‘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.”
- What made you decide to start the band?
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.
- Introduce us all to the members and your musical history?
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.
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.
- What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
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.
- Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Birds aren’t real.
- Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Too much junk food.
- What useless party trick do you have?
As a magician, I happen to know a lot of boring card tricks!
- Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about?
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.
- If you had to describe your band to an alien how would you describe it?
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.
- What makes you stand out as a band?
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.
- Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
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.
- I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
‘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.
- Talk me through the thought process of the single?
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.
- What was the recording process like?
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.
- What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
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.
- Would you change anything now its finished?
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.
- What are your plans for the year ahead?
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
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