‘Above Duffle Farm’ sings with computer bleeps, horn sections, pianos, bleak, honest, distinctive vocals and unusual tales of the cold. Recorded in isolation at home in London, its creation was an experiment with an uncertain future.
“I knew that I could do my best work alone, uninhibited with total creative freedom. After ‘EPCOT Starfields’ came out I was on a lucky streak of commercials/ TV Shows using Windmill’s music. This gave me the chance to build a good home setup where I could make proper records, however and whenever I wanted. The album was practically finished by the end of summer 2011, but with label interest at an all time low and self doubt at an all time high, I became pretty introverted. Especially when it came to releasing music and I retreated to just making stuff for me again. As long as I feel my imagination is getting a good airing then I am motivated.”
With the album complete and without a home, it took until Christmas 2012 for the songs to make a public debut.
“I started, for the first time to think it was a shame that this set of songs was left to die. So, I started posting 1 or 2 a week to SoundCloud. People were instantly asking where they could get them and that the songs meant something to them. Which, I was really grateful for, probably more than people realise. It’s tricky because I’m always pretty fearful engaging people from social media stuff. I work hard to speak through the work and I always dread undermining that by getting too chatty. But, it’s a testament to the impact of seeing people’s reactions to these new songs, that they steered the direction of the songs seeing a release.”
As a thank you to the people that encouraged the album’s release, Windmill has pledged to create 50 handmade, personal CD’s for the first pre-orders of the album.
With a new sense of purpose, Windmill now needed to decide the best place for his unique music.
“All of my albums have taken a natural course and I have never fought against that. A record label came along and wanted to make an album so I used those resources the best I could and made ‘Puddle City Racing Lights.’ A lot of these labels are one person, so all it takes is that person’s enthusiasm to wane, which it inevitably does. The only important thing is that you don’t let that alter your own enthusiasm for creating art. By releasing through bandcamp there’s nothing holding you back. Make whatever you want. It’s all down to you.”
The album’s ‘one man’s creative will’ approach extended past the music and eventually to the album’s artwork.
“For every album that I have made, the artwork has almost been the most important part. It’s the image I have in my mind that all the music gets written to. Because I had spent months placing every single note on the record, I wanted to do the same for the art. I placed every pixel individually until I had the image that I had been imagining for 2 years. It depicts people in their pyjamas, riding passenger jets and wearing ‘Photon’ Laser Tag helmets above the Winter town.”
2007’s ‘Puddle City Racing Lights’ and 2009’s ‘EPCOT Starfields’ were praised for their concepts and themes and Above Duffle Farm’ has it’s feet squarely in the snow.
“I drifted towards a Winter theme. Not because I wanted to make the obligatory Christmas album but because Winter currently represents my current state of mind the best. There’s the romantic idealism, a time when you embrace and appreciate things you normally take for granted. Then, amongst that joy there’s the reminder of the cold, harsh realities and inevitabilities. As I get older it’s hard to see one without the other. Sometimes the happier you feel the more you start to fear loss.”
Having toured with/ played alongside established acts such as St. Vincent, The National, Patrick Watson and Vampire Weekend, Windmill has been absent from the touring scene for 2 years. Something that ‘Above Duffle Farm’ may or may not change.
“I just let things take a natural course. I don’t feel desperate to stand in front of people. When I get an offer where I feel it’s the right time and will be the right audience, then I love playing. But, I won’t ever do it just for the sake of it and it’s the same with making records.“