IN CONVERSATION WITH: Little Winter

photo by Sebastian Mirz

Little Winter is a lovely band and we are under a big impression of their EP “Little Winter” at Good because Danish. The smooth, organic sound and thoughtful, melancholic lyrics create a perfect musical space to unwind and rest your soul for a while.

If you like a bit more mellow and peaceful music – Little Winter is definitely a great band for you.

We had a little chat with the band a while back, about the EP, the band’s creative process and songwriting. Read the interview below and enjoy the lovely “Little Winter” EP.

Your songs talk about love, but also loneliness – they do so in a way that sort of embraces the sadness and makes it something okay to feel at times (we at Good Because Danish often call it the “Danishness”). Why do you think it’s important to let ourselves feel sad and melancholic sometimes and to express those emotions?

Little Winter: Well, sadness and happiness are basic feelings that you have to embrace as a part of life, as well as love and loneliness. There is a cultural tendency to demonize melancholia, that it is not something natural and healthy to feel and has to be eliminated in the pursuit of happiness. You can’t do that as there is a natural balance in everything and this way of thinking ultimately inspires a false hope. You have to let in all things happy and sad, light and dark, beautiful and grim, and the small winters, hence our name.

You released your debut EP “Little Winter” in April this year. The music you present there is slightly different from what is “trendy” at the moment and what mostly comes to our ears from Denmark. What do you think about the current “state” of Danish music? Do you feel enough room for diversity of sound?

Haha, this is a somewhat tricky question. Actually, we dig a lot of things going on on the Danish music scene: Liss, Farveblind, Monti, We Are the Way for the Cosmos to Know Itself, Shy Shy Shy, Chinah, Oh Land, Athletic Progression to name a few. Of course, there are things and phenomenons that we don’t see ourselves interacting with and the competition in a commercial sense is tough. It would sure be nice to have a heavy, established record label to promote and boost us but, on the other hand, you may lose some integrity. We are currently signed to Celebration Records where we can do our own thing and be true to our own sound and vision and for us, that is a great privilege.

The songs on your debut EP express different emotions and thoughts, but if you’d have to describe the main message that comes out of “Little Winter”, what would it be?

The songs from the EP all speak of these melancholic themes through personal stories and narratives and it’s through these thoughts that we find common ground with our fans and audience. Both lyrics and music also invoke hope and joy (or so we convince ourselves) and a final message that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. All feelings are valid feelings and you should never be ashamed of feeling unhappy or imperfect. Feel good about doing something you like and contributing in your own way.

We are also intrigued about the creative process behind recording an album, especially as a group of people. How do you manage to combine different ideas and characters in the band to be able to work together?

The songs, both from the EP and the newer ones that have arrived afterwards, are a product of us jamming away in the practice space. Most often one of us comes to the table with a sketch or some raw verses; then we try to find an exciting sound to it. Sometimes we all vibe with it instantly and the songwriting is straightforward and natural. At other times there might be some different creative obstacles and if it doesn’t add up after some time and we hit dry ground, more often than not we solve this by adding foreign element or twist – be it a gimmicky synth sound or an odd rhythmic drum pattern, f*cking up the song momentarily to bring it all together again afterwards. At other times one of us messes around not-knowingly or straight up plays a wrong chord that one of the other hears some kind of secret potential in, thus sparking a creative process out of nothing. It’s funny how some of the most original passages are born out of initial wrongdoings. These moments are so intense and most of all fun – it’s golden!

There are also more challenging moments when we write or rehearse, be it diverging opinions about the sonic direction of a song or a single line in the lyrics. We come from very different musical backgrounds and have been raised very different musically but we manage to find common ground. The songs on the EP were actually still at large sketches when we recorded it last summer out in the countryside in Eastern Jutland. We practically lived in the studio, which was an old garage that was turned into a huge open recording space a year before. We had 5 days and managed to live track the foundation for each track and from there on out it was very much a matter of trying out different things and scrapping them if they didn’t work after 2 or 3 takes. Huge props to our engineer Steffen Lind Sørensen for keeping us in a tight chain.

You already have an experience of playing gigs, including an appearance at Roskilde Festival or SPOT Festival to name just the two. How do you feel about your music being shared at big outdoor events in comparison to smaller closed venues? How do you think the reception of your songs can change depending on where you perform them?

We have played a lot of different venues and sessions and we always had a blast. On bigger venues, it may sometimes be a bit harder to get “close” to the audience. Our new setup this year is a lot larger compared to last year and more suited for festivals and bigger venues. We still strive though to get intimate with the audience so in smaller venues we usually make a different setup that suits the situation better. During SPOT Festival we played two minor venues where a full drum kit was too loud so we made a quick decision on the day and ended up packing the acoustic drum kit away, only to use an SPDS (digital drum kit) as our rhythmic device and it worked like a charm.

There is a lot of melancholy in your music, but also some hope (maybe not super certain). What do you hope for Little Winter in 2019?

Well, on our first EP we made the choice of recording five songs that all have a vibe or a theme of melancholy. We all felt that these tracks would make up a great collection of songs for our first release. Currently, we have a lot of new tracks in the making. These new tunes have a more danceable and lively vibe to them. We are a somewhat new constellation as a band and we are also still in the process of finding our thing and digging into what kind of sounds and melodies we can create. Our next thing to unleash into the world is gonna be a different but in a good way.

The last song on the “Little Winter” EP – “My Garden” made us shed a tear because of its beauty. What makes you shed a tear?

Lead singer Nikolai: There are a lot of things that make me want to shed a tear or two; joy, love, loss, spilling my beer… More specifically the thing that has made me the most vulnerable and emotional is when I’ve lost somebody in my life either physically or emotionally. From a close friend who has to move away to a grandfather who has taken his last breath. These events shape and ultimately define you as a person. There’s a lot of music that makes us feel and face extreme emotions – everything from loneliness to happiness – and we strive to write songs like that and the only way to achieve that is to be as honest as possible and in touch with our own feelings and thoughts.

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