Mad Winter Interview

We had a chance to sit down with James and Callum of Mad Winter ahead of their gig supporting Awkward Agenda at Club Academy.

Mad Winter played a short set featuring a few of their older songs alongside a few that got their first performance live. A highlight of the set was the song Get away, which was released as part of their EP ‘Emergence’ last year. This song is a catchy indie number, showcasing the talents of each member of the Mancunian four-piece. Callum’s drumming was strong throughout, driving each song forward confidently. James showed he’s a competent front man, interacting with the crowd with confidence throughout.

All in all, this was a strong performance from a band that have a good setlist to choose from, with a few very good tunes in particular. For a band that has only been going for 2 years, Mad Winter are blessed by being in a city with such a strong music scene, especially for young bands. Expect Mad Winter to take full advantage of that music scene over the next few year.

This is your gig since a few weeks ago at Dulcimer, how did that go?

James: Yeah that went really well, it was packed. It was our first gig back for a while and we had a couple of hundred come down for it and it was our guitarist Jack’s first gig so it was a good one for him.

Callum: It was a more local one for me, with me being from Chorlton and it was good, people enjoyed it and it was packed.

Definitely a different type of gig tonight?

James: Yeah, it’s a lot bigger tonight. I think Academy is a bit more prestigious, it’s a well known venue and to play here second gig back is something I’m proud of because there was a lot of stuff to sort out. We’ve thrown Jack in at the deep end but he did brilliantly.

You’re supporting Awkward Agenda tonight, how did that come about?

James: Well we first played a gig with them at Academy in December 2015 and Adam (Awkward Agenda) was a mate of Scott’s and we got on so they supported us there and they’ve done pretty well off the back of that and now we’re back here supporting with their EP launch tonight

Speaking of EP launches, you released Emergence last year, how did that go?

Callum: Well we recorded it at Blueprint Studios so that was really good, it’s a great place, where Elbow have done a lot of their work so that was good, we even bumped into Guy Garvey while we were there

James: He even asked me for an autograph (laughs)


For people who aren’t familiar with you and maybe haven’t heard you before how would you describe your sound?

James: What I like is that you can tell who we’re inspired by, say Callum and Jack are mad into Foals, Me and Scott are into Stereophonics, we like Catfish and the Bottlemen, people like them. We’ve all got different influences so it makes it into a different sound, especially compared to what is coming out of Manchester now like Cabbage, I think they’re the next ones to do it and we’re a lot different to them, Blossoms as well, they had a good year last year. We’re a new sound to come out

Callum: You mention them bands, but we come off stage and people come up to us and say, ‘oh you sound a bit like The Killers, or U2’ even when it isn’t a conscious choice to sound like them so I think there’s a lot of different influences for us.

So after tonight, what’s the plan for the next year or so?

James: Funnily enough we’re back at Academy next month, but we’ve got a lot of gigs lined up and we’re in the making of doing our first album because we’ve got all that sorted now. We’re going to try and grow our fanbase and play a few festivals

Is there a plan to branch out away from Manchester now?

James: Yeah that’s the thing, we’ve been in Manchester for about 2 years now, we’ll technically 20 years now because that’s where we’re from, but we’ve been doing this for 2 years now and we’re doing all right but it’s like getting those sort of crowds in somewhere else would be mint.We’re not here to say well we’re going to be bigger than the Rolling Stones, we’re just going to be here, we’re best mates, we’re making good music, as far as I’m concerned. You have to think what you’re doing is good, I don’t like it when people are like ‘It’s all right, I don’t know, I hope you like it.We did a gig last year and one of the support bands we’re like ‘well we don’t really like this one but I hope you like it’ and you think well who the fucks going to like that then.

James to Callum: What’s the sort of thing you’d be happy with

Callum: Well I think as we were saying we definitely want to branch out outside of Manchester, play a few more places around the UK, like Leeds, Liverpool, I think we should go and play at Universities and obviously social media is massive.

James: Well I love the Beatles, Jack’s mad into the Rolling Stones and B.B. King and it’s like we’re listening to 60s music trying to reach out to 21 year olds, so I think we can find our niche. I don’t think we’re mainstream but I think if you listened to us on the radio you’d think alright they have good catchy tunes but I don’t think you’d be like ‘oh wow what’s this new take on music.

Yeah it seem a lot of people make a big deal out of staying away from mainstream sounds, but you could say it’s mainstream for a reason

James: People I know are in bands who are doing the pop thing and it’s great for them because if you like that kind of music then you have a pretty good chance of making something out of it.


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