Interview with blackwinterwells: Tracing a new history of music
black winter wells started singing because lil peep died. With a deep reverence for emo rap and rock – Nine Inch Nails is a key influence – the producer and key architect of a burgeoning online culture of musicians sometimes referred to as digicore found her voice when it became clear that life was not promised. Wells’ music is neither pop, nor dance-pop, nor indie. That’s because she’s a trusted contributor to underground internet artists like 8485 and in the middle of the street as much as it’s a reflection of time spent in his creative cave discovering the weirdest sounds imaginable.
“It was dubstep, to begin with,” Wells told Audiomack World. “I was playing World of Warcraftand I was talking to some guys and they were like, ‘Have you heard of dubstep?’ [They] linked me to a song and then I did bad dubstep for a year.
Years into his “bad dubstep” phase, Wells credits midlife terseness for accelerating the evolution of his sound. “It was a hyperbolic time chamber situation, where I was constantly going through different ideas,” she says. “Also, a lot of the progress in my career has been because listeners are stuck inside as well. It was this big underground bubble because people weren’t going out.
After releasing three monthly singles packs for a year, Wells has honed a sound that makes you feel like you’re floating in a digital abyss, peaking in late April. crystal shards. It’s music meant to make you feel otherworldly. ‘cry ice’ and ‘star cluster’ vibrate with alien freedom, while ‘temple’ bends time. crystal shardsand the blackwinterwells project as a whole, represent the importance of embracing strangeness to create a new history of music.
Is making music your way of expressing yourself?
It allows me to process what is happening with me. Every time a friend dies, [or] I’m overwhelmed, happy, or having a bad breakup, somehow I have to translate that. Even if something is not happening in my life, I just want to paint a picture. Music is how I do it. It’s an escape. I need to create a fantasy world to forget how boring everything is in my life. Certainly a lot during the pandemic.
How would you describe the evolution of your sound within the pandemic?
It happened much faster. I was making so much music back when everything was closed, so I felt like I was going to pick up a new sound and drop it in a matter of days. Then I would continue with three more songs. It’s slowed down because I’m taking longer than I used to. I was releasing three singles a month for a year.
You are on tour with 8485 and fish narcissus this summer. What do you hope to take away from this experience?
As soon as I tasted [of live performance] it was, “That’s what I should do.” Make music? It’s pretty cool. But acting is absolutely my favorite thing. I’m chomping at the bit, basically.
On the new LP crystal shards, you bring your own voice. Was there a fear of putting yourself out there like that?
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It’s so natural for me at this point. I feel like I always have. I feel like everyone is a little embarrassed by his writing. You write lyrics, look at them, and you’re like, “That’s corny. It’s really funny – when I was DJing, I was afraid of being in front of people. Being in front of people while singing isn’t scary at all. It works great for me, compared to a lot of other things.
When I’m singing, I’m so busy with the act of singing that I don’t have room to worry about people watching me or anything like that. I just get lost.
Are you a “fainting” creator?
There’s definitely an area I’m getting into, with creating stuff and also with performing. It’s something that 8485 sort of yelled at me, because we work together and I’m so… I just sing and we go on stage and 8485 is like, “I’m trying to interact with you, and you’re [in your own world].” It’s something I had to work on.
There are times when I make a song and it becomes automatic. When I’m making music, I’m just locked into the stuff and I know exactly what to do, and I do it until I have it. It’s less like being enveloped in a world and more like being on autopilot. I have this idea in my head, and I’m methodically putting it to pieces.
How many songs did not make crystal shardsand was it difficult to let them go during the two years of creating the album?
Of all the albums I’ve made in my life, none have been made for an album. I looked at the songs and thought, “Oh! These make an album altogether. Also, I have a pretty huge stack of demos, but it’s all about feel and color. I feel like it’s a very blue album, and the mission statement for the blackwinterwells project is very blue. It wasn’t even about picking demos I liked, it was picking ones that matched that color.
Are there any colors you wouldn’t touch?
I don’t know if I made a very brilliant song. Often the color of the song is reflected in the cover art. I have a lot of yellow, blue, a little red. I have pretty pale stuff. I don’t do a lot of green. Maybe I should do more green. I’m glad you asked.
Your music scene is becoming a growing phenomenon this decade, leading to many obvious problems and misunderstandings. What do you absolutely need people to understand about sinks?
It’s not pop music. I don’t get from that. I really like Nine Inch Nails. The goal is not to be catchy. It has a verse-chorus structure, but so do all rock and metal songs.
I also have the impression that it is not because it is electronic and that there are voices that it is dance-pop. It’s important that people understand that this project started because I love Lil Peep and emo rap. It’s not rock, but that’s what I get.