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Wintersleep says hello, home 

A free Natal Day concert on Saturday, a new album and a stop home before another whirlwind tour schedule.

click to enlarge The gang is back again: Catch Wintersleep at Alderney Landing on Saturday - SCOTT MUNN
  • The gang is back again: Catch Wintersleep at Alderney Landing on Saturday
  • Scott Munn

Halifax's own Juno-winning Wintersleep will be joining in the Natal Day festivities with a free concert at Alderney Landing on Saturday. And for those who remember last year, we can only hope it isn't moved from an outdoor space to a 100-person capacity room again. 

"It was kind of weird because it didn't really rain too much so we thought that we could play it, but it was out of our hands," says drummer Loel Campbell, on the phone from Montreal.

"We hadn't played a small place in Halifax like that in a long time." 

Born and raised in small Nova Scotian towns, Wintersleep spent its formative years in Halifax before settling in Montreal, and is looking forward to spending some time with friends and family.

It's evident that a lot has changed since their show at The Carleton, though. Wintersleep's fifth album Hello Hum, released in June, has a more mature sound compared to older albums, while still maintaining the soothing quality that made fans fall in love with them in the first place. The songwriting process stayed the same, but working with Dave Fridmann, who has worked with bands like The Flaming Lips (on such classics as Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, The Soft Bulletin and Zaireeka), MGMT (Oracular Spectacular, Congratulations) and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (Some Loud Thunder) was transformative for them.

"He's someone who has this huge background in making records, we were just trying to soak up some of his tricks. I think it's a pretty fleshed-out record. Also, on the last record, we didn't have a jam space or a place to rehearse, I guess, and we acquired one here in Montreal a year-and-a-half ago. So we delved into the record in its entirety before we even went into the studio," says Campbell. 

Something else that sets Hello Hum apart is that longtime keyboard player Jon Samuel and bass player Mike Bigelow weren't part of the recording. "Jon doesn't live in Montreal, he lives in Halifax, so he wasn't here for it. And Mike made a record here with Spencer Krug from Moonface, so he was busy doing that. We took an 18 month break to kind of assess where we all were," says Campbell of the temporary split.

Fans will be happy to know that Bigelow is back. Right now, they have a couple weeks off before a whirlwind of touring. Wintersleep is playing the annual Osheaga Festival in Montreal before coming to Halifax. After a few more shows in Canada, they will be touring throughout Europe.

"I just got our tour dates for Europe---we haven't been to Scandinavia in awhile and I really enjoyed Oslo when we went," says Campbell. He adds that the band will be back to play the Halifax Pop Explosion in the fall before kicking off their North American tour. 

"It'll be fun."

Wintersleep w/Rich Aucoin, Long Distance Runners, The Stogies, Alert the Medic, Saturday, August 4 at Alderney Landing, 2 Ochterloney Street, 5:30pm, Free

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