Panna Cotta is out now!
Image: Jordan Kirk.
ARIA double-platinum six-piece act, Winston Surfshirt have delivered their third studio album, Panna Cotta. We caught up with frontman Winston to chat about the release, the albums collaborative nature and so much more!
Bringing their signature fusion of funk and hip-hop to the album, the band weave in influences of 60’s psych-pop and booming brass moments to create relaxed soundscapes that simmer beneath Winston's compelling vocals.
Tapping talent from across the globe, the six-piece have collaborated with Brooklyn artist Talib Kweli, to New Zealand pop icon Kimbra, Houston’s Devin the Dude, Los Angeles’ SWSH, San Francisco’s Ramirez and Australian-based artists Genesis Owusu, Dope Lemon, Young Franco, Milan Ring, PRICIE. Each artist brings their own unique flavour to their respective tracks, delivering a slice of collaborative goodness.
Your third album Panna Cotta is here! It’s such a great body of work, and super collaborative. You team up with Kimbra, Genesis Owusu PRICIE, Dope Lemon and Talib Kweli and so many more great artists. What drove the collaborative nature of this album?
We didn't do any features with the last record and the first one we did one. And I was like I just wanted to tap into that once and just go ham with it on one album.
What drew you to working with these artists in particular? What do you think they brought to their respective songs?
They were all just like on our list of people that we wanted to work with. Some of them we've known for a while and some of them we met through doing this album. But yeah, just started with writing up a dream list of features and then started figuring out as we went along with beats, like which songs would fit which people.
There’s influences of R&B, 90s hip-hop, 60’s psych-pop and beautiful brass moments. How did you craft the sonic realm the album exists within?
Through more collaboration, like with the guys that I play with in the band. It used to be a bit more of like, it used to be less collaborative and now with this record we managed to work with each other a lot more. Splitting up into like teams and making beats.
You’re about seven years into your career now, how do you think your artistry and approach to creative has evolved throughout that time, especially when it came to working on and creating Panna Cotta?
I think just keeping it new and finding new ways to write songs and start songs. Like there's so many different ways you can start a song. Yeah, playing with that really I guess.
Can you kinda like give us a little bit of insight into like the themes explored across the album and like the importance to you with documenting them within your music?
I sort of write what I know. No songs are really about anything in particular, but I'll like write a song and then it'll feel like it's about that. I had kids throughout the process of this album and a lot of that helped my writing.
Which three songs off the album would you choose to play to someone who has never heard your music, that you think would make them an instant diehard fan?
It depends who I'm showing it to, you know what I mean? If I had to show me mum I'd show the Lemon Tune [I Want You (To Be My Woman)], Maybe I'm In Love With You and Photos Of You.
Is there a particular line, lyric or musical motif from the album that you find will get stuck in your head more often than others? Or maybe one that you're most proud of?
Well, I don't know that. Like every every song I make, when I'm making it it's just stuck in my head for weeks. So mine changes but probably the horn line from Maybe I'm In Love With You. That always gets stuck in your head.
You've still got some shows lined up for the rest of the year, which is super awesome. What is in store for any audience members attending this run of shows?
We'll be trying to figure out how to play some of these songs live. So that'll be fun. Most of them will be playing for the first time.
GET TO KNOW WINSTON SURFSHIRT
Biggest musical influences?
An album that has had the most impact on you?
Fantastic, Vol. 2 by Slum Village
If you could create the soundtrack for any existing film, which film would it be?
Dumb and Dumber.
What are you thinking whilst performing?
I'm not thinking anything. I'm probably thinking don't fall over.
The first concert you went to?
Best concert you've been to?
Would you rather be a Spice Girl or a Backstreet Boy?
What would your Spice nickname be?
Most memorable show you've performed?
The first Splendour we ever did.
Do you have any guilty music pleasures or if you don't really believe in anything being guilty, maybe something that you listen to that like your friends and family just don't understand?
Pulled Apart by Horses.
How about an artist that you think has had the most influence on the music industry?
David Bowie or The Beatles.
What advice would your current self, give to your future self, for a year from now?
Don't fall down that well.
Good advice. The final one is the moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
Probably listening to The Beatles.
Panna Cotta is out now!