I joined Dan Burns, Justin Rutledge and Carina Round to explore Early Winters newest release Vanishing Act. Unfortunately, Zac Rae was unable to attend. Zac is a talented pianist and has one of my favorite looks in the music biz, with his reddish and nicely groomed beard with a kind visage set against those lovely jewel tone velvet sports jackets, for some reason, just hits the spot for the stylist in me. We sat down, with the exception of Zac, at the spendy, yet elegant LaMill on Silverlake Boulevard in Silverlake for a spot of coffee and snacks, well and of course, and a nice chit-chat over Early Winters newest offering, Vanishing Act. Carina Round sat across from me with Dan to her side and Justin nestled near me, as we explored the creative process for the new release.
Vanishing Act is a marvelous mid-tempo melodic rocker alternating between Carina’s and Justin’s vocals and at times a blend of both. On the whole it’s a thoughtful and at times melancholy work. There are a couple of up tempo numbers with catchy hooks and beautiful harmonies on the album too. Justin and Carina are veteran solo artists in their own right. Carina also is part of Pucifer and Justin is a Juno nominated/Canadian Folk Awards winner. Dan is Grammy Nominated/Juno Award Winner L.A. producer/musician with his focus on playing as part of the Early Winters team. Zac Rae who has played with so many musical artist, including Alanis Morissette and Pucifer, rounds out the Early Winters’ sound. Songs of note on the Vanishing Act are: Millionaire, A Thing For You and the catchy and intoxicating Love Wont Leave Me Alone.
Continue Interview After the Break
LA Beat: You played your first show after the release of Vanishing Act last week?
Carina: Yes, it was School Night. It was kind of warm up for our release show at Hotel Cafe. So we were feeling a little nervous for the first time playing these songs. It went really well.
LA Beat: So how did the Wednesday show go?
Carina: Wonderful! It was a sell out. Everyone was super receptive. You know how the Hotel Cafe is, so quiet: it was just full of love and joy. It went really well.
Justin: It went really well. It’s hard when you don’t play as much. It’s new material and we haven’t played together in a year.
LA Beat: Well, the whole recording process for you all living in different place offers challenges? So there’s a certain disconnection.
Carina: I think somehow it really works well for us. We kind of get thrown into a whirlwind for 2 weeks where we have to sense what’s hot immediately and go for it. Don’t be overly precious about things.
LA Beat: So you have a window on the whole creative process?
Carina: You know, we are all song writers. So we manifest ideas and bring songs to the table. But once you’re in that situation you’re pressing the timer button, it puts in a different air about how your writing. I can sit for two weeks, three weeks or a year on one song. I’m sure you, JR, have one like that too.
Justin: Yeah, when we get together we give ourselves 7 days to write and then 8 days to record. When I come down we really set goals. We set serious goals for ourselves. We have to meet them!
Dan: It’s like adrenaline rush. It’s actually really exciting!
Justin: It can be really frustrating. You only have a certain amount of time. It’s exciting because it’s happening so fast. It also a little scary. We don’t know what’s really going to happen. We all get together and contribute. Someone might have a line or a course idea.
Carina: It’s like being thrown into the wild and you have to act on your intuitions to survive. I think it really has, for want for a better word, forced a situation of trust between the 4 of us. It’s a beautiful feeling. I’m not speaking for everyone else, but I tend to hold things really precious when I’m writing for my own stuff. I find it difficult to let go in certain ways and it’s a really liberating feeling for me to be able to grow in this capacity. I feel I’m growing in my own capacity as an artist.
Justin: I’m similar to Carina. I have my own solo career. It can take me 6 months to a year to write a song. But in this context, it’s great, because you have to be willing to let your ideas morph. I’ve never been in a band before. It has teached me a lot about group work. Even if you feel strongly about somethings there are 3 other people who you share your ideas with; who need to feel as comfortable about the material as you do. It’s really nice to work in this context. There are no bad ideas. Just through out an idea and see what sticks. It’s been very humbling and I’ve learned a lot.
LA Beat: Dan did you produce this?
Dan: We made it all together. There are things that I do, but this project is really about having a real collaboration. We all have our strengths we bring to the project. We all have a very high level of respect for each other. Of any project I’ve ever been involved with its been the most collaborative!
Justin: It’s extremely balanced.
LA Beat: So will you be touring to support of Vanishing Act?
Carina: We can’t speak about it, but the short answer is yes. You’ll be the first to know.
LA Beat: Vanishing Act was more melodic and had a lot more power than the first release. I thought more together. The other was lovely and sleepy. Vanishing Act is melodic, tuneful and it’s personal. It sounds very personal to me when I listen to it.
Justin: We were quite surprised at what came out when we got together. At least I was! I was really surprised how our bureau of standards has grown collectively, I think. I agree with you. On the first album Carina brought some songs to the table, I brought some songs to the table and Zac got involved with it half way through. It was more on the first record, like Carina would sing a song or I would sing a song. Where with this one it’s like we became one voice on this record. We’ve developed more a sound on this record.
LA Beat: Were you singing together on Vanishing Act?
Carina: Yeah. It’s totally reflective of the relationship we developed together. We became much closer. We became much more trusting. Much more relaxed around each other. The first one was kind of an experiment. This one was more deliberate. We went on an excavation this time.
Justin: We went a little deeper this time. A lot deeper I thought.
Dan: We tried to write the best songs we could. To come up with the best ideas. I think we did a really did job of taking a collection of ideas. Sifting through them to find golden concepts and focus those ideas into great songs.
LA Beat: How many video have you done so far?
Carina: Two, so far.
LA Beat: How many do you plan on doing?
LA Beat: That’s ambitious!
Carina: If they come to fruition!
We continued with some small talk before they all headed out for a birthday party. Carina, whom I’ve known for years through her solo career, was adorable when insisted on me having some of her gram cracker ice cream and a portion of her cake. Before we all disappeared from LaMill into the evening air they shared they will be playing some dates in the New York area in April for those of you on the east coast wanting to be a part of an Early Winters performance. I’m sure there are other dates in the works. Vanishing Act can be found on i-Tunes and look for video release of the songs coming soon.