Many fans have asked, "Who is Winston?"
And so, on the 13th day of the 12th month of the 11th year of this millennium, Vikaash Prasad and Shalini Kumar took part in conversation with one Winston Hauschild, producer (and guitarist, bass guitarist, synth keyboardist and glockenspiel-ist) of the Shalini EP.
FISH AND FEELINGS
WINSTON: Did you like my Facebook comment … the Kurt Cobain quote? It was something about eating fish … “It’s okay to eat fish ’cause they don’t have feelings.” That’s my favourite line of his.
SHALINI: And he is a fish, he’s a Pisces!
IN IT FOR THE LOVE
WINSTON: I’m obviously not in this for the money. I realized a long time ago that anyone who gets involved in the music biz or anything artsy … you’re in it because you love it. It’d be nice to make a living though.
WINSTON: So did you play the [Shalini EP] CD for your folks?
SHALINI: My dad knows all the lyrics and he’s been listening to it over and over again in the car, like on repeat. So, he loves it, my mom too. My family’s been so supportive. They really love the music.
LIFE OF THE MIND
VIKAASH: I’m always worried about old people and Life of the Mind.
SHALINI: I know, or giving it to like a little kid or something.
VIKAASH: Just the “F” word.
SHALINI: ‘Cause you have to warn them, right … It’s not an in-your-face “F” word, but it’s still there.
VIKAASH: It’s part of the song.
WINSTON: It’s what makes the song edgy and I think it’s a really important part of the song.
SHALINI: I agree.
WINSTON: You know what? Old people are never going to understand. They just won’t, so what are you going to do?
SHALINI: I think it’s artsy if anything.
WINSTON: I think so too, and it’s hard to get people from a different generation to understand what we do and that it’s important. You got other old people that are on board. Like how old is the tabla player?
SHALINI: Oh, he’s like a hundred years old.
WINSTON: He’s like a hundred! He was pretty old. Did he get a copy of the record?
SHALINI: He did. He loved it. He played at the CD listening party … He’s so cool.
WHO’S YOUR STYLIST?
WINSTON: I’m my stylist. I always have been. I’ve always had a really sort of quirky take on clothes and hair and all that kind of stuff. I’ve only had a stylist come in once years ago on a music video or something, and it’s a lot of fun because they dress you up and do fun stuff, but I like styling myself.
VIKAASH: So hair and everything? One of your prominent features is your hair.
SHALINI: Your hair. And your glasses.
Winston: Well, just so you guys know, I’ve cut my own hair for like 12 years. I’ve never gone to a hairdresser, ever, not since I was a kid or like in my twenties. I’ve always done it myself.
WINSTON: I go through “chop it all off, grow it really long” but I always do it myself. Actually, if you look through it on Facebook, there were two or maybe three occasions when I’ve done the before and after shot.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
WINSTON: When I was younger? I always wanted to be a musician and an artist. See, I came from a family of musicians. My mother and father were both singers and they played music and we traveled. When I was really young, we traveled in a big motor home together and we toured the country and they would sing at night and I would sleep in the hotel. I just sort of grew up around music, always. My first birthday cake when I was one year old was a giant guitar, that’s what my cake was. I’ve just sort of been groomed to do music. Growing up, there were a few moments when I was like “Oh, maybe I’ll be a lawyer or maybe I’ll become a school teacher” but those were really fleeting. Usually, I was always like “I’ll just be in music, somehow” I’ll be a writer, or singer, or guitar player or producer. I would just do music.
SHALINI: It’s in you.
WINSTON: I guess so.
WHAT WAS YOUR BEST JOB EVER, AND YOUR WORST?
WINSTON: My best and worst jobs were probably the same job because I did the same job for about 13 years and that was waiting tables. At times, it was the best job ever because I good money and I met lots of people. I learned a lot about how to be a salesman and I learned about reading new people. I always say that waiting tables is a great moment when people sat down and you walk up as a waiter and you had to suss them out. “What kind of people are these? Are they happy, are they grumpy? Can I sell them booze, or do they just want water? After like 12 years, you get pretty good at reading people. I looked at it as a great time for me to learn how to interact with people and read them and be in tune with people’s feelings.
And then, waiting tables was the worst job. Sometimes it was a horrible job. You’re basically someone’s servant. You get lots of people snapping at you, “Get me this.”
SHALINI: And whistling at you.
WINSTON: And a bad tip. At times, it was horrible. By the end, I was like “I have stop doing this job. I have to get out of this business.”
SHALINI: When did you stop?
WINSTON: Maybe about seven years ago. I finally decided to make that jump into full-time music. I always waited tables so that I could do music. As my father says, “Piss or get off the pot!” You either just do it or you don’t. And I was like “I’m going to start producing demos for people and make my own living.” I took that step and as soon as I took that step, the world opened up. It was great.
THE VISION BOARD
WINSTON: By the way, there’s your vision board. I brought it out. I didn’t have the heart to recycle it … I went on the hunt and I found it, and I called you, and you were like “Oh no, just get rid of it.” But I didn’t have the heart to throw it out.
SHALINI: Aw, I am going to keep it.
VIKAASH: It’s part of the process.
WINSTON: I remember doing a Facebook status update or a Tweet, like “This is gonna be a good record! The client brought in a vision board!”
SHALINI: I remember that too! That was awesome. I’m going to have to make a vision board for the new album.
HOW HAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR CREATION CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO HAVE EPIPHANIES?
WINSTON: I think I’ve really become excited and really attached to nature more over the years. I find that since I moved out of the city, the most important things to me now, to inspire me, have been walked in the woods or standing on the beach or, you know, planting seeds in my garden, just sort of being more in tune with nature. I find that really inspiring. As for epiphanies, well it’s not that I have major “Dah, epiphany!” happen … but I really believe that people should connect with nature, even on a daily basis. Somewhere in your day you should go out and take a deep breath of the fresh air. I think connecting with nature is important. I think when I was younger, I didn’t as much. Maybe when I was really young, I did, but when I was going through my early twenties, it was more about living in Vancouver, concrete jungle. That’s how it’s changed. More nature.
SHALINI: You’re originally from…?
WINSTON: From the Okanogan. I was born in Summerland.
SHALINI: There’s so much nature there.
WINSTON: The lake and the mountains. It’s not like you lived in the woods. The Okanogan’s a pretty populated place, but it wasn’t like the downtown core. When I moved to Vancouver, it was like “Here I am, in the city” with buses going by and Skytrains. I was like “I gotta get back to nature.”
IF YOU COULD BE ANY FICTIONAL CHARACTER, ALIVE OR NOT-SO-ALIVE, WHO WOULD YOU BE?
SHALINI: I wanna know the answer to this one.
WINSTON: I thought about it, but I don’t know. For me, it’s always been about being me. I’ve never yearned to be anyone else. You know what I’m really fascinated by is tie travel, so I think if I was to be anybody … it would be Marty McFly, because I think it would be really cool to time travel.
SHALINI: Where would you want to go, the future or the past?
WINSTON: Back to the future!
SHALINI: That’s so funny.
WINSTON: He goes to all of them.
WINSTON: My lips are so chapped they’re probably as red as Shalini’s? You’re going to have to do some Photoshopping. I looked in the mirror and I was like, “God, I look like I have lipstick on. They’re really dry.”
SHALINI: It’s the winter season. Chapstick is your friend.
WINSTON: Chapstick makes it worse, because then it really looks like I have lipstick on.
SHALINI: Oh, because it’s waxy and glossy. Do it at night time.
FOR YOU, WHAT MAKES MUSIC “GOOD” MUSIC?
WINSTON: It has to be sincere. I think when I get passionate about disliking music, it’s usually because I feel that it’s contrived. Who knows if it is contrived or not, but that’s how I perceive if something’s contrived. I’m like, “Oh I hate it. They’re trying so hard, or they’re trying to be this.” The music has to sort of reek of sincerity and then I like. It just seems so real. It just seems exactly what that person’s like or something. And then I just think it’s “good” music.
SHALINI: That’s a really good answer.
WHAT’S A MUST WHEN YOU GET INTO THE STUDIO TO RECORD, AND WHAT’S AN ABSOLUTE “HELL NO”?
WINSTON: A must for me is an open mind because, and you’ve worked with me, I really encourage people to have an open mind about sounds, about changes that I want to make or suggest. I really want to be able to try the weirdest things, like let’s grab that bag of coffee and we’ll squish it in our hands and record it. I don’t know, maybe it’ll make a neat sound. I really want to have this open mind that we can break all of the rules.
SHALINI: Outside of the box, totally. Working with you, I found you’re very outside of the box, even adding the typewriter and all of the other sound effects. It was really cool.
WINSTON: I think that’s what makes it fun and that’s was creates new sounds for people that are maybe hearing things for the first time, like “Oh, that’s different.” Often times, an artist, and I can be guilty of this too, is they have a preconceived idea of what they want the song to sound like. “I want it to have drums and a bass, and I want it to have some organ or whatever” and they have this preconceived idea, but what I really want is for people to come in with this open mind or like a clean slate. “Hey, we’re going to create this song, but we don’t know really know what it’s going to sound like yet.”
SHALINI: You’re very good at listening to the song itself and giving it a life of its own, actually serving the song. I found that working with you.
WINSTON: Thanks. I’m hoping that that’s the skill I have to offer. It’s like, “Okay, this is what I think is going to work really well for the song, so let’s try it or let’s try that, or I really feel strongly about hearing this idea.” And then, I’m first to always say too, “Yeah, that was a bad idea. That kind of sucked.”
SHALINI: You have to experiment first.
WINSTON: You have to try it. It’s just an open mind, we’re going to experiment, we’re going to try everything, and if things don’t work, they don’t work.
SHALINI: I love working with you, you’re so awesome.
UNLIMITED BUDGET. WHAT WOULD YOU USE TO MAKE YOUR NEXT BIG HIT?
WINSTON: “Unlimited” is such a scary word because unlimited can be like, “We need a million dollars!” For me, I find really great locations inspiring, meaning a really cool studio or we’ll make a record in an old barn or something. If we’re talking about an unlimited budget, I would love to have the money to go somewhere, even if that somewhere is just like Mushroom Studios, one of my favourite studios. Somewhere really cool.
WHAT ELEMENTS IN YOUR SPACE DO YOU TAKE FOR GRANTED, THAT YOU COULD NOT DO WITHOUT?
VIKAASH: I know your phone is. You use that thing for everything.
WINSTON: Everything. I can only thank Apple for that. It does everything. I use it to find a piano note, I use it to track tempos on songs, I use it to make calls, I use it to send someone a text. I find that that is an important part of my record making tools to have. I guess your question being, what do I find inspiring in this room that I need?
VIKAASH: Not necessarily inspiring, but something that you take with you, that you keep on you. If you didn’t have it, it would feel like something was missing … Like your scarf.
WINSTON: I would probably say it’s my phone. I’ll tell you right now, I have this little song I sing. You’ve probably heard me sing it whenever I leave a room. I always go, “Keys, wallet, phone. Keys, wallet, phone.” It’s so I always remember those three important things. I’ve made a habit of it … That way, I’ll never forget one of those things.
VIKAASH: Maybe I should have video-taped that.
WINSTON: [Touches self in special dance]. See I live on an island, so if I go home and I’ve forgotten my wallet or phone or keys, I’m totally hooped. Those are three important things I need to have on me … You know that “Keys, wallet, phone” is sung to the tune of Three Blind Mice.
EVERYONE: “Keys, wallet, phone. Keys, wallet, phone.”
WINSTON: See watch, you’re going to start using my song.
SHALINI: I’m going to start using your song.
WINSTON: “Keys, wallet, phone.” I have all three, I know I can leave.
WHAT POWER ANIMAL WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOU AND WHY? AND WHAT ABOUT SHALINI?
WINSTON: For starters, I don’t really know what a power animal.
SHALINI: What is a power animal?
VIKAASH: A power animal is something that you could change into or would describe you. Are you a dragon, or a teddy bear … or a meerkat?
WINSTON: I like to sleep. I like to eat. I like to play. And I’m really, really loyal. I think of myself as a dog.
SHALINI: Aw, he does too [gestures to Vikaash].
WINSTON: Those are some of my favourite things in the world. Eating, sleeping, having fun romping out in nature, running, chasing. I tend to think of myself as being very loyal, loving life and happy. Dogs live in the moment. I guess I’m reflecting through my own dog, but that’s how he lives life. Every day is like, “This is my last meal … awmnomnom![chomping and chewing noises].” Don’t worry, Dave, there’s more where that came from. The same with getting some love. He’s just splayed out, like this is the last time someone’s gonna pet me. It’s good to live in the moment.
VIKAASH: Dogs live life to the fullest.
EVERYONE: They really do.
VIKAASH: What about Shalini? Don’t worry about hurting her feelings.
WINSTON: I don’t really see you as a power animal. I don’t know.
VIKAASH: If Shalini was an animal, what would you see her as?
WINSTON: Maybe a bird. I think I say bird because my first images of you were of a caged bird. “I have to make music in this little staircase, underneath my stairs and I’m locked in there.” My vision for you making this record was you coming out of your cage and being able to fly and be free and make music and say “fuck” on record. I thought of you as a bird from under the staircase to out in the world.
SHALINI: I really like that.
WINSTON: Just a little bird.
SHALINI: A singing bird. I am out of the cage now.
WINSTON: Birds sing. Songbirds. It just seems like a good animal for you.
SHALINI: Which is what this album is about anyway … I love that.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ANY TRACK ON SHALNI’S EP FOR THE WORLD TO FALL IN LOVE WITH, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE?
WINSTON: I think it would probably be Telescope because I think it’s really emotional and it will probably appeal to the most amount of people. I always said that just the composition of the piano piece itself stood on its own. You almost don’t need vocals or lyrics. That song just has it’s own vibe. I think people will fall in love with that song. For me, it was great piano composition that we took a step further with your words and lyrics.
SHALINI: And strings. It’s so amazing. I noticed a lot of the more artistic people or those who listen to a lot more music love that song. They do. I guess they find something in there that they can relate to.
VIKAASH: Even my dad, who’s 50-something.
WINSTON: That song is universal.
SHALINI: For all ages.
WINSTON: It’s going to work for someone who’s 15, “Yeah, I dig that song.” It’s going to work for someone who’s 50. It’s a universal song, whereas Life of the Mind probably isn’t and is going to work for a certain demographic. I think for a song that’s going to capture the world, I think Telescope … There’s a reason that Nickelback is the biggest band in the world, because they resonate with like everybody. There are a lot of people that hate the band.
SHALINI: There was an app or something to get rid of their songs?
WINSTON: Nickel-block. Even my mom can be like [in elderly woman voice] “I quite like that Photograph song.”
SHALINI: My dad says the same thing.
WINSTON: Then you can have buddy with his pickup truck and ball cap saying [in growl voice] “Yeah, I like Nickelback.” They appeal to a large demographic. I’m not in any way comparing Telescope to Nickelback, I’m just saying that there’s something to be said about the more people you can appeal to, the better.
WHAT IS A COOL FUN FACT ABOUT THE MAKING OF SHALINI’S EP?
WINSTON: I think one of the coolest fun facts is that you made a vision board. Not a lot of artists make a vision board and you made a cool vision board that we sat and stared at for a half hour.
SHALINI: That’s true.
WINSTON: I’m not saying we made your whole record to reflect that vision board exactly, but at least it inspired us somewhat. I was inspired.
SHALINI: I was too, absolutely.
WINSTON: And I didn’t even want to continue looking at it. I got inspired that first time when we talked during pre-production. I think that’s a fun fact.
VIKAASH: Anything while mixing or secretly snuck in?
WINSTON: I’m trying to think back.
SHALINI: I remember we listened to Eleanor Rigby for the strings on Telescope.
WINSTON: It’s not that there aren’t fun facts, but I’ve already mixed four records since then. I remember being pretty excited about it…
VIKAASH: Let’s stick with the vision board.
WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN TERMS OF NEW WINSTON HAUSCHILD PROJECTS?
WINSTON: I have a new album coming out. It should be out some time in 2012. It’s finished and mastered and ready to go. It just needs to be printed. I’m working on artwork right now.
VIKAASH: Have you got a title?
WINSTON: Yes, it’s called The Beginning of the Long Dash.
VIKAASH: The Beginning of the Long Dash. As in like the long dash, the short dash?
WINSTON: Whatever if means to you, Vik [smirks]. Do you ever listen to CBC? In the morning at ten o’clock, there’s like “National time council signal. At the beginning of the long dash, it will be exactly 10:00AM Pacific Standard Time. Beep, beep, beeeeeeep.”
SHALINI: That’s really cool.
WINSTON: I really like that. I like the tie in with the CBC, and that it’s the beginning of a new venture.
VIKAASH: When was your last album released?
WINSTON: Two thousand and seven.
VIKAASH: What’s the difference now? What are you bringing?
WINSTON: The big difference is that my last record was an exercise with making a record completely analog and not using anything digital at all. Maybe you’ve read a little bit about it, but we went all out, not even a guitar tuner or anything. It was all analog, tuned by your ear to the piano, whatever. No Pro Tools, no computers. It was all to tape. And it was made in five days. This [new] record is the opposite. It was made in-between projects. I was producing so many people in the last three years. It was make in-between projects over the course of three years. If I had a little break from this record, I would go and work on my album for three weeks. We would do it in little stints over the course of three years. Because we did it that way, we actually embraced every piece of technology we could get our hands on. It was jumping from one computer to another, to trying all these different effects and this and that. It was just a very different record, a much more complex record, which I’m really excited about. I just don’t like doing the same thing twice, ever. It’s been five years between records, which is a really long time for anyone to have between records, but I’ve been really busy in those five years making records for other people.
VIKAASH: So the track at Blue Bird?
WINSTON: That’s on the new record. It’s a ten-song album … The other big, giant thing that I just finished doing was starting a family. That definitely changes your focus a bit. You’re really focused on being a dad and a husband. Now that it’s been almost a year and a half that [my son has] been around, you start to fall into a routine of what it’s like to be a father. And then it’s like, “Okay, I think I can back to my record now.” I’m pretty excited. That’s my big news for the new year.
VIKAASH: Have you played the new album for your family?
WINSTON: My wife’s been hearing bits and pieces of it throughout the whole process of making it. We even took over my house one weekend to do all of the percussion on the record … We really just took our time on this album, which was fun for me. I’ve made a lot records in my days and this one wasn’t just, “I’m gonna throw up a mic.” We spent a whole weekend doing tambourines. Fun fact, that tambourine/percussion session on Bowen Island in my house is where I recorded some sound effects stuff for my record. I think one of those sound effects made it onto your record, and that would be the stapler sound.
SHALINI: Ahh, so you guys just picked random things?
WINSTON: We were doing some random stuff and I thought that maybe I would use the stapler for something. We got a stapler out and we had the microphone recording. I never used it for anything, and then you were like, “I’ve got this song about an office and paperwork.” I was like, “I’ve got this stapler sound!”
SHALINI: That’s cool.
VIKAASH: That recording session was a while back?
WINSTON: That was in like 2009.
SHALINI: I remember your dog in the background.
WINSTON: Yeah, my dog’s on my record. You hear him barking on my record.
SHALINI: So awesome.
VIKAASH: So from that same session, you got that stapler sound for Life of the Mind track.
WINSTON: So there’s a fun fact.
VIKAASH: A real stapler.
WINSTON: A real stapler recorded in my kitchen ... I knew there would be a fun fact!
WE KNOW YOUR REAL NAME ISN’T “WINSTON” SO WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
WINSTON: Basically, it was more of a band situation and the name of the band was called “Winston.”
VIKAASH: Why was the band named Winston?
WINSTON: I can’t say that there was any reason. We liked the sound of it. There was some references to Britain. I don’t know. The bottom line was that our band was called Winston. The problem is that through the course of doing stuff for the band, people kept calling me Winston. They would call to do an interview and it was like, “Am I speaking with Winston?” I was like, “No, the band’s called Winston. I am not Winston.” It got to this point where people were just calling me Winston. And then I remember this one moment in time when I was downtown and someone yelled from across the street, “Hey Winston!” I don’t know who it was, but out band was playing lots at the time. I thought, “Alright, it’s done. Like, I’m Winston. People know me as Winston.” When I went to do my next record, I just decided to go as Winston.
SHALINI: So, on this one you’re going as Winston Hauschild.
WINSTON: Yeah, there are a lot of Winstons in the world so I added a little bit of my own stamp so it’s easier to search.
VIKAASH: Would you ever legally change your name?
EVERYONE: [Pause]. Hahahaha.
WINSTON: Unless it was to Marty McFly.
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