How much more indie could this picture get?
courtesy Ideal Friends

Some prefer Winter Gloves to mittens

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Montreal outfit Winter Gloves works a lot like their moniker. While all connected by their overarching fibres, each member is given a lot of room to move around. Though the band started as Charles F.'s side project, it has morphed into a fully-inclusive group, something that the once-lone musician thought was a necessity.

"When I came up with those songs, I was alone with my cheap organ and my drums and it's pretty easy when you're alone because you have one direction and you have a couple of ideas, but you don't have a goal," Charles explains. "When you record everything yourself and then you listen back to the CD, everything is a bit boring. It's like a talent show for you. I just mapped the ideas."

Charles' decision to transfer the music to a band format was fairly easy when he found the right musicians for the job. After mixing the EP with his friend and now fellow bandmate, Vincent Chalifour, the two recruited Patrick Sayers and Jean-Michel Pigeon to complete the project. The band's sound has been polished even from their early days together, something Sayers attributes to the members' wealth of previous experience and enthusiasm, not to mention the opportunity to all be creatively involved.

"I was really excited because I liked the songs a lot and understood the idea right away," he says. "I was also excited because I could come and record my part and be a member. It wasn't just a project that someone already completed and you feel like it's not your band."

In preparation for the full album's release, the group began making a name for themselves throwing copies of their EP into the crowd at shows, something that was noticed by audiences and critics alike. Sayers says their unconventional decision made sense in ensuring their success in the long run.

"Our mentality was that we wanted people to buy our record when it came out and the only way we thought people would want to buy the record is if they knew who we were," Sayers says. "We wanted to give them a teaser. We had to do a bunch of shows to warm up for the tour and get the exposure out so people would talk about the record. No one's going to buy anything if they don't know who you are."

Charles and Sayers both agree that their group managed to transport the EP's lo-fi sound and feeling on the album-- something Charles says was originally due to his lack of high-quality recording equipment-- while refining the ideas, though it was a bit of a struggle to maintain that direction throughout the recording process.

"I think a lot of bands have the temptation, when you're in a big studio and you have a lot of gear, to go in that direction to be very produced and have that slick sound," says Sayers. "Initially, we ended up doing that because we were working with another producer and he had his own ideas. Listening back, we were like, 'This is not what the band is about,' and it wasn't what we had envisioned our album sounding like. Charles and Vincent mixed the EP, so they took it upon themselves to mix the record. That's why we came with our own sound because we knew what we wanted and they achieved it."