Winter Wilson promise “sublime music” and a sense of “joyous rebellion” as they head back to Horsham on Sunday, February 16.
Already well known around the UK’s folk clubs and festivals, Kip Winter (vocals, piano accordion, flute, guitar) and Dave Wilson (vocals, guitar, banjo) became full-time musicians in 2012 and haven’t looked back since.
In addition to extensive tours of the UK and Western Europe, the pair have toured Australia (twice), New Zealand and Canada.
“Nearly eight years on, it still feels like a bit of a dream” Dave says. “Mind you, it’s hard work too, and Tallullah (our trusty campervan) has covered an awful lot of miles all over Europe”.
Whilst their nine studio albums have met with critical acclaim, it is in live performance that Winter Wilson really excel, bringing a sense of intimacy to every venue. And it was their live performances and stage presence that led to the pair being invited to tour with folk-rock legends Fairport Convention in 2018.
Kip said: “There was never a conscious decision to go full-time. In fact we’d never have had the guts to do it off our own bat.
“In 2012 we were both made redundant within days of each other. We’d just paid off our mortgage, and we’d always made music together, so we gave ourselves a year. We never did the gap year thing as students and we knew we had enough money from our redundancy pay-outs to buy a van and get by for a while, so the plan was to have a year of concentrating on the music and then, if all went well, look for part-time jobs. It all went a bit better than expected, and eight years on we’ve never had time to get other jobs.
“It can be tough – people only see the performing bit, which is the fun part, but it’s all the behind-the-scenes work that takes the time. We do everything ourselves, from writing the songs, getting bookings (we don’t use an agent) design and graphics work, PR – everything. Then there’s the recording, and driving – mostly driving! Also there’s an increasing number of good acts out there chasing an ever-decreasing number of gigs, but luckily we’ve built something of a reputation now, so we get quite a lot of repeat bookings. We don’t earn anything like as much as we did when we had ‘proper jobs’, but we make enough to live on, which is all we need.
“On the other hand, we have a whole lot of fun. We live very much in each other’s pockets (there’s not a lot of room in a VW T5 campervan!) so we have to get on. We also tend to take the mickey out of each other a lot on stage, which helps release any tension there might be. And when we get home after a tour we tend to disappear to opposite ends of the house for a few days to decompress.
“It’s hard to fit our music into a neat little box; we tend to play the folk circuit, as we all as arts centres, village halls etc, but we do very little traditional music. It’s a bit bluesy, a bit Americana, a bit folky.... basically if we like it, we’ll sing it. As Dave writes most of what we do, the inspiration will come from whatever he’s been listening to recently. He’s got quite a few new ideas in the melting pot at the moment, so we’re hoping to have a load of new material for another album early next year.”
In the meantime, Winter Wilson will be playing at Horsham Folk Club from 8pm on Sunday, February 16, at the Normandy Centre on Denne Road. Entry is £8 on the door or £5 for members.