Interview: Sonic Winter – Take My Hand

Sonic Winter - Take My Hand

‘Take My Hand’ is about an undiscovered artist who uses music to escape the hardships of his life. The lyrics, which read like a stream of consciousness, convey the narrator’s mind’s multitudinous visions, thoughts, and feelings, like a lyrical patchwork of affects. The chorus’s spiritual references, backed up by the gospel choir’s uplifting chants that constitute the unexpected coda, show the artist’s desire to achieve a higher plane of existence through the sanctity of music.

Sonic Winter’s multi-layered song encompasses hip-hop beats, engaging rap lyrics, strong rock guitars, and elements of future bass, going beyond the limitations of trip-hop music.

MC Elijah Black wrote and sang the song’s lyrics. In addition, Charlie Padgett created the amazing unique cover art.

Guitarist Jean-Marc Millière and keyboards Francis Girola form the Sonic Winter duet. Nonetheless, each of their projects contains a broad group of skilled musicians from all over the world and from a wide range of musical backgrounds.

Their repertoire is similarly diverse and unclassifiable. One thing is certain: they are continuously striving to break free from whatever mould that may be imposed upon them. Sonic Winter’s music is ingrained in the 1970s artistic attitude, back when individuals were not afraid to jump over creative barriers, fusing components from a wide range of genres. In that sense, each song takes you on a one-of-a-kind trip of discovery, an epic adventure of sounds that can be visually evocative, philosophical, and even danceable at times. Electronic music legend Jean-Michel Jarre chose Sonic Winter to appear on a tribute album titled Zoolook Revisited in 2016.

Today we had a chance to interview Sonic Winter about their journey into the music industry and their freshly released single, “Take My Hand.”

Jean-Marc and I first met in Glasgow over ten years ago. It became quickly apparent that, although we came from different musical backgrounds, we had a lot of common denominators. In 2012, we started jamming together and quickly began to create a few songs based on some of Jean-Marc’s compositions. At first, our aim was to start a regular band by recruiting some fellow musicians around town. But after a process of trial and errors, we opted for the virtual route, which has enabled us to collaborate with many different artists from around the globe.

JEAN-MARC MILLIÈRE:

Jean-Marc is the former guitarist of French-American band Lemon Squeezer as well as a number of Swedish rock bands such as Atomic Playboys, Riff Raff and Mudslide. Finally, he also featured in the British band Gold Told Us To Do Bad Things.

Born in Paris, Jean-Marc taught himself guitar at an early age and is mainly inspired by the psychedelic and progressive rock of the 1970’s. As a true citizen of the world, he has travelled to all four corners of the earth and has played with a great variety of musicians, which has given him a broad musical perspective.

Main Influences: Jimi Hendrix, Uriah Heep, King Crimson, Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Led Zeppeling, Deep Purple, Goldfrapp, AC/DC, Pink Floyd.

FRANCIS GIROLA:

Originally born in Brazil, Francis grew up in Hyères Les Palmiers, on the French Riviera. He is now based in Glasgow, where he has been residing over the past ten years.

With an eclectic music taste, Francis’s main musical background is in jazz, which he studied at the conservatoire. Recently, his journey with Sonic Winter has enabled him to go back to his very first love: electronic music.

Main Influences: Jean-Michel Jarre, Serge Gainsbourg, Michel Berger, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Michel Petrucciani, Esbjörn Svensson, Daft Punk, Kraftwerk.

Although we’re a French band, the majority of our songs are written in English. One of my pet peeves is when some people ask us why we do not write in French. To me, music is a universal language in and of itself. It does not matter which nationality you are.

Birds aren’t real.

Too much junk food.

As a magician, I happen to know a lot of boring card tricks!

When he is not running up and down minor pentatonic scales on his fretboard, Jean-Marc is also a renowned photographer. His work has notably been included in the reference book titled “The Masters of Nude Photography” (2012) alongside acclaimed artists such as Man Ray, Helmut Newton and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

In addition to his musical talents, Francis is also an award-winning magician and mind reader.

I would probably explain that our music is a perfect blend of all the musical genres that Jean-Marc and I love: rock, blues, electronica, trip-hop, classical… As it stands, we are a 100% virtual band. But we hope to be able to tour in the very near future.

Sonic Winter’s repertoire is varied and unclassifiable. We constantly strive to break free of any mould one could try to place us in. Our music is steeped in the 1970’s artistic ethos, back in the days when people were not afraid of crossing over creative borders. In that regard, every song sets you out on a truly unique voyage of discovery that takes you by surprise, an epic journey of sounds that can be visually evocative, thoughtful and even danceable at times.

I think that nowadays a lot of artists are afraid to go off the beaten track and fuse different genres together. I also find it ironic that although we have such a vast array of content at our fingertips, a lot of people end up secluding themselves by listening to the same playlists over and over again.

‘Take My Hand’ is the second instalment in a list of brand-new singles we are in the process of releasing over the next few months. This song tells the story of an unknown artist who uses music as a way of escaping the harshness of his urban life. Reading like a stream of consciousness, the lyrics convey a myriad of images, thoughts and emotions passing through the narrator’s mind, like a poetic patchwork of affects. The spiritual references of the chorus, backed up by the uplifting chants of the gospel choir in the surprising coda, express the artist’s aim to reach a higher plane of existence through the sanctity of music.

I have had this song on the backburner for quite a while now. Strangely enough, the pandemic gave me to the opportunity to work on a lot of material. Creativity was in fact a healthy escape from all the doom and gloom happening all over the world.

As Jean-Marc and I have been working remotely almost all the way since 2012, the recording process was quite natural for us. The lyrics were written and sung by MC Elijah Black, a rapper from New York whom I sampled on a beat I had been working on. Jean-Marc recorded his guitars in Paris. Finally, the track was mixed and mastered by DeVan “D1” Hooker in Los Angeles.

I don’t mean to brag but the whole creative process was actually quite smooth and seamless. I did put this song on the backburner for a while as I had other projects. I was always waiting for the right moment to release the single. When the pandemic hit, I realised that there is no better time that now.

The most difficult part when creating a song is to let it go. There are always things you could ‘improve’, like sounds you could tweak, tracks you could add… But I think that at some point, the song does not belong to you anymore. It starts to have a life of its own. That is when you need to put it out there.

Although we technically have enough material to release a full album, we have decided to release songs one at a time, just to leave people hungry for more. Get ready for some surprises in the next few weeks!

Don’t forget to follow them on Instagram as @sonicwinter_official

See also: Bineal Roy Out With “Maybe” Video

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