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Winds Interview

A Conversation With Keyboardist Andy Winters

By

Andy Winter

Andy Winter

The End Records
The latest effort from Winds is their most intense to date. Prominence and Demise took three years to record, and the band brought in several guest musicians along with members of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. I spoke with the band’s keyboardist and main songwriter Andy Winter about Winds’ new release.

Chad Bowar: It has been said that Prominence and Demise is Winds’ most metal album to date. Would you agree?
Andy Winter: Yes, I totally agree. We wanted to make an album that was a little more edgy, heavy, progressive and technical than we’ve done before. We wanted to move things along and not copy what we had done before. We channeled our creativity and pushed our creative limits. This one is a little more heavy. Some people will like that, and I’m sure some people won’t, but it’s what we are doing right now.

You’ve been working on the album since 2004?
That sounds about right. It’s been about three years since we started recording the record. We’ve been recording here and there, taking our time and making sure everything came out the way we wanted it to. We didn’t put a time limit on ourselves this time. A lot of people have been anxious for it to be done, but I didn’t really consider it a delay since we didn’t have a time frame to begin with.

I understand you did part of the recording of the album in a church.
Yes. We did the strings recordings in an old timber church from the 1800s. It’s over 150 years old and the acoustics in there are awesome. It was in the town that Carl (August Tidemann, guitarist) is from. We decided to record the strings on location this time. We had done it twice before in the studio. There’s something about a church that makes it different than a studio environment. We were really happy with the results. It was difficult, though. The studio has all the stuff in place, but a church has nothing. So it’s not only setting up the strings and the microphones, but also the recording side of it. It was very time consuming. We were really happy it worked out and it was an awesome experience.

When going to a remote location like that, you’re dealing with a lot of variables and unknowns.
Yes, and it was really cold in there. It was the middle of the winter in Norway and there was very limited heating. We had to retune things a lot. We got a very famous Norwegian producer to record the strings. He did it as a favor to Carl. They are good friends. We were really lucky to get his services. It made it easier for us as well.

You’ve always been the main songwriter for Winds. Did the other band members contribute a little more this time?
Yes, they did. The basic structures of things I wrote about two thirds. Carl and Lars (E. Si, vocalist) wrote the other third. We all come with creative ideas for each other’s parts. I actually wrote a guitar solo for Carl, the very first guitar solo on the record. They had some ideas for my stuff, and string ideas we worked out together. We’ve gone towards more and more collaboration on each album, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the next album comes out with the basic structures having been written by everyone.

You also brought in several guest performers on this CD.
That was something that we had never really done before. We had only one guest before. We really wanted to throw in some different things, especially the female vocals (from Agnete of Madder Mortem) which we never had before. It was something that Carl and Jan Axel (von Bloomberg, drummer) wanted to do for a long time and I didn’t feel it was right until now with this record. The way it came together I thought it would be perfect to have a female guest vocalist. We recorded parts with Lars Nedland (Borknagar) and Dan Swano (Edge Of Sanity) as well. That was a cool thing to have the variation of different parts and we were happy with it.

How did you decide on the album title of Prominence and Demise?
I came up with that. I wrote the concepts and all the lyrics on this album. I’ve had the name since we started recording. The title has been around for a long time in my mind.

Any chance of the band ever touring?
Whenever an album comes out the first thing people want to know is if we are going to do shows around the world. We really want to, but it’s so difficult putting something like that together, especially considering the time we have to spend rehearsing for something like that. It’s not that we don’t want to, but for someone like Jan Axel touring with Dimmu Borgir pays well, and Winds probably wouldn’t pay much. We are all busy. We have never even rehearsed as a band. There are a lot of barriers. We really want to, but at the moment there are no plans to tour.

Are you originally from Norway?
Yes. I was born and raised there and lived there for quite a while before I ventured out into the world. I came back for a while before leaving again. It’s been about seven years since I’ve lived there. When we started Winds we all lived in Norway. I moved to the United States, and Lars moved to Finland. Carl still lives in Norway. We are spread out all over the place, which is another thing that makes it difficult to get together for touring.

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