Windwaker: ‘I Didn't Know Whether I Had To Put On A Tough Persona To Be In A Metal Band’

10 July 2023 | 3:04 pm | Mary Varvaris
Originally Appeared In

The new era of Windwaker doesn’t only usher in new music but re-introduces a band fighting against expectations regarding masculinity and what a metal band has to look, sound or feel like.


Windwaker (Source: Supplied)

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Liam Guinane is enjoying a second lease of life in the Melbourne band Windwaker. In September 2019, the then-guitarist announced that he’d be leaving the band to focus on his other band, Reside, but still committed to appearances at Good Things and Unify Festival, in December 2019 and January 2020, respectively.

Windwaker went on to plan their debut album, Love Language, releasing a string of singles before its release in May 2022. Vocalist Will King departed the band last September to focus on a career in psychology, which brought the band a new dilemma: who would replace the vocalist they’d record an entire album and two EPs, the 2017 Fade and 2019 Empire EPs with? Liam Guinane returned to Windwaker but now, on lead vocals.

The band then also recruited keyboard and sampling hero Connor Robins, signalling a new stage for Windwaker. In November, the Aussie outfit returned with their first song with new members, Left In The Dark, a single that’s packed with synths, sung and screamed vocals, chugging guitars, and a surprising breakdown with a rap-screamed verse at the song's midway point.

The music video finds Guinane, lead guitarist Jesse Crofts, bassist Indey Salvestro, drummer Chris Lalic, and Robins surrounded by televisions with no signal. Windwaker provides an outlet for fans feeling stuck in this modern age with chugs and a fists-in-the-air chorus.

"Life can feel so bleak at times, and especially in today's world, things are so complicated," the band shared. "But the escape we have gotten from music and the artists we love has always been a constant. It's part of why we love what we do, and remembering that feeling resonated with all of us after such a major lineup change and restructure. We want anyone listening to this track to feel reassured we can be that escape when things get tough."

Last week, Windwaker dropped the eclectic new single Sirens, a track that goes in at least three different directions when you least expect it, with a breakdown that goes hard.

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It’s a song that Guinane teases towards the end of our chat, revealing that the band had just shot the music video. Since he returned to the band, Guinane says it’s been “really great” and “feels like a welcome home”, positively altering the group dynamic. “While it's very different than what it was, I think it's also the most positive, healthy environment we've ever been in,” he comments.

Windwaker are currently in a very creative place with five supremely driven members. “We're all very supportive of each other,” Guinane explains from his home. “And I've definitely felt that coming back, it's the best time I've had in all the years that I've played with Windwaker on and off, so we're very excited for the future.”

Returning to the band as a vocalist also meant embracing screamed vocals, which Guinane had never done in his life. He’s really coming into his own, despite it being a learning curve happening in real time.

Guinane admits, “For me, it was a learning experience performing in a metal capacity.” Performing in Reside, a band that’s more on the alt-rock and emo spectrum, Guinane “barely screamed in that band have barely screamed in my life [laughs]. And when I joined this band, I was thrown in the deep end with having to perform screaming metal vocals.”

Guinane has picked up the screamed vocals along the way but recalls feeling intimidated when Windwaker opened for Enter Shikari and Northlane during their respective tours in November last year. “The first couple of days on the Enter Shikari run Melbourne, at the Forum, which was the biggest room I've ever performed in, our single [Left In The Dark] dropped that day,” Guinane says.

The new era of Windwaker doesn’t only usher in new music but re-introduces a band fighting against expectations regarding masculinity and what a metal band has to look, sound or feel like. 

Guinane explains, “It was my first show as the frontman… it was, yeah, it was a lot. I didn't know how to present myself, like whether I had to put on a big, tough persona to be in a metal band or whether I could just be myself. I figured it out, probably about three shows in, I think; it was at the Eatons Hill Hotel in Brisbane on the Shikari tour onwards; I just fell into this rhythm. It felt very natural after that.”

Standing out and bringing his own unique presence to Windwaker has been challenging beyond the sonic task of bringing his vocals to the table. Guinane feels pretty comfortable performing the Love Language tracks, especially those with a hip-hop vibe, as he grew up listening to hip-hop and has written “a lot of raps in my life”. But he’s also a big punk and emo kid who feels right at home in what the band does.

“Incorporating those sorts of flavours into our music which I think we've seen little applications of, with even Windwaker’s [already released] music with songs like Hide And Seek, it's got that hybrid of nu-metal rap-rock with, like, emo sensibilities,” Guinane says. “So, basically, I've had my chemistry with the band in the past with our Empire EP, which had a lot to do with the music writing in that regard.”

With the benefit of time passing, it’s been a few years since Windwaker released Love Language and now, they’ve gone into new music with a new identity. “I guess I would describe what we're doing as more of a focused, mature version of what we explored on Love Language,” Guinane shares. “I think there's a couple of different new personalities between myself and Connor, and that that's bringing out some tonal darkness.

“But it's also bringing out something else in different pop influence, as well. I know Connor is super into his like pop music. So, I think it's shaping up to be a lot more focused, but it's also still very eclectic. You know, it's still familiar in the way that fans would expect for Windwaker’s music.

He continues, “It’s a bit of a shift, and it's a bit different than what it was like before, but at the same time, we can rely on our previous chemistry. I think we're just trying to keep everything focused, keep an open mind with everything and, and yeah, find our sound as we go.” Grinning, Guinane teases, “But I'm looking forward to showcasing some of that new music. We've got a lot of it, so…”

Before we hear any more new music, though, Windwaker are going on tour across the country, headlining some of the biggest venues they’ve ever played in alongside Caskets (UK) and South Australia’s alt. The tour celebrates Love Language and commemorates the next stage in the band's career, spurred on by Left In The Dark.

“It's a bit of a bucket list moment for some of us [to headline Melbourne’s Max Watt’s],” Guinane says. “Because, personally, I have never played that stage before. To say that we're headlining and putting on a show there is really exciting.”

Windwaker’s Love In The Dark Australian tour commences on Thursday, 20 July, with special guests Caskets (UK) and alt. You can find tickets via Destroy All Lines