DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Winter Isle | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to Doorstep Interview, the feature where we find out more about the bands we’ve got right here in the region. This time it’s the turn of instrumentalists Winter Isle to be quizzed. 

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from? 

We’re a four-piece instrumental band from the North of England; we’re a bit spread out because of jobs and such.

What inspired you to first start making music? 

I think for Winter Isle, it began as a recording project that became a band over time. We all enjoy this type of music so the inspiration is the joy of writing this type of emotive instrumental music.

Who would you say are your biggest influences? 

Without trying to sound clichéd, I would say Radiohead, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Cult of Luna and Red Sparrows being some of them, but we all have our own inspirations as well, ranging from grunge to folk and doom to electronic artists. Music where the sum of the collective is more important than any individual parts. So no soloing basically.

How would you describe your sound? 

It would be soundtracks to vignettes, a series of compositions that are interconnected and build into a journey. The music consists of the building of layers of instrumentation rather than a verse chorus versus set up. We apply layers of violin, double bass, samples and synth as well as the more regular elements of guitar and drums. Serious music played by people that don’t take themselves seriously.

“Serious music played by people that don’t take themselves seriously”

Where do you see yourselves fitting into the local music scene? 

I think we are one of those bands that don’t naturally slot in to one particular genre but would be appreciated by most. We’ve played outside of the North East more than in it. We have had more radio and media attention outside of the UK. It’s a difficult question to answer.

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by Winter Isle? 

Our vision is to put on an aural performance that captures the feeling of what is Winter Isle. It’s a work in progress, constantly evolving, always trying to improve visually and sonically. We’re currently refining our visual elements with video and lighting and praying for no tech malfunctions.

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?

We’ve had a Newcastle show on the 11th April with Apache Viking, People/Talk and Rice Milk at Little Buildings and then there’s another one on Sunday 19th April with Vasa and Nathalie Stern at the Northumberland Arms.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a band/artist? 

Managing to produce and engineer the first record Eilean ourselves with a rather makeshift studio. That all artwork and packaging was designed and manufactured by us. Eilean was released on cassette with laser cut and engraved artwork. Special editions came in plywood boxes. Also, being played on radio in France and having coverage in Taiwan really made us smile.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career? 

I think due to the distance issues, those were always problems with writing. However, with the Internet and learning to use programs like Logic proficiently it’s making the issue of distance less of an issue.

What else have you got planned for the future? 

We intend to play more shows and complete writing our next record for early 2016. We also intend to release some remixes done by some local artist from our first record.

Winter Isle play with Vasa and Nathalie Stern at the Northumberland Arms, Newcastle on Sunday 19th April.

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