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Interview

The Winter Tradition 

Gradients Interview

added: 3 Sep 2012
interviewed by: Susan Ford

The Winter Tradition - Gradients Interview - Printable version
The Winter Tradition are Ewan, Mark, Stephen and Callum and we all grew up in Edinburgh! We are best known for playing alternative pop-rock in a similar mould to Jimmy Eat World and Biffy Clyro but are starting to bring in a softer more complex and atmospheric sound more associated with the likes of Sigur Ros, Brand New and Wintersleep.

The Winter Tradition are by far one of Scotland’s best new bands. For years they have developed a sound genuinely unique in content and quality, and last month saw them lend this sound to their brand new album ‘Gradients’. After many successful EPs, singles and tours, the Edinburgh-based four piece have deemed it time to put together this gorgeous collection of 10 songs. Post album launch, Music-News reporter Susan Ford caught up with the band to discuss ‘Gradients’.

The line up has changed since we last spoke, please re-introduce The Winter Tradition.

The Winter Tradition are Ewan, Mark, Stephen and Callum and we all grew up in Edinburgh! We are best known for playing alternative pop-rock in a similar mould to Jimmy Eat World and Biffy Clyro but are starting to bring in a softer more complex and atmospheric sound more associated with the likes of Sigur Ros, Brand New and Wintersleep.

You released your first album 'Gradients' on the 16th of July, how happy are you with the result?

Ewan: We're really happy with how everything has gone in terms of the release of 'Gradients'. It's something we've been looking forward to for a long time and see it as a huge step forward for the band. We put a lot of time and hard work into finishing the album, the reaction so far has been phenomenal and has boosted the profile of the band a great deal.

You have been playing as a band for many years now, what made you decide to release an album now?

Stephen: We've been playing in a band since we were in school, but only seriously over the last 4 or 5 years. We started off by releasing a couple of singles and our debut EP 'We'll Make Our History', which was really an introduction to the Scottish music scene for us. After this, we didn't want to just release another EP like most bands do and we all saw the next logical step being a full length album. We've seen bands we know release 'long EPs' and 'mini-albums' but we thought that targeting a full length album as a long term project was the right step to take in our career as a band, and was one that we could see as a huge accomplishment when it was done. We're really glad that we did this now as completing your first album is a great feeling and we're all really proud of the results.

Talk me through the writing and recording of Gradients

Mark: We started off demo-ing some ideas in Stephen's flat in Glasgow back in January 2011. Recording and writing has always gone hand in hand for us and we always record our ideas as soon as we come up with them. I guess you could say we write as we record (or record as we write!). We then went back to my home studio in Edinburgh to start work on the 'proper' recordings for the album. We spent a lot of time redrafting and re-crafting each song and the sounds in each song. A lot of the songs are totally unrecognisable from the demo versions! Overall, I'm really happy with the way the album sounds and I think it's definitely our strongest set of songs and the best sounding record I've produced yet.

What are the highlight tracks for you on the album?

Stephen: The highlights for me are ‘Tides & Telegrams’ and ‘Firelight’. One of my biggest inputs towards the album was arranging the structure and co-writing the lyrics of ‘Tides’, which I feel is the strongest song on the album and the one that I am most proud of song writing wise. Even though Firelight is one of the oldest songs on the album, I still think it is an incredibly strong and catchy pop song, which is exactly what we intended to end up with when we started recording it.

Were there any arguments whilst selecting songs for the album?

Stephen: There were a few but none of them were too big, more of a good debate as to what we felt was a stronger song or which song fitted better! We started off with a list of about 16 songs; a couple of them were current songs that we'd played live but the majority were only ideas and were unfinished songs. The more we worked on the songs it was obvious which ideas were stronger and complemented the rest of the songs better.

Mark: I think it's inevitable that there are some arguments between band members, purely because we spend so much time together. It's like a strange and complicated four way relationship!

Is it an entirely new collection of songs, or will we hear some of the familiar and well-known Winter Tradition songs on Gradients?

Ewan: There are a couple of songs that we released previously. We released ‘Firelight’ as the first single from our album a long time in advance of releasing the album, and we released a couple of demos (Send The Waves and Instrumental Frame) which were available for free download for a while. The rest of the songs were new ideas specifically written for 'Gradients'.

Have you got any singles planned for release as a follow up from the album?

Stephen: There are a couple of ideas but nothing is confirmed yet! We are currently discussing the next single with our label, Kittiwake Records, and there will be some announcements soon!

You celebrated the album launch in one of Edinburgh's most prestigious music venues The Liquid Room, how did that go?

Callum: The album launch at The Liquid Room was incredible, although we had a bit of a nightmare in the 24 hours beforehand! The launch was originally supposed to be at Cabaret Voltaire, but we received a phone call from our sound tech at 2am the night before the gig saying that there was no chance that we could play at Cabaret Voltaire because of a flood! Basically, the venue wasn't safe for us to play and also bring a maximum capacity crowd in with us, so we had a mad scramble across Edinburgh to try and find a replacement venue on the afternoon of the gig and we were lucky enough to get into The Liquid Room, which as you said, is one of, if not THE best venues in Edinburgh. We were a little bit worried that the step up in venue would work against us and there wouldn't be a lot of people there, but fortunately a huge crowd turned out for us (one that definitely wouldn't have fitted in Cab Vol!) and it was our best gig to date. It's great to see how many people are in to our band at the moment.

Where will Gradients take you next in terms of live shows?

In terms of live shows, we're playing a few gigs across Scotland in August to follow up our album launch at The Liquid Room. We have also got a couple more things up our sleeves that we'll be announcing soon.

‘Gradients’ is available now on Kittiwake Records, available from all good record shops and Itunes. For more information on the band including live dates and announcements, click HERE

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