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Feature Interview: James & Jordan 'Winterbourne'

Central coast legends (and long time AAA Backstage obsession) Winterbourne are in the middle of recording their second EP, about to jump on the road with The Rubens for their national support tour and absolutely smashed it at BIGSOUND last week. We caught up with the lads to chat about their new band focus, plans for the future and put James Draper and Jordan Brady under the microscope


So where to start… How about the tour, how did you pull up after the end of your first tour? Did we have some fun on that?

Both: Yeah we did, very happy!

James: We were finishing up, I think, when we spoke to you last time because we were doing Brisbane. That would’ve been the second last date, and that was a really good show. They were all good shows, we sold out a few. All good fun, Sydney was great as always. But yeah we had a great time! Was good to get the first one out of the way.

What was the biggest thing that you learnt from that tour?

Jordan: Um, did we learn anything from that tour?

James: We definitely did… fly!

Still having issues with driving that manual van?

James: Oh yeah! We’d just bought the van, and Jordan hadn’t learnt manual properly…

Jordan: Yeah, I’ve figured it out now.

James: I was doing all of the driving. Rest! Need more rest, but we survived. I think on that last run we went Brisbane, Byron, Bellingen, and did shows all the way down which was good, just really really tiring. But that’s touring! Gotta man up.

Are you looking at getting out on the road again sometime soon?

James: Yeah, we’re playing The Rubens tour which starts I think next week? So that’s like two months, it’s 25 dates that we’re doing. They’re really good guys, and Saskwatch are coming along as well so that’s going to be a good two months and then we’ll hopefully have a record out of some description after that! We have our single out in nine days, so that’ll be out and then hopefully once we’ve done The Rubens tour we’ll do our own one again! A bigger one than last time.

And fly?

Both: And fly!

Jordan: At least to one more place than we did last time.

James: We like driving, because we have the van… we feel great when we’re driving. But when you get to that eighth hour-

Jordan: The eighth hour of the 20th show.

James: And you think, ‘we could’ve been here six hours ago, if we’d just paid the extra $100’. It’s stories too, it’s not the same on tour if you fly everywhere!

James: Yeah we were saying on the way up here, we wonder if we ever get to the point when we can afford to fly everywhere and we’ll still probably drive I think! Because you don’t want to not drive anywhere, otherwise there’s no point having a Volkswagen. So yeah, I think we’ll always be driving. As long as it’s in Australia.

Jordan: And not Hobart..

James: We could take it on the ferry! We’ll probably actually do that.

Jordan: Excuse me, of course. We haven’t had a ferry on tour yet.

James: We should try and get as many forms of transport on one tour as possible!

I have seen you guys upload quite a few photos onto your social media of the in studio stuff. So where are you at with the recording process?

Jordan: Yeah we did a couple of weeks in the studio trying to get an EP done, and it was a pretty slow process. We got the songs done but they’re not mixed yet and we’re still kind of just focussed on the single to get that released by next week and then once that’s out we’ll be able to focus on the rest of the songs for the EP. But yeah, it’s going very slowly at the moment, which is good because we don’t have to rush it out.

James: It’s been a while since we’ve put anything out, we realised. So we want to make sure it’s up to scratch.

When we last chatted, you were talking about an album but now that’s turned into an EP is that just because you wanted to keep quality rather than quantity?

Both: Yeah

James: It was really annoying - we ended up having enough good songs that we liked for an album, we just don’t want to do a debut album yet. We just don’t feel like we’re there yet, and we don’t feel like there’s enough people there to buy it when it comes out. You only ever get one debut album so we’re not going to rush it, we’ll just see how this once goes. We hadn’t actually 100% decided on an EP yet.

What sort of process changes have been made between last time and this time recording?

Jordan: We’ve got a different producer for this one, called Eric Dubowsky who’s awesome. He did Chet Faker’s record last year. It’s been a bit different, the studio is smaller we did it in Surry Hills in Sydney rather than on the coast. I guess the process was a bit different with Eric, he’s a different worker, he’s a bit of a perfectionist.

James: We are too, but he’s a more advanced version. But I think what we’ve come up with is going to be good! We’re a good combination, a good team.

And are you keeping the full band?

Both: Yep!

Jordan: Even more so. There’s much more of a band sand on this record.

James: Significantly less mandolin on this record.

Jordan: When we did the first one, we’d only done duo we’d never done band shows. So now that we’ve had experience playing with band and hearing that full sound we kind of exploit that a bit more for the record and make it bigger which is good.

So were you writing together with the band?

James: Well when we’re writing it never sounds like a duo because we’re always putting as much as we can in. Even if it’s just in my bedroom, when we’re recording it it never really sounds like a duo it just happens to be a duo, because we can’t afford to pay for anyone else. The first EP didn’t really sound duo-y-

Jordan: No we never had any intention of it sounding duo-y either. We’ve always had that bigger sound in our brains that we wanted.

James: Yeah we wrote one of the songs with the guys from the band, and then the others we just used the same old process.

Do you still busk a lot when you get the chance to?

Jordan: Yeah, we do it once a week now which is less than we used to do, which is nice. But it’s good to keep playing and keep making some money, just to have something to do. Otherwise it’d be too easy to sit around and do nothing every day. It makes us feel like we have a job.

Are you getting quite a crowd along to them now, after you’re tour and gaining some traction?

James: Well we never say that we’re busking, we don’t announce it or anything. Otherwise we just end up with a thousand people seeing us busk which they’ve seen a thousand times before and we don’t really treat it like a show anymore, it’s just a way to keep progressing for us and to get new fans out of it and it’s just something to do really. We don’t really need to do it, but it’s something that we enjoy doing.

So what about BIGSOUND, what are your thoughts on it, are you excited to be here, when did you guys find out that you were playing?

James: We found out we were playing BIGSOUND around the same time we found out about The Rubens I think. We knew our manager had applied and we knew there were a lot of bands applying so – we’ve heard a lot about it, but we’ve never played a showcase before. It’s a weird vibe.

Jordan: You can have 100 people show up to a gig or 3 people, so that’s a bit nerve wracking.

James: And the people that do show up, they’re all industry people which is good, they’re who you want to be hearing your music, but it’s a bit strange.

You can have 100 people at a gig with no one dancing and dead silence…

James: Well that’s what we’ve seen so far! It can be pretty brutal.

Jordan: As long as there’s one or two influential people listening to us.

So are you nervous for tonight?

Jordan: Not really…

James: I’m extremely un-nervous. We’re playing four new songs, which I am a good nervous about, always nervous to play new songs.

Jordan: And we’ve got the whole band travelling along with us so it’s always a bit less nerve-wracking when you know they can pull you back on track if you screw up. And because we don’t get to play with them very often, we haven’t played the new stuff with them yet so it’ll be fun to see how the new songs go.

What about the James Bay gig, was that a success?

Jordan: I was really nervous for that one actually, it was at the Metro and there were 7000 people or something.

James: It was really good, he’s got a really good following, really nice, music loving fans. I think it went well! We had a good response from the crowd, a lot of people knew us which was nice, we weren’t expecting that. He’s a nice guy, gave us some Whiskey. Jordan: He offered us some Cornflakes. His rider was crazy! He had a wall of cereal boxes and he was only there for one or two days or something.

What are your picks for BIGSOUND?

James: Holy Holy were going to be one of our favourites but we went and saw Woodlock instead, Gordi last night was good as well and The Lulu Raes were good. And then tonight, annoyingly, we’re playing at the same time as Gang of Youths so we’re not going to be able to see them and I feel like a lot of people are gonna go see them.

Will you being any spots before yours tonight or do you try to get into the zone?

James: I Know Leopard are playing and they’re awesome, but we’ll definitely be watching other people, it’s good to get into the zone. Unless they’re really good then it makes you wonder why you bother.

Jordan: We need to take a notepad and pen and take notes. ‘The lead singer is sexy, why is he sexy?’

So if you’re talking to fans and you want to give them a hint about the new single and record, what sort of things would you tell them?

James: It’s different, but we’re very excited about. Imagine it’s been a year and a half since we released something and since then we’ve been doing lots of stuff, we’ve come a long way. It’s a good indicator of where we are now. It’s a bit more rock.

Jordan: Yeah we’re very happy with the sound we have now, we’ve always been into stuff like what we’re playing.

James: The first record, because we were busking we sort of took that and put it straight onto a record, added some bass and drums. But now we’re trying to really create a sound that we’re proud of and excited about.

Jordan: The single is the most different song on the album!

James: Yeah, it’s our sexy song…

The new single from Winterbourne, ‘Get To Know You’ is out on the 18th September. Catch them on tour with The Rubens this September/October.

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