Track x Track: Winter McQuinn - 'Move To The Trees'

Track x Track: Winter McQuinn - 'Move To The Trees'

Naarm/Melbourne-based singer-songwriter takes us through his melodic and mellow sophomore album, track by track

A few months after we premiered his single I Will Be The Same, Winter McQuinn has readied his second album of soft rock meets cosmic country and pastoral folk, Move To The Trees.

Across nine compositions, Move To The Trees sees McQuinn team up with a stack of talented players to bring the record to life, with heavy and emotional themes including environmental and social issues perfectly balanced by the album’s light hearted atmosphere.

Some of the collaborators on the record include Jack Kinder and Lewis Mosley of Hot Apple Band, Sunfruits band member Elena Jones, and bedroom pop artist Jaspar Robinson whose contributions help elevate the album to the next level.

Speaking on the album, McQuinn explains “This album was a really blissful, stress free adventure in songwriting for me personally and a really amazing experience playing with some of my favourite musicians and people. It was so fun bringing these songs to life and seeing what everyone added to them. The album has the same warmth that the weekend recording felt like, all together with Jesse and Leah down in Anglesea — probably due to the tape machine and the ocean air.

It was a special thing to also focus on creating a more refined and cohesive solo album for the first time. The album wouldn’t be the way it is without the musicianship and care of Jack, Lewis, Elena and Jaspar. They all put so much love into it and I love them so much for that!

To celebrate the release of Move To The Trees, Winter was kind enough to take us through it, track by track - have a listen and get to know!

Daffodil

I remember writing this one on my 6 string acoustic guitar and then demoing it with bass and drums and it had this really nice full band but stripped back vibe to it, it totally grew into a more rocky track when we did it all together but that's cool too!. I had a session with “Jaspar Robinson and he added that fantastic lead line in like maybe one take? True pro. I think when we redid it live with Jesse it was the first song we started with. Highlights of the tracks for me are the harmonies from Jack Kinder, the bass lick in the outro from Lewis Mosley and the guitar tone in general.

I Will Be The Same

I think this one came about during the 2021 lockdown maybe? I remember sending Jack and Lewis a demo and they sent back a version with triple stacked guitarmonies, recorder and BVs and I was sold. Lots of fun recording this song with Jesse too, I remember leaving the room at some point when they were adding the layers of lead guitar and coming back to a fully finished song haha.

Red Wool

I really like this song. Writing it was a similar vibe to Daffodil as it started on an acoustic guitar finger picking pattern which then grew into a bass / drum syncopated thing. Lyrically I still really enjoy it too which I find is rare for me! Haha. Highlight of recording this one with Jesse was when Lewis pulled out the keys lick for the first time and when we all got around one mic to record the outro backing vocals.

Sitting In The Trees

This track was my attempt at writing a Pretty Things inspired song. The lyrics were written after seeing a rainbow come across the ocean after torrential rain and loving hanging out with my girlfriend during lockdown. This track actually features both me and Jack on drums, I come in with the outro fill and play it out till the end.

In This Life

No memory of writing this song, it must be pretty old / far back in the neurons. I remember Jaspar and Lew having fun recording the lead guitar. Lyrically it’s about people taking different paths in life and the sometimes ridiculous nature of an older person giving you life advice that is outdated / not related to what you’re doing or where you’re going.

Time Passes By

I remember this song taking a little while to write and to record. The form / structure is a little weird and I almost didn’t have it on the album until I showed Elena and Jack and they assured me that I should! It was heaps of fun recording the strings at home with Isabella and the grand piano at my parents house with Lewis, the outro is my fave part, the ending fill is actually a “mistake” but it adds some character I think!

I Wanna Live

This track has some lore to it. I wrote it as a fun throwaway Burrito Brothersy / 70s rock song and sent it to my pal Rudy, who recorded an unhinged / unreal intro monologue whilst he was out in the bush. It almost made it to the final bounce. I remember during recording I had no idea how to end the final chorus and Elena came in clutch with those two chords to bring it back to the outro riff party, phew! Lyrically the song is about someone being stuck in their ways and being fed up with that.

Hills

Hills is another real old song that I reckon I had during the time I was putting out Rabble of Bees. I wasn’t trying to copy the Norma Tanega song You’re Dead but it really is quite similar haha Recording this with the band was really fun and is a true showcase of how talented the whole band is, Jack rips some country drumming on it and Lew has another trademark keys line in this song.

Honey

Honey is maybe the newest song on this album and the only one I didn’t record with Jesse. I remember writing it after doing a School Of Song course with Luke Temple (Art Feynman) and he taught everyone about some of his favourite alternate tunings. This one is in DADGAE and has been a fave of mine ever since. I remember mucking around with a delay plugin on Logic and finding this really interesting combination which made my guitar sound like a reverse kind of string quartet, made sure to save it but I can’t remember how to do it now haha.

          - Winter McQuinn, April 2024

Move To The Trees Artwork

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