Forming in 2018, South For Winter is an elaborate indie/folk/bluesy band that hones into quality instrumentals in order to bring pivotal messages to the table.
With an eclectic mix of track releases, South For Winter has inevitably proved their versatility. Integrating complex and classical instrumentation, South For Winter ultimately sets their sights on the perplexity and emotive of chosen sound, and their recent album "LUXUMBRA" showcases this entirely in the most fitting way possible.
South For Winter has released their highly anticipated album, titled "LUXUMBRA". The first track, "Twine", speaks to tranquil and open souls, integrating sweet-sounding violin melodies into the even softer-sounding vocalism of the track. "Twine" sets up the album in the most fitting way--listeners know exactly what they're getting into, and the theme of the album is ultimately set with the track.
Once you transition to the second track, "All We Have", the melody becomes even more serene and full of an inspirational feel. The collection of creamy and delicate instrumentals exasperates the gentle ambience the song carries, and South For Winter proves their ability to remain at an utmost poised elevation.
Moving on to "Dawn", South For Winter adjusts the projected energy, as the tempo slows down completely, introducing a more melancholic rhythm. The switch in inflection brings about a calming effect that can naturally wash over your senses. The theme integrates naturally in, and South For Winter chooses to introduce a diverse array of imagery with their chosen lyricism. "
Ten Black Crows" follows "Dawn" and announces its presence with more lively guitar rhythms as well as a bustling vocal delivery. There's more twang to "Ten Black Crows", which allows a nice contrast from previous songs in the album thus far. South For Winter alludes to even more versatile imagery, as each and every lyric is chosen with reflection and purpose. That bustling environment only increases throughout the course of the track, allowing listeners to build up the necessary stamina to participate in the uplifting experience of their sound.
The dynamic and active environment extends itself into the album's fifth track, "Fallen Seeds". A strong sense of growth and direction of growth is presented in this track, as well as the reality of undergoing tribulations. With an enterprising fix, "Fallen Seeds" establishes that beautiful contrast between production and content, and that brings an even more flavourful aspect to the essence of the song. This wave of energy is immediately brought down with "Dusk", the sixth track on the album. "Dusk" is a purely instrumental song, which allows the listener to really soak in and appreciate the flow of sound. It's peaceful beyond explanation, and definitely, an intermittent album track meant for reflection, realization, and pure relaxation.
Venturing on, we come up to "Devil is a'Calling", and South For Winter accommodates a more rugged approach to the projected production. Combining a heavier drum presence with darker vocalism, "Devil is a'Calling" is able to feel affecting in a more disparate way, and with that comes a darker articulation of meaning. There's a fitting contrast that presents itself once various vocals get assimilated together, and ultimately "Devil is a'Calling" is able to feel incredibly potent. The energy carries on nicely between that song and "Always You".
Conforming to a positive and cheerful storyline, "Always You" is able to feel very heartwarming with its essence. "Always You" focuses on the embrace of love, happiness, and how the two can come hand-in-hand. This track doesn't reflect a shadow of a doubt with self-expression and emotions, which brings a stirring and joyous emotion to the table.
We're ultimately inspired by "Always You" and have a newfound appreciation for the interpretation of elucidation. Transitioning from "Always You" to "All I Wanna Do" occurs smoothly, and this track specifically focuses on the blend of soft-sounding and deeply-seated vocalism. When the two vocalists merge their powers together, the product essentially becomes even more alluring. We're fixated on the powerful dynamic within "All I Wanna Do", as well as the charming elegance that arises.
"Caeruleum" follows a varying direction with its approach, and that sweet-sounding, poised level of expression arises once again. We reminisce back to the track's first track with "Caeruleum" and feel our spirits lift up with its elegant, and yet slightly sorrowful, sound. We know, a juxtaposition within itself, but still, we find it easy to feel elevated with such a divergent melody. As an instrumental track, "Caeruleum" only furthers the genuine gratitude toward the foundational sound that South For Winter easily adheres to.
"Black Widow (in White Lace)" is the following track to "Caeruleum", and picks itself up with a more influential and purposeful melody, reminding us of "All I Wanna Do". Secrets, obstacles, and the power of expression are brought up within "Black Widow (in White Lace)", and such themes are able to showcase the commanding nature of the track's production. That kind of influential energy is drastically switched with the following track, "Into the Eye", another instrumental track of the album. We get softly flowing melodies that transition into a quicker-paced production, which brings a nice contrast between calmness and robustness. With each and every instrumental track, we find ourselves growing an even more absolute appreciation for South For Winter and their honest expressions.
The album ends itself with the thirteenth track, "Stone". We're back at the serene and calming vocal expression. This particular track gives the best kind of ending to the string of songs presented by South For Winter, and a wash of pleasure is able to fall over the listening ears of any receiver. With "Stone", listeners are able to extract various messages from the track, all while remaining completely at rest and amusement.
Quiescence is the motive for "Stone", and the balanced embrace extended out to listeners brings feelings of joy, inspiration, and composure. All in all, "LUXUMBRA" brought an entire array of patience, peaceful, and dynamically industrious collections of sound, which all worked to brighten up the atmosphere of any listener's day. We're intrigued by future releases from South For Winter, as we know we can expect pure quality from the artists, as well as a diligent expression of raw and honest sound.
Wow! What an honest and pure collection of sound presented in your album, 'LUXUMBRA'. What kind of vision went into the essence of this album?
Thank you so much! We worked really hard on the songs, production choices, and overall flow of the album. Our music crosses a wide range of roots genres due to our eclectic range of influences; we knew early on that we wanted the album to be diverse.
To tie together the different types of songs on the album, we wrote instrumental interludes like "Dusk", the cello instrumental that leads into the murder ballad "Devil is a'Calling". To make it come full circle, we had the last guitar lick in "Stone" (the final track) match the first guitar lick in "Twine" (the opening track). Finally, we chose the album name Luxumbra, latin for "light" and "shadow", to help encompass the mix of heavier folk-rock ballads and lighter acoustic duets on the record. The whole album took a lot of planning, writing, and rewriting - two full years of it! But we wanted it to feel like a journey with a lot of rises and falls - just like the recording process was for us throughout this crazy year - and we are so proud of what we achieved.
Was there a particular song that sparked more reflection on your end within 'LUXUMBRA'?
That would probably be "Black Widow (In White Lace)". We wrote several versions of the song with many alternate endings since our producer Matt Leigh kept pushing us to bring back the chorus and make the end feel really epic. It was tough to do so with the numerous tempo changes that happen throughout the song. It’s also a difficult idea to portray as a song, with it being the true story of serial killer Lavinia Fisher (look her up, her story is pretty crazy!). Dani rewrote the lyrics probably dozens of times. However, we strongly believe that all of the work that went into it paid off since the song turned into this big, eclectic, adventurous piece that is definitely not our most commercial track on the album - but is probably our most rockin', the creative song on it.
How do you feel the transition between the album's first track, "Twine", and its last track, "Stone" went about? Was there strategic planning with the course of the album?
The transition between the first and last tracks, "Twine" and "Stone," was definitely very intentional. As mentioned earlier, we wanted the album to feel like a journey. The two song ideas happened to be of a similar fingerpicked feel and in the same tuning, so we decided to create a "loop" effect on the album with them. Coincidentally, "Twine" was the very first track we wrote for the album and "Stone" was the very last song that we wrote, so putting them in this order felt symbolic of the album's creation itself. Dani also had the idea of taking the storyline from "Twine" and continuing it with "Stone," with the two songs being parts 1 and 2 of each other. In every way, they became the perfect bookends for Luxumbra.
How was the collaboration within the tracks of the album itself, and what kind of collective effort went into the preparation, songwriting, and recording of the tracks?
Every song on the album was a very collaborative effort. Nick has a great metaphor for the process, with it being that each song was like a painting passed from one band member to the next - each adding his or her own creative flair as it went down the line. Most songs on the album started with Dani and Nick writing the musical "bones" in terms of lyrics, structures, and chords. Alex came along next, with him and Nick collaborating on the overall composition regarding guitar parts, cello, mandolin, etc. Drummer/percussionist Chris Kearney followed, creating the grooves that drive a lot of the music. And then producer Matt Leigh and studio engineer Bryce Roberts followed, giving suggestions for fine-tuning the songs and then recording, mixing, and producing the heck out of all of them.
While we created many of the ideas separately, we played most of the parts live in-studio. We were lucky enough to record the album in a large enough studio that all of us could be in isolated rooms; with Dani singing in one, Nick playing guitar in another, Chris on drums in the next, and Alex and Matt on cello and bass in the last room. The whole rhythm section, and even many of the vocals on the album, are live one-take performances. The huge sounds we got on songs like "Devil is a'Calling" were often thanks to creative microphone placements that made the instruments sound more layered than they were, plus great mixing decisions made by producer Matt Leigh and vocal overdubs recorded afterward.
What direction are you looking to take your sound now after releasing 'LUXUMBRA'?
We are actually planning on stripping it down a lot for our next album. It'll be completely acoustic. All parts will be played by us as a three-piece, and therefore the next record will sound more like our touring format as a trio. There will be some acoustic versions of songs from Luxumbra - such as "Devil is a'Calling" and "Twine" - but there will also be new songs on the next album, and maybe even a cover or two. We'll start recording this acoustic album within the next couple months.