Windborn breezes into Banff
By: Dave Whitfield
| Posted: Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 06:00 am
Trios, quartets and five-piece bands are fairly standard among those that tour through the Bow Valley.
One-man bands, though, are much thinner on the ground – and that’s where Windborn comes in.
Like very few musicians out there Kelowna’s Windborn is Jeff Pike’s solo project; one which will take the Rose & Crown stage in Banff, June 17.
Windborn is acoustic alternative music featuring guitar, kick drum, looping pedals, vocals and other hand percussion.
A former Albertan, Pike has been around music his whole life, though not always in a positive way.
“My family was very musical,” said the Lacombe, Alta. native. “My dad was a guitar teacher, which kind of made me hate guitar and piano. Kids came to the house for lessons and I got to hate hearing the same song over and over.
“I started playing drums when I was 14, though, then I got a guitar at 15 and started writing songs. By 18 or 19, I had a three-piece heavy metal band in Red Deer.”
After bouncing around with different music over several years, Pike moved to Kelowna in 2007, where his music took on acoustic overtones.
“I had an appreciation for original music and there was more of a scene in Kelowna. Plus, I love living here. I had a few different band members on guitar and drums, even a hand percussionist, but last Christmas I decided to go with the one-man band.
“My wife had gone to Australia for a month and we were housesitting in Vancouver and it seemed like a good time to start.”
Pike has been writing and performing under the name of Windborn since 2006 and under other band names since 2001 – while keeping things as indie as possible. Since 2006, he’s played more than 1,000 gigs, more than 20 a month, all over Western Canada, from Victoria to Winnipeg.
In 2010, he released his Radiate EP online and in April 2011 he released his full-length Spitting Bullets online and in hard copy.
Last Christmas, though, he packed everything into storage and hit the road full time to focus entirely on his music. He’s been playing every type of venue and festival and has shared the stage with every type of band from folk and world fusion to hard rock and metal.
Pike has found that, as Windborn, his music seems to fit wherever he goes, although he’s been pondering adding a cellist who is currently learning his music and may step in at the Rose.
With Spitting Bullets in the bag, having recorded it in his basement, he’s now looking at putting together a full-length album. “I’ve always had a stack of notes for writing songs, but these days, I use my Blackberry. I can hum a tune or record some guitar into it.
“For me, it’s almost the music first, then the lyrics. I think making cool music on the guitar first is best. If you start with lyrics, you tend to go with about four chords and the music is then fairly basic.
“But when you start with the music, I find there are fewer rules, you do whatever works. Influences for my songs are all over, it’s what happens in my life, what is happening with other people, what you see.
“And especially with touring, you see a lot of different views and ways to look at life.”
Pike has been going at his music full time since last Christmas, but is looking at welcoming the cello sound.
“The cello is something I’ve wanted to add for 10 years,” he said. “In Winnipeg, a guy who booked me for a show asked me if I wanted to jam at his house and I thought it was worth a try.
“I’ve been wanting someone who can play a cello like I play a guitar. I’ve got the kick drums now and use the guitar as the high hat hits. I’ve thought of adding a bass in the past, but I think cello would round out the sound nicely.”