This was initially on whoresofchaos.com, where I have done reviews and interviews.
Andy Winter Interview 1-13-06
The FRIDAY THE 13th Interview!
First, I would like to say thanks again to Andy Winter of Winds and Age of Silence for giving me the time to talk to him in this most improvised of interviews. He is really a very nice and friendly person and I enjoyed our conversation, which filled the better part of two hours. As I was unable to record the session, both Mr. Winter and I decided to best approach the interview in an article form rather than in the usual interview fashion.
One of the first subjects brought up in the conversation was what future projects are in the works for Winds and Age of Silence, as well as Andy Winter's solo project. While Age of Silence is a parallel project to Winds, Winds is the main band. Currently, he is working mostly on Winds' next big project, of which he had recently a big session in the studio. He also has been working another project for three years, but says it is hard to find time to do everything, "You meet people and say 'oh, let's do that' and then you never get together."
I had noticed that Winds and Age of Silence had some of the same members, but two different approaches to music. Winds is the first of the two bands, Mr. Winter explained, and was created out of an interest to combine classical with "inferences to metal". Not many bands have combined the two and he said it was "hard to find something unique."
"Lots of bands become popular and everybody copies them," he said, further explaining there were a lot of different elements going on in Winds, making it hard to recreate.
Mr. Winter wrote most of the songs for Winds on piano or keyboards while the guitar player did the "heavy parts" afterward. As for Age of Silence, it was completely opposite. He was playing around with some guitar bits that he recorded and auditioned for some friends, and there was an idea on doing something with them, so he spoke to the guitar player (Joacim "Extant" Solheim) and Jan Axel Blomberg ("Hellhammer"). Mr. Blomberg was already the "permanent drummer" for both projects and "works on everything" Mr. Winter is involved in. Carl August Tidemann, while right for Winds, was not the kind of guitarist needed for Age of Silence, plus he was always too busy, so Helge K. Haugen ("Kobbergaard"), who had worked on the first Winds ep, Of Entity and Mind, was approached. While he had a different style than what was needed for Winds, he was the "right person" for Age of Silence.
Lars Nedland ("Lazare") was brought in "by coincidence", Mr. Winter explained. They had wanted to involve another "very well-respected" vocalist, but he "fell out" due to being busy elsewhere. A studio guy who worked on Winds and Age of Silence played some Solefald tracks. Mr. Winter then got in touch with Lazare to do vocals for Age of Silence, "Not a bad decision to include him."
Lazare was the last to join on with Age of Silence.
"There is a lot more disagreement in Age of Silence than in Winds," Mr. Winter commented, "Everybody has their own ideas."
He also noted that when some people see Winds and Age of silence, they tend to think that both bands are similar, when in actuality they are two separate and completely different bands. There is a different approach and mindset to Winds than Age of Silence. In Age of Silence, Lazare writes the lyrics and Mr. Winter writes the music, and they "fit together like a puzzle...It's more of a coincidence of how things come together."
Mr. Winter does not try to be self-analytical with the lyrics for Winds and thinks Lazare might feel the same, but gives "cryptic lyrics". While Mr. Winter puts deep thought into music, he finds it hard to sit down and start into a deep conversation about lyrics right away. A German intellectual magazine once invited him to write a "deep" article. When he wrote about Winds' lyrics and thoughts behind his music, they said it was not what they wanted, but rather something "intellectually deep".
One interview faux pas he pointed out was when someone asks "What kind of style do you play?" He does not think much about style or genres, noting how it gets ridiculous with the genre labeling of music, and really does not "follow music or listen to music" that much: "I'm not my own ideal customer."
Another subject we discussed was the difference between European music and American music, especially on how the Europeans tend to have more diverse influences and styles. Mr. Winter agreed, pointing out how it seemed that American musicians tend be more about attitude and lyrics and not so much into the music itself, while in Europe, most bands tend to have a solid musical foundation.
The music industry, I said, in the USA was more about money, what with pay-to-play and such things. "The music industry comes down to money," Mr. Winter commented, "How can we profit off of people who want to make music?" He compared it to watching American television and seeing commercials about training schools during the daytime shows, "There's more profit in making people take the classes than in the actual education." There is also a lot of money in advertising and selling gear, instruments and such, but the only person who can make music good is the musician. "In the end, it's doesn't matter what kind of gear...it's the musician", such as experimenting "which is what Age of Silence is about."
One other thing that impressed Mr. Winter were the older music journalists who were into "early Yes and Rush", such as one guy for METAL MANIACS, who also were into the newer European metal, such as Winds and Age of Silence. He found them interesting to do interviews with and I believe he was flattered that his music reached people such as the more mature progressive rock fans.
Again, I would like to thank Mr. Winter for the interview and conversation and look forward to hearing his future projects.