Windings Interview: “What The Hell Am I Doing?”

New Album Be Honest and Fear Not  Out September 30th Via Out On A Limb Records.

Windings is a wonderfully apt name for the rock/alt/folk quintet from Limerick. Over the course of four albums, they have created music that twists and turns endlessly, adeptly exploring a myriad of musical possibilities while consistently producing a palatable and engrossing end product. Be Honest and Fear Not, their fourth LP, promises to be similarly engaging if lead single ‘You’re Dead’ is any indication.

Ahead of the release of the album, we sat down recently with Steve Ryan from the band to discuss the complexity of inspiration, supporting Grandaddy, and his love of playing live.

Check out windings Irish tour dates below:

Fri Oct 14th @ DeBarras, Clonakilty
Sat Ovt 15th @ Coughlans, Cork
Sat Oct 22nd @ Dolans Warehouse, Limerick
Sat Oct 29th @ Whelans, Dublin
Thu Nov 10th @ Roisin Dubh, Galway

Overblown: Be Honest and Fear Not will be your fourth album. How has your approach to writing and recording albums changed over the years?

Steve Ryan: Well i’ve always written the same way, but i guess we’ve kind of settled with a line-up now. We almost feel… comfortable. The first two records were sort of written with different musicians in mind i guess, and so that was the sound of those bands. Between this new record and 2012’s I Am Not The Crow, there was a change up in members again, and we released a split 12” with that line-up in 2014. But then that new member left, and the previous dude (Liam) came back to the fold for this record. He previously played guitar, but now he’s on bass. It’s always interesting being in windings. And sometimes confusing. But it keeps the writing and recording process fresh i find.

Overblown: The video for recent single ‘You’re Dead’ was created by Stephen Boland. It is quite an evocative video. What is the concept behind it?

SR: We’re pretty lucky to have met Stephen, he’s an incredibly talented dude. He contacted us a few years back when he lived in London, and offered to make a video for ‘Local Broken Man’, off IANTC. We were delighted, and we met him over there when we were touring with Generationals. So when it came to getting a video made for this song, we all agreed that we should ask him, as we loved the one he did for Local Broken Man. We basically sent him the song, and told him to do whatever he thinks would work best. The video as you see it what he came back with. It’s amazing. It echoes every sentiment both tonally and lyrically. I was blown away. Anyway, as it turns out, he’s from Limerick, and has lived less than half a mile away from me most of our lives. Bizarre.

O: What influenced this new album musically and thematically?

SR: Ah man, I dunno. It’s a pretty personal album lyrically. I mean, I despise inspirational quotes and shit like that. I hate self-help, motivational shit, but this album is called “Be Honest and Fear Not”. I saw this phrase a couple of years ago on the ground of an entrance to a really old hardware shop in Co. Clare. Like, it’s a tiled entrance to the shop. I found myself just looking at it for a while, wondering what it was all about. It resonated with me for whatever reason. We took a picture of it and asked them if they were cool with us using it for our album cover. Then that phrase permeated the lyrics. In a big way.

I’ve always used a lot of metaphors and stuff, but not this time. The world is a shitty place a lot of the time, but I’m lucky to have found a pretty cool space within it. I work with and am friends with a really great group of people, I’ve an amazing family, and I’m more or less happy and know I’m very lucky, but there’s always that underlying sense of disquiet. I just feel as a race, we’re rapidly approaching some sort of disastrous tipping point, and as a musician, I often question my role in everything. Like, what the hell am I doing? That’s what this record is about.

windings interview
‘Be Honest And Fear Not’ Artwork

O: What are your ambitions for this new album?

SR: Our ambitions have never really changed, We just want as many people as possible to be aware of its’ existence. We’ll tour some, and then we’ll tour some more. And, hopefully some people will dig it.

O: You have an Irish tour on the horizon. What do you enjoy about playing live?

SR: I enjoy hearing these songs grow and become what they are with the band in the practice room. I enjoy taking them out to venues and stretching them, pushing them further, and getting to play with the amazing musicians in this band. I enjoy playing my music to strangers and friends alike. I enjoy talking to people after the gigs. I reeeally enjoy playing guitar loudly.

O: You recently opened for Grandaddy for their Vicar Street gig. What was that experience like?

SR: It was pretty cool to be honest. Sophtware Slump was a pretty big album for us. Seriously influential. So even getting to meet and see those guys play live was a great experience for us. They seem like really down to earth people, with the same concerns as any band. Like, they told us they were nervous cos they had just got some new equipment, and they were worried that they’d mess up their new tunes and nobody would like them. That was very cool to hear. They were amazing, of course.

O: What advice would you give to young people starting bands in 2016?

SR: Go to gigs. See other bands, meet them, talk to them, keep in touch, write songs, practice, book gigs, play live. Then record something maybe. Go to more gigs. In that order.

Follow windings on Facebook.

Follow Overblown on Facebook and Twitter.