POSTED:: March 25, 2021

FILED UNDER:: Local Love

Milwaukee duo YOU WIN !!! first introduced themselves last fall when they released their debut single, “Shrap.nel”. If YOU WIN !!’s dark, heady sounds arrived seemingly fully-formed, it’s likely because the beats of producer William Gardiner (This Random Machine) and emotively artistic vocals of Amanda Huff had joined forces before; the two had previously worked together on Huff’s own songs – namely her 2019 singles “Division” and “Gravetalking”. The pair’s latest single “Painmonger” (our #1 song this past week!) exquisitely explores the root of humanity and how it’s affected by cruelty and pain. “Who do you become when it’s too much? Are you still human? Or are you losing touch?” they ask, speaking out on the human condition upliftingly, materializing an escape route by making the darkness danceable with moving beats and Huff’s airy vocals on the chorus to provide that extra lift. WMSE talked to YOU WIN !! to get an introduction on what they’ve put forth and what’s to come.

You two were already working together on music before You Win !!! – what sets You Win !!! apart from your previous collaborations?

The focus. We spend a lot of time not only working together, but doing various separate collaborations with others. Forming an official band was a way to distinguish that we were serious about channeling our energies into something long-term and succinct. It meant joint accounts and shared Dropbox folders and weekly meetings and the formation of an identity that we could both contribute to. You Win !!! is an exploration of power, of play, of simulation, and of the emotional turmoil that takes place within each of those concepts.

Describe your sound in three words…

“Cinematic Trip Pop”

What gear (and processes) do you use to make that signature sound?

The Roland Alpha Juno 2 and The Novation Bass Station 2 are a couple of William’s go-to synthesizers that have contributed to the You Win !!! sound so far. Studio-wise, Amanda tends to use a blend of the Re20 and Sm7b microphones. ProTools is our software program of choice, and as far as songwriting goes, the process has been very different from track to track. Especially with the pandemic being factored into the past year, so much of what might have normally been a streamlined writing session has been fractured into repurposing forgotten tracks, merging new ones, drafting through home recordings instead of studio, and really just emphasizing the amount of communication we have to do through technology. It’s great in a way, because it forces us to really be thoughtful as we’re steeped in this mergance of technology and language-something that’s already been the core of our conceptual process.

Have you played a live show, to-date? Any plans to?

If you count the bar manager and a film crew being present as a “live show”, then in a way we have. We were a part of The Cooperage’s Flannel Fest this year, but it was a virtual event, so the closest we got to experiencing a live show was performing on a stage with all the cool lights and stuff. They were very strict about only being there for your performance time/social distancing/etc. so (rightfully) it wasn’t anything like a pre-pandemic experience. Right before the pandemic, back last February we also played a show that featured some of our material, but that was before we had established ourselves as a band. Right now we’re focusing more on creating enough original material for a full set so that when it’s safe enough to appropriately play live again, we’ll be ready to take off, full steam ahead!

So far, you’ve released two singles – your debut, “Shrap.nel” and your latest, “Painmonger”; are these lead singles for a future full-length or is your process based in releasing singles, as they come together?

It’s all still sort of up in the air right now. Currently they live as singles, but as we write more material for our album, we’re being considerate of how everything we’re putting out might fit into the ultimate equation. William and I both create very intentionally, so the hope is that, at the least, these songs can serve as sort of “side-quests” to a bigger picture.

“Painmonger” is brand new. Can you give us an introduction to its personality?

Sonically, it’s an up-tempo anti-anthem that focuses more on movements than it does a linear narrative. It’s rooted by pounding floor toms, fleshed out with hazy synthesizers, and accented by twinkly percussion in a way that lends this track a bit of a retro vibe. Conceptually, (as I’m sure you can guess) it’s about pain. Human emotion and reaction are as much a spectacle as they are a language, and it’s fascinating that we as a species have chosen to embrace that to the point where we actively manufacture it to keep up with demand. “Painmonger” is the exploration of primal vs programmed pain, and what it means to play a role in that consumption.

Your video for “Shrap.nel” was a pretty gloomy + trippy Claymation by Francheska Gomez…what do you have in the works for the video for the new single? I’ve heard you’re working with another local…

We sure are! This time around we’re working with the incredible Brendan Thain Jones. He’s a longtime friend of William’s who’s got a lot of experience shooting high-profile sports events. With the driving percussion and energy in “Painmonger”, we kept circling around to sports-themed concepts, so Brendan really was the perfect fit. We’re not allowed to give too many spoilers, as the video is slated for release early this spring, but I can tell you there’s wrestlers, lots of fog and plenty of mischief!

Find YOU WIN !!!’s newest single, “Painmonger” over at their Bandcamp page. Keep supporting (and loving) your local artists.

POSTED BY:: Erin Wolf

TAGGED::Painmonger, YOU WIN !!!