Acoustic folk/rock duo First The Winter brings their soothing melodies to light with their song “Don't Look Now”. Coming from the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, the duo (and couple) consists of the musical works between Jimmy Stewart and Aili Emilia. With their debut album titled “Experimental Mice” released earlier this year, First The Winter is constantly growing their sound. The track “Don’t Look Now” off the LP serves haunting vocalizations and incredibly serene acoustic fingerpicking. First The Winter has perfectly captured beautiful harmonies and has supported them effectively with calming cello.
The track begins with background cello droning in the distance, creating an incredibly peaceful atmosphere. The arrival of the duo’s elegant and peaceful acoustic fingerpicking creates a soothing melody anticipating First The Winter’s haunting vocals. First Jimmy Stewart sweeps the floor with his soft and crisp vocals, all while Aili Emilia perfectly enters the song with an astonishing harmony. The track progressively grows wider in instrumentation, incorporating tambourine patterns, pronounced cello and more. The duo also creates phenomenal imagery with lyrics like “wrote her a letter not expecting no reply, our branch was withered should have stepped back and watch it die”. First, the Winter creates exceptional acoustic music and is definitely worth the listen.
Listen to “Don’t Look Now” here.
Hey there First The Winter, Welcome to BuzzMusic! We’re incredibly captivated by your calming and expressive sound. Where was inspiration drawn for your song “Don’t Look Now”?
That's an interesting question because most of our songs were actually written by me [Jimmy] about Aili, including the track "Don't Look Now." I fell in love with Aili on our first date, but that sentiment wasn't initially mutual. I couldn't shake the feeling that she was my soulmate, my one true love, and those four years of unrequited love (along with a good amount of red wine) provided more than enough heartache and despair for the sixty-something songs I wrote before we recorded our first album last April.
Your music is incredibly soothing, and provides beautiful melodies and harmonies! Who were some major musical influences for both of you?
Thank you! Our single greatest musical inspiration is Damien Rice. We discovered a mutual love for his work the very first time we met, and the song "3 Day Fairytale" on our debut album Experimental Mice is actually about a road trip we took to see Damien perform at Red Rocks Amphitheater. His studio albums are vulnerable and timeless, and his ability to hold a crowd spellbound with nothing more than his voice and his guitar is amazing. Glen Hansard is another tremendous influence for us -- such a vocal powerhouse, and we never get tired of watching his movie Once.
Not only are you two musicians, but you’re engaged as well! How do you think being together helps First The Winter's music flourish?
We wrote a lot of songs during the first four years of our partnership, but we weren't recording or performing in public at all. Now that we're living together and engaged to be married, a lot of people assume that it must be awkward or difficult to perform and record songs that were written out of such a place of hurt and depression...but that's just not the case. Our relationship has evolved into such a deep, honest, emotional connection, and we feel like that vulnerability and connection adds a really beautiful dynamic to our music.
Your track "Don't Look Now" perfectly ties in the emotional hardships that come with love. What was the creative process like when recording the expressive song?
I [Jimmy] wrote this song out of the realization that I would never love another person the way I loved Aili, and that no relationship or situation would keep me from her if we ever had the chance to be together. Things finally clicked for us as a couple the night before we went into the studio to record our album, so emotional currents were running high and hard during that magical week. We just rode that momentum through each and every track, and our producer Owen Sartori was there to guide and shape that wild wave into something beautiful.
What can we expect to see next from First The Winter throughout 2020?
Great question! We just released our debut album Experimental Mice on Friday, March 6th, and it's already being streamed by thousands of listeners in thirty-four countries! First, the Winter is the tiniest of small potatoes in the music world, so those numbers have really blown us away. A second album is in the works -- we are headed back to Minneapolis, MN to record three new singles at F5 Soundhouse in early May, and then again in December to record studio album number two. We're putting together a mini-tour of the PNW and British Columbia, and we just started planning a European tour for early 2021 to support the second album. Follow us on Instagram @first_thewinter and on our website firstthewinter.com to stay up-to-date on show dates near you!