Interview: Wintersleep


Written by Sara Parker.

Wintersleep are a Canadian indie rockband formed in 2001 in Nova Scotia. They have just finished their North American tour, and I was able to submit questions asking how it went, and about their future tour in the UK. Loel Campbell, the bands drummer and guitarist, gave me an insight into the bands progression, tour talk and the impact social media has played in reaching new fans and also talks about the artwork for their new record ‘Hello Hum’.

SP: Hi guys! You have just finished the North American tour? How did it go? Any highlights? Did it feel any different to previous American tours you’ve done?

LC: It was really fun. Highlights were Grand Rapids, Oakland, LA, Portland. Really fun shows. On the flip side Sandy really messed up our shows on the east coast. Obviously a lot of people were effected in a lot more traumatic ways. We were just held up in Albany. Waiting her out. Made the best of it though. Storm watch and wine.

SP: How did the UK tour with Frightened Rabbit come about?

LC: They asked to join them and we accepted. I guess we are mutual friends by way of the Hold Steady. I think it is a really good pairing of bands. We are really excited!

SP: Any towns you have not played in before that you are looking forward to visiting? (Liverpool? Especially with the Paul McCartney link!).

LC: Never played Liverpool… Aberdeen in Scotland will be a treat. Doing 3 weeks in the UK is pretty relaxing really. I think 3 hours will be our longest drive from show to show on the whole tour. Considering we just came off a tour where it seemed 7 hours minimum a day was the norm we will gladly take in some sights. I think there is a few days where its only a 45 minute drive to the next town. Not like touring Canada… that is for sure.

SP: Five albums over the last 11 years – how do you feel you have progressed? Do you feel your overall tone has changed?

LC: I think it’s changed. We’ve become better musicians… and things have changed in our lives… and even the way we come about writing tunes. So its all good… We still have music as our main stay in our lives. Still tons of kicks to be had out of the stuff yet.

SP: Is there a favourite song on this record? If so, why? Any personal songs on the record?

LC: Classic answer but that is like picking a favourite child…. Well, not quite. A song that we left off the record “Martyr” we have started to play live lately… I think if we had played it live before we sequenced the record… we would have included it in retrospect… It’s available on the internets though.

SP: Has the swapping and changing of band members had any influences over your progression?

LC: Hmmm… Well, I think during the second and third records… when we were coming up with that stuff… we would jam more. Not sure if that has to do with personnel… We were all still in school then… Same city, similar schedules… We had school and the band… and now we have the band so I guess we kind of work on things more independently now. We aren’t all in the same place very often.

SP: When you’re on the road, I believe you like to read a lot and share literature with each other. Is there a particular book that has inspired any of your song writing?

LC: Ummm… I’m probably the least well read guy in the band. I probably read 2 books a year. Just finished “This Wheels on Fire” The story of Levon Helm and the band which was excellent. Shows you where it all came from. Pretty awesome and inspiring. Before that was John Peel’s book. Great read as well.

SP: How do begin to compose a song? By chords, melody,
lyrics? Which do you prefer?

LC: It can happen any which way but I think the majority of stuff comes from a riff or a chord progression and then blabing sounds until you get a melody you like.

SP: Any favourite ‘on location’ performances/specials?

LC: We did this session in Chicago…. Audiotree live. Halarious host. Its on youtube… We all were thinking? Is this guy for real? It turned out really awesome and relaxed though.

SP: Anyone artist/singer you would like to collaborate with? Any particular voice/style that you think would complement/contrast yours?

LC: Hmmmm… I can’t see us collaborating with anyone really.

SP: What do you think of the current buzz surrounding self-promotion via Twitter and Facebook? Has this had an impact on the amount of fans you have reached?

LC: It does. You need to kinda slap people in the face and be like “Hey! It’s us, yer old wintersleep friend, we are playing near you. Please come out. We still exist.” etc. Beat it over the head.

SP: Who is responsible for your recent album artwork? Does the theme represent a certain song on the album or an overall feeling?

LC: I think the feeling was movement… Something that tied in with the motion of the record sonically. Our friend Marrianne did the artwork. That is actually her. She does a lot of her art with herself in it. She is really awesome, we are very happy with the Vinyl version especially. Go to her website:

SP: What process of song writing do you enjoy the most? Writing, playing, producing?

LC: I think producing is the most fun. The other bits are necessary.

SP: Anything you feel Wintersleep have yet to achieve?

LC: We don’t have any Grammys. Haven’t been to South America, Australia even, and a lot of Asia, Eastern Europe. We will work on all of those hopefully.

SP: What are your aspirations for the next five years? Any venues you would like to play at?

LC: Venues with staff that wire the stage quickly are a plus. Not super particular otherwise.

Twitter: @wintersleep

Facebook: Wintersleep 

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