Thursday, May 30 2024

Welcome to TIG’s interview today, where we are about to embark on an exciting journey into the vibrant world of Winchester 7 & The Runners as they unveil their latest EP, ‘The Waking Giant.’ Hailing from the city of Atlanta, United States, this powerhouse ensemble, comprised of Phil Voorhees on bass, Jack Kane on drums, and Winchester 7 on vocals and ukulele, is ready to grab audiences with their new EP, containing some top tunes and thought-provoking narratives. So, let’s not waste any more time… Join us as we delve into the heart of their music … Winchester 7 & The Runners, the floor is yours!


HEY GUYS, CONGRATULATIONS ON THE NEW EP. HOW DOES ‘THE WAKING GIANT’ COMPARE TO YOUR PREVIOUS WORKS?

Winchester: Thank you! Well, I’d been saying that it feels the most deliberate to me.

Jack: And then we all agreed that that sort of thing made him sound like a right div.

Winchester: [laughs] I was outvoted, anyway…. you see, on our last one, we tried writing around a consistent theme, but came away swearing that we’d both never do that again and wondering what it might be like to write one with a bit less narrative.  

Jack: More relatable’s what we wanted.

Phil: The songs were to be songs before they became concepts.

Jack: Conceptually speaking, of course… 

SO, WHAT INSPIRED THE CONCEPT BEHIND ‘THE WAKING GIANT,’ AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO EXPLORE THE THEME OF AI-DRIVEN IMMERSIVE WORLDS?

Jack: There it is again.

Winchester: Well, it all started when Jack was telling us about a science fiction novel he once wrote.

Jack: I sometimes wish I hadn’t!

Winchester: He’d imagined a fully immersive virtual reality where everyone had been a part of it so very long that they’d kind of forgot that it was virtual at all.

Jack: If only the book had turned out as good as the ideaCan you imagine?

Winchester: But, there’s something to that whole experience we could relate to. That creating something from inspiration thing, where without a net, you hope it just connects. And it doesn’t always work out that way.

Phil: Not always without a reason, however. It is fortunate for us that his drumming…

Jack: It was a bit rubbish though. So, when Win started talking about it being a part of our next album, I thought he was soft.

Winchester: It seems that everything I read these days is about artificial intelligence. And for better or worse this next generation of technology is here to stay.  

Jack: Until the next next generation, that is.

Winchester: But, that doubt, that fear that comes with every new industrial revolution, often leads to good stories. We just wanted to try to tell one.

Phil: For better or worse… though we are hoping it is for the better.

Winchester: So, we ended up taking Jack’s VR world and mashing it up with AI where it serves as sort of a governor, keeping the trains running.

Phil: And wrote it from the perspective of those involved in its creation and those of us choosing whether or not to be a part of this brave new world.

Jack: I’ll see your Huxley and raise you an Orwell, mate.

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WHAT DO YOU HOPE LISTENERS WILL TAKE AWAY FROM ‘THE WAKING GIANT’ AFTER EXPERIENCING THE ALBUM IN ITS ENTIRETY?

Jack: I hope they love it to bits. [laughs]

Phil: It would be nice if they would also listen to it many more times.

Winchester: Tell their friends even! [laughs] I mean, look, sure we’d love it if listeners took away some deep-seated meaning. But, our real hope is that they at least enjoy it. There’s plenty to think about there; but, if they just want to tap their feet, a little, that’s OK with us! 

THE TRACK, ‘DISSOCIATION,’ PROVIDES A TWIST BY EXPLORING THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE AI ITSELF. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO INCLUDE THIS VIEWPOINT?

Winchester: That was a weird one in that I didn’t really know we were going to do that at all until I had written about half of the lyrics… and that was way after we had most of the music tracked.

Jack: Win was talking about how he’d read an article where people who used VR long enough came out of it feeling spaced out.

Phil“Disassociate with me” was a call and response line Jack came up with while we were listening to playback in the recording studio.

Winchester: I guess it kind of clicked at that point. And, with that thought in mind we were able to add some finishing touches to keep it all fitting.

CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH THE RECORDING PROCESS FOR THE ALBUM? DID YOU ENCOUNTER ANY SURPRISES OR UNEXPECTED TURNS ALONG THE WAY?

Winchester: I know we started off talking about how we wanted to do things differently.

Jack: Well, after the last album, a murder mystery; we wanted to be less serious about it all.

Phil: Though there are also serious songs.

Winchester: It’s not not serious. I think we were just really trying to keep things loose in the studio, whether at our own or…

Phil: In Albuquerque.

Winchester: In Albuquerque, yes. We, actually, had the opportunity to record with our mix engineer, Jon Paz, in-person at Half Way to Hell Studios.

Jack: The southwest cuisine was on point.

Phil: I enjoyed many tacos.

Jack: And too many beans!  So, we eventually bailed for our home studios to finish things up… collaborating back and forth, as it were.

LOOKING AHEAD, WHAT’S NEXT FOR WINCHESTER 7 & THE RUNNERS? DO YOU HAVE ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS OR TOURS IN THE WORKS?

Winchester: We’re really focused on promotion right now, but I’d like to see us head out for a short tour of some historic theaters.

Jack: Or maybe record some more music.

Phil: I would enjoy a short vacation. Perhaps staycation.

Jack: You spend a scary amount of time in your flat, mate.

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AND, FINALLY, A FUN QUESTION… IF YOU COULD CREATE AN AI BANDMATE TO JOIN WINCHESTER 7 & THE RUNNERS, WHAT INSTRUMENT WOULD IT PLAY AND WHAT UNIQUE MUSICAL ABILITIES WOULD IT HAVE?

Winchester: Nice! I wouldn’t mind adding a guitarist, but… unique musical ability? Is it able to talk to the other AIs as a trusted source?

Jack: That’s absolute power, isn’t it?

Winchester: Yeah… we’d only use it for good though, right?

Jack: No doubt…

Phil: Maybe it could promote the band, but without unleashing evil or erasing the Rolling Stones.  

Winchester: Though, if it could grant us ABKCO’s ownership of their back catalog, I’d love to return it to Mick and Keef.

Jack: Maybe after pocketing a few quid, anyway… but we’ve lost the plot! It was unique musical abilities, mates.

Winchester: Music marketing is an ability! I mean, something like “everything it writes is a hit” would only serve to break up the band, right?

Phil: Sometimes the main creative source of a band can get a large head.

Jack: I understand it often starts with their putting their own name in front of the band’s…

Winchester: [laughs] Hey, for the last time Jack, Phil, and WinThree Guys and a Ukulele, and Jack’s Space Force were never going to work! Has anyone suggested an AI drummer?

Jack: All right, fair play, but it wouldn’t have a feel though, would it? You know, we actually used AI on the album and it was mostly rubbish!

Winchester: Yeah, that’s right too! We fed it a bunch of our stuff and the output wasn’t what you’d expect at all. But, with a little dressing up and production, we were able to make something of it. That’s where those strings come from at the end of ‘On the Pipeline’ and ‘Disassociation.’

Phil: I might like an AI virtual Elvis, but… one that is only ten inches tall and holographic too. I imagine him replacing my Siri…[laughs]

Jack: There you have it!

Winchester: And, with that, thanks for having us!  It’s been a pleasure.

Jack: Cheers! 


Thanks guys 

As we conclude our conversation with Winchester 7 & The Runners, the passion, fun and enjoyment they have for both music and storytelling are clear. From unraveling the mysteries of AI and forging them into infectious songs, they continue to explore and push themselves both musically and thematically. Stay tuned for more from this band, as one thing is certain about them… you can never be certain what’s to come next!

Until next time, keep rocking with Winchester 7 & The Runners and check out the new EP… oh, and if you want a laugh be sure to check out their YouTube channel below.

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About Author

Matt Warren

Matt Warren is a Cheshire based musician who studied contemporary music and composition. When not writing for The Indie Grid he enjoys watching 'Breaking Bad' on continuous loop and going to gigs. Since a youngster his fave band have been 'The Beatles' (with 'Cardiacs' in at a close second)... and this still applies to this day.

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