Synth Me Label

Interview with South African project WINTER SOUL

South African dark electro project Winter Soul was founded in the middle of 2000s and in 2007 they released their debut and only full-length album "Reactor". In 2015 Winter Soul did a remix for russian gothic electro project Antilav. Here is the interview with David Mauchline about Winter Soul and South African scene.
Interview done by Mikhail "Mind" and Count_Death for Synthema
SM: Hi there! In 2007 your album "Reactor" made a lot of noise on the post-industrial scene in the world. And not only because it was great musically, but also because of the fact, that there is dark electro project in South Africa. Can you tell us how that kind of music project was born in a country not known for this particular genre? Who are the members? And why dark electro and not another genre?
WS: Hi there and thanks for your interest in Winter Soul. South Africa is a diverse country, with many people living here being of British, European and even Russian decent. Musically, South Africa is just as diverse. SA bands can be found in most genres, from black metal to country and western to jazz. The industrial and Goth scene is small but dedicated, centered mostly around the 3 largest cities. I started out writing trance, but discovered EBM and industrial in the mid-2000s. I write and record all the music myself, however mixing and mastering are handled by Philbrey Botha (Garten der Asche fame) and I'm joined onstage by Suzanne Litthauer, an extremely talented musician. Industrial music is the genre that I identify with most, pure dark energy, I couldn't express myself as well in a more commercial genre.
SM: Of course also the origin of name Winter Soul is interesting. In Russia we think, that South Africa and the African continent is warm place and the word "winter" in our understanding (snow, cold etc) is not so connected to Africa. So, the question is why Winter Soul?
WS: The name Winter Soul alludes to nuclear winter, and the post-apocalyptic tones in my music. I have a deep interest in Eastern Europe and the Cold War, so the imagery I draw upon is heavily influenced by concepts like nuclear war and the Chernobyl disaster. I think the name also describes me well, I feel more alive in winter, when it's possible to escape from the African heat.
SM: And I had to ask of course. Is Winter Soul an exception in South Africa or are there other projects and musicians in that genre and in electronic music there, with Dark electro and Industrial being considered "exotic" for your country?
WS: In the Aggrotech and Hellectro types of genre, Wintersoul is quite unique, however there are several great industrial and electro bands in SA, such as Battery 9, Garten der Asche and Acretongue. Every country has its darker side.
SM: Honestly speaking after "Reactor" I thought, that one more, great dark electro act came onto the scene and not only for one day. But after the release you were silent. What were the project members doing all these years?
WS: All of the members have very hectic schedules, I myself am a mechanical engineer who manages a large 3D printing factory near Johannesburg. I've been working on a new album for the last 5 years, I hope to finally release it this year. It takes me very long to write music, as I will never release anything that isn't exactly how I want it. In the last 2 years, I have released music as part of the group Cinderfall - more classical and electro than Winter Soul.
SM: It's not a secret that Erk Aicrag from Hocico moved to Germany, closer to the dark scene capital country. I'm wondering if you are planning to move to Europe or somewhere else too someday to develop the project or to take part in some big festivals and tour over Europe? And at, did you take part in some big festival in the past?
WS: I am considering moving to Germany myself, as the 3D printing industry is centered there as well as the dark alternative scene. I have visited Germany 6 times in the last 5 years, and I really love it there. I would also like to be able to tour Eastern Europe, particularly Russia and the Ukraine. We've only taken part in local festivals, but would love to play in Germany and Russia.
SM: Now we will leave the "South Africa" stuff behind and will speak about you. What is music for you? Hobby, profession, the way of self-expression or something completely different? What is the purpose of your music? What are you trying to tell us? Who influenced you as a musician? What are you listening by yourself on the way to work/university, at home and what concerts are you visiting?
WS: Music for me is very personal, all the songs I've released have metaphorical lyrics that allowed me to process events in my life, and it's a way of dealing with things like frustration, anger and heartbreak. Electro industrial music is energy, it gives us the power to survive the world outside. What am I trying to tell you? - That you can take any negative experience and turn it into something creative and powerful. I started off in the scene listening to and influenced by Suicide Commando and Hocico, these days I listen to Diversant:13, DYM, X-Fusion, Antilav, Wynardtage, Nurzery Rhymes and Zavod, and I can't get enough of The Birthday Massacre! The last concert I went to was Rammstein in Johannesburg a few years ago - it was epic. Other than that, not really a concert-goer.
SM: And the last question. What should we expect from Winter Soul in the nearest (or maybe not) future? Are you planning to work on the new album, single or EP? Are you planning to make some more remixes? Or maybe some collaborations with other artists?
WS: I have been working on a side project called Poisongarden for a while, I have some recording to do before I can release the debut EP, but hopefully all will be ready this winter (European summer). For Winter Soul - I have so many unfinished songs, but it's time the world heard some more from us, stay tuned... As for remixes - I'm always interested in remixing other artists, and I will definitely need remixed for my new stuff.
SM: Thanks a lot for the interview. We hope to hear something from Winter Soul in the near future and to see you in Europe and of course, maybe someday in Russia. Good luck and thanx again!
WS: And thanks to you and everyone who has supported us over the last few years.
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