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The Winter Gypsy Interview by Maddie Birkett

The Winter Gypsy are made up of six members who have had experience in bands and the music industry, making them an exciting fit who create music that will de-stress and calm your soul! Luckily for us, they’ve just released their first EP ‘Page I’ and they won’t be stopping there! The band has received a lot of positive feedback from their newest video ‘Took Me By’ and with good reason! This is a band for anyone, their indie sound is bound to please even the toughest of critics.

First off, where did the name ‘The Winter Gypsy’ come from?

I came up with the name. I usually played backyard shows with Dave, (Pianist) when we both started to collaborate. Friends used to call us gypsies because of our style and the way we would just set up anywhere, shoeless, and play a set filled with random sounds involving, guitar, piano, melodica and xylophone,  topped off with some vocal harmonies. Winter happens to be my favorite season of the year. during Winter, 2014, I had come up with the name, and it stuck with me.  

For those who have not yet heard of ‘The Winter Gypsy’, how would you describe yourselves?

We’re mostly an Indie Folk/Alternative band.  Sounds that could describe us would probably be, ambient, eerie, driving, soothing. Our main influences are, The Middle East, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, The Paper Kites, Bombay Bicycle Club. There are more to name, but these are just a handful of artists that influence us. 

When I listened to ‘Took Me By’ I just instantly felt calm and relaxed, what is the story behind the song?

Back in 2008, Tush’s mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she continued to battle this until 2011 when she finally overcame it. Following this Tush moved schools and really started to focus more on music.

The single “Took Me By” relates to the thoughts that were going through his head during this time in his life – “…Paradise we live in is coming to an end”. However the song itself is also about the uncertainty and fragility of situations that are out of your control.

  Despite the minimal lyrics, the message resonates through the song. It was written in 2012, and had previously been recorded three times, but due  to the personal nature of the song Tush wasn’t willing to release it until he was content with the sound; a feat that has now been accomplished.

The music video for that song is really original. I like how slowly the camera moves forward, rather than everything flashing by so quickly that you miss things, so how did you come up with the concept for the video?

When I sat down and spoke to the film maker, Gerard Wood; he told me about an amazing spot that he’d always thought of filming. It turned out that the spot was an abandoned railway line located in Mount Barker, South Australia that had ceased activity in 1984. The location was picture perfect and ideas for the video started to flow.

The idea of having me tied to a couch and letting others run past me at the end of the clip is the first idea I thought of, and for me it’s the most meaningful image relating to the song.  It’s written about a period of time when my mum was battling cancer, where I felt helpless because there was nothing I could do to make her better. It was out of my hands and I felt as though no one could help her. So I wanted to portray that thought by having a visual of someone restrained and ‘crying out for help’ but having everyone run past me through the tunnel because there’s nothing they can do to help me. I’m more or less ‘too far gone’.

The other ideas leading up to the end scene were just quirky little thoughts that I wanted placed in the shot to add that cluster of drawing the attention away from me being tied to the couch until the end scene.

Nothing too crazy or funny happened. Everything went so smoothly that the video ended up being a one take. The friends and family involved in the video did an amazing job; and they were all so happy to be involved, it just made our lives that much easier. Definitely a great experience.
 I noticed that a lot of your viewers recognised the music video from the tv show ‘Rage’, what was that like? It’s not everyday that you get to be on tv!

The feeling is amazing. It’s a little surreal seeing ourselves on Rage, having grown up watching it after Cheese TV on a Saturday morning. Those were the days! But yes, being on Rage has been unreal and we feel very grateful for the opportunity. 

The band had only begun in 2015, and you’ve all already achieved so much! How did bringing the four previous bands together help with forming ‘The Winter Gypsy’?

Max and I had realised after our first release that we needed to get a band together to play decent shows. I had already been in a band with Dave and Isaac, and Max knew Jonny through the music community. We all fell right into place from our first jam together. Sean came into the picture in early 2016 with his amazing trumpet abilities, and now we’re just six dudes making a whole lot of noise!

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 So you’ll be releasing your EP ‘Page I’ in August, does ‘Took Me By’ set the vibe for the rest of the songs?

Took Me By is definitely a midpoint for the EP in terms of tempo and instrumentation. The driving electric guitar and punchier drums that set the more energetic tracks apart are in there, but it still falls back on the softer vocals and finger-picked acoustic guitar that define the slower tracks. I reckon it’s a good example of the energy that’s on the EP – the more energetic tracks haven’t been released yet so people mightn’t be expecting them and Took Me By should help prepare for something a bit darker and a bit more driven.

 Where did the EP title come from?

Titles are very hard to come up with (for me personally anyway), and I wanted something simple that I could reuse in future EPs or albums. You can already glean from our first EP that our second installment will be, ‘Page II’. It’s also easier for people to follow our music. From the beginning, knowing what our first piece of work was, and to venture into our music, being in sync with our progression. There’s an exciting future ahead for ‘The Winter Gypsy’, and I can’t wait to experience it all with the guys.

 What was the process like in making the EP from start to finish?

Thankfully, It was such an easy process for us. We all liked what we were doing in each track, and laid it all down in the recordings. Turned out so much better than I had already anticipated. A big thanks to our producer, Hugh Atkinson for his sublime work. Having his creativity with recording really made it that much easier to work through our tracks.

Following the release in August, you’ll be doing an EP launch tour, what can fans expect from the shows, and why should our readers come and check out a show?

 We tend to have a lot of instrumental add-ons that don’t exist in the recorded material. There is a much greater build-up to either the intro or outro of our songs which really creates a fuller sound. We feel as a band that not only do we enjoy jamming these instrumentals, but it really pulls our audience together and draws them in for each song that we play. We tend to just jam out prior to our first song – before we’ve even introduced ourselves. We love performing live and fans can definitely expect a lot more energy compared to what they might usually hear on our EP or other recordings.

Also; Just a really, really good view of Dave’s pasty thighs. People should come out to see that.

Thanks for your time.

Maddie

The band’s debut EP ‘Page I’ is out now, be sure to buy a copy here!
With the highly anticipated release, it was necessary to celebrate with an EP launch so check out the tour dates here and get down to a show!

Artwork by Kieren Black

THE WINTER GYPSY EAST COAST TOUR

SUN 28 AUG | BAR OPEN, FITZROY MELBOURNE | 18+ | Tickets available at the door

SUN 4 SEP | THE JADE, ADELAIDE | AA | Tickets available at the door

THUR 8 SEP | PLAYBAR, SURRY HILLS SYD | 18+ | Tickets available at the door

SAT 10 SEP | SMITH’S ALTERNATIVE, CANBERRA ACT | AA | Tickets available at the door

SAT 17 SEP | THE EXETER, ADELAIDE | AA | 18+ | Tickets available at the door

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