It’s hard to put your finger on the Winston Surfshirt sound – but if you’ve fallen head over heels for exhilarating newcomer Dylan Cartlidge or synth-loaded funk poppers Parcels in recent months, then read on.
The eclectic sextet are one of Oz’s biggest breakout acts and their otherworldly debut album is a slinky sonic journey – a strange fusion of soul, hip-hop, rap and alt-pop. These disparate influences combine to create silky smooth gems, which echo everyone from off-kilter noiseniks (Glass Animals, Phoenix) to rap royalty (Outkast, A Tribe Called Quest).
With the six-piece’s first full-length ‘Sponge Cake’ out now and already garnering support from the likes of Elton John, Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens, we caught up with Winston Surfshirt to hear about their past, present and future.
‘Sponge Cake’ is incredible. How was the recording process?
“Thank youuuuuuu. Easy peasy lemon squeegee. Mostly from home just sitting in a room and then touch ups happened when I was back in the UK about two years ago now. Recorded most of the vocals around London, borrowing a friends Wurlitzer with a room mic for a day in his attic in Acton, West London. When I got back to Sydney we ended up getting signed and re-mixed the whole album (George from Seekae… Guru), then added some new stuff and scrapped some old ones.”
How did Winston Surfshirt start out?
“I was messing about in bands until they fizzled out and people had other jobs and commitments and things. All I wanted to do was music, so I just started a solo project and would write loads and loads of songs and release them to an unknown internet. I played around Manly, where I live, as Winston for about 3 years and would have people come up and play with me every now and again. It was when we started playing every Sunday for a couple years at a now deceased bar called El Beau Room that we grew in numbers.”
What inspired your name?
“My love for John Lennon. Winston is his middle name, he used to refer to himself as Winston Leg-Thigh and I thought it was hilarious for some reason. When I was messing about in bands (this is probably 10-11 years ago now), I would save music I would write that I had no idea what it was for under Winston Surfshirt.”
Who are the Top 5 biggest influences on your sound right now?
“Top 5!? Dang. Uhm
1. The Beatles … still
2. John Lennon (a guy from the Beatles)
3. Georg— No uhm. Manly/Sydney
5. Sir Michael Jackson”
Any other new artists that you’ve played with and would recommend?
“Grievous Bodily Calm. From Perth. Had them support us earlier this year and they blew our mind so we’re playing with ‘em again next month! Nasty Mars. Taylor Mcferrin. Just in case someone hasn’t heard of Taylor Mcferrin, I have to say Taylor Mcferrin cause Taylor Mcferrin.”
And finally, what does the remainder of 2017 hold for Winston Surfshirt?
“We’re touring ‘Sponge Cake’ around Australia, then jumping on Falls Festival and Field Day to see out the year. Boom Bap.”