A Winged Victory For The Sullen

A Winged Victory For The Sullen

interview by Matteo Meda
I always find it incredible when two (or more) great musicians manage to obtain something new by mix their experience and sound... And that's what I like more about your collaboration. And so, let's start by asking: what do you think about the art of collaborating in music?
I personally love collaborating. It always brings new fresh ideas to you that you would never do on your own. And as much as I love working on my solo work. Always working on your own can get boring sometimes. Collaborations with strong people challenge your ideas and help you grow.

And what do you think about your collaboration? Did you find it hard to mix your arts, styles and approaches in an unique one?
It has always been a really natural balance and one we found very quickly. I think we both have spent a lot of our musical lives exploring different sides of music... And when we started making music together it was easy to give each other space to do what we do best. Adam is great at creating space and finding what is essential in a piece... And I think I am good at building melodic structures. And I think we both have learned a lot from each other... As now with the new record its hard to say who did what part..its all mixed now. Sometimes I play a guitar and he plays piano.

How has the A Winged project been born? Where the project's name come from?
We met in 2007 in Bologna at a Sparklehorse concert. At the time Adam was playing guitar with Sparklehorse and my good friend and sound engineer Francesco Donadello from Gardini Di Mirò invited me to the show. We ended up meeting back stage and talked mostly about being Americans living in Europe, but later shared music with each other and became fans of each others music. The name is in part inspired by the ancient Greek statue in the Louvre by the similar name and "sullen" represents the slow and meloncholy that seems to be apart of us. We wanted the name to feel epic and in slow motion with the colors of silver and gold.

Is this project linked to what you did before each one by himself, or do you see it as something completely new and different?
Everything we did before effects what we do together... It would never had been possible. But I do think together we are finding some new ground that is unique to our collaboration and its been exciting exploring these new worlds.

In your music, I found something very pure, intimate, something that "Atomos" has probably put much more in evidence than your first album... What are the differences between the two albums from your point of view? Has something changed in your approach to writing?
We can separate our emotions from music... We always have to feel it first. But there was also outside influences from the choreographer Wayne McGregor as he has a lot of ideas and concepts about his dance piece that were also very inspring.

Can we look to album's tracks as phases/images of an unique travel? The non-titles too seems to suggest this interpretation...
Because this work started as a commission for a dance piece we knew it would act as one long form. It has 3 acts and its sub divided into different parts..but the entire piece plays as one long continous piece of music for us. So individual track names didn’t make sense here.

Both your albums have come out contemporary for two labels: Kranky and Erased Tapes. Why did you choose to have this particular kind of shared releases? What do you think of these two labels and, in particular, of their most important artists?
There is a lot of good talent on both Kranky and Erased Tapes... Both are really different labels. If someone asks us about Kranky they call us ambient and if someone asks us about ET that call us post-classical. I like that we are really neither and both. Finding our own voice

How do you build A Winged's live sets? And what does live dimension represent for you?
When we finished the first album we were not really sure how we were going to translate it all into the live show, but slowly we found a way and we have been really pleased at how we were able to find a new power in the live show. Have huge bass speakers really helps too! A lot of times its hard to translate music like this live.. But I think the experience Adam and I have with our past bands really helped us how to find a way to make it engaging. We like to play live...

Which kind of location do you think would fit better for your live set?
We love churches and old theatres... They see to sound best for us.

Are you going to play "Atomos" live? Will you go on tour with the full string elements?
Yes we will be playing mostly the entire new album live with a small string ensemble. What's the equipment you usually bring on stage? Live we use 3 to 5 string players and I play piano and electronics... And Adam plays his guitar sounds and some keyboards.

And last but not least, are you going to play here in Italy too?
Finally yes! Nov 29th at Locomotiv will be our first show ever in Italy!
Discography
 

A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN
(Dustin O' Halloran & Adam Wiltzie)

  
 CD & LP
 A Winged Victory For The Sullen (Erased Tapes/Kranky, 2011)
Atomos (Erased Tapes/Kranky, 2014)
  
 EP & 12"
 Ti Prego, Memory Man (Autoprodotto, 2013)
 Atomos VII (Kranky, 2014)
  
  
 STARS OF THE LID
(Adam Wiltzie & Brian McBride)
  
 CD & LP
Music For Nitrous Oxide (Sedimental, 1995)
 Gravitational Pull Vs The Desire For An Acquatic Life (Sedimental, 1996/ Kranky, 1997)
The Ballasted Orchestra (Kranky, 1997)
 Per Aspera Ad Astra (Kranky, 1998)
 Avec Laudenum (Sub Rosa, 1999/ Kranky, 2002)
The Tired Sound Of Stars Of The Lid (Kranky, 2001)
Their Refinement Of The Decline (Kranky, 2007)
  
 EP & 12"
  
 The Kahanek Incident, vol. 3 (split with Labradford, Trance Syndicate, 1997)
 Maneuvering The Nocturnal Hum (Ep, Earworm, 1998)
  
  
 

AIX EM KLEMM (CD)
(Adam Wiltzie & Robert Donne)

  
 Aix Em Klemm (Kranky, 2000)
  
  
 THE DEAD TEXAN
(Adam Wiltzie & Christina Vantzou)
  
The Dead Texan (Cd/Dvd, Kranky, 2004)
  
  
 SLEEPINGDOG (CD/LP)
(Adam Wiltzie & Chantal Acda)
  
 Naked In A Clean Bed (Muze, 2006)
 Polar Life (Zealrecords, 2008)
 With Hour Head In The Clouds And Our Hearts In The Fields (Zearlecords, 2011)
  
  
 DUSTIN O'HALLORAN
  
 CD & LP
 Piano Solos (Splinter, 2004)
Piano Solos Vol. 2 (Bella Union, 2006)
 An American Affair (OST, Filter US, 2009)
Vorleben (Sonic Pieces, 2010)
Lumiere (13071, 2011)
 Like Crazy - The Score (OST, Relativity, 2011)
 Breathe In - OST (OST, Milan, 2013)
  
 EP
 Transcendentalism (with Hauschka & Jóhann Jóhannsson, 13071, 2012)
  
  
 DÉVICS
(Dustin O'Halloran & Sara Lov)
  
 CD & LP
 If You Forget Me... (Splinter, 1998)
My Beautiful Sinking Ship (Bella Union, 2001)
 The Stars At Saint Andrea (Bella Union, 2003)
 Push The Heart (Bella Union, 2006)
  
 EP, 12", 7"
 Peresoso (Splinter, 1994)
 The Ghost In The Girl (Splinter, 2000)
 Red Morning (Bella Union, 2002)
 Distant Radio (Leftwing, 2005)
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