Winterquilt is a solo musical project with a style that’s hard to pin down. It would probably do a disservice to the variety of the music for me to try to sum it up, so I’ll just put here the description the man behind the music offers on Twitter: “multi genre vaporised midi”. There are Metal influences in there, but much much more besides. Check out the 2020 album O’Discordia just recently released on vinyl (if you haven’t done so already) for a wild listening experience. The Unplugged album meanwhile is a great, soothing change of pace. Needless to say I asked for this interview because I’m fascinated by the music and I wanted to learn more. I hope you will enjoy the questions and answers.
– Hello and thanks for agreeing to this interview for Blessed Altar Zine. Winterquilt is certainly a distinctive musical project. How would you describe the music you make?
Hi, thank you for having me! It’s hard to say really because my discography is so varied. my last two propper albums i’ve made are more influenced by metal, whist still being entirely programed in midi, and incorporating tons of influences outside of metal of course, but throughout my discography you can find lofi house, vaporwave, industrial, edm, ambient, folk…this is why I generally just go with “multi genre midi music”..although that isn’t even accurate because I do use instruments and vocals on occasion..ultimately this project is just a vehicle of expression, unbound by any rules whatsoever. If I feel like doing it, I will.
– My entry point was your recently released O’discordia album, which really grabbed my attention. The packaging is also lush. How happy are you altogether with how the release came out?
Actually O’discordia was released a year ago, just recently reissued on vinyl. I’ve been blown away by the reaction it’s gotten, but it’s kinda hard to listen to now as I’ve improved so much as a producer since I made it. I’m really proud of it tho don’t get me wrong. I love that it’s brought people from different scenes together, like people from the black metal world who didn’t really know what vaporwave was and vice versa, i get a lot of messages like that, people checking out the influences of mine they weren’t familiar with before hearing my music.
– How did Winterquilt first come about and what were your experiences making music prior to this project?
Well, I first started making guitar based music around 2001, starting off making really crappy metal on a cassette 4 track. As I improved as a guitarist and composer I upgraded my recording hardware, always avoiding using computers due to being a huge technophobe. I had multiple blackmetal/experimental metal projects in that time, none of which really went anywhere. 2013 – 2018 I had a long break from making music, and sold most of my gear. At that time I got really into electronic music, and around 2016 I discovered vaporwave. This was the most mind blowing musical discovery since finding black metal, and despite the difference in sonic and aesthetic characteristics, i found a lot of crossovers between the two. I eventually became inspired to make music again, purchased FL studio, and discovered I should have been using a DAW all along. I started off making fairly traditional vaporwave, although I didn’t use samples, rather I programmed everything from scratch. Next I remixed my first ever “release” from 2003 into a dark lofi house album. From there I started developing the midi blackmetal influenced vaporwave-adjacent sound I’m most known for today.
– I’ve seen the Black Metal tag applied to your music, but that seems to be only a small part of your influences. I’m curious to know what your biggest musical inspirations have been. I feel Mike Patton and Trey Spruance must be in there somewhere, right?
Haha, perhaps indirectly! I’m a huge fan of mr bungles “california” like..honestly, i struggle to answer this question because i feel like i don’t have any specific main influences, it’s more just me expressing myself, filtering EVERYTHING i’ve ever loved through my own brain. If i had to name some influences in a vague sense, not that i sound a ton like any of these, the artists that come to mind would be telepath, leviathan, aphex twin, igorrr and on the next album specifically, early anaal nathrakh.
– The Winterquilt: Unplugged release is really quite beautiful. It’s interesting to hear this more guitar based version of the songs. Is it on guitar or keyboard that you tend to first create your music?
Thank you! Well this in the thing, a large percentage of my back catalogue is midi re-workings (with a lot of new parts added too like) of my old guitar based material that never got released, so in that sense, a LOT of stuff was composed on guitar. I don’t actually play any of the synths though, on a physical keyboard. It’s all drawn in, painstakingly point and clicked into the piano roll with a mouse. Unplugged shines a light on my compositional starting point in that sense, although the originals were more black metal, with distorted guitars and stuff rather than acoustic.
– Is all your instrumentation (aside from guitar) synths? I absolutely love the acoustic version of Woven and I wonder if that’s real woodwind in there? I’m going to guess not, but it sounds good!
So yeah, as stated above, almost everything is programmed in midi, including the woodwind yeah.
– You recently created a soundtrack to a computer game. Could you tell us a bit about that project?
Ah yes! That was so much fun. So a while back, a talented games developer, known in the vaporwave scene for co-founding and creating the vaporwave inspired game “broken reality” contacted me asking if he could use some of my music as placeholders in a game he was working on. I of course said yes and he used tracks from hymn, odiscordia and unplugged. Fast forward a year later, I’m in my second to last term in university, doing a degree in audio production/engineering. I had an assignment where I had to basically work on a collaborative real life project. I contacted the developer, and asked if he would like me to score the whole demo from scratch for my assignment. It went really well, and was a dream come true. I often get told my music sounds like VGM, so it was amazing to apply that to an actual game. I am currently eagerly awaiting my result in that assignment lol.
– What’s the story behind the Japanese text you have on some of your releases?
Kanji characters after the artist title is a common trope in vaporwave, so in the beginning i just wanted it as a nod to that tbh..i couldn’t actually tell you why vaporwave artists do that tho, which is why i dropped it mostly. That, and it didn’t really mean anything, i think it translated as “no love” or something. I picked those characters mostly because one of the characters looked a bit like the leviathan cross, the symbol of the 9 satanic statements in laveyan satanism. Labels still use kanji on my releases sometimes, which I’m fine with, as long as it isn’t attached to my artist name.
– I was amused by a recent post I saw from you showing the 105 channels of a track you’ve been working on. I can relate to the dangerous charms of digital recording possibilities. How close have you come to madness when putting together a track?
Oh god, I lose my mind with every release tbh. Because I’ve only been making music on a DAW since 2018, and since then started an audio degree, I massively improve between each album, which means the sessions become more and more complex each time. This next one is absolutely ridiculous, its incredible my laptop, or my mind, hasn’t exploded haha.
– Is live performance of this music in some form something that you’re interested in? Obviously we’ve all been restricted from that point of view recently, but were you performing before the pandemic and is that something you’d like to do in the future?
I’ve played a 2 or 3 live shows over the years with other projects or in college, and performed live once during university, which was technically a Winterquilt performance as that song i made for the electronic music production assignment is released as winterquit, but playing live, and hopefully touring, are definitely the next step for me, once my new album is finished. Hopefully in 2022 and beyond!
– Finally, is there anything else you’d like to promote or draw our readers’ attention to?
Thankyou for reading, and hopefully listening! My next album will be released in spring/summer of 2022, and is BY FAR my best work ever. I’m extremely excited to unleash it, it’s WAY heavier, crazier, and professional than anything I have released up to now. It also marks the last of my old material, re-worked, so from that album on everything I release will be pretty much 100% newly composed. I hope people enjoy it as much as I suspect they will!
Interview by Tom Boatman
Thanks again to Winterquilt for his time. O’discordia is out now on Repose Records limited coloured vinyl. You can pick up a copy here. O’discordia remixes are available from Fantasy Legend here. If you’re interested in hearing the above mentioned game soundtrack click here. Follow Winterquilt on social media, there’s definitely more in the pipeline.
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