; stages shared with Pearl Jam, Broken Social Scene, and The Hold Steady; a performance on Late Night with David Letterman, and an opening slot for Sir Paul McCartney.
Learn more about Wintersleep in the following All Access interview:
Thanks so much for your time! Congrats on recently signing a record deal with Dine Alone Records! What does that feel like? Why do you think they are the right label for you and your music today?
We’ve always got a really good vibe from the label in terms of their releases. Also, the label is named after a Quicksand song! We had a few offers from different labels, but when we met with Joel and the people at Dine Alone it just felt like it was a big family that really cared and we sensed they were gonna work really hard for us because they want the best for the songs. I think they understand our general vibe/the kind of music we make, and how to work with what we do to make it successful. They’ve been amazing to work with.
What can fans expect from your upcoming album, “The Great Detachment”? How was the process of putting it together different or similar to your previous collections?
The process was a combination of different record processes for me- we learned a lot from working with Dave Fridmann on “Hello Hum” which I think we took into this album, but I think it’s maybe more akin to the first few records we made production-wise, in terms of being a more live off the floor dynamic. We wanted to incorporate our live aesthetic as much as possible into the recording process and the mixing process. We recorded live to tape, I think for the first time, which was fun because the way it sounds but also because the length of the tape limited the amount of takes we could do for a song to 3. I think we knocked out some pretty urgent feeling takes as a result.
Looking back, how did you all become Wintersleep? Where does the band name come from? What other names were you considering?
Wintersleep was the only name we had and it was originally more meant as an album title, but just became the band name. Maybe Hibernation was a possibility? My wife is German and I had this song called “Hibernation,” and she asked me what it meant. When I told her she said it was called “Winterschlaf” in German, which translates literally to Wintersleep. Seemed to fit the collection of songs we were working on at the time.
Generally, where do you all get the inspiration for your music and your distinct atmospheric sound?
I think it comes from a lot of different sources- books, life, other music, friends and family… I think the atmosphere is just coming from how we all interpret space within a given song.
Wintersleep has shared the stage with many huge bands like Pearl Jam, Broken Social Scene, The Hold Steady and others. Which ones have really stood out to you all? What’s been a favorite group to perform with or tour with?
All those mentioned were pretty fun times. The Frightened Rabbit tour we did around “Hello Hum” was my favorite tour- a really inspiring group live and just great people. Hold Steady was up there too. Immense guitar tones, one of the best bass players ever, awesome drumming and beautiful narratives. Pearl Jam I think might be the best band I’ve ever seen live. That was special just because it was announced that we were playing like 24 hours before we were to hit the stage, and the travel from Halifax to Saint John’s is like a 12 hour travel day. But yeah, 24 hours later and Eddie Vedder is leapfrogging over my back to the soundtrack of “Keep on Rocking in the Free World.” I got to sing a verse!
What was it like opening for Sir Paul McCartney?
Surreal. That was another one that was announced really close to the day we played, so we actually had a show booked in Ireland less than 24 hours after. We couldn’t stay for his set unfortunately as result. I remember drinking way too much whiskey on a shuttle bus to the airport thinking- “I just met the guy who wrote Eleanor Rigby! Ahh!”
What bands have continued to inspire you all through the years? Is there anyone in particular that you would love to work with or tour with even?
Frightened Rabbit and Maccabees!! Big fans of their music and great bands to tour with. Radiohead would be a dream. Flying Lotus, not sure if that’s a great fit musically but he’s a favorite. Mogwai! Lambchop.. Tom Petty? The list goes on. Talk Talk reunion? R.E.M. reunion?
Can you talk about the band dynamics? Why do you all work so well together?
Similar water sources? Growing up by the ocean? Similar musical tastes? I don’t know. It was just something that clicked right away.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope fans take away from your songs?
I think we explore a wide range of topics and emotions. I just hope people have happy lives. If someone turns our music on while driving to the beach on a sunny day that’s a win. If someone turns to it in darker times and it provides some comfort that would make me feel happy.