Ten Songs by Winter

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Winter have never toured the UK before. Tomorrow (21st Jan), however, the Swedish group will perform at The Band Room, at Low Mill, Farndale.

This small venue, housing only 100 people and set in the North York Moors, is the perfect setting for the Scandinavian four piece, whose main agenda is to create an intimate and organic sound.

Their latest album, Ten Songs, was recorded in an old mission house called Rackerby Chapel in Western Sweden, where the band retreated "to get away from everyday life". They are on a mission to romanticise the song-recording process.

Escaping to Rackerby Chapel freed the band to indulge in music. Lead singer and song writer Anna-Lena Winter - from whom the band takes its name - says: "There's this big room with a high ceiling and there's a great sound. You can't do anything there but play the instruments so we took everything with us and stayed for four to five days a time."

Can you hear this sound on the album? "The atmosphere is there, and the feeling is there when you start to record," says Anna-Lena. "We always try to play live as much as we can. I find it hard to relax in a fancy room and make nice music. You get to be closer to the band going away to record so Rackerby Chapel is in there."

Ten Songs runs to a mere 38 and a half minutes and is just what is says: ten songs. Anna-Lena says: "There are too many albums that are too long, with material that is not really useful. It really doesn't make sense and I really don't like that. If you look back at all the classic albums there were only four or five songs on each side.

"You can listen to the whole album, including getting another cup of coffee, in less than 40 minutes. We picked the songs we liked and put them together. The criteria for selecting songs are such that the song has to mean something to get on to the album. You want to have something to put the songs together; we call it a `red thread'. You have to put some songs away and that's not easy."

Anna-Lena writes the lyrics for most of Winter's songs. "I write songs with an acoustic guitar, a piece of paper and a pen. They're based on experience, but it doesn't have to be my experience. I love to sit and watch people, whether I know them or not. I really like words."

Interestingly, Anna-Lena is more fascinated by English words than Swedish: "I think of songs in English. I like the way I can express myself in that language. There are more opportunities with English, and the kind of music we're doing suits English."

Ten Songs is centered on themes of love, companionship and relationships. "Relationships are always there. No matter what you're doing. Whether it's someone you love or someone you work with. It's hard to leave it out," Anna-Lena says. "I think women write more about relationships and men write the love they couldn't have. I think women are more preoccupied with relationships."


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