“It’s my Saturn Return album,” Samira Winter explains with a laugh when getting into the “emotional excavation” she did during the making of her fourth and latest record under the moniker Winter titled What Kind of Blue Are You? W, which may or may not have also had some impact by being made during the pandemic. The album is darker and heavier than her previous releases, leaning into the shoegaze influences that have always been semi-present in her music but never fully explored to this level.
“I am definitely really interested in always transforming and evolving my sound,” she goes on to say. “But this, to me, feels really natural. And it feels good. It feels good to get deeper with myself and kind of do the emotional vulnerability excavation of the harder, heavier sounds. I feel like there's more for me to even explore in that. So I've been enjoying the darkness, basically.”
“Dark” is not a word one would use to describe the personality of Samira Winter, who has a light and airy personality – quick to laugh and a gracious listener. But we’ve all got our dark sides and, for many of us, the pandemic was a conduit for helping to tap into that side, for better or worse. As a fan, I’d call it the latter in Winter’s case, because the record she made during that time does an excellent job of balancing her natural brightness with the hidden depths lying underneath us all.
A combination of the day of this posting being the Winter Solstice and this Christmas Eve marking the ten-year anniversary of the Bandcamp release of dream pop darling Winter’s debut EP Daydreaming makes it poetic timing to unveil our recent interview with the LA-via-Boston artist. While it’s been nearly a month since we spoke and two months since the album dropped, the ice-cold temperatures seem like a perfect time to tuck into the intimate depths of What Kind of Blue Are You? And gleam from it whatever reads true to us at the particular moment.
Songs like “Good,” featuring the incredible and recently constantly pervasive Sasami, with its sole repeating phrase of, “I want to be good to you,” can have different meanings - even to its author. “I wrote it not thinking about it in like, ‘Oh, I'm writing it to myself,’” Winter remarks. “But when I've been performing, I've been really feeling that way. In a way, it's like, ‘I want to be good to me.’ So much of this record I feel like can be applied to yourself when you're listening to it.”
That insular feeling is captured perfectly on this record. Co-produced by Joo-Joo Ashworth (formerly in the LA band Froth and now a producer having worked with Sasami, Automatic, and Dummy), a narcotic spell is cast with swirling synths and subdued, saccharine vocals that lead listeners into a meditation-like state perfect for late-night listens.
“He was one of the first people I ever met when I moved to L.A. from Boston,” reminisces Winter. “I love working with one other person and I just wanted to find someone that I really connected with musically. And I think it was a really good timing in both of our like careers where it felt really safe and he's someone that is so great to work with and I feel so empowered by with in the studio.”
“We just felt this chemistry because we both, since we've known each other for years and we just reference songs and ideas and we're always showing each other music. So it was a very great musical chemistry as well as just a person, like I just felt like I was hanging out with my friend making music.”
Beyond the Ashworths (Sasami and Joo-Joo are siblings), another major guest appearance on What Kind of Blue Are You? comes from Harriette Pilbeam and Joe Agius of Hatchie for the catchiest song on the record, “Atonement.” A transatlantic internet correspondence between America and Australia brought the fuzz-filled song to life and an obvious single was born.
To hear more about the record, Winter’s thoughts about the L.A. music scene, her connection with her Brazilian roots, and the “force of nature” that is Sasami, listen to the full interview below.
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