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Words by Sam Wolstenholme

Melbourne’s hyperpop metalcore dynamos Windwaker have exploded back onto the scene in recent months after the introduction of Liam Guinane as the outfit’s talented and versatile new frontman. The quintet have gone from strength to strength, building on their foundation of considerable success earned through the acclaimed ‘Love Language’ album, which was released in 2022 and spurred a slew of tour runs supporting the likes of I Prevail and Beartooth. Now they’re flying higher than ever, with the release of their new EP ‘Enter The Wall’ and performing the Knotfest Australia 2024 tour, sharing the stage with heavy legendaries Lamb of God, Disturbed and more. Our writer Sam sat down with Liam to get the lowdown on just how exciting this new chapter is shaping up to be for Windwaker.

Hi Liam, it’s so great to talk to you today!
Hi, thanks for having me!

So, this is a big week for you guys – releasing a new EP and playing Knotfest all in the space of a week – that’s exciting! How are you feeling about it?
Yeah there’s a bit happening! Yeah, it’s super exciting. As we go further into my phase as Windwaker vocalist, it’s more and more exciting. It took a minute to feel that kind of security in myself as the new frontman, but as time has gone on over the last 12 months, it feels right now, it feels good.

So yeah, you felt like there was a bit of an adjustment period [with becoming the new frontman for Windwaker], and now you’ve settled in?
Yeah, that probably started to ease off around when Sirens came out, admittedly, but it’s just progressively gotten more comfortable, and I feel more reassured that I’m doing well!

You’re definitely getting a great response! I also noticed that you’ve had a total refresh of your socials, your brand, to coincide with the upcoming release. I’d love you to share your thoughts about what this new chapter of Windwaker represents for you as a band.
I feel like this is mostly a progression, right? Like we’re trying to stay true to what makes us, us. And that’s having high-energy tracks, catchy choruses, a plethora of influences to draw from – we’re all so different, from what we listen to recreationally, that it kinda naturally happens. But we also wanted to create a bit more focus and maturity in the songwriting as well – not just doing things differently for the sake of it, but actually having an intent behind it. 
For me, this has been really cool to not only be able to stretch my songwriting muscles, but also experiment with my voice. When I first joined as vocalist, I’d never really screamed all that much – I’d done a little bit here and there, but it’s been a learning process since about October 2022. What you’re hearing in recordings is the progression of me as a vocalist as well – learning how to record, and how to write as well. I’ve never had to write in a metal capacity before, so it’s been interesting.

You’ve said that The Wall, as the band conceptualises it, is a reference to staring absently into the void. Can you tell me more about where your lyrical inspiration for this record comes from?
Yeah absolutely. So The Wall was a song that instrumentally was already written before I’d joined – it was something Jesse had started as a demo, and the other boys had gotten their hands on it as well. Basically the structure as you hear it was already written out, and I had an instrumental blank canvas to kinda just go silly over. I was sitting on it for a while; I knew what I wanted the song to be about, and I knew that intrinsically it had kinda got that Southern hip-hop flair to it, so I knew I was going to be drawing a lot of influences from there. That’s just to my core as well – hip-hop is something I listen to a lot, so it felt right to be exploring the writing as if it was a rap, but maybe it’s not really delivered like that? So having some of the phrases be hip-hop flows but they’re executed with a scream, for example, or a really gravelly kind of voice that felt ridiculous to do at the time, but it kinda works!
But the lyrics, it came from this idea of staring into the void and having your thoughts kind of circulate and go down a weird, paranoid train of thought. The imagery I could attribute to it was, I remember there was a Rick and Morty or Regular Show-style cartoon, and there’s a guy sitting on a couch and a black hole forms behind him, and it starts sucking away pieces of the room, and even his body starts to peel off, and it’s just the skeleton. So I was kinda picturing, what would it be like if your brain just magically melted away? It was my way of being like, I can write a heavy song!

Yeah well that’s pretty metal, the idea of someone literally melting away into a black hole!
It was the darkest thing I could think of for that track, so there you go!

Definitely channeling the metal influences well there! I wanted to circle back to what you mentioned about everyone in the band having those different influences that you’ve all brought to the songwriting. How did that show up in writing this EP together?
Yeah, like I said, I come from a hip-hop background and punk and hardcore background, so those emo and rock sort of influences get smeared in there. Chris, he’s into his K-pop, he’s into his country music, so he’s trying to make us the big pop stars with these big catchy choruses. I’m just trying to make it sound ugly!
There’s also Connor, who loves Halsey and Flume, so that’s where you get those glitchy, electronic elements. Indey, he’s super into his American metalcore, and bands like Make Them Suffer and Polaris, so he’s the one who’s very much like, “we need to do this to accomplish a certain part of a song”. And there’s Jesse, who’s deathcore/black metal extraordinaire. Obviously we overlap in some genres too, but that’s the big broad range of stuff that gets thrown around when we’re writing a song.

And it shows, it’s such a smorgasbord of influences.
A smorgasbord, yes – it’s all-you-can-eat genres!

All-you-can-eat genres – amazing, can I borrow that? 
You can have that one for free.

Now, onto Knotfest. We’ve got a stacked lineup for this year’s Knotfest. Are there any bands you’re particularly looking forward to sharing the stage with?
Yeah! I’m hoping we can pack up our gear quick enough to catch Speed, as they’re on right after us. I am very excited to witness Lamb of God for the first time, as they were my entry band to heavy music as a preteen. I’d listened to heavy stuff, but nothing with screams in it, until Lamb of God and Meshuggah came onto my radar. So Lamb of God, definitely. I’ve been a big fan of bands like Skindred and Halestorm for quite a while and I haven’t seen them on a stage for a long time, so I’ll definitely be catching their sets.

Yeah for sure! And what kind of a show can fans expect from Windwaker for the Knotfest tour?
Well, I can tell you that we’ve managed to squeeze 8 songs into our teeny-tiny set. You can expect to see all the songs off the new EP, we’re playing all 4 of them, and we’re going to be playing a select few songs from ‘Love Language’ too, a few crowd favourites. But basically our focus is to have a really high-energy show and just kinda go for it. There’s not really any ballads or slow songs, other than maybe Villain, which is one of the new songs. It’s got energetic moments throughout it that will carry it anyway, and it being a new song, it will hopefully give people a different side to us – it’s a bit more of an emotional song.

Yeah well playing so many new songs, you’ll be raring to play those, so the energy will shine through.
I hope so!

Anything else you want to let your fans know about what’s coming up for Windwaker?
All I’ll say is we have made a lot, a lot, a LOT of new music over the last 12-14 months, so there’s definitely a lot to come after this EP, this is just the start to give everyone a taste. There’s a lot more experimenting and genre-bending to come! 
I’m looking forward to sharing more music with everyone – it’s my favourite stuff that we’ve ever done.

Well thanks so much for your time, Liam. Can’t wait to see you guys at Knotfest!
Thanks, see ya there!



Catch Windwaker at Knotfest Australia 2024:

Thursday 21 March – Flemington Racecourse, Flemington, VIC – TICKETS

Saturday 23 March – Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW – TICKETS

Sunday 24 March – Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane, QLD – TICKETS

Thanks to Dallas Does PR

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