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Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit Paul Murphy, am: 21.10.2009 ]

Indie-Rock wurde schon so oft totgesagt, dass sich die vermeintlichen Auferstehungen kaum noch zählen lassen. Vielleicht war er aber auch noch nie wirklich weg. Diesen Eindruck verstärken die kanadischen Wintersleep, die sich über konstant fantastische und konstant weitgehend unbemerkte Alben einen hervorragenden Ruf nicht nur in ihrem Heimatland erspielen konnten. Das aktuelle Werk namens „Welcome to the Night Sky“ unterstreicht diese Entwicklung und wurde auch hierzulande von 147 Records lizenziert. Schwelgerisch melancholische Harmonie verschränkt sich mit intelligentem Songwriting und nachdenklichen Texten zu einer fast zeitlosen Melange, die wieder einmal deutlich macht, dass Gitarrenmusik ohne Elektronik auch heute noch gut funktionieren kann. Wir sprachen mit Sänger und Gitarrist Paul Murphy über kanadische Kulturförderung, Kaffee und Paul McCartney.


Musicscan: I was wondering why “Welcome to the Night Sky” came out comparatively late in Europe as opposed to North America?

Wintersleep: I guess 147 heard the record when we released it in Canada.. Or shortly before but for marketing purposes and all the stuff they needed to do, that labels in general need to do to set up a record, had to be in order. So it took a few months for them to get the press, manufacturing, radio things happening. It was one of the first records on the label and they put a lot of time and effort into what they do. It takes time to do things right I guess.

Musicscan: It seems like you had a lot more time and particularly studio time at your hands for this album compared to your previous releases? Do you think you have transformed as a band because of the touring in the past? What makes this record special to you?

Wintersleep: Yes, we had a lot more touring experience going into this record which enabled us to record better performances, which helps with the feel for sure on this record. I think touring definitely picked up our socks if that is even an expression. You know what I mean. I guess getting to work with Tony was really special. He is a great producer and generally a great guy. Also, I think we pretty much nailed what we wanted for this record. A lot of time the essence of what you’re about gets lost through over-producing it or thinking too hard about it makes everything self conscious, when in fact it shouldn’t be. This record felt a lot easier to do. With Tony there and all the touring, I guess it makes sense that it was. It is still a bit self conscious at points but more of a relaxed atmosphere and I think that helped a lot making the record feel the way it does.

Musicscan: Did you have certain musical or aesthetic goals for the band when you first started out?

Wintersleep: I think we all really wanted to put out something that meant something, stuff that affected us on a more personal level as well as being fun. I don’t know if we have ever or will ever know what it all means or anything, but just something that felt natural or succinct or honest to us at the time. I feel like that is something that has really stuck with us.

Musicscan: How would you describe your experience of touring in Germany? What are some of the stereotypes with which Germans are portrayed in Canada and did you find some of them actually being true? Do you feel that popular music is valued differently in Europe as opposed to North America?

Wintersleep: I don’t know about German stereotypes, maybe Lederhosen or Brüno? I guess he is Austrian. Oktoberfest? Christmas markets? We all really like beer and salami and bread and cheese and coffee. I know that you do that well. My fiancé is from Magdeburg so any inkling about anything weird German stereotype wise went out the window when I met her.

Musicscan: What do you think about the Canadian regulations that state that a certain amount of airplay or TV spots has be to from Canadian artists? Do you think this has had a positive effect on the music scene in Canada?

Wintersleep: Yes. I think that it is pretty good for working musicians in Canada to get the airplay. Normally I would say best music wins but radio stations generally play pretty shit music so yeah, I’d rather see Canadian musicians getting the opportunity over hearing the newest worldwide hit song 7 more times in the course of the day. I don’t actually listen to radio very much lately. I like Beyonce. CBC is great, too.

Musicscan: I believe Canadian artists frequently receive government grants for the production of an album, for instance. What is the average granted amount for recording and manufacturing an album and is tour support also provided?

Wintersleep: There is funding for all of that stuff, but to be eligible you have to have been a working band for a while and must have sold a certain amount of records. The recording grants you technically have to pay back with record sales.

Musicscan: What does an average day of yours look like when you are not on tour?

Wintersleep: Coffee. Guitar. And looking for an apartment as we speak.

Musicscan: You recently had the honour of opening for Sir Paul McCartney. I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about how that came together. How was the show and did you actually meet the guy?

Wintersleep: The show came together last minute, very last minute actually. We were recommended by a good friend of ours to Paul’s management along with a few other possibilities. All is history from there. He came out and said thanks to everyone during our sound check time, which cut down our already very short sound check by 5 minute. We let it slide, though. He was very nice and played a great set.

Musicscan: What makes for the perfect song in your opinion? Have you ever achieved something like a perfect song in your opinion? How would you define a perfect song?

Wintersleep: “Ain’t Got No” by Nina Simone is a perfect song. I guess songs start out kind of perfect, when they come to you they have an effect of what a song should feel like. I think there has to be something kind of “other-y” about it, something new, stumbled upon. I definitely like the discovery process.

Musicscan: What is the difference between art and entertainment in your opinion?

Wintersleep: Art is entertaining and entertainment can be quite an art. I don’t know what you mean or I think I can guess but the question is kind of loaded. I think you might mean the difference between creating a piece of art like a song or a batch of songs and then presenting that in a live atmosphere, the difference from being a guy writing a song in his bedroom or a group of people writing a song together to a live performer. You have to turn into this group of people displaying your art to a crowd of people, which takes you into the realm of “entertainers” as opposed to just song writers. It is a bit like having split personalities. They are two very different things but one and the same at the same time. At first, it was a bit much for me. It still is sometimes depending on the show, but it takes a lot of work. I think we’re getting better at both things. But it is all art, I think.

Musicscan: What are your current three favourite records, movies and books respectively?

Wintersleep: Books: “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver; “White Noise” by Don Delillo; “Of Love and Other Demons” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Music: Contrived “Blank Blank Blank”; White Birch “Coming up for Air”; Bill Callahan “A River ain’t too much to love”
Films: Darjeeling Limited; Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind; Groundhog Day and I just watched Star Trek on the plane, too.

Musicscan: What can we expect from Wintersleep in the near future?

Wintersleep: Hopefully a rad new record.

  Wintersleep @ myspace