Declining Winter Interview

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This is a short interview with one of my favourite musicians, Hood alumni Richard Adams that I did for Inpress about 4 months ago. The reason I post it now is because that not only is Goodbye Minnesota (Sensory Projects) such a great album, they’ve just released a download only remix album with some really great mixes from the likes of Bracken, Remote Viewer and Part Timer. Check http://sensoryprojects.com.au for more details.

Perhaps one of the most criminally underrated indie bands of the last decade and bit have been Leeds based quintet Hood, a band who have continued to create some of the most beautiful experimental melodies you will ever hear. They’ve remixed Mogwai and collaborated with Anticon, but are now they’re on an indefinite hiatus. Two years ago Chris Adams came out with his solo project Bracken and unleashed We Know About the Need, a gorgeous nuanced opus of understated electronica. His brother and co conspirator in Hood Richard Adams has taken a little more time. His project, Declining Winter’s debut release Goodbye Minnesota is nothing short of stunning. It’s impossible not to be seduced by the gorgeous shimmering instrumentation, simple textural sounds, violins, acoustic guitars gently plucked, basic percussion given plenty of space and of course the incredible winsome vocals that resonate so readily in Hood. It’s an album of sparse stately beauty, reminiscent of well, Hood.

“There’s definitely still a link there,” offers Richard Adams. “There’s no point in pretending the link doesn’t exist. Sometimes I think that people can be so scared of sounding like something that they end up losing everything. But to be honest I don’t sit down and think about it much. As long as I like it I’m fine with it.”

It’s quite curious. In going solo Adams has not taken the opportunity to establish his credential too far from Hood. This is not a long awaited doom techno record, or an opportunity to delve into deep funk. Instead everything feels easily traced back to his day job, and by extension his soul.

“I’m not the kind of person who will just lurch off in a different style,” he confirms. “This is what comes out when I make music. I wasn’t at any point thinking I better not make this sound like Hood, but there was no conscious decision to make it sound like Hood either. It’s what came out really. People have said that if you play mine and my brothers records together you get a Hood record. It’s two halves of one thing really.”

There is very little urgency about Adams and it’s incredibly reassuring. He’s not particularly good at selling his music, and seems content to let the music do the talking. Everything appears simple. Hood is not playing at the moment so now he has time to do things for himself.

“It’s an experiment in writing my own songs,” he says. “That’s literally it. It was either Chris writing the songs, the complete band stuff or either a collaboration with me and him. This is just an experiment for the first time in writing my own songs start to finish, doing everything rather than giving my ideas to others. Just a creative vehicle for me to write music really.”

But he enjoyed the process considerably.

“I think because I’m such a control freak, I’ve got my own ideas about stuff. It’s like I was set free really,” he confesses laughing. “I could put on all the parts that I wanted. Sometimes you have to go through committee you know.

In fact the success of Declining Winter, which has included putting a band together for live shows, has led to an curious problem. Where to now?

“My major issue about going forward with it is whether I still do it on my own or whether I get the band involved. At the moment I’m doing it myself but I’m still undecided. I’m trying to avoid it being diluted by others. I think the way forward may be a half and half approach. I don’t want to stick to the limited stuff I can do, but I don’t want to lose the themes I’ve developed also. I’m still undecided.

Bob Baker Fish

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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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