Spotlight on Winters Hill

Back in 2012 Winters Hill was created after Max Hoar (guitar, vocals), Nimrod Taabu (cajon drum) and Jack Holmar (guitar, harmonica, vocals) decided that they wanted to create music together. Influenced by the likes of Tom Waites, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young they created a sound that has a unique blend of folk, blues, country and rock.

Since the creation of the band they have been working hard spreading the word about their music, especially with their live shows. These have included many festival appearances including Country 2 Country and support slots which have included Gabrielle Aplin, Brother and Bones as well as Ben Caplan.

2016 saw the release of their debut EP ‘Burnt Hearts and Landmarks’. But before we talk about that, Max from the band was more than happy to shine more of a light onto the world of Winters Hill by answering a few questions. This is what he had to say:

How did ‘Winters Hill’ come together and is there a story behind the name?

We’ve all been lifelong friends who’ve grown up together. Music has been in all our lives from a young age, but we’ve only been playing together for the past 5 years. Over a drunken conversation at Wickhamfestival, we thought it would be a good idea to set ourselves a goal of playing the festival the following year. 5 years on we are set to play the Wickham Festival mainstage the 2nd year running and headline the Quaywest stage. The name comes from a road that we used to drive past on the way to work and thought it was a cool name.

How would you describe your bands sound and which musicians have influenced it?

It’s been a hard one to pin down to a specific genre, but we’d go with Americana/Country. Our sound has been shaped by many musicians who’ve influenced us over the years. The Levellers, and Bruce Springsteen from our younger years. The Gaslight Anthem, and Jason Isbell, are a few modern influences.

Last year saw the release of your ep ‘Burnt Hearts and Landmarks‘. Tell us a little about it and any stories about your favourite songs from it.

Making this EP was a great time for us, it was a fun experience as well as a huge learning curve. We are fortunate to have a a great set of talented friends who helped us make the EP what it is. From the producing of it through to the bass lines and Pedel steel. We did not want to deviate too much from our ‘ Winters Hill’ sound on the record. But we wanted it to sound as exciting and anthemic as possible by making it a beefier sound. During the making of the EP we wanted to expand our sound so we tend to gig now with 5-6 of us as a full band. Canada grove is a special song for us. It was the final song written for the EP and seemed to come together the quickest. We’ve had a great response from this song which BBC introducing have supported.

We know how good your music sounds from your EP, but what can we expect from your lives shows?

Our live shows recently have been with the full band. This line-up is going to continue throughout the summer at the festivals and bigger shows. We really go all out with the bigger sound, expect new songs and a much bigger Americana sound when we play the oldies! We’ve been working on a couple of covers as well which you may like.

Time for a little fun. If there were a movie to be made about the band, who would you each choose to play yourselves and why?

Ryan Gosling, Idris Elba, Steve Mcqueen. Has to be the coolest actors ever, right?

Finally, what are your future plans and goals for your music?

We’ve literally just come out of the studio having recorded 2 songs which we intend to release as something like a double A side in the not to distant future. They sound incredible and we think it’s the best thing we’ve produced. It sounds like nothing out there at the moment.

Burnt Hearts and Landmarks’ EP is an impressive collection of songs that has depth as well as catchy hooks. It definitely feels they have learnt from their heroes as the calibre of their songwriting and lyrics are to a high standard.

As the EP begins you are taken on a musical journey with each track telling its own story and the band adds an audio landscape. Together the guys share a subtle and infectious sound that is mainly about the country/Americana vibe but offers a little bit more into their winning recipe.

The music feels like the support act as it is the combination of the vocals and lyrics that feels like the main event. There is something special about the vocals from Max as it has a slightly rough growl in his tone. This helps to deliver some wonderfully written songs like ‘Shake it Off’ and Back to the Ocean’ with an authentic charm.

All of this comes together to deliver a wonderful listening experience that will leave you wanting more. This is a credit to the level and quality of music that Winters Hill have created with ‘Burnt Hearts and Landmarks’ EP.

With such a strong debut and the way Max talked about the new singles, its hard not to get excited about what the future has in store for Winters Hill. To find out when the new music is ready or more about the band or upcoming shows then head over to their social media sites at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you want to listen to ‘Burnt Hearts and Landmarks’ EP in full then you can do so by visiting their Soundcloud and Spotify pages. If you like what here then grab yourself a copy from ITunes or Amazon.

Remember, If you like what you hear from the band then don’t forget to help spread the word and tell the world about Winters Hill today!

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