Interview with James and Chris of Winter’s Wake
Redemption, power, and rejuvenation
New York’s Winter’s Wake have just returned with a new 4 track EP entitled “Awake” Blending numerous styles together into face pounding folk/Viking metal is their trademark along with a killer live show. Vocalist/bassist James Battle and Guitarist Chris Warner answered some questions for us regarding the new EP, some recent lineup changes, playing live and a few other things… check it out…
Congrats on your epic new EP “Awake”… what have you been hearing as far as feedback regarding it so far?
“So far, we have had nothing but positive feedback. We cannot thank our fans enough for the overwhelming support they have been giving us.”
Art is never finished
It has been 6 years or so since your last official release (2011’s EP “Yellow Moon”) Care to explain the long time in between releases?
“In an age where recording technology has become more and more accessible to people, new music is being released faster and faster. We did the opposite, we wanted the EP to mean something.
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci”
Winter’s Wake as I knew them in 2015 we’re a 6-piece band. It appears you are now a 4 piece. Could you explain how the changes occurred and what the new responsibilities are of the remaining?
“We are now back up to a five piece, unfortunately our bass player left to pursue a career in dentistry and our guitarist decided to pursue his career in the art of “trapping”. James then moved from mandolin back to bass. Although this is subject to change as we add more and more live folk elements to our live sound.”
How has the writing process changed since your original release? Do you collaborate on songs or is there one person who determines the direction the songs go?
“It’s a mix of both, but the overall vibe is determined by what is resonating the most. James Battle and Chris Warner will write a complete track on their own, then collaborate on the rest. That seems to be the pattern.”
Dawn of time
There are 4 tracks on the EP including the title track “Awake” which was originally released last year. How long have the other songs been around that they were included on this release?
“Since the dawn of time, an idea existed. We went to the Winter’s Wake temple and summoned the spirits of our ancestors to guide us through our long and arduous recording process.”
Are there any other songs you have that you considered including?
“We had a few that we are going to sit on until our next release.”
Was there ever talk of doing an entire album rather than an EP?
“Yes. We wanted to get our new music out as soon as possible so we decided to go for a EP rather than a full length.”
Is there any sort of a common thread between the tracks on the EP (concept?) or are the songs just normal independent tracks?
“All the songs in the new album take place in the Winter’s Wake universe which tells the story of fictional narrative of the band members and their origins. The EP explores redemption, power, and rejuvenation. These stories are shrouded in mystery and further insight into this universe can be unlocked through the lyrics and future folkloric text.”
In my recent review I eluded to the fact that now being 4 members has “streamlined” the song writing/style…..does this make sense or are things possibly more difficult with less members?
“We aimed for a more consistent flow with these songs.”
I have seen you tagged as Viking Metal which I find somewhat limiting and maybe not entirely accurate….what sort of genre/description would be an alternative if you had to pick one?
“We don’t let any genre boundaries imprison us within a particular sound. Our influences are vast and eclectic, we often use Viking Metal as an umbrella term for our sound, but that it is not necessarily an accurate description. If we had to pick an alternative genre it would Folk Metal.”
Are there certain band(s) that you feel you sound like or want to be compared to as similar stylistically?
“Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra.”
Seeing you play live has always been a highlight for me as far as your energy and your sound…..how important is the playing live aspect of Winter’s Wake?
“It is essential, playing live is not enjoyable, it fulfills a deep ancestral calling that is deep within all of us.”
Not our plan
Do you have aspirations of a larger tour at some point or are you content to stay somewhat local?
“We look to start booking larger tours in the near future, staying local is not in our plan. The spread of Winter’s Wake will be swift, brutal, and long reaching; leaving the people with only a foggy memory of the glory they witnessed.”
How important is financially being able to “make it” in music for you?
“It would be welcome, but it’s not essential.”
Favorite albums from 2016 and 2017 so far if any?
“Moonsorrow’s “Jumalten Aika” was killer. Katatonia “The Fall of Hearts”.”
“Quick! Get to the gondola!” – Sean Connery