Having spent of the past two years mastering their craft and busking along the entirety of Australia’s East Coast, it seems the journey has only just begun for local dudes James Draper and Jordan Brady. Collectively known as Winterbourne, the Central Coast-based troubadours have been steadily transforming bustling city streets into wide open spaces with their nectarous harmonies and rustic, yet infectious folk sound.
It’s been a big year for Winterbourne with the release of their debut EP and plenty of touring. And as 2015 shapes up to follow in much the same pattern we thought we ought to seize the opportunity for a chat with one half of the hearty duo, Jordan Brady.
You and James have been playing music together for around 8 years now. Can you tell us a little bit about how Winterbourne came to be?
Yeah, so James and I met in year 8 at school, which was quite early. We were friends first and then we started playing guitar at the same time and working with the same guitar teacher… But then our music teacher actually put together as a duo, just singing with each other experimenting with harmonies. And then when we finished school we just continued writing songs together and doing the busking thing, and just playing music together properly.
I understand you previously went under the name Everything After… Why the name change?
We just called ourselves Everything After just for the sake of having a name at the start of our careers when we were doing local gigs; so we sort of stole that one off the Counting Crows album ‘August and Everything After’ [laughs] so we didn’t really put much effort into it and we were never really proud of it, so we thought a bit of an image and name change was appropriate.
And you both grew up on the Central Coast?
Yep, well James is originally from England and moved over here when he was nine.
Your debut EP “All But The Sun” was released back in May… Can you tell us a little bit about the recording process?
Yeah! We recorded it locally on the Coast at a place called The Grove Studios with a mate of ours, Andy Mak. And it was just a really cool experience! The studio is just up in the bush, it’s really secluded, there’s nobody around for miles. So it’s really quiet and we kind of just lived up there for a couple of weeks while we recorded, which was a good little escape for us creatively.
As a duo, how are the song writing dynamics handled?
James tends to be better at writing songs by himself, so he’ll go away by himself for a while and come back with some awesome ideas to show me, and then we tweak them a little bit and try them out live … But we’re constantly fixing them and changing them up until they are ready to be recorded, that’s one of the ways. Whenever we get together we are able to put something together so we usually just jam out whatever we feel like playing at the time and trying putting those pieces together to make a song however we can.
There’s an obvious folk vein that runs through your sound … Who influences Winterbourne?
Both James and I both started out being influenced by rock music … we’re both really into a Welsh band called Stereophonics and that’s one of the ways we bonded early on then we started writing songs together in that kind of style. And then we later discovered the folk thing that is going on from older influences like Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby Stills & Nash. It was those kinds of artists that pushed us into the whole idea of the harmonies and folk sound. So yeah, they’re kind of our main influences.
After spending the past two years busking up and down the East Coast, were there any strange encounters along the way? I can imagine there would have been a few colourful moments there …
Yes, well … there are quite a few homeless people who are never shy of telling you what they really think, that’s for sure. That’s always fun. [laughs] But mainly busking has been pretty good, nothing ever really went wrong. Where we tend to busk is in very central places like Bourke St Mall and Pitt St Mall so they are quite safe. Although … we did once have a woman have a seizure on our gear, that was quite a while ago and wasn’t much fun at all. That’s probably the craziest thing we’ve had happen … We haven’t done much rogue busking, I think that’s where you get most of the action.
You guys recently supported Patrick James on his national tour. It must have been a pretty wild feeling to go from busking those city streets to gracing national stages in venues right around the country?
Yeah! It was really cool. We had never toured before so it was our first proper touring experience and it was a whole heap of fun. Patrick James and his band were all really cool and really welcoming, so yeah it was a lot of fun! It really gave us that taste for touring because now we don’t really want to go back busking after doing such a big tour. [laughs]
Well not to worry because you’ll be doing it all again as of next month with Little May who have just announced you folks as support for their national tour. That must be exciting!?
That is very exciting, yeah! We are quite keen to head out on the road with those guys too.
But before that, you’ll be heading home to visit a new venue, Baker St at Gosford. Which I understand will be your first ever headline local show?
Yeah it will be fun to see some familiar faces and play to a local crowd, so they can see where we are at with our music. It’s good to see more venues cropping up on the Coast also, especially ones that are willing to support the abundance of local talent we are so lucky to have here. Exactly! There’s really not much variety in the places you can play on the Coast … We’ve done Lizottes a number of times and that’s sort of been the only venue on the Coast for a while, which is a shame when we have all these family and friends that want to see us play but can’t always get to Sydney for it. But hopefully things will take off with Baker St because it sounds like a real cool way to get more live music to the Coast.
What will 2015 look like for Winterbourne?
Once the Little May tour is done, we will hopefully look into getting a tour of our own sorted for early next year, that’s the plan anyway. And hopefully that tour goes well and if it does we’ll be able to head back to the studio and get some new material out. We haven’t really decided whether we will do another EP or an album yet, but there will more than likely be something being recorded and released; so that will be the focus for next year I think.
Lastly, who should we be listening to?
James and I have both recently got into a band called Hey Rosetta! They’re Canadian and are quite a big deal, they are pretty awesome. And I always say that they deserve more play than what they get because they are just really a fantastic band.
And locally I just got the EP of fellow Central Coast musician Jacob Pearson, he is just outstanding.
Also, I should mention a band called Woodlock from Melbourne who we’ve played with a couple of times and they even let us stay at their house when we’re in Melbourne. They are really cool guys and are buskers as well so we’ve had connections with them ever since we started. Yeah… Woodlock!