Tell us about blackwinterwells.
i’m a rapper and producer and engineer from southern ontario. i've been making electronic music since 2010 and playing guitar since a little before that, and singing since like 1997 or something. i started making emo stuff in like 2018 and then at some point people started calling it pop music for some reason. wicca and fish know what i'm about though.
honestly, i say this a lot but i don't ever want to stop saying it because it's important to me, i wanted to be a rapper for a while. but i never allowed myself to do it because it felt more vulnerable than just making instrumentals.
i was afraid people wouldn't like it. but then, and i remember this shift pretty clearly, peep died. and when peep died it fucked my whole world up because we were the same age. and he had done so much amazing stuff and i looked back at all the time i spent NOT making the music i want to make and i realized life is way too short to not do what i wanted to do.
so i started getting tattoos and rapping. started dyeing my hair again. i wanted to kill the old me, the coward. i wanted to make it like visually apparent that i'm a different person.
Talk to us about your most recent full-length release, 'Protector.'
so i started an album in 2021. i actually started an album and a companion ep. i had a visual direction for them, i had a couple songs done for each. but summer 2022 rolled around and i was so far from being done either. i had four tracks of the like 16 i needed. i was so mad at myself i wrote all of protector in the last few days of being 25. mixed and mastered it when i got home from tour. most of the rollout and visuals came to me one night on tour in a motel. i was texting sam carter about the illustration i wanted the same night. i spent most of october making the archangel video. me and quannnic made the teasers when i got back. i just needed to make something and protector was what i ended up making. it had been 4 years since the last time i made a whole album by myself. i can no longer make an album without putting at least One 8485 feature on it though so. mulligan i guess.
i think i was also frustrated with how much of my music wasn't about anything, it was all like, hazy metaphors and mystical and magical and that's cool and all but i wanted to make something that meant something. that told a story, that was raw and real and you could like touch it it wasnt shrouded in mist. so protector was that. back into the mist i go.
What sounds / styles have been inspiring your work recently?
INSTAGRAM @FIIONASWORLD - FOR FESTIVAL TICKETS
i have this new production sound i've been honing a little over time, i've been tweeting about it too. it's like a coalescence of a lot of vibes it's hard to explain. it's spacious and lush and it's pretty percussion focused as well. i guess 'ok im cool' is sort of the ancient relative to it. i think lately i'm inspired by a lot of guitar stuff but most of what i'm making isn't guitary. i'm just thinking a lot about texture, fuzz, warmth, space, softness, that sort of thing.
Throughout your discography, you've collaborated with several artists on various projects (not limited to 8485, Funeral, Fax Gang, Midwxst, Alice Gas, etc.)
Can you speak on some of your personal favourite collaborative works?
i think my stuff with quinn and eighty is my fav. they both have very different writing styles but i feel like no stanza or bar is taken for granted, it's all very intentional and purposeful. and also both just have voices that sound great on every single song. that's why i get eighty to do backing vocals on so many of my songs it just always sounds good its like MSG you can't go wrong. my favorite collabs ever are probably some of the unreleased stuff with 8485 that we toured in 2022.
i'm very excited for 'mine' to get an official release someday, that song feels very timeless to me, just like hangar. we actually sat on hangar for over a year before it came out and it still sounded fresh, that's how we knew it was an important song.
Tell us a bit about the significance of your various social media bios, which state, 'protector.'
Do you view yourself as a protector? Or is it just significant of the album release?
the idea of protector, the album, to me, is sort of about.
caring and love.
so the message is that everyone is a protector, and should strive to be, and to protect the people they care about and be protected in turn.
keeping each other safe, taking care of each others needs.
Can you tell us a bit about the track, 'IRIS.'
it's really funny that IRIS ended up being my biggest song because it was really outside of what i normally do. and it's mostly a tech demo? kinda? at the time glitchcore was a really big idea, and everyone was doing a lot of chopping up and glitching of the vocals. so i had this idea to like oh what if the vocals were straight, but the beat had a ton of micro-edits and stuff, a-la Culprate or Squarepusher... i made a few songs like it but that was the only one i produced entirely myself. i think mostly people cling to it because its fun and energetic and funny though i think im the only person who cared about the detailing lol.
Can you describe your creative process?
it's always changing, and it's obviously context dependant. like when it's me and taylor morgan and 4evr and whoever else in a room its all about going with the flow, building the track up, layering stuff without thinking about it too hard. when im making beats for eighty its usually about being as simple as possible because i know she doesn't need an intricate arrangement to be inspired by it just needs to have a direct core idea.
but when im producing for me, or me and eighty, it's all about like stacking these big walls of tons of mangled samples of music i like. i try to cut up enough different songs and wash them out so that no one can even tell what im sampled and then i add original synth parts on top of that.
when it comes to rapping though i can't even really explain the creative process because i don't really know what's happening when it happens. i kind of just hear the beat and open my notes app and start writing and it happens really fast and the whole song is written in a matter of minutes.
it’s almost like im freestyling in my head and then writing it down its sort of at that pace. sometimes i get embarassed because i'll be in the studio with someone and they'll take like an hour to do their part and i'll have my main recorded in 3 or 4 minutes and im worried people think im in a hurry or im rushing or something but thats just how my brain works.
What's next for blackwinterwells?
at this point i'm trying to chill out a little.
at this point i feel like, i got in, i made a million songs, i did it, people know who i am, i'm still making music and i'm sure i will keep making albums too but i feel i'm not itching and clawing anymore. i'm gonna take my time, i'm gonna take care of myself, i'm gonna spend time with the people i care about. have a nicer work/life balance. but i'm also trying to maybe be a little more present on social media i've been a ghost a little bit and i want people to know i'm a person, and that i exist in the world.
i spent a year or two sort of, stepping forward and putting 100% of my energy into the -blackwinterwells project- and trying to make some big shit happen but i also feel like i neglected the producer side of me, the support class side, and i'm trying to get more in tune with that. i've made so many fucking songs by myself and had so many ideas, i think it'd be a nice change to let my creative strength build other people's worlds, build other people's visions. obviously a decent part of the 8485 project is my hand, and while obviously we're a duo too and we make a lot of blackwinterwells x 8485 music (which will never stop btw), i've been liking the idea of being more of an engine to Eighty's World, standing in the shadow a little more.
i also play bass in a band now, FOXCULT, and for once the person sitting at the control panel isn't me. i do a little sound design sauce on the production, too, so you can sort of hear the blackwinterwells touch on it, but the person piecing everything together is Audrey. it's cool to be a smaller part of something than i'm used to, it's like a weight off.
as far as what's coming up, i'm trying to settle in to the 2021 vibe again, a bit. making intricately produced solo singles, not dropping a whole lot but everything i drop is quality. i'm working on a couple EPs as well, one with kimj and one with taylor morgan, the kimj one is like weightless grime with wells stacks on it which sounds really cool. i'm excited for it. oh yeah, and me and eighty are going to try to make an indie rock album this year. both singing both playing instruments. i think it'll be our best work.