Win and Woo Return to Their Melodic Roots with Forthcoming Album
Prolific production duo Win and Woo have come together with Wrabel for melodic offering “Vanilla Sky,” which offers us a glimpse of their upcoming album 10 Years. Long-time friends Nick Winholt and Austin Woo came up in music together, going from passionate musicians with no technical knowledge to taking the stage at major festivals like Lollapalooza, in their hometown of Chicago.
Having bounced around from genre to genre filling their cup with sonic experimentation. The electro-pop duo are returning to the signature uplifting sound they began their musical journey with back in 2015.
Growing together and with no intention to slow down, Win and Woo are set to delve into the past 10 years as a duo. They are looking towards more extensive projects that take their organic, hopeful take on dance music forward. Speaking to Festival Insider, the pair delve into their new single, production process behind their forthcoming album, bucket list items for their career and much more.
What was the inspiration/message behind “Vanilla Sky” and what it was like working with Wrabel?
We did a livestream with Wrabel and we asked him what the lyrics meant to him, because he had written it without us. He was saying it was about how someone in your life can make you feel a certain way - the ups and downs of a relationship. The lyrics are really conversational and real, just raw and organic. A simple way to put it would be you’re telling someone everything’s going to be okay.
Since the song was written without you, how much did you relate to the theme of the track? And is that important for you that you relate to a song you’re involved in?
It was super relatable at the time. We were in Joshua Tree where the sky would turn orange and grey during the sunset. So literally it seemed to make a lot of sense. And theme-wise it was such an uplifting song and we both connected with it as soon as we heard it. If we’re not directly connected to the lyrics of a song, it’s really important we still relate and connect to it – otherwise, there’s nothing special to it. On this song, it was like we added onto the world Wrabel started creating so it was the perfect combination.
How would you say you’ve added to that world he created?
We added some guitars and the signature vocal chop which gave it that ethereal, floating in the sky feeling. We let the guitar and vocals shine in different areas.
Outside of this track, what would you say your process when creating music?
It’s really hard to pin that down because it changes a lot. We work best when we can get in a room with a singer or songwriter and we just chat about what’s going on in our lives. If one of us has something cool to write about, that’s usually a good starting point. Then, we just dive in and let things happen naturally. We form melodies and lyrics that fit – it flows very naturally, and nothing feels forced.
How has your sound evolved over time and where do you see it going in the future?
We’ve touched on a lot of different styles over the years and we’re now coming back to this organic, happy, uplifting vibe. We went and did a lot of things through our career and our upcoming album represents what we’re best at, which is a natural sound that lets vocals shine. It’s been a big cycle where we started in the lane we’re moving towards again. In the future, we’re hoping to lean into this sound we’ve come back to. If you always come back to it, it’s got to mean something so we’ll keep going with it and see where it takes us.
Though you say that you’ve experimented a lot, is there a genre or specific sound you’ve yet to try out that you’d like to attempt in the future?
I think we’ve done all the experimenting we wanted to do as Win and Woo. We’re ready to stay in a lane we’re comfortable with for a while after bouncing around from future bass to darker house and radio house. But we’re also thinking about after the album, and doing something that’s more reminiscent of the early 2010-15s electronic soundscape.
What drove you to return to the sound you started with?
It was just natural but I guess when Covid happened life slowed down. When you’re touring around, you have all this energy to try out something new. But when life slowed down, we took time to really think about what we wanted to do, and we ended up coming back to this type of music. It felt right and comfortable because we’d already been doing it for so long. It was not only what we were good at but also what we were passionate about.
Moving on to speaking about your album, 10 Years, what can people expect from it in three words?
Diverse, melodic and uplifting. It definitely takes you on a journey and the whole concept of the album is that we’ve been working together for 10 years and it touches on a lot of the genres and sounds we’re explored over the years.
What was the starting point for this album? Where did the idea for it come from?
We’d been building songs that we thought would maybe become an EP. And then we spent one week out in the desert and that’s where the whole project came together. We were talking about all the ups and downs we’d been through in the past 10 years, coming from guys who didn’t even know how to work Ableton to producing so much music. It became a real thing after these conversations. We’ve also been putting music out since 2014 but only doing singles. Every year we’d speak about putting out a full project, which is finally happening.
What would you say has been a career highlight and what’s on your bucket list?
A big one for us was playing Lollapalooza because we’re from Chicago. Coming up as kids who wanted to part of the music scene in some way and getting to play on a big stage in our hometown. It was top of the list in our career. For bucket list, getting on a Coachella line-up, we also want to do more albums and EPs to see where that takes us. We want to become musicians who have an extensive list of albums out. Maybe some more international shows – Australia, South America would be cool. We also want to play Glastonbury.
What’s one question that no one has asked you in an interview so far you wish you were asked?
Maybe “If you could grow up making music in a different country what country would it be?” It’s something I’ve always thought about, “what if I grew up in Germany?” how different would my musical journey be?
What would this hypothetical musical journey look like?
If I grew up in Europe, I’d probably be a dark techno DJ.