In Conversation with The Winter Brave, Part II

Moving Past Emotion

“Music definitely fuels my muse foremost. It’s what occupies my brain most hours of the day. I’m constantly searching for new music and seeing what unique quality each new artist brings.”
– Jake Scarpino of The Winter Brave

The Winter Brave is an alternative rock duo based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The world sat up and took notice in 2013 when Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters dropped their name during an “Ask Me Anything” on

The new single, “As You Once Were“, from their soon-to-be-released EP, The Hand You Never Seem to Lend, is a spirited rock anthem with deliciously retro elements.

Recently duo members Sam and Jake took the time to answer Wanda Waterman’s questions about the new EP, the current direction of alternative music, and what it takes to keep on making great sounds.

Your new EP?The Hand you Never Seem to Lend‘seems to carry a rather bitter theme of rejection and abandonment. Is there a story behind that?
Jake: Songwriting in general is a very cathartic experience for me. Writing lyrics especially helps in moving past emotions or personal problems. Because the lyrics usually come from the peak of those experiences, a lot of songs are kind of depressing and bitter, which is a bit unfortunate.

How did you come up with “The Winter Brave?”
Back when we were 15 we took our old band name and put it through Google Translate a few times until we landed on “The Winter Brave.”

In your opinion, what is the state of alternative independent music now, and what is your peculiar contribution?
The genre of “alternative” is in sort of weird spot right now. The general trend in music nowadays is shifting away from guitars and more to electronic sounds. I think that trend is also apparent in the alternative scene.

We like to think that our music still has an alternative feel to it, but closer to what would have been commonplace five to seven years ago. There are still bands like The Black Keys, Cage the Elephant, Band of Skulls, and recently Royal Blood, which sound something like us, and who are still considered alternative.

What conditions do you require in your life in order to go on being creative?
That’s a little ironic considering the collaborative nature of our writing process is that most songs start when one of us is alone writing. Something that’s really important in both of our creative processes is solitude. Being the least bit self-conscious while trying to create can really hinder the product. So while we do collaborate all the time, ideas need to begin from being alone.

What do you feed your muse? Are there any books, films, or albums that have deeply influenced your development as an artist?
Sam: Music definitely fuels my muse foremost. It’s what occupies my brain most hours of the day. I’m constantly searching for new music and seeing what unique quality each new artist brings.

Probably the most influential album of my songwriting-formative years was Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest. I could not shake that album for a long time. They were trying things I hadn’t thought of and playing their instruments in ways I’d never considered. I can definitely hear parts of that album in almost every song I’d written after I heard it.

If you had an artistic mission statement, what would it be?
Rock as loud as possible.

Wanda also penned the poems for the artist book They Tell My Tale to Children Now to Help Them to be Good, a collection of meditations on fairy tales, illustrated by artist Susan Malmstrom.