Indie-Folk act Windmills and Giants may be based in Olso, Norway, but their unique take on instrumentation is reminiscent of the Nashville music scene. With two albums under their belts, the duo combines Americana and intriguing lyrics to create a sound that is uniquely their own, and a treat to the indie genre.
The band’s latest track, “Figure It Out,” was released this past February. This track is the natural next step for the duo, and we had the opportunity to speak with them about how the song came to be, and what’s next for them.
You guys recently released your newest track, “Figure It Out.” Can you tell us a bit about the story behind the song?
W&G: “There’s no particular event that inspired the lyrics. It’s more about feeling stuck in life and constantly searching for something new and refreshing, and the frustration of always falling back into the same routines – realising it’s your own fault for not trying harder. At the core it’s about self-improvement, but not in a motivational way. It describes the behaviours and thoughts of someone who is never happy with what they have, and who knows it, but still doesn’t do anything about it.”
What was the writing and recording process like for “Figure It Out?”
W&G: “The lyrics actually took about two years to write, and even then, a couple of lines were changed and some added just minutes before we recorded it. We had the idea for the sound and feel of the track from the beginning, so the recording process was really straight forward. We never really had to stop and discuss how we were going to achieve the sounds we wanted for this one, probably because we’ve gone over it so many times in our heads.“
Do you have a particular songwriting routine? Is there something that works for you, or do you write whenever inspiration strikes?
W&G: “I think a lot of people have this romantic idea of songwriting, where a song just pops into your head while you’re sleeping and all of a sudden you have the next ‘Wonderwall’ on your hands. Some songs do come easy, but it sometimes feels like your smashing your head against a brick wall, banking on not being the first to break. We often send short clips of song ideas to each other, and it’s a lot of fun to see how differently some of the songs turn out, often for the better. We listen to a lot of music and take inspiration from that, as well as playing a lot of guitar to get in the mood to try to write something.“
Your sound takes some influences from American folk music, but you’ve spun it into something totally unique and refreshing. Are there particular artists or things that inspire/influence you?
W&G: “We listen to so many different artists, so it’s hard to know exactly where the influence comes from. We listen to everything from Jason Isbell to Wu-Tang Clan, and though we always try to make things sound like us, our taste in music has definitely had an impact on how we play and write. Our sound probably comes from the variety of music we listen to and us not trying to copy anyone.
Our taste is always evolving, and every song comes from a different source of inspiration, but artists like Jason Isbell, The Lone Bellow, City and Colour, and fellows Norwegian like Madrugada and Minor Majority will always be at the center of what we do musically in one way or another.“
Your sophomore full length album Somehow, The Ship Remained Floating was released in December of 2018. How would you say your new music differs from your past music?
W&G: “‘Somehow, the Ship Remained Floating’ was written and recorded in a lot of places and felt more like a compilation of the best songs we wrote from 2016 – 2018. Not to say it we just threw together a bunch of songs in no particular order – because we really do take our time to make sure our albums sound like the same album from start to finish, but our new music is more planned as an album. Every song was written for the album and we tried to make the songs more interesting to listen to.
They have to be good songs to begin with, of course, but a good song wasn’t enough. We really wanted to dive deep into the production and add elements and sounds that grabs peoples attention. There’s gone hours and hours just into adding weird sounds that you might never hear unless you know it’s there, so there’s a lot of ear-candy for those who enjoy that sort of thing.
Still, it was important for us to not take away the raw and natural elements so that people who just want to hear the songs for the lyrics and melody wouldn’t be distracted by all kinds of weird sounds.“
Do you have a dream tour or collaboration you’d like to be part of?
W&G: “Any chance to play with Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, or Iron & Wine would be a dream come true for us. We went to a Brandi Carlile show shortly after forming Windmills and Giants, and I still get chills thinking about what a fantastic show Brandi and the band put on.“
What’s next for Windmills and Giants? What can we expect to see from you guys in the future?
W&G: “We have finished a new full-length album, which is very exiting! It’s called ‘Are we There Yet?’ and will be released in a few months. We’re also planning a release tour as well as the usual summer festival run.“
With a wide array of influences and a strong dedication to their craft, Windmills and Giants have worked tirelessly to be the best they can be. With another album and a release tour on the way, it’s safe to say that the future has big things in store for the duo.