Amelia’s Magazine | Music: Interview with Alex Winston

Alex Winston by Gemma smith
Illustration by Gemma Smith

Alex Winston‘s music is the sort that you drive around listening to in the summer. Aha! And look outside, viagra page it looks as if spring has popped along to say hello, treatment with a candy pink blossom hat. So today is the perfect day to start listening to Alex, if you haven’t already. The American plays drums, piano and guitar, and comfortably bestows on us a voice that can just as easily sing 60s styled poppy, girlie tracks, as well as slow ballads. It’s high and utterly, unashamedly, feminine and pretty. Predominantly she is fun, flirty pop. Like the modern day soundtrack to Grease, with glorious helpings of Grease spirit and bubbly style. However her music can’t be defined as simply as that, there are sounds of Arcade Fire, Lykke Li, PJ Harvey and Feist in there… diverse indeed. But oh how it works. Her EP is out now on PIAS records.

Could you introduce yourself please?
Sure. I’m Alex Winston
Where are you from and where do you currently reside?
I’m from Detroit, but recently moved to the lower east side of Manhattan.
What sort of music do you create?
The fun kind.
Do you write it yourself?
Yes, I write everything myself.

alex w

What music/artists/eras influence your music?
I’m a big fan of Motown…The Supremes, Martha Reeves, Smokey Robinson, Little Stevie. Being from Detroit, its hard not to have a huge appreciation for it. I’m also a fan of early Rock and Roll stuff like Chuck Berry, Elvis and Little Richard.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Things I read, things I watch, relationships, other artists, good people, shitty people.
What’s your music background?
I started playing guitar and taking opera lessons when I was 10. I played in different bands all throughout high school and have been writing songs since I was around 14. My dad is a musician and pretty much taught me everything I know.

AlexWinston by Gemma Smith
Illustration by Gemma Smith

What instruments do you play?
Guitar, Piano and Ukulele…I toy around with a million others, but those are my main instruments.
What can we find on your EP?
Six songs I’ve written over the last year or so. Some from when I was living in my dads basement back in Detroit, and some newer ones from here in New York. Its been a really transitional time for me, and I think you can hear that in the mini album.
Do you feel free to create the music you wish, or is there pressure to be ‘mainstream’?
There has never been any pressure to be anything other than what I am. Luckly when you write your own music, its easier to control the direction you go in. I also work with a great group of people who are interested in what I produce, not what they could morph me into.

alex winston

And tours, what are the like for you?
I love touring and I love traveling. Right after high school I opted out of college for the opportunity to tour the US and I absolutely fell in love with the lifestyle. Now, I’m ready to expand and play all over the world. There is so much that I’d like to see.
How do you relax?
I sit in bed with thai food and watch music documentaries. I’m just about to watch the Lemmy one right now!
Do you enjoy being in England?
Yeah I love it. Its really becoming a second home. I feel like I’ve spent more time in the UK than in NYC in the last few months, and I can’t say that I mind it!
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Hopefully doing the same exact thing that I’m doing now. I’m not trying to be a super star…just want to be able to perform and write on a steady basis for as long as possible.
When can the UK see you? Festivals planned at all?
I know I’ll be touring over there in May and hopefully doing some festivals as well. I’ll be there whenever you guys will have me!

Tour Listings can be found here.

Categories ,Alex Winston, ,America, ,Arcade Fire, ,Choice Notes, ,Chuck Berry, ,detroit, ,Elvis, ,ep, ,Feist, ,Gemma Smith, ,Helen Martin, ,Little Richard, ,Little Stevie, ,london, ,Lykke Li, ,Martha Reeves, ,music, ,new york, ,Pias Records, ,PJ Harvey, ,pop, ,Sister Wife, ,Smokey Robinson, ,The Supremes

Similar Posts:

Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with The Epstein about new album Mumurations

The Epstein by neonflower
The Epstein by neonflower.

Oxford based folk rockers The Epstein return with their second album Mumurations today. 14 months in the pipeline, it’s a record filled with songs of departure and change, all set against a lush melodic backdrop. From opener Morning News – a typically heartfelt tale set to the mournful twirls of a guitar – to the beautiful lilting sounds of current download single Calling Out Your Name, this is over 40 minutes of big folk that is well worth checking out. I spoke with Olly Wills, who is responsible for vocals and acoustic guitar.

The Epstein - Murmurations Cover
What does Murmurations mean?
Murmurations is the term used for a flock of starlings when they fly in swooping flocks of thousands and can be seen sweeping and diving above fields and trees… I think it is something that is most often seen in the early autumn. Type the word into google images and you will see what I mean, it is an amazing spectacle.

The Epstein by youdesignme
The Epstein by youdesignme.

Who came first to The Epstein, and how did the others come on board?
The band started with founder members Olly Wills and Al Verey and very quickly Jon Berry and Rowland Prytherch came on board. We started playing open mic nights in Oxford and London and built the band up from there. We got a residency in a local pub where they paid us to play for 2 hours a week on a Thursday night and slowly the band developed its live skills and worked out what songs worked and what songs didn’t. This was quite a few years ago now and the band has changed hugely over that time but Olly and Jon are still there along with Seb Reynolds on Keyboards, Humphrey Astley on Bass and Tommy Longfellow on drums.

YouTube Preview Image
What inspired the words and the sounds of the new album?
Our first album was pretty narrative in terms of its songwriting and pretty country-folk in terms of sound… we wanted the second album to be quite different in both regards. We aimed for a widescreen cinematic and fully studio sound and the songs whilst still being narrative in some regards are also more image based as well. Hopefully they allow the listener to paint pictures for themselves as they listen. 

The Epstein by SarahJayneDraws
The Epstein by Sarah Jayne Draws.

What can attendees expect of your album launch later this month?
We are playing album launches in Oxford on June 27th and London on June 30th and we are really excited about both shows… We have some great support coming from The Dreaming Spires, Co.Pilgrim, Empty White Circles and Jordan Oshea (2 support bands each night, not 4!) and we will be playing the whole album from first track to last with some great visuals to help create a magical atmosphere. Great venues, great music and some cool backdrops… what else could ask for?

YouTube Preview Image
Why is Oxford such a hot bed of musical goings-on? Anything special that you can put a finger on?
Ever since I have been involved with music in the city there has been a constant week in week out scene. You can choose between 4-6 gigs a night almost every night of the year which is a pretty healthy amount of creative activity for what is a pretty small city… There are some great local music magazines, there are loads of festivals to get involved in and a huge student population who are a big part of it all too. On top of this you are really well situated if you do want to do gigs in London and other UK cities. Oxford had a rich heritage in great music when I got here 10 years ago – Radiohead and Ride are just two that spring to mind – and is so cool that in recent years newer bands have brought recognition back to the city. Foals and Stornoway are two recent acts who are known far and wide now, so I guess that all in all these elements combine to create a scene in the city where as a musician there are many opportunities to get your project in front of many interested people and hopefully further a field as well.

YouTube Preview Image
It’s taken awhile to record this album. How did it take shape?
We started this album in a studio in north London, did sessions in Bremen, Germany and ended up doing a lot in Truck Studios, Oxford as well as various rooms in between. It involved many musicians and much planning and as a result took us quite some time to record let alone mix and master so that in brief paragraph explains the lengthy nature of the process… The end result is what we planned for at the start, I just dont think we thought it would take nearly as long as it did to get from that start to today where the album is all packaged and ready for people to take home with them.

What next for The Epstein?
A busy summer of shows here in the UK promoting Murmurations and also on the continent where the album is out on PIAS Records. It is great to be busy again and the band has never been better as a live unit so we have a lot to look forward to in the near future. In the autumn we will finish off the next record – which we have already started on – and baring in mind the experience with the making of the current recordings we are seriously aiming to be able to release another album early in 2014. Fingers crossed!

The Epstein release Mumurations with Zawinul/PIAS on 24th June 2013. They will celebrate with a launch party at St Albans Church in their home town of Oxford.

Categories ,Al Verey, ,Co-pilgrim, ,Empty White Circles, ,Humphrey Astley, ,Jon Berry, ,Jordan Oshea, ,Morning News, ,Murmurations, ,neonflower, ,Olly Wills, ,Pias Records, ,Rowland Prytherch, ,Sarah-Jayne Draws, ,Seb Reynolds, ,St Albans Church, ,The Dreaming Spires, ,The Epstein, ,Tommy Longfellow, ,Truck Studios, ,youdesignme, ,Zawinul/PIAS

Similar Posts: