When Chris Garneau started working on Winter Games five years ago, he had a simple premise in mind: exploring the frostbitten season through secondhand story lines. Not long-forgotten memories of merriment and myrrh so much as the many ways smothered sunrises and blanketed windowsills manipulate our moods and tighten―or in some cases, altogether undo ―our family ties.
So the first two tracks Garneau wrote (simply titled “Winter Song 1″ and Winter Song 2” despite being much denser lyrically) weren’t just about seeing ghosts or sinking one’s teeth into piles of freshly packed snow. They also delved into such dark topics as abuse, incest, and neglect. Things only got deeper from there, too, transcending the singer’s original concept with minor-keyed tales of hastily drained happiness, unheeded warnings, and swift mood swings.
This record isn’t about trivial shit,” explains Garneau. “It’s about why love doesn’t happen right, how your person is shaped in the early stages of life. It’s about defeating parental abandonment, sexual abuse, or family rejection. It’s about people who struggle well, what it means to have these things happen to you as a child and play out later in life.”
“It’s magical really,” explains Garneau, referring to the pair’s collaborative process. “They don’t write anything down; I direct things to a certain degree, then they take over and get this big sound from only the two of them.”
“I trusted myself on this record,” says Garneau, “and it forced me to go well past my boundaries. I wanted to get away from clean and tight, to make things big and loose and free. Form can be really important but I also wanted to just play music. In the past, I always focused on the ‘song’ first. For the first time, this record is me. That’s all I know.”
‘Winter Games’ LP Tracklisting
01. Our Man
02. Oh God
03. Winter Song #1
04. Winter Song #2
06. The Whore In Yourself
08. Pas Grave