Introducing Winter 1982

I was first introduced to the music of Winter 1982 from a friend of mine, Nessi Holt, (who is a fellow supporter of music, check out her site at CarpeCarmina.blogspot.de). I’m not sure why, but at the time the music by them wasn’t really for me. However, I gave it another listen and as you can guess I appreciated what I was hearing. I should have knew Nessi would recommend nothing but great music! I liked their sound so much that I had to feature them on my site, so say hello to the music of Winter 1982.

Winter 1982 are a Birmingham based duo that consists of Phil Barber (vocals/guitar) and Luke Phillips (keys/bass) which was formed in late 2013. The following year was busy for them as they fine tuned their sound and released their first song. This momentum and confidence in their sound saw the release of their debut EP ‘Ghosts’ in July of this year. I will talk more about that later in the review.

As a new fan of their music, I wanted to learn a little more about the band. I got in touch with the guys via twitter and Phil from the band was more than happy to answer any questions that I had. Here are his answers to my questions.

Who or what inspired you to become a musician and which musicians have influenced your sound?

It’s difficult to say who has influenced the sound, I tend to love some of the best of everything music wise which makes it difficult to make a coherent sound because I can be tempted to bounce around genres a lot. If I think about what my parents like and what I  was exposed to musically at home – my dad loves Pink Floyd and my mum loves Motown and soul voices so I suppose if you mix some of that up there might be some Winter 1982 in there.

When you write new music what is the important part to your process?

Well, all the songs begin on acoustic guitar and if they don’t hold their own in terms of a vocal melody and chord progression then they just don’t get built up any further. So I think that the most important part of the process is having, at the core of every song,  ‘a song’ rather than just a catchy riff or idea. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not what the Winter 1982 project is about.

Talking about writing music, which is your favorite song from your debut EP and why?

It’s very difficult to have favourites, simply because by the time you have written and recorded a song you have heard it and performed it so many times you loose all sense of what’s good or bad. For a while after completing the EP I couldn’t listen to any of the songs, but given a bit of time away from them I can be proud of them again. I  think Friend is the most complete song we have there and was a real break through in terms of scaling up the sound so I  would have to say that one.

If you were headlining a world tour, which bands would you choose as YOUR support?

Ha, what a question, that seems so unattainable but I can dream I suppose. I’m going to go firstly with our good friends CINEMA. They are from Birmingham too and are a great band. I’ve been making a music video for them actually, aswell as a couple of photo-shoots and stuff and supported them not so long ago at a gig. It’d be a great laugh I think and they have a great live sound. I  watched them recently support Sundara Karma and they made a real impact. Hmm, another support act? There are so many bands and artists I really love – City and Colour, Ray Lamontagne – but you can’t ask them to support can you? I’d probably make it open to application – I’d take a completely unsigned band on a world tour because there are so, so many great artists out there that just never get heard. So I’d take a listen and select a complete unknown to come on the tour and help them find an audience.

What are you future plans and goals for your music?

Right now we are kind of multi-tasking between preparing a new single for recording and refining the live sound to play a number of gigs in the new year. It’s so hard to be heard and I’m so appreciative of people like yourself that take the time to listen to the music and share it. We have had some plays on BBC introducing and Amazing Radio too and we really need to play more and share the music more. As a naturally reclusive band that can be quite difficult haha. So goals wise it is just to find more of an audience, to play to more people and keep working towards making the music we want to make.

Winter 1982’s debut release ‘Ghost’ is a wonderful collection of songs that have a delicate emotion with an impressive depth to it. From the start, the title track showcases exactly what Winter 1982 are all about with atmospheric sounds to set a captivating tone. This is a formula which sets the foundations of this alternative folk EP which at times is beautifully haunting. Like Phil said during the interview, the core of their songs is written around an acoustic melody and this is what always seems to grab my attention. This melody feels simplistic but offers so much more and alongside other musical instruments are arranged to perfection to set the tone and atmosphere to accompany each song. I like that this EP is not over produced with unnecessary tricks which lets you focus on what is important, the music! For me, this EP is all about creating music in its natural form.

Another element to their music which stands out for me is the vocals and the way they are used to share emotions to reflect the tone of the lyrics. Phil has an impressive emotional filled vocal presence that I can only describe as Glen Hansard meets Ray Lamontegne. Yes, I said this and as huge fans of these musicians this is a huge compliment to his vocal style. Phil has something special about the way he sings as he pulls you in to feel the emotions within the songs. Check out the song ‘Sometimes’ which is a great example of this and is a personal highlight from the EP.

My favourite song ‘Friend’ for me has everything that makes Winter 1982 standout from the crowd. It not only shows off their musical and vocal presence, but also their lyrical talents. Their way with words like all other elements of their songwriting abilities has an amazing depth to it.

Overall, ‘Ghosts’ is a stunning debut from a band that have only been together for a short period of time. If this is what they can accomplish during this short time then their future is definitely looking good. You really need to check out this EP as it offers so much and is one of my personal highlights of the year! Head over to their Bandcamp page (click HERE) to listen to the EP in full and if you like what you hear then you can purchase a copy while you are there. Music this good deserves you time!

I am glad that Winter 1982 are continuing with the momentum they have built with their music by releasing their new song ‘Worry’. I love the use of the piano on this song and as always the vocals are stunning. The music seems to have an improved production value as I can hear more layers within this song. I like it as it adds something more and shows how much the band is growing. You can grab a copy of this song from their Bandcamp page (click HERE)

I still don’t understand what it was about their music that I did not get on my first listen but I am so glad that I gave them another try. I can’t wait to hear more from the guys and as I am following them on the social media sites (Facebook and Twitter) I will be able to keep up to date with their world of music. When they release a new EP or album you can expect to read all about it here when it is ready. Until then, I will be showing my support to the music by Winter 1982 by spreading the word whenever and wherever I can. This is important to independent bands like this. So go and support the music that matters to you today and hopefully this will now include the music of Winter 1982.