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QRD #36 - Valentine's Special - February 2008
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All in the Golden Afternoon
The Backsliders
Book of Shadows
California Oranges
Grappling Hook
Here Comes Everybody
List of Likes
My Glass Beside Yours
Northern Valentine
Paris Luna
Something About Vampires&Sluts
Shiny Around the Edges
Silk Stocking
The Wades
Windy & Carl
The Winter Sounds
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Valentine's Interview with
     The Winter Sounds
February 2008

The Winter Sounds are one of those hungry hardworking bands you find yourself pulling for.  In 2007 they 213 shows traveling coast to coast in the US.  They recently won an MTVU video award for their song “Windy City Nights.”  Their album Porcelain Empire is available in stores & at all major download vendors.

QRD – How do you turn music mode on & off in your relationship with each other?  Or do you find yourself pretty constantly collaborating on music even if it’s songs about cooking?

Patrick – We reserve days that are ours & she really has to push me to not talk about the band on those days.  But if we’re having a dinner date or something & we get a bottle of wine, we just start getting real excited & then talk about it all night, or talk about the songs or something.  I think that the fact that we are together & out of the van or something makes that okay by both of us.  The collaboration on songs is still something new.  Gina just really learned how to play the keys before we went on tour & so writing is a totally new process for her.  We’ve only recently begun writing together.  For me most of the songs come from singular emotional points in my life that I really want to expand on & understand.  Cooking hasn’t been one of them, yet :)

Gina – Well, playing & traveling are our lives, so there’s no way to really turn it off.  Since we enjoy doing it, we have no problem talking about it.  Since Patrick writes the songs, we mostly discuss touring/routing, promotional things, merch, etc.

QRD – How has your music changed by having someone you’re romantically involved with working with you?

Patrick – I don’t really know that is has changed that much.  She knows that I need to write & I need the freedom to express myself without censorship.  So it’s no different to me really then if she weren’t in the band because the subject matter & everything surrounding the song would still be out there.

Gina – This is the first band I’ve ever been in, so I don’t know anything different.

QRD – How do you keep things professional rather than getting personal in the band?  Like not letting being upset that someone’s not doing their house chores spill into band practice?

Patrick – Well, in that sense, we’re in a unique spot.  There was a time right when the band started where one of the guitarists moved in to our one-bedroom apt in an effort to save money & all that.  That was very hard because the sanctity of the home had been spoiled, but it was very kind of necessary at the time….  It’s very hard to make those kinds of sacrifices.  However, that was in April of 06 & in August we hit the road & haven’t stopped since, so the hardest part changes to just being in a van around the same amount of people.  If you get upset & you want or need to just fight it out, it’s hard to find private time to resolve things & if there’s no option for days, there can be this kind of tension that everyone feels….  Its tough.

Gina – For me it’s difficult at times.  When you’re on the road for 9 months with 3 other people, you feel like there’s no alone time.  There would be times when I’d want to eat lunch with just Patrick & someone else would come along & I couldn’t help getting agitated.  The solution is to just put everything into perspective, but that can be hard sometimes.  Patrick is way better at separating the two things than I am.

QRD – Do you think working musically together increases the strength of your relationship?

Patrick – Yes.  We share a dream & all the hopes & fears that surround it make for a very interesting life.

Gina – Yes, because we’re sharing something that we both love & we’re doing it with someone we love.  It’s building on our future together.

QRD – Do you think the music ever suffers because of your relationship?

Patrick – No.  The right kind of relationship can be very very good for the band.  I believe we have that.  We’re going to fight for this life because we love it & we want to experience it together.

Gina – I don’t think so. 

QRD – Being in a romantic couple, do you try to curb lyrical content to or away from things in your relationship?

Patrick – I honestly just try not to think about it too much.  That’s a very personal thing for me & it would hurt the writing were I not able to express myself freely.  So for her & for others in the band it’s important to really just let the lyrics go no matter what direction they take.

QRD – A lot of families kind of look down on musicians as immature, do you find that going out with another musician has eased relationships with your parents or in-laws?

Patrick – That’s a good question.  I have been solely focused on this & almost nothing else besides school for the past few years.  My mother saw I think early on that I wasn’t going to do anything else & so I never got a lot of pressure to become a doctor or get a house or anything like that.  Mostly I got pressure to keep my life organized, manage my money, read up about what I’m doing, etc.…  Basically if you are going to do this, do it right.
Gina, on the other hand, was flowing smoothly down life.  She graduated college, went to publishing school, she taught adult education, she moved to Scotland, & so until she met me I think she was headed for a successful comfortable life.  :) This is definitely what she wants to do & I think it makes her very happy.  However, her family has been very skeptical because it’s impossible for people to see what we are doing as a career until the big bucks start coming in.  If you invest in a band, it is nothing compared to the investment in a small business, which could be easily a hundred thousand dollars...  But most people would see that kind of investment & say, “I’m so proud of you,” cause you own your own business etc.…  Well we are doing the same thing & it takes the same amount of time & effort but we are merely “in a band” & “distracted” from a career pursuit.
So we are working as hard as we can to make this work so everyone will see that it is a career & for most it is a great life

Gina – Ha-ha, no!  Now my mom just thinks there are two crazy people in the family!

QRD – Which came first the musical collaboration or the relationship & do you feel that at this point that you could have one without the other?

Patrick – The relationship came first & can exist without the band.  If she chose to not be involved in the band I would completely understand & she would understand that I still have to do this.  I think that the hardest thing would be the traveling & being away from each other for so long.  But it is important for both of us to be independent & so I know we would make it.

Gina – The relationship came first.  I think that we could have a relationship without the band, but I can’t even begin to say whether there would be a band without the relationship.  I think at this point in our relationship it would be too hard.

QRD – How do things work with band members besides the two of you to get the same level of connectivity while playing your music?

Patrick – Well like I said before, Gina is new to the writing process.  With the other guitarist Clayton, we have a great connection with writing & she is perfectly happy being on the periphery of that.  She has amazing skill on so many things & writing good music takes a long time.  Right now she is a whiz at the business side & keeping me organized. :)  I know she is okay with her place & if she really wanted to be a part of the writing on the same level she would.

Gina – I think it works just fine when you have the right people.  Bandmates are their own type of relationship.  Patrick has said before that you almost look for the same qualities in a bandmate that you would look for in a girl/boyfriend.  Someone you get along with & can be around for extended periods of time (among other things).

QRD – Do you find music related gifts to be romantic or more like giving someone an appliance?

Patrick – Definitely not romantic.  I did however get an awesome pair of headphones for Christmas, which I desperately needed so I could hear what I was recording.  It was very thoughtful.

Gina – Patrick’s got a song for me right now that I haven’t heard yet because it’s not finished & I’m DYING to hear it!  & I got a violin shoulder rest for Christmas, so music related gifts are wonderful!

QRD – The musician life style has an inherent lack of financial security & healthcare.  Do you find yourself thinking, “How can we start a family & continue our musical careers?”

Patrick – A family is very important to me, but not until I have solidified my career.  There is a total lack of financial security, but having the option/ability to travel the way we do & the excitement of seeing the world & playing a show every night really trumps all the other stuff.  I would be bored to death being financially secure & not playing music.  I am really thankful for where I’m at, even though the details of bills/money/etc. is frightening.  Mostly we believe that there is that kind of security in the future & it’s a part of working hard.

Gina – Of course, but you could find that in any job.  I’m of the opinion that as long as we work as hard as we can, it will work.  If it doesn’t, we’ll find another way to make it work.

QRD – Do you ever switch off instruments to give each other ideas?

Patrick – Sometimes.  I picked up the accordion last year & Gina just picked up the violin.  That has caused me to put a lot more string related parts in demos & we really want to street perform the US & Europe one day, just the two of us.

Gina – Yes, Patrick’s been playing the accordion & I’ve been playing violin, so I think we’re going to see a lot more variety in our music because of it.

QRD – A lot of people say they feel most spiritually connected to another person is when they’re on stage & the set is working.  Is this what you find & how does this energy flow into your romantic relationship?

Patrick – I love to see her playing.  She is our foundation because she loves to sit in the back & hold down these thick organ chords & just kind of headbang.  Being on stage cures a lot of the stress of the road.  It’s kind of like if we can make it to the stage & have a few drinks & play a good show, we have a fresh start.…

Gina – Hmm, I don’t think I get a spiritual connection.  I do think that when we have good shows, a lot of people are there, & they’re all into it, we’re all a lot happier - & that has a positive affect on our relationship.

QRD – Some couples start to get seen as a unit with one member as dominant.  Do you ever want to get one of you more recognition?

Patrick – No.

Gina – I think we just want to be seen as equal.  At the same time, I think Patrick deserves a lot of recognition for keeping this whole thing together & writing amazing songs.

QRD – Do you feel a need to have separate projects where you just work on your own?

Patrick – I don’t really have that need.  The Winter Sounds give me all the freedom in the world to write in any style or sound & everyone in the group gets the same returned.  We’re just lucky in that sense.

Gina – Nope.  In fact, we’re hoping to travel the world together & street perform as a sort of side project.

QRD – Musicians often run into fans with crushes, is their a secret to recognizing when something is getting inappropriate instead of being band promoting?

Patrick – No secret, its usually pretty obvious.  The important thing is to respond like an angry orangutan bouncing around screeching & breaking things until the rival male leaves. :)

Gina – I have fleeting moments of jealousy, but overall, I don’t think either of us needs to worry about the other going overboard.

QRD – Any advice for other musician couples?

Patrick – Don’t be afraid of being independent.  It’s very healthy

Gina – I’m probably the last person to ask for advice, but the thing I tell myself is to just be patient.  It doesn’t always work, but it’s good to keep in mind.

Official The Winter Sounds website
The Winter Sounds on MySpace