UTG INTERVIEW: Winchester Revival Discuss ‘Burden’s Landing’ EP

winchester revival

Oakland, California’s Winchester Revival released their newest EP, titled Burden’s Landing, earlier this year to wide praise across the blogosphere. Boasting impressive precision in their indie rock and post-rock structures, the Bay Area quintet’s newest is a six-track effort that melds driving rock with electronic elements, multi-vocal harmonies, expansive guitar work, and plenty of experimentation.

We had the chance to speak with guitarist Andrew Lund about the band’s inception, the Burden’s Landing EP and where they plan to go from here, so hit the jump and get the scoop on all things Winchester Revival.

First off, where does the name Winchester Revival come from? Any story behind that?

Andrew Lund: I was/am in an all improvisational post-rock group, The Rail Gun Ensemble. On our last record 10, in 2010, and our 10th album, there is a piece I christened “Our Winchester Revival.” I just liked the way the words sounded so I harvested the band name from that. No deep meaning or connotations.

And how did you all come together initially to form the band?

AL: I had the musical direction and name for this project as far back as 2011. The first person I called was Ron because of our work together in my old band, Sons of Oswald. Ron’s style is incredibly melodic and we have always had a great musical understanding and get along really well. Kirk joined us in 2012 and Matt shortly thereafter. Dave and I have been good friends for many years and our former bands used to play shows together. He took one of our tracks of instrumental and sang over it and sent it to us. We were impressed and asked him to join. In 2013 we started rehearsing and writing for the first EP. Amanda was recommended by a good friend and she has contributed backing vocals on Burden’s and joins us live as well. It’s a great collection of very talented musicians who also get along too. We actually enjoy each other’s company and from there the music flows effortlessly.

You guys have a truly expansive sound on this Burden’s Landing EP. Can you tell me a bit about where you all derive influence from and if there are any artists in particular who you feel have helped you form the sound you’ve grown comfortable with?

AL: Putting this group together I was coming from listening to a lot of Warpaint and Foals’ first record. But my background is everything from 20th century classical to bebop to gypsy jazz to punk, post-punk, metal and hardcore. For this I wanted to somehow combine an edge of post-punk music with where modern “indie” music currently is. Dave brings a long history of Americana singer-songwriter styles which provides a nice relief against our more expansive and “shoegaze” type songs. Kirk is informed by modern indie rock as well as 80s alternative music. Ron listens to everything from ambient to metal, and it shows. Matt likes indie and electronic music and many other styles. So in a way, we all listen to different styles, share some of those styles and then each individual brings their own personal approach to the songs. Actually the combination of all of us contributing does not require a lot of conversation about what is or is not the “Win Rev sound.”

For those who might not have heard your music yet, in terms of sound, style, and lyrical themes, how would you describe this album to get someone interested in checking it out?

AL: Our sound is really a combination of what the five of us bring to the table as individuals. We go for a big, lush sound and with Dave’s poetic lyrics it makes the songs very approachable and singable. It is certainly rooted in indie/underground music styles but in the end we each have a piece of the puzzle to bring to the process. Hopefully this results in something unique for the listener.

I’m absolutely in love with the EP’s artwork. Who is the artist on that and how do you feel the imagery relates to the material on the album?

AL: Dave’s niece, Elana Gabrielle, has done the artwork on both EPs and they collaborate using our music and lyrics to drive her creative images. She is very talented and we are lucky to have her contributions.

winchester revival album art

What was the recording process like for this EP? Anything you did differently or wanted to focus on that was different than the process for Eyes In The Canopy?

AL: Very different! The first EP was engineered by my friend Ian Swanke and recorded in our studio. It was the first time I had mixed organic instruments with electronics and it was actually quite difficult, resulting in several mixes to get the balance right. For Burden’s we went to Trakworx in San Francisco to record and mix in a full studio environment. Justin (owner/engineer of Trakworx) has recorded three other albums with me so I trusted him to deliver on Burden’s and he did!

I see more and more bands taking advantage of the ‘name your price’ option through Bandcamp. Do you feel there’s any importance to offering your music for free these days? What is your reasoning for doing it?

AL: Most casual listeners don’t seem to really buy music anymore. Download sites, streaming, internet radio, etc. have all contributed to this. With ‘name your price’ we are trying to tread an area of “yes you can have it for free” but also imply that we put a lot of work, time and our own money into producing something and hopefully the quality of it influences the downloader to “donate” something for our labor. Also, we don’t want shoddy MP3s of our music out there. If you are going to get it, get it from us and ensure you are getting WAV or FLAC audio. Buying it through Bandcamp (as opposed to iTunes, Amazon, etc.) means more of your money goes to the artist(s) to continue producing music.

I live a couple hours north of Oakland and if I want to see any shows I pretty much have to come down to the Bay Area. I was wondering what some of your favorite venues are, both to play at and to see other bands play at in the area.

AL: The Bay Area has changed so much, so many great clubs gone now, but places we enjoy are The Hemlock, Bottom of the Hill, Great American Music Hall, Regency Ballroom and The Rickshaw Stop.

Are there any other local bands you’d like to give a shoutout to that we should maybe have our eyes and ears on? Any friends of yours who you think deserve some notice?

AL: Bands we like locally are Brookhaven, Commissure, Snow Angel, John Vanderslice, and Tory y Moi. Amanda is also part of a new group called Continental Divide. They will have a recording out soon so keep an eye on that.

Do you have any touring plans or upcoming shows on the horizon? I couldn’t find any on your Facebook calendar.

AL: We have jobs and kids and obligations so touring would have to be surgical strikes rather than cruising around in a van for months. We’re playing in Walnut Creek for ‘Art on Main‘ May 17. We’re more interested in playing alternate venues rather than the standard “rock club” so booking is a bit more complicated. Expect more shows locally this summer as schedules permit.

Other than that, what do you have planned for the rest of 2015? Any big goals you’re aiming to achieve or anything you’d like to mention that we didn’t cover?

AL: We’ve got the songs ready for another EP so it’s either EP #3 or a full-length a bit later. We’re still debating that. But hopefully the plan is record the next release before 2015 ends and play out more.

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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