Q&A with Winston Audio
Perhaps known for writing the song, “Hey Ann,” Winston Audio returns home to Atlanta, GA, after every hard-ridden tour. Part of the Favorite Gentlemen family, Winston Audio is close friends with the heart of Favorite Gentlemen, the world-renowned Manchester Orchestra. You’ll find Winston Audio touring with bands like Meat Puppets,Cursive, and Annuals. But, Dewitt, lead singer and bassist for Winston Audio, says he simply enjoys touring with bands from the Favorite Gentlemen family. Bands likeO’Brother, Harrison Hudson, All Get Out, and Manchester Orchestra. Dewitt and I agree on one thing for sure: a Winston Audio and Dead Confederate tour could deliver this withering economy from this dying disease known as the recession. I enjoyed talking to Dewitt– he’s a class act and obviously intelligent. Winston Audio may have taken on various forms in the past five years, but I believe this is the Winston Audio to stay. They are clearly on the fast track to success, and with people like Dewitt leading the pack, there certainly won’t be too many set-backs. During a pretty congested, little tour, Dewitt took a minute to chat with The Blue Indian.
Blue Indian (Luke Goddard): Hello! Thanks for chatting with The Blue Indian. Who do we have here? Your role in the band?
Winston Audio: This is Daniel DeWitt. I sing and play the bass guitar.
BI: We love talking to bands from our home state of Georgia. There’s only one member of Winston Audio that’s not from Georgia, right?
WA: Correct. Well I’m not sure if any of us are originally from Georgia, but we’ve all lived here for the bulk of our lives. Except for Dan G, who’s from Michigan. He moved to Atlanta in 2006 to join the band.
BI: We’ve done a lot of stuff with bands off of Favorite Gentlemen. How do you like being on that label? You released “The Red Rhythm” off of Favorite Gentlemen earlier this year, right?
WA: Yes. Being involved with FG has been a great experience. Really it’s about creating a sense of community among these bands, a sense of belonging. For the longest time we struggled with finding that with other Atlanta bands. It’s much more fun this way- to tour with your friends, to feel like you’re a part of something. Favorite Gentlemen is such a young label but it’s already developed a pretty dedicated following. We’ve certainly reaped the benefits of that association.
BI: Winston Audio has had to reform several times. Never quit or changed the band name. Pretty impressive. Is this the Winston Audio to stay?
WA: I sure hope so. Over the years we’ve had a lot of important people leave the band but there’s never been a sense of finality, that that was it for us. We’ve still got work to do, and until that feeling isn’t there anymore we’ll continue to plough on through whatever gets thrown our way. I love our current lineup though. I think we’re playing really well, and we’re definitely having more fun than ever.
BI: You’re sort of grungy. We just interviewed a grunge-like band called, “Dead Confederate.” You guys have a little more pop in you than them though. Your sound seems to be very consistent, which is a good thing. Is there an effort to remain consistent in what you’re doing or does it come naturally?
WA: I’m glad you think that. We have people tell us that our record is either very consistent stylistically or that it’s all over the place. I don’t really know why that is, but we certainly do make the effort to have a cohesive sound.
We’re in the middle of writing for our second LP and we just hit on the “tone” of it which has got me pretty excited. That’s kind of how it happens: I’ll just write as many songs as I can, some of them wildly different and sort of left-field, and we’ll start to sift through them together. Eventually a few of them with a similar vibe kind of rise to the surface. So now I’m working on writing a new batch of songs with this direction in mind. So whereas before we were metaphorically carpet-bombing this record, now we’re using laser-guided missiles. Hopefully the end result is a cohesive album with a specific feel and mood.
BI: Our interviews can be random at times. We try to make these things as interesting for you as they are for us making them. So, here’s a curveball. If you had to pick one member of each of the following bands to share a house with, who would they be? O’Brother, Manchester Orchestra, All Get Out, and Harrison Hudson.
WA: Oh man, you’re really trying to get me in trouble aren’t you? I guess it’s be Anton from O’Bro, Robert from Man Orch, Nate from AGO, and Harrison from HH. I believe this house would make me laugh.
BI: Your latest record, “The Red Rhythm” is downright stellar. It’s a spiritual record in a lot of ways. Did the record have anything to do with the examining of your own personal faith? Or am I way off-base here?
WA: You’re not off base. I think if you’re honestly engaged in a walk of faith you have to be in a constant state of self-examination. So in that sense the record is exactly what you say- I use songwriting to work through a lot of my personal faith issues. But I wouldn’t say I was in any sort of official Dark Night Of The Soul or anything like that. I know the songs on the record are pretty dark but there’s hope in them too. The punchline to almost every song is that yes, you are dealing with darkness in yourself and questioning the fundamentals of your faith, but you have to recognize those things before you can move past them. The last song on the record, “Troubles”, illustrates that idea the best I think. Yes you have issues, but yes you can still walk out on the water despite the weight of them.
BI: Honestly, how do you feel about Anton Dang (bassist for O’Brother) in a green speedo?
WA: Perfection. Why do you think I want him in my Favorite Gentlemen house?
BI: So, I hear nearly 20 songs didn’t even make the last release, “The Red Rhythm.” Any chance you guys would release them free on noisetrade.com or something? They would be good prizes for a hard-working Winston Audio street team, ya know?
WA: I would love that, but we’d have to record them first. We have very unlistenable versions of most of them, but I couldn’t, in good conscience, put those in peoples’ ears. We did the record on literally no budget so we didn’t exactly have time to flesh out b-sides. Hopefully for this next record we’ll have that luxury.
BI: If I told you to search the YouTube comedian, Ed Bassmaster, and asked you to watch some of his videos, would you do it? I promise you won’t be disappointed.
WA: Yes, that is funny. Let me ask you this: if I told you to look up Shane Lee on youtube would YOU do it? Watch him sing five octaves. It’s magical.
BI: How did you and Andy Hull, frontman of Manchester Orchestra, meet?
WA: I honestly don’t really remember. I guess we just met at shows, then played a few together right before Virgin came out, and right after. He asked us to be part of the label and we’ve kept up with each other ever since.
BI: What’s your favorite record of MO’s, “I’m Like a Virgin…” or “Mean Everything to Nothing”?
WA: Definitely Mean Everything To Nothing. Virgin is good, but I think Andy really grew as a songwriter for METN. Plus it doesn’t hurt that it’s grungier which, as we’ve established, is something we in Winston Audio love quite a bit.
BI: I asked the Dead Confederate this– I’d like to ask you the same. Which guy in Winston Audio best represents the type of boy you’d let date your daughter one day? (if you have a daughter, kids, or whatever… and please choose one)
WA: Jon Cole. He’s our newest member, plays the keyboards. He’s a sweetheart. And he’s about five feet tall so I know I could take him in a fight if I had to (sorry Jon, you know I love you).
BI: If you were shipped to a deserted with all of your life’s essentials and were told you could bring 1 book, 1 CD, and 1 girl, who/what would they be?
WA: Bible, George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” (because it’s a triple album and because it rules), and my wife Mackenzie.
BI: Will Ferrell or Jim Carey?
WA: Will Ferrell always.
BI: Lost or The Office?
WA: Oh do I have to choose??? I suppose, given my proclivity to all things science-fiction and fantasy, I’ll say Lost. I can’t wait for the final season.
BI: Lastly, if a gun was held to your head and you were given the chance to make one final statement that anyone could read, what would it be?
WA: Jesus is the Hokey Pokey. That’s what it’s all about.
BI: Welp, that’s it. Daniel, it’s been a pleasure. Stay in touch.