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Tim D’eon from Wintersleep hasn’t listened to their first album in a long time, but remembers watching video footage of a decade’s old performance with the band.
“I remember we were just sitting around watching it and we were like ‘whoa, this is so weird,’ like we all looked so young and Paul [Murphy, lead vocals] was like ‘my voice sounds so weird,’ said D’eon. “You could tell we were really nervous.”
Wintersleep emerged as Halifax’s up and coming indie rockers in 2001. After over a decade together, and a move to Montreal, the band just released their fifth album Hello Hum last month. They’ll be playing iRock Nightclub in Moncton then packing up and heading for the Halifax Pop Explosion.
The band poked fun at each other as they gathered around and watched footage from their initial shows as Wintersleep. D’eon said the comments were mostly centered around some questionable facial hair.
Wintersleep is comprised of D’eon, Jon Samuel, Paul Murphy, Loel Campbell and Mike Bigelow. D’eon said Wintersleep has gotten over the nerves they felt while performing and hopefully the goatee phase but said “we’ll see what happens.”
Helping with the initial stage jitters might have something to do with gigs they string onto their band’s bio. Wintersleep received a 2008 Juno Award for New Group of the Year, the opening slot for Paul McCartney in Halifax in 2009 and appearances on talk shows such as Late Show with David Letterman.
For their newest album Hello Hum, the men headed into the woods in upstate New York to record at producer Dave Friddman’s Tarbox Road Studios. Friddman co-produced almost all releases by The Flaming Lips, and has worked with artists such as Neon Indian, Tame Impala and MGMT. Wintersleep also worked with Tony Doogan, who produced Belle and Sebastian and Mogwai.
“We’d try a whole bunch of different stuff and then he [Friddman] kind of let Tony take over for the engineering and tracking and the he came into mix, and that’s really where he shines,” said D’eon. “We’d let him go at it for a while and he’d call us in when he thought he had something. We’d be hanging out working on other stuff, other songs, like in the other room while he was mixing and we’d come back in and be like ‘holy crap.’
Recording at Tarbox Road Studios helped distinguish Hello Hum from previous Wintersleep sounds. Friddman had gear in the studio the band had never recorded with before, said D’eon, such as the synthesizers which added another electronic dimension.
Wintersleep is taking their album on the road, meeting up with alt-country rocker Elliott Brood for a Canadian tour with stops in the United States. D’eon said although their sounds are quite different, he thinks it’ll work.
Wintersleep has experience being on the road, but it hasn’t always been positive. While touring with Wolf Parade in the summer of 2008, they came out of their motel room to find their van broken into, and gear stolen. They were getting ready for a flight to Canada to play the Pemberton Festival in British Colombia.
“We got ripped off basically in the hour we went to the hotel to take showers before going to the airport, so it was like they must have followed us back from the club and stole all our gear within an hour. We came out and were like ‘whoa, what’s going on,’” said D’eon.
But they made their flight anyways, and borrowed gear from musician Sam Roberts and other artists at the festival.
“It wasn’t like a hotel, it was like a motel, when your door goes out into the parking lot. They were pretty good thieves.”
Wintersleep has learned a thing or two after their beginning a decade ago, playing venues around Halifax. Always park your van against a wall and get a second opinion on all facial hair decisions.
“We’ve definitely gotten over the nerves part, and hopefully the goatee part. But we’ll see what happens in a couple of years.”