Winterbourne’s James Draper and Jordan Brady – AMPED culture interviews

WinterbourneWinterbourne's James Draper and Jordan Brady. Image copyright Dylan Bow

I’m with James Draper and Jordan Brady from the band Winterbourne.

Obviously gigs, tours and everything in between are all on hold till the foreseeable future, but we’re here to talk about their writing, their Documentary film, Revolutionary, and what the ins and outs of the industry.

When did you guys meet?

“2007 St Edwards School just down the hill. We both had a love for music and both started playing guitar at the same time, so it all bloomed out of mutual love for music.

The band has been the same all these years, no other members, although they had cycled through a few names.

“I remember walking around at lunchtime saying we need a new singer, but it never happened.”

“Our early day band names were, Meltdown then Militia… very aggressive names haha. Winterbourne came from my Aunties and 3 cousin’s name, we just took it straight from them”

James and Jordan built up their music career through grinding and busking.

“We were at Martin Place and Townhall every weekend, then Pit Streets mall”
“We went down and built it up from acoustic to plugging in, to doing these full streets show’s every Friday, Saturday Sunday. It was crap and really hard coz you had to get there really early in the morning and compete with the other buskers for the spot. Get there at 4am and wait for the spot, that was our income for a few years.

The boys have now been signed by Universal, which happened from them busking on the street.
The manager from Island Records walked past and picked them up.

“Our relationship with our label, the guy who signed us is a good friend of ours, so we don’t have the relationship where it feels like a big company where you’re trying to get them to read your emails.
We’re very lucky like that. We had endless discussions about signing before making the decision, there was another label that was an option, that was smaller and cooler, so yeh I guess we will never know what that feels like.”

“We were two 18 years old’s that were given an advance and bunch of instruments and taken to Bali to a song writing camp”

I asked whether their art came from their emotions or whether it was quite a calculated process.

“It’s both. As we’ve learnt stuff, you learn to calculate more, like you should. You don’t want to just hear someone singing their emotions, coz it’s not good.”

“We recognised in songs what we liked about them and then imitated them, and once you do that, bits of you come out in the imitation and you just keep doing that and it becomes super addictive.”

“It’s a weird thing. People talk like music is made up just by them expressing themselves. We’ve written with heaps of people and it’s never like that, it’s always calculated. Finding the inspiration to actually do it, is the feeling part, the rest is work”

Jordan and James have made a Documentary film called Revolutionary, which you can watch on Youtube here.

The film plays with different stylistic choices, weaving between breaking the fourth wall, fiction and fact. The name Revolutionary comes from cycles, starting again and again, rather than being ‘Revolutionary’.
The film follows the both of them and their journey towards playing at The Metro. It was their biggest dream when they were busking, and they finally got there.

They had filmed their live show and afterwards thought why not piece this together with other footage, creating a past, present and future in a fun way.

The stylistic choice, weaving between narrations and such, allowed them to break away from feeling like look at our band and all that we’ve done.

“It’s really meaningful to us, but why would anyone care. It’s so hard to care about anyone else’s life and you don’t really need too. So for us, we are these two dudes that started in a mall and now we are playing this show and 1300 people came and sang along to the words of our song, like that’s mind blowing to us. To try and get across that fact, without being like look at this thing we did, coz it’s just pathetic, people play to 100 thousand people”

“We always ask ourselves, would our 15 year old selves love this. We are the peak of dreaming then, and so they are our harshest critics. In this sense, we think it would be inspiring for up and coming younger artists. “

What do you think about fame I asked

“It’s hard to have any authority on the topic, because we aren’t famous, but to the degree we are recognised, it’s always a pleasant experience. Coz for us it’s not like they saw us on TV, they heard our album perhaps in the evening, and that’s always amazing to hear that. That’s what made us do it in the first place.

“If our next single was a world-wide smash, as is planned haha, I think we will be able to keep our feet on the ground”

Ellen Rubbo