After the original lineup of The Winter Sounds wasted away, leaving lead singer Patrick Keenan as frontman of a solo group, he wasn’t sure at first that he wanted to re-form the band.
When he relocated to Nashville from Greenville, S.C., last August, two things convinced him The Winter Sounds was worth preserving: years of hard work and artistic compulsion.
“I’ve just written so much, and I personally can’t stop doing that,” he said. “I played in another band right before Winter Sounds, but I wasn’t the main writer. It was really hard having this outpouring of ideas constantly and never having an outlet for it.”
Starting over from scratch, Keenan began combing through social networks and Craigslist ads looking for new talent. His main criterion? The band had to be priority No 1, which meant no side projects, Keenan said.
“I wanted to make sure that, when I did meet the right people, everyone would be devoted to working on The Winter Sounds,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure I was direct enough ... so there wouldn’t any issues down the road if we decided to tour for a month straight or something.”
Finding the right people didn’t take long. By the start of this year, he and his new crew were on the road again.
The new lineup features a number of multi-instrumentalists, who Keenan said have offered him freedom to take the music in new directions. The new sound is heavier on electro-pop elements like synthesizers and dance rhythms, but it’s more of an evolution than a revolution from the original band’s driving, layered sound reminiscent of bands such as The Killers, The Cure and The Smiths.
Tuesday, The Winter Sounds will take the stage at JJ’s Bohemia. Even with only a few months on the road, Keenan said, he’s ecstatic by how well things are gelling.
“I feel like it’s right back to where it was and better,” he said. “All this stuff from the recordings that we can actually do live. I feel like a lot of people who have listened to the albums a lot and seen us play are really excited by the full new sound of the band.”