Exclusive Interview with Metalcore Band Windrunner

Windrunner is a progressive metalcore quintet hailing from Hanoi, Vietnam. Their music is a unique blend of rhythm and melodies, groovy riffs, soothing ambience, melodic guitar lines, coupled with catchy vocal choruses. They are showing their softer side with the release of their latest EP SEN, which features 6 re-imagined tracks from the band’s breakout debut album, MAI.

I got the chance to talk with them about how the band was formed, what the music scene in Vietnam is like, what made them want to re-imagine songs from their debut album and re-release them and so much more. Keep reading to see what they had to say!

For those who might not have ever heard of y’all, can you give us a brief history of the band and how it culminated into what it is now?

Well, to start – the band began as two really close local bands here in Hanoi. We all knew each other and ultimately lead to a fusion of the two bands as other members moved on. Windrunner was then born. This year, we had our vocalist Duong leave the band. However, we’ve consolidated a new lineup and it’s made a fresh new direction possible for the band and we are very positive about this new line up!

Where did the name Windrunner come from?

It’s inspired by a character from the video game Dota. As gamers ourselves, we loved the name and the atmosphere behind it, capturing certain elements of our music. 

You guys are based out of Vietnam — what’s the music scene like there? How much does it play a role in the music you create, whether it be references in the lyrics or just the overall sound of your music?

The scene is definitely young, compared to other international scenes. Alternative and metal music is still relatively new in Vietnam due to our history and culture, but its definitely growing at a steady rate. We definitely try to incorporate parts of Vietnamese culture musically and lyrically into our songs as you can hear in our previous album, MAI. We have certain traditional instruments and themes we felt paying some homage with. It makes for an interesting blend of styles that we really enjoy playing. 

I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey to listeners with their music. Your sound would generally be described as metal, but if you had to describe it without using genre names, how would you describe it?

Good question. We feel that its a good blend of tradition and modern music. We are all music nerds and love to incorporate different styles to make the music as organically interesting as possible. It’s a blend of heavy and gentle feelings, a blend of grooves and melodies. It’s a means to reflect how we all feel at times. 

Kind of going off of that, who are some of your musical influences as a group?

We are lucky to have such different and wide range of tastes between all the members. It really does create a nice atmosphere when we write. We listen to everything ranging from soul, R&B to technical death metal so it’s hard to pinpoint a certain artist but we do to take influences from everything we listen and just kind of write whatever we feel sound good!

Let’s talk about your new EP, SEN, which is a re-imagining of tracks from your debut album that you released in November. What made you want to reimagine these songs and re-release them?

We are always looking for inspiration and always trying to rewrite our songs. Some songs went through so many revisions before we actually settled on the final version for MAI, and ironically, some of the re-imagined songs have the melodies from the first version of the songs. We also love trying new styles, experimenting with different techniques and sounds and naturally this lead us to take a different imagining on our tracks. 

How did you pick the songs that were going to be a part of this project? Was there one you considered reimagining but ultimately didn’t make the final cut?

Well, there are a few crowd favourites from our shows such as “Rose” and “Sakura”. We felt that the lyrical content of these songs also allows us to create a different atmosphere that we tried to capture in our reimagined tracks. Weirdly enough, there are multiple versions of a few of our songs that didn’t make it from the formative period of the band, and some scrapped altogether. We toyed with the idea of a reimagined “Marigold” but never got to the point where we liked it enough to put on the album. 

What was the recording process like for this project? How long did it take for this to come together from start to finish?

The recording process was really smooth, much like Mai. We work together well. Once the structures and skeletons of the songs were drawn up, it was quite easy for us to flesh out as we had quite a lot of material to tap into since we have so many versions of the songs already. Our mix and master engineer Giovanni Bottan did an excellent job in making us sound so much better.

You guys are still relatively new to the music game. What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?

Touring will definitely be ramped up as much as we can. We have covered most of South East Asia so we really would like to start looking towards more international audiences outside of Asia; in whispers, we talk about being in America or Europe on some tours. Definitely pushing out another album next year, so stay tuned! 

Lastly, we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?

We are pretty much nerds ourselves so definitely going to check out the new Joker movie. David is a real big gamer so he’s busy exploring some dungeons or attacking some settlement right now

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