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Cold By Winter - "We The Living" Album Release Show - 05/11/04

15 Nov 2004 // An interview by Andrew
This interview took place in the garden bar of the Kings Arms Tavern in Auckland at the release show of "We The Living" on Friday 5 November 2004.

Andrew: Who are your favourite musicians/bands?

Trajan: Megadeath
Leon: GlassJAw
Trajan: Ben would say Slayer
Scotty: Yeah Ben’s is definitely Slayer?

Andrew: What about New Zealand favourites?

Leon: Product
George: The Bleeders boys
Sotty: Yeah, The Bleeders and the Sommerset guys. There’s so many good New Zealand bands at the moment, so it’s hard to state one. But definitely Sommerset and The Bleeders….who else? There’s heaps. Wash, Mumsdollar. They’re all really good bands.

Andrew: Who are your influences?

Scotty: As a band influence, probably Hopesfall has become our bigger influence.
Scotty: Norma Jean, Thursday… all that sort of stuff. Leon, you’re a Deftones man eh?
Leon: Yeah back in the day. Yeah yeah… I’m not gonna turn my back on my Deftones roots. Haha. I don’t pan myself to one genre anymore, so it’s hard to say where I take my influences from. When I first came into Cold By Winter half the songs were already pre-written, even though they weren’t set in stone, so I kinda rolled on what they were already doing plus what I was doing and what I had been doing in the past, and just let it roll and whatever felt right. It sounds kinda hippie but I just found the soul of the song and just went with it.

Andrew: So you rewrote the lyrics?

Leon: I rewrote everything except three songs.

Andrew: And what are the songs about?

Leon: Whatever moves me really. Sometimes they’re taken from old poetry or things that have really challenged me. Obviously, being a father has challenged me massively so that’s influenced me. Also things in the world that I don’t like… you can’t help but get angry about it.

Andrew: How would you describe your music?

Scotty: It’s loud, aggressive, high-energy, beautiful and pretty at the same time.
George: Seriously though this burger is awesome.
Scotty: George is influenced by food and sleep and that’s it!
Leon: I’m influenced by food. There’s a lyric in one of our songs “nothing makes me smile”, well nothing makes me smile like food.
Scotty: I know that what gets me up every morning is that, whatever I want at during the week at lunch time, I can go to showgirls for a free beer. It’s a regular thing you know… you gotta start going.

Andrew: How do you think Cold By Winter fits in to the NZ Music scene?

Trajan: Well, we didn’t.
Scotty: It still kinda seems like we don’t. It’s really interesting because of the style of music we play is a real bastard breed, because it’s not hardcore, not metal and it’s not punk rock.
Leon: That’s good man, bastard breed. I like that.
Scotty: Yeah it’s definitely a bastard breed. Maybe the genre overseas is quite common but in NZ it hasn’t really been tapped yet. We’re almost pioneers of that sound here. I think with the music we play, you either like it or you don’t. It fits in to the NZ Music scene quite well, but it’s kind of outcast.
Leon: It’s going to be pretty scary to see where it goes from now, because since I’ve joined now and I get to be a part of the writing process, we’ve got 5 completely different individuals with some cross overs but quite different backgrounds. I think we’re going to come up with something even more crazy than now and it probably won’t fit in again.

Andrew: You’ve released your first album today - what do you see it doing for your band?

Leon: It’s like a marking point. We’ve reached somewhere now. From here we’re able to compare ourselves to that and see how far we’re evolving. From here on in it’s like, our performances individually and as a group has to get better and the way we write has to get better.
Scotty: Also with our album, it’s like “This is Cold By Winter!”. Like it or not, this is it!
Trajan: The album speaks for itself. It’s art, it’s lyrics, it’s music. Well that was the whole point of it, for people who haven’t heard us.

Andrew: I was going to ask something, but I forgot now…. It was kinda cool

Scotty: It’ll come back I swear… probably tonight when you’re in bed. You can ring us!

Andrew: What’s the big deal about your hair?

Scotty: It’s a gag. It’s one thing we sit on and milk and milk and milk because a lot of people think we’re serious. And they like to get angry about our band because they think that we all love ourselves! But it’s not true. The truth is, we’re all just really, really good looking.
Trajan: The truth is that we’ve done our homework musically and we thought we’d have a bit of fun with it.
Leon: And now we’ve thrown the fashioncore thing with me and Ben joining and having no fashion sense what so ever, and bald heads.

Andrew: So it gives the band diversity? Good hair verses no hair?

George: Yeah! Not good hair, ridiculously good hair!

Andrew: What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened at a show?

Scotty: Back in the day, probably the most embarrassing moment was here at the Kings Arms when me and our old guitarist Ben were the only ones who didn’t have to drive that night and we had a $50 bar tab. They had really cheap mega jugs. We were playing with Dave from Mumsdollars band, Undercarriage, and I was written off my face. I fell backwards off my chair and landed on my ass in front of everyone.
George: Another funny thing that happened was when we went away to record the album, I farted and Scott threw up.
Scotty: No seriously! I had the coffee cup from McDonalds and I spewed in the cup.
George: Cause I stuck the kid locks on in the car….
Trajan: I’ve thrown my guitar in to my own face….
Scotty: What about you Leon?
Leon: I dunno, I guess when I finally play more shows with the band I’m sure I’ll have something.

Andrew: How many shows have you played with the band?

Leon: I think 5
Scotty: That’s how new he is. He played a couple of shows and then went straight into recording…
Leon: They gave me 4 days to learn the songs…..

Andrew: How did you come up with the band name?

George: Goes back to the Germans… Basically what happened was in World War II, some of their soldiers weren’t properly equipt. A lot of them died from freezing to death, instead of being killed in battle. To keep the public moral up, they did a big cover up. They labelled their caskets CBW (Cold By Winter) and it was a huge cover up. People were told they died in battle, but really they froze to death.
Scotty: It can mean heaps of different things as well. I won’t tell you the real reason we’re called Cold By Winter.
Leon: We read it on punkas so it’s gotta be true.
All laugh

Andrew: And what about the album?

Scotty: We: the living is actually one of our songs, which is based on an old novel called We The Living.
George: It was set during the Russian Revolution in the early 1900s and it’s basically about a human struggle and how everything could sort of … be thrown upside down and how someone could feel so lost and forgotten. Some things are real good, but it’s human sacrifice and that sort of thing. For us it sort of makes us stand back and appreciate what we’ve got.

Andrew: What can you guys never leave home behind?
George: Scotty can’t leave behind his eye liner
Scotty: I can sum this up pretty quickly. This is what I took away with me… in my toilet bag I took tooth paste, tooth brush, eye liner, nail polish, nail polish remover and that was pretty much it.
Leon: I’d never like to leave without my kid … but then the one thing I can’t leave without home is my phone so that I can always be contacted.

Andrew: You’re one of these new age….

Leon: Nah, but I have to be now. I hate phones

Andrew: And that’s because of your family?

Leon: Yup

Andrew: Where do you see you guys in the next five years?

Scotty: Working in the factory, making holden air conditioners for cars because I won’t be able to get any other jobs now.

Andrew: So what do you guys do now?

George: Scotts unemployed

Scotty: That is a lie… That was a straight out lie.

Andrew: Are you on the dole?

Scotty: No way… I actually work.
Leon: I kind of am… student allowance is just another name for it, isn’t it?
Scotty: Trajan’s got a goodie…
Trajan: I’m in the navy!

Andrew: Who else worked on the album with you?

Trajan: We had a tonne of people. We had Justin from Elemeno P who mixed it, Evan Short from Concord Dawn and Dayone. He mastered it. We had Matt from Wash recorded most of it in Rotorua. Gavin Downie produced it. Him and Justin did the rest of it… We recorded Leon’s vocals and some of the guitar bits at his flat.

Andrew: Where was most of it done?

Scotty: Almost 50/50… in a big studio.
George: Yeah cause when Sean and Pete left we had to re-record the guitars and vocals…
Scotty: Yeah cause they left in the middle of the album.
George: We had to record basically anywhere we could…
Trajan: The airport…
Scotty: Showgirls, plunket…. How funny is that word plunket? Plun-ket. I reckon that’s the funniest word in the world. Try saying it... punket, punket, plunket, plunket

Andrew: So what’d you guys do before you made name for yourselves?

Scotty: I was doing 5 years full time Christian ministry at a bible college… and then I became a mess. George was at a private school. Actually, it wouldn’t have been much longer after you got dragged behind a bus, George? It’s a true story. It was in the newspapers and everything.
Trajan: And that’s why you’re not allowed to exit from the rear door on a school bus.

Andrew: I remember that, what year was that?

George: It was… I was 12… 1995, 1996?

Andrew: And that was on East Coast Road on the Shore?

George: Yeah
Scotty: So anything that is wrong with our band, it’s his fault.

Andrew: And what were you doing before Cold By Winter, Leon?

Leon: I was playing in my other band, d0n’t in Melborne. And then that fell apart, so I went around the world. I came back here and I hated it, so I went back to Australia and then Rachel fell pregnant so we came back here. The only band that I thought “Shit that’s cool” was Cold By Winter… I was sorta friends with Pete from years a go when he was in a band called Kudos, doing Limp Bizkit covers and he came up to me telling me he was leaving the band cause of a new job he was about to take in Wellington. Then he said that I should join and I said “Hell yeah” and then I started getting random texts from Scott but he wouldn’t tell me who it was.

Andrew: Were they sexual?

Leon: No, they were 50 cent lyrics. So I went to their show and they said “Do you want to play next Saturday?”… I rocked up to a band practise and I’d never talked to George. I’d seen him heaps at Papa Jacks but we were too scared to talk to each other. I’d met Scott, cause he’s not too scared to talk to anyone. I’d never spoken to Trajan….

Andrew: So when did you have your first practise?

Leon: We had the first practise on the Monday before, then second on the Tuesday, third on the Wednesday and then the show was on the Saturday.
Scotty: Yeah cause he came to our show at Shadows... which was Petes last show…

Andrew: Yeah and already that night people were telling me that Leon was joining…

Leon: People said that before I’d even talked to Scott.
George: It went around the world. Our friend Gavin was with Steriogram in the states and we got phone calls saying “Oh yeah, Leon’s playing in Cold By Winter now” and that was the day after we’d had a practise with him.
Scotty: It was kinda like, everyone knew he was in the band before he was properly in the band so we felt like we had to use him.

Andrew: What do you love the most about the NZ Music industry?

Scotty: The New Zealand Music industry is cool because nowhere else in the world except for maybe Sweden gives out grants for bands. But we’re not going to get any of those grants because of the genre of our music, but you can’t really bitch and complain about it because it’s an amazing thing.
Trajan: If I started wearing my trousers around my ankles and started talking about bitchas and hoez then maybe we’d get something.
Scotty: And he could talk that way cause he’s dark. But that is a cool thing about the New Zealand music industry… the fact that there are people out there who will help us.
Leon: The other thing that’s cool is how harsh people are. They’ll cut you down and cut you down and cut you down, but all it does is makes you stronger. So when you do leave New Zealand and go overseas, you’re pretty much prepared for anything.

Andrew: So what happens next for Cold By Winter?

Scotty: It’s really open. Maybe a chance to tour next year in other countries but it’s pretty open right now. Basically the plans are to do the best we can here, and then see if we can get out of here.
Leon: There is something about stepping off shore and playing that makes a band a tighter unit. All of a sudden, you have no stability but the 5 guys around me and the songs are the only thing familiar to me. You become to really enjoy that and you become a real tight unit. If we get the chance to do that, I think that would be a real good thing for the band!


About Cold By Winter

Driving across the country to play shows, spending almost all of your spare time plastering cities with flyers and posters and hand making EPs and merchandise to sell for only gold coin donations at the door: This sums up the dedication of Cold By Winter’s five members.

There are a lot of different stories about the band’s progression. It’s been turbulent, it's been spat upon by a few but it has also been a great source of entertainment for many. Regardless of the rumours that shroud the band, they have proved their worth time and time again.

Playing solidly throughout New Zealand Cold By Winter became a hardened melodic machine, building up a loyal fan base from across all musical genres with their mix of brutally heavy guitars and intricate break-downs. All this mashed up with strong vocal melodies Cold By Winter have set themselves apart from other emerging bands climbing from the New Zealand punk/hardcore scene.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Cold By Winter


We The Living
Year: 2004
Type: Album
Cold By Winter EP
Year: 2002
Type: EP

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