Craig Armstrong - Winona Interview
You've said in previous interviews that the Winona album came about in quite an improvised way and that you and Scott recorded it in only 10 days. Did you see this project partly as a creative outlet to balance out the more restrictive film scoring commissions?
"It was fun and free to do something that had no boundaries and was purely about writing what we wanted to but it wasn't a conscious break from other types of writing that I do whether that's film or classical works as I approach these in the same way, to try and create something that exists in it's own right."
Some of your projects contain a certain amount of collaboration. What do you find appealing about the working with other artistes and how do you pick which projects to work with others and which to go solo on?
"Working with other artistes is rewarding as there is generally an exchange of ideas, whether it's musical or books or art. I think I've been really lucky with the people I've worked with. Some I've sought out and others vice versa but I think they've all been really interesting."
Can you name a few tracks on Rosebud that you're particularly happy with how they turned out?
"I love Rosebud, for me this just sums up the album."
Winona's voice is provided by Lucy Pullin and Laurence Ashley, what was it about their singing that attracted you to using them on this project?
"I had worked with Laurence before on a film called 'Kiss of the Dragon' so I was aware of her vocal qualities and just thought it would be perfect to encompass the glamour of Winona. Lucy is also my manager whom I've known for several years now, I love the level of meaning that is expressed in Lucy's vocal and it has a very pure tone which is great."
Last year Winona performed live at music festivals in Europe and Brazil. Did you find this an enjoyable experience and would you like to play more live dates in the future?
"It was incredible. Our first concert was in Lyon in an ampitheatre for the Les Nuits Des Fourviere. We also played at Rock en Seine and Connect in Scotland. Amazing gigs for a new band to have and the live experience was really great fun. We have a great team and Scott and I have gigged live for years with our previous bands so it was a bit of a treat to be playing again live. Brasil was such an incredible place to be never mind to play at. Amazing people and I know we'd love to gig there again."
Who would you name as some of your main influences in synthesizer music?
"Obvious first up is Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Stockhausen."
The tracks on Rosebud have a quite a commercial sound, already one track has featured on an Audi R8 advert. Was it one of your aims when creating this album to make it attractive to the advertising industry?
"We wanted the tracks to be mini soundtracks almost, so each one was useable in any way. It wasn't written to be used for Adverts but I think as we wrote it we felt they were quite visual tracks."
Do you see Rosebud being the one and only release from Winona or would you like to dust of the synthesizers one more time?
"No we'd love to do more. The Synthesizers get switched on every week, all of them, so their circuits know we're still needing them."
You've obviously an artiste who likes diversity in their work (electro pop albums, operas and film scores). What are some of the other projects you're currently working on?
"I'm currently writing the score for The Incredible Hulk, about to do promotions for my first classical release and I want to start a piano concerto idea I've had for a while too."
If you haven't aready, you can buy the excellent album Rosebud from Winona here.
Many thanks to the guys at i.e music for their help in arranging this interview.
recent projects highlights of craig armstrong
- Victor Frankenstein
- It's Nearly Tomorrow