Most bands struggle endlessly to embody as much soul as local boys Winslow. The band recently released their new single, “Quarter-Life,” which was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Edwin “Tony” Nicholas (Mary J. Blige, Barry White, The Backstreet Boys). Nicholas was also the primary songwriter and producer of the late Gerald Levert. Winslow singer Maurice Martin, bassist Kevin Robertson, keyboard and trumpet player Curtis Tate and Tenor sax man Matt Tieman took some time out of their busy schedule to talked to Buzzbin Magazine about the band and what they have in store for fans this week with they open for American Idol’s Elliott Yamin. Tell me a little about the origins of Winslow. Matt: Winslow started as a hobby, really. We didn’t play original music at all at the start. We were Kent State music students having a good time. We played cover tunes from the likes of Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, and others from the 60’s soul genre. I put the name in parenthesis because it wasn’t called Winslow at the time- it was called 1959. ‘Winslow’ became the natural evolution of the group into our own hybrid soul/pop sound. Curtis: We can’t talk about Winslow without talking about Kent State University where we started all those years ago. It’s definitely hard to avoid the music scene there in Kent because it’s so pervasive and important to the culture there, and we wanted to add to it by being something different, something that was new, but at the same time paid homage to our own individual experiences. Those beginnings evolved into the Winslow sound that the band plays today. Maurice: What Matt and Curtis Both said are the basics. We started as a group of college music majors who just wanted to play music and have a good time. We only played covers back then. Over time, we started to focus on original material and completely changed our direction. We went from being a college band just jamming on a college campus to a regionally touring act who has shared the stage with Earth Wind & Fire, Incubus, Lupe Fiasco, OAR, Rusted Root, Robert Randolph, Keane, Mat Kearney, Fastball, OK GO, Average White Band, and more. What have you guys learned from previous musical ventures that have shaped Winslow into what it is today? Maurice: As corny as it sounds, I think we’ve really learned to appreciate what we have. The last few years have really been a roller-coaster from us. Within two years we’ve played with some monster national acts, recorded with a Grammy Award Winning Producer, and moved forwarded all while having played with over 20 different people on stage! I mean, we went through so many fill-ins while we were trying to put the right pieces in places. There was a point last year where I questioned if we would ever play a show again. I have no idea where this road is going to lead us but I have a feeling it will be a wild ride no matter what, ha-ha. Kevin: I’ve been playing in bands since the 90’s. One thing that I’ve learned that is crucial for a band to succeed is that we all have to work as a team to achieve our goals. In Winslow, I play with many different musicians that all bring different abilities and influences to the table. The way we work together using our differences to create a unique sound is what sets us apart. Matt: Just about everything I know came from past musical ventures. The concepts of playing musically, precisely, and melodically all stem from my past experiences in both my schooling as well as former groups that I played in. Also came the idea that we are not just ‘musicians,’ but also performers who are there to entertain the audience. Winslow for me has been the culmination of all those experiences- the group that I’ve been able to grow up in and allow me to mature as a musician and a performer. Describe a Winslow live performance? Maurice: A Winslow show is a lot like a good Thanksgiving dinner. I’d say there’s a different flavor for everyone. We’ve got grooves that are more funk, tunes that are more soul, and songs that just rock hard. We are all over the map. What draws it all together is the passion that we bring to the stage. If we get people dancing or bobbing their head to the beat, that’s what we are looking for. We seem to have a style and stage show that that appeals to wide demographics. I think that’s the beauty of it all. Kevin: A Winslow show is best described as an energetic blast of diverse music and musicianship that always leaves the audience asking for more… about sums it up. Matt: We put everything we have into our performances. We are currently working on our second album, which is certainly long overdue, but at the end of the day our live performances are what make us who we are. We want to bring you the total package when we play. Great songs that are played with precision and a strong stage show that has a lot of energy. That’s what we’re trying to do, anyway. I’ll leave it up to the audience to decide whether we deliver that or not. Curtis: Maurice is absolutely right. To add to that comment about the wide demographics, it seems like there’s always someone who feels especially inspired by our show or our music. If you asked me to describe that person, all I could say is that it’s never the same person twice. It’s a good feeling though, to walk off stage and know that what we did reached someone on that kind of level. How did you guys come up with the band name? Maurice: It was my great uncle’s cousin Fred’s next door neighbor’s dog’s original owner’s son Ned’s daughter Judy’s favorite car’s name. Kevin: What he said… Matt: (cough) (cough) Curtis: That’s actually not true. We can tell you, but the court decision is pending on the de-classification of the government records. What can we expect from the upcoming album? Maurice: A masterpiece, ha-ha. No honestly, it’s hard to explain. A soulful project that makes you dance, makes you think, or just makes you smile. This is definitely not “Crazy Kind of Love 2″. Half of our band is different than the original line up, and I think you can tell in our writing style. I really believe in it, and in what we are saying right now. I just think we have the potential to bring in a lot of new fans and to re-energize some of our loyal fans who have been there since the beginning. I hear stronger songs, better hooks, and just more musical maturity in general. Kevin: It’ll be very diverse, musically speaking, having touches of Rock, Latin, Funk, R&B, Blues, Soul, Dance, etc… but, tying it all into the unique sound of Winslow. Matt: The best album ever, duh… winning. Lol. So honestly it will be the ‘2.0’ version of our first album. The main difference to me will be that the song writing has improved tremendously since our first go-round. Better hooks, better melodies, better everything. It is very much a blend of 60’s soul, funk, rock, pop, and I guess a bit of jazz… although being a saxophonist I am very familiar with the jazz genre and I try to stay away from that term for us because I don’t think that’s what we are. That being said, the listener will get a little of everything from the new album. What would you say are the band’s musical influences? Kevin: Too many to name. Our diverse influences are the driving force behind our diverse and unique sound. Matt: I think the band’s influences are a collective of influences from all the different group members, past and present. Personally my influences are diverse, stemming from the obvious Jazz greats, to 60’s Motown, to current pop music, and just about everything in between. As for everybody else, you’ll just have to ask them! Curtis: We often talk about each member’s musical influences sort of seasoning the pot that is Winslow, if you will. My personal addition of influence would come from Jamiroquai mainly, but also bit of artists from Jason Mraz to Tower of Power. I would also be remiss to not talk about my years of playing gospel music as an influence as well. What inspires you as a musician? Maurice: Me personally? Life. Life imitates art and art imitates life. It’s a great cycle man. In the end, music makes me feel alive. I feel like I soar when I make music, especially with the other guys in the band. There’s nothing else like it. Kevin: I draw my inspiration from many things, with my family, life, and the desire to create music foremost. Matt: I’m going to have to agree with Maurice, here. Damn I can’t believe I just said that! In any event, he’s right. Life is the ultimate inspiration for music. Being a musician, I’ve heard a lot of other musicians refer to the phrase ‘life is music.’ I can’t disagree more. Life isn’t music, it’s the other way around. Music is life, in that it is about life. Life would exist without music, but music could never exist without life. You can’t even begin to make worthwhile music until you’ve lived a little. Curtis: I guess at the end of the day, there’s just nothing else like it. There’s nothing in particular that I say, “This inspires me to play music”. It’s just the fact that I get up everyday and I have the ability to make music, and it makes me happy. I do it on stage and it’s that same feeling times six. How would you describe yourself to someone unfamiliar with your work? Maurice: One soul magazine called our sound a sonic gumbo. I have to agree with that. It’s old school soul meets new school pop sensibility. Soul, meets jazz, meets rock, meets pop. The combination is something that is truly unique in the music scene. Kevin: My thoughts exactly. Matt: I’m going to take some initiative here and sum this up quickly. Imagine Stevie Wonder mixed with Dave Matthews Band, sprinkle in some Michael Jackson, and add three teaspoons of James Brown and that’s Winslow. Curtis: I would challenge someone to listen and not find at least one hook, or chorus, or solo that they like. There’s truly something for everyone and all it takes is a little listen to find that something that appeals to your taste. What would you like to say to Buzzbin Magazine readers? Maurice: We just hope people are check us out! We have a new single that we are excited about and new material that we’ll be showcasing live. Whether its old fans making their return or new ones coming out because they are curious, we just hope to see people out! Kevin: Experience the music of Winslow. It’s a one-of-a-kind sound, it’s a one-of-a-kind show. Check out Winslow when they open for Elliott Yamin at Akron’s own Musica on Sept. 8.