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Winksy: "The Original Idea of Winksy Was That I Always Wanted It to Be an Ongoing Music Project That Friends Could Contribute To"

Ahead of their debut LP My Anatomy, I caught up with Winksy's Willem Kingma and Kelli Blackmore to discuss the recording project's endearing collaborative nature, the roots of their whimsical, Nilsson-infused psych-pop goodness, and the music video to their latest single "Choke," which we have the pleasure in premiering today.

First tell me what you've been up to lately? What have you been listening to, reading, or spending a lot of time doing?

Willem Kingma: I've been working on a few music videos for local bands as well as just finishing up a stop motion animation for my New York friend from afar, Tall Juan! I've also been raising sea monkeys and listening to a lot of Adam Green and exploring The Moldy Peaches a bit more. 

Kelli Blackmore: I've been trying to get to shows lately and get some live shots of bands around with my handy dandy Polaroid camera. Last weekend, I had the pleasure of shooting at Jerkfest at my local watering hole Barwon Club. 

Take us through the origins of Winksy. How did you meet and decide you wanted to start playing music together? 

Willem: A majority of what we're about to release was written around 2018-19 when I was first having a crack at writing songs. I met Kel not long after that in 2020, and I had a nice collection of songs together at this point. Living together throughout the pandemic, we'd go to our friends studio between lockdowns to record, and at the same time we developed a two piece live act so we could start getting some practice in before attempting a full band line up.

Kelli: I met Will on our first date in 2020 and luckily he liked me enough to keep me around! I did music in high school but was very scared off from pursuing anything more. Will took me to the recording of My Anatomy where he encouraged me to get involved, I mostly sang and did percussion. When the question of a live band came up, I noticed a lot of our friends were busy with their own projects so I went out and bought a Telecaster and the rest is history. 

How exactly did the project progress over the last few years to where it is now?

Willem: The original idea of Winksy was that I always wanted it to be an ongoing music project that friends could contribute to between their other band commitments. I never wanted anyone feeling locked in to being in our band, as we weren't even sure when we would get that together. I really just wanted to have fun in the studio collaborating with my mates and building upon my cruddy phone demos. But I'm happy to report our live full band line up is finally in the works!

What's something you guys like to do together outside of making music together?

Kelli: Will and I are pretty much joined at the hip! We work together making music videos for other bands and artists. It's always really nice to be trusted to create a clip to accompany someone else's music. It's fun making props and sets, as well as finding cool locations. 

Who are some of your favorite bands tearing it down under in the Melbourne scene right now?

Willem: We of course adore our good friends Bones and Jones and Pollyman and were also really loving the music from other bands like The Vovos and The Bloody Norahs. They're all making such beautiful, honest music with dreamy sentimental lyrics. We're all about it!

Kelli: I've been really happy to see the return of Parsnip with their new record on the horizon. I've had their new singles playing on repeat. I caught Dr. Sure's Unusual Practice play Summer Slam in January and I've been obsessed ever since.

Today we have the pleasure of premiering the music video to your new single "Choke." What can you tell readers about how that song came together and the inspirations behind the video?

Willem: "Choke" was the first song I wrote that felt like a complete composition, and it was one of those rare moments where I was able to write the tune in one sitting. After recording it properly I always had the idea of having a manic dinner party scene where people gorge on food and smoke until they die. I adore black and white as a medium, and recently after seeing the film Poor Things I was reminded of my love of it. I love the limitation of black and white because you get to just focus on exposure, contrast and composition which leads to some interesting decisions that aren't dictated by colour.

Kelli: At first, I think we we were planning on getting our friends to come in as actors, but time just got away from us. Around the time of shooting, I had recently rewatched the music video for "Coming Up" by Paul McCartney. Seeing him and Linda playing all the different characters got me thinking maybe we can do that, of course not on the same scale, but we gave it a go!

How did the video for last month's single "No One Else" come together? 

Willem: I was in a bit of a rush between video jobs to get a video together and we didn't really have much of a concept except for that we wanted it to be a collage in motion, using clips and old family tapes I've kept safe on my hard drives. While editing I remembered some of the lyrics were actually inspired by some of these tapes transferred years ago, so it was great to add those specific snippets of tape in there. 

What can you say about the making of the forthcoming debut LP My Anatomy and when/where it was recorded?

Willem: I had always wanted to record something properly, but I also wanted it to be a very collaborative process with friends in which there was no pressure for a song to sound any way in particular. My demos were just a base to build upon, and it was so much fun coming up with ideas on the go. Jasper Jolley produced the record, adding lots of his lovely layered guitar work. Our friends George Carroll Wilson, Conor Bromley, Ella Jefferies, and Mitch Rice also joined the recording sessions, and I can honestly say it wouldn't have been the same without them, and I'm forever grateful. 

Kelli: We were so lucky to have access to such a lovely space close to home, in Wallington (maybe 20 minutes away from Geelong) in the Big Fridge with Jasper. I'll always be thankful for the time we took for this batch of songs, for being able to work with friends who have mastered their craft was the best! I got to learn so much from it and in turn informed us how to approach the live sound aspect of Winksy. 

Which song from the record means the most to you (and why)?

Willem: I think "Sport" feels like a special one. Growing up in Australia, you feel the pressure to at least barrack for a sport, so it felt good to finally put these complicated feelings into words. I was trying to express something that I wasn't sure if many people also felt, but since playing the song live and getting the single out it's been quite surprising seeing how many people actually relate to the sentiment. 

Kelli: The first song I learned how to play for Winksy was none other than "Choke." Will and I sat down on Logic Pro and I got him to play it really slowly so I could write out the chords for it! Eventually I even learned the solo section too which is something I never thought I could pull off. "Choke" will always be the song that started it all I guess! 

Aside from the new album, what else is on the horizon for Winksy and other artistic endeavors of yours? 

Willem: We really wanna get the live act nice and polished. We've been jamming away with our drummer Ella Jefferies, who is also putting out the album on Bonsai Records, and our bassist Mary-Lou Hylands. We've got a bunch of demos piling up now so we're gearing up to hopefully do some more recording this year and keep the ball rolling! 

Kelli: Maybe something like an EP could be in the cards later in the year? Also getting some footage of what we record next would be nice, it's something we didn't get around to doing during the making of My Anatomy. I'd love to do a series of Polaroids of the next recordings too, I treat my photos like little keepsakes I'll hold onto forever. 

My Anatomy is out April 19th on Bonsai Records.


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