Sessions: The Winter Sounds (Nashville)

Written by Aidan Rush Posted in: Sessions on January 24, 2012

“You gotta start crazy and then it’s easy.”

One would expect that quote to come from the mouth of a deranged person, and probably expect it to refer to an activity that isn’t the least bit appealing, i.e. Ozzie Osborne explaining how to get into the bat-biting business. But for our purposes, that quote comes from the mouth of Joe Reilly, drummer for Nashville-based band The Winter Sounds. And that activity he’s saying you have to be crazy to start? Trying to succeed as a self-sufficient, independent band.

Having undergone a series of “home base” and personnel changes – only one member remains from the original lineup -- to say that The Winter Sounds, now a quintet, has not historically known stability would be an understatement. Yet when asked about regularly playing more than 200 dates in a given year all over the country, founding father Patrick Keenan responds, “I just like it. I don’t want to do anything else. I don’t want a house or the bills or anything associated with it.” Considering your band as family and using adjectives like ‘solace’ to define your time together on the road doesn’t hurt either. So where has this happy, nomadic lifestyle led them to date?

At first, they tore through 2 labels over the course of 2 LPs. But instead of catering their sound to the wants of a label in the hopes of securing a prolonged contract, the band has instead embraced the independent mindset, temporarily mastering the less glamorous business side of their venture. The silver lining here is that should they attract another deal in the future, it will be because of the music they created with no hesitation, meaning that leverage will work in their favor.  Then again, the verdict is still out as to whether you even need a deal in 2012. The band says it would help for financing their creativity at times, but nothing else.

Recently, The Winter Sounds’ long journey has led them into the arms of Scott Solter, producer for Spoon, St. Vincent, Okkervil River, and now for The Winter Sounds on their upcoming release, Runner. Even though the project has yet to be completed, Keenan already claims it sounds better than anything he’s ever done musically. This could stem from the fact that Solter taught them to appreciate the malleability of recording  -- Keenan says this time in the studio was more about getting in all their ideas before the clock ran out rather than incessantly nitpicking back and forth.

While Runner is being finished, the band is planning to launch the best Kickstarter campaign you’ve ever been a part of. Knowing full well that the #1 reason most Kickstarter campaigns fail is due to lame prize offerings, the band is scheming a campaign not only studded with intangible prizes, but one that also contains an over-arching theme. We won’t give it away just yet, but know the fundraising drive will culminate with yearbooks and prom dates.

Start your TWS experience by watching them play “Carousel” and “Devils” for IAtv above… a certain IA celebrity may make an appearance!

-- “Devils” | “Carousel”
Recorded: January 17th, 2012 at Strewnshank Studio in Charlestown, MA
Recording engineered by: Joe Mahoney
Recording mixed by: Joe Mahoney
Video directed by: Chris Thomas & Joe Mahoney
Video edited by: Joe Mahoney

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