I've been a fan of this Quebec based band (originally from Vancouver) ever since their song 'Shrek Chic' first appeared on my discover weekly playlist on Spotify. Named after Johnny Depp's infamous tattoo he got while dating Winona Ryder, this quartet immediately grabs your attention with their infectious sound. The band is composed of Rowan Webster-Shaw (guitar/vocals), Ben Robertson (guitar/vocals), Alex Bingham (drums) and Sam Gray (Bass). We got the opportunity to chat over email about the band’s formation, future plans, and Winona Ryder fighting Winona Ryder. Check it out!
1. What have you been listening to lately?
Benny Sings, Arthur, Deerhoof, Wooze, Anderson. Paak
2. I recently became obsessed with the theme song of the show ‘Cheers’. Can you guys record a cover of it?
If you book the studio time! ;)
3. Who would win in a fight? Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice or Winona Ryder from Stranger Things?
4. Which NSYNC member are each of you most like?
No comment. 5. Would you ever consider writing a song about Ray Romano?
Only to reference his role as “Manny” in Ice Age.
6. What would you be doing if you weren’t pursuing music?
Grooming and training poodles.
7. My friend Sam recently started helping out with the site. What is the worst piece of advice you can give her?
(They left this blank. I think that in a way their silence is their advice. Don't listen to what everyone else around you has to say, Sam. Trust yourself. Follow your dreams. Let me borrow $6,000.)
8. If you ever meet Nardwuar, can you tell him that I love him?
Nardwuar is a Vancouver legend! He shouted out our band once but we haven’t officially met him yet..
9. What was the first concert that you ever went to?
Rod Stewart, We Are The City, Raffi, U2
10. What is an underrated band that everyone should listen to?
Isaac Gutierrez for Born Loser Mag: To start off, can you introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about the band?
Winona Forever: We are Winona Forever.
BL: How did the band form?
WF: Rowan and Alex started working on demos in 2014. Live members were added as the band started to play shows and record music.
BL: Did you have a set sound in mind when you started the band?
WF: Nope! A product of collaboration.
BL: You guys are originally from the Vancouver area, but are now based in Montreal. What would you say are the major differences between the two music scenes?
WF: Montreal has a large focus on the arts and provides a lot of support/funding. There’s definitely a lot of really talented people here, focusing on their craft and there is a bit more hussle to make things happen. Vancouver's music scene relies on community to thrive, especially when it comes to All Ages shows - there aren’t many legal venues to host All Ages shows. The community has had to adapt to make things happen in a city that is under rapid commercial development.
BL: When did you begin to develop an interest in pursuing music?
WF: September 20, 2004
BL: Nardwaur gave you a shoutout once?
WF: Yes! Love him
BL: The first Winona Forever song I ever heard was ‘Shrek-Chic’. What is the story behind that song?
WF: Rowan says “It's a love song with a silly name”
BL: You recently released your new single ‘Gazing’, and your new album ‘FeelGood’ comes out June 7th. What does that feel like? Are you excited or nervous?
WF: We’re really excited! Been working on it for a very long time.
BL: Talk to us a bit about your upcoming album ‘Feel Good’
WF: Its called “Feelgood” - due to Spotify’s rules on how you can spell titles. It has 10 songs, it’s about 30 minutes long and it is out for pre-order on Kingfisher Bluez label!
BL: Where did the album name come from?
WF: The music feels good! We’ve been each listening to a variety of music, some of it very contemporary, and some of it from the 70’s/80’s. The common link is that it’s all music that makes you feel good and that’s what seems to have come through on the writing of this album.
BL: Is there a song on the album that you’re excited for everyone to listen to?
WF: “Backseat” was a late addition to the album we’re really happy with.
BL: How does this album differ from your previous album ‘This Is Fine’ ?
WF: Less distortion, less angst and a little more shimmer-y.
BL: Is there a song that encapsulates the sound or the theme of the album?
WF: Silly Love Songs
BL: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
WF: Paul McCartney
BL: What has been your favorite onstage experience?
WF: Gore St. Cafe / Laundromat in Sault Ste. Marie
BL: What is your dream city or venue to play at?
WF: Los Angeles! We’ve had a very good response from that city and we’re planning to visit as soon as possible.
BL: What has been the weirdest or worst show?
WF: We sometimes play venues that were meant for a punk show or are just quite a different vibe than the music we’re playing.. Mostly we’ve been quite lucky to have had a majority of shows be a really fun time with people who are equally passionate about music.
What is the hardest part about being in a band?
BL: There are times where you’re motivated and productive with what you’re creating in the studio/on stage and time where it can be discouraging. We’ve tried to stay slow and steady, trying to do more every year and be ambitious without pushing ourselves to the point of it not being fun.
BL: Any advice for anyone out there that is trying to pursue music?
WF: Have fun!
BL: What can we expect to see from Winona Forever in the near future?
WF: Canadian tour dates, American tour dates, a new album and then who knows!
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