A year and a half is a long time between shows for any band. For Winterpark; the studio project of Matt Ridgway, it’s been a reality yet all is about to change with the album launch for latest record Sunday Morning just around the corner. Considering the amount of time that’s past, I suggest Ridgway must be super excited about the upcoming show. “I guess so” he laughs. “Yeah it’s good to have another record out in the world. I mean it’s always exciting when you’re putting new material out there. We also haven’t been doing shows for a fair while so it’s good to do something kind of new together and make some of the old songs fresh and play some new stuff.”
Playing live again throws up a few challenges as well. With Ridgeway having written the entire album by himself, he now has to go back and remember each and every part to all of the songs. “I had to like re-learn a lot of the songs,” he admits. “When I was trying to get this live show together I was like, Can I actually play that live? It’s just some random guitar loop that you know I just mucked around with one day and hit record and now I can’t actually remember how to play it. So now I have to seriously listen to it and work out exactly what I was doing and yeah, try and practice it.”
Sunday Morning was slowly pieced together over a number of years with Ridgeway recording and producing it entirely himself, locked away in his home studio. “Yeah it’s sort of been probably the last three years just sort of sketching ideas and at the end of last year I was thinking ‘I should probably get another record out,” he muses.
With album number three, Ridgeway wanted to not just put out a bunch of songs but truly create an album where the music flowed together and was designed to be listened to from first track to last. “I thought, I want to make a record that has this sort of flow to it like, I love the Beatles,” he admits. “I’m obsessed with the Beatles, I’m obsessed with like B-Side Abbey Road and I thought I want to have a record that’s like the B-Side Abbey Road where one track seamlessly flows into another track. So I kind of got all these half finished tracks that I’d done and I put them all in one long project and I just worked out which ones went together; like the right key, or tempo or the same sort of mood and sort of mapped out the whole album and then it was just a matter of like culling things that didn’t work and merging songs together that did work and trying to find ways to sort of thread them all together like lyrically and sonically.”
The album concept is one that perhaps better lends itself to a Cd or vinyl release and one that’s all the more challenging in the digital age. “Because it’s going to be digital only it’s sort of a little bit disheartening that people, you know just do random shuffles on their iPod,” he laughs. “You know, that’s modern reality I think.” Yet Ridgeway is still confident that Sunday Morning will eventually find its way onto vinyl; the format it was originally intended for. “The timing wasn’t right. You know the turnaround for vinyl is just really long and it wasn’t going to fit with the timing of the release schedule. But maybe, you know see how well it goes and I might just press up a few one day, I hope.”
Whichever way people decide to listen to it, with Sunday Morning, Ridgeway has created an album exactly the way he intended; having had complete control over every aspect of the music; from the production right through to the playing of every instrument. “I think that the pro to doing it all yourself is just that you get to, it opens up the possibilities of what you can do, especially if you’ve got a studio at home and you’re not paying someone to record or whatever. You can just go in there and you can sort of just nut out things, you can invent things and then see what happens.”
Before our conversation drew to a close I had to ask Ridgeway about a rather intriguing passage on the Winterpark website that says of Sunday Morning: it is a record written on the bottom of a broken dream, but radiates hope and warmth with every chord. “Well I mean it’s a reference to one of the lyrics on the record,” he explains. “I think that music can be a bit of an outlet. When you’ve been playing in bands for so long you have mixed emotions about putting out your material. You never quite know what people are going to make of it, whether people are going to listen to it or care about it and so it’s just like putting something out there in the world and just hoping for the best and yeah I guess there’s lots of emotion tied up in any kind of art practice where you want to go and put something out there and see what happens.”
Winterpark launch Sunday Morning at the Grace Darling Hotel in Collingwood on Friday September 16.