Drummer Loel Campbell shares insights on Wintersleep’s latest

Wintersleep is touring in support of its latest album 'In the Land Of,' with a stop in Kamloops on April 25

Canadian alt-rock band Wintersleep is on its way to Kamloops, touring in support of its latest album In the Land Of.

The band has spent more than 17 years developing its sound and establishing itself as a group that now tours internationally. It has seen success in the U.S. and Europe, as well as right here at home, with a 2008 Juno win for new group of the year.

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But on In the Land Of, tracks like Waves and Free Pour are long walks from the band’s earlier work.

“For Waves, Paul [Murphy] had that down pretty much like it is, but we wanted to turn it into a band thing. It was just an afternoon in the studio where we were experimenting,” Campbell said.

“We’ve been into Ennio Morricone soundtracks — the cinematic kind of feeling. We just thought it was applicable to that song. It doesn’t sound like any other Wintersleep song,” he said.

Morricone is the composer behind soundtracks to films like A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly — hardly sounds that usually fit into the alt-rock genre.

Part of the reason the band is so open to new sounds is because it doesn’t look to its own past when it comes time to make new music.

“Really, we never consider past successes or try to recapture former glory. Oddly enough, we just never think about things like that,” he said.

Among those past successes are songs like Amerika, which reached the top of the Billboard rock charts in the U.S. in 2016.

That track included an excerpt of a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump and some saw it as somewhat of a political turn for the band.

That turn may have continued, with new tracks like Terror and Beneficiary not being too subtle about their respective messages.

Campbell said what comes out for the band isn’t something so controlled, though.

“I think it’s always just a reflection of what’s going on in your consciousness. We never really think about it, I guess, it’s just something that happens,” he said.

Maturity and age — things addressed the album’s final track, Free Pour — also come into play.

“It takes awhile to kind of get the maturity to write about what we’re writing about now. It’s totally different from our first album,” Campbell said.

That first album came 17 years ago, but the group’s history pre-dates the band. Murphy and D’eon played together in the band Kary and Campbell played in Contrived, and both bands belonged to a co-operative label called Dependent Music in Halifax.

When they all got together, Wintersleep was what emerged — along with another group that Campbell still sometimes collaborates with, electronica band Holy Fuck.

Campbell said he was at somewhat of a crossroads between the two bands, although it wasn’t much of a decision because Wintersleep was always his goal.

After emerging from Dependent Music, the band was signed with a label that was a joint venture between Sonic Unyon and EMI Music Canada, but Campbell said the band was unhappy and left.

“It all kind of got bought by Universal or something, and at some point we were just putting out records and didn’t know anyone who was working on them — it was just this faceless corporation we fell into because we were like some sort of estate purchase,” he said.

Wintersleep’s last two albums have been put out by Dine Alone Records, and Campbell said working with the label has felt more like an extension of the band rather than a business arrangement.

“They just care about music and want to do it right,” he said.

Tickets to the band’s April 25 show at Cactus Jack’s are $20, available online at kamtix.ca.

© Kamloops This Week


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