Winter Infuses Synthy Dreampop with Magic and Wonder on Third LP

Photo Credit: Angel Aura

Samira Winter has been putting out charmingly sweet yet sassy songs through her indie rock band Winter since 2013, capturing her Brazilian heritage with Portuguese lyrics in many of them. Her latest album, Endless Space (Between You & I), is full of the same infectious shoegaze she’s so adeptly mastered, but it stands out in its dreamy style, which she dubs “fairy tale surrealism.”

The 11 songs are each experimental in their own way but also incredibly catchy. “Healing” opens with warped synths and a sweetly sung verse that will almost certainly get stuck in your head — “Why’d you have to be so cold?/Everybody knows that it’s not your way” — then disintegrates into dissonant notes at the end. Winter croons about a scene “higher than the sky” in the chorus to “In the Z Plane,” which resembles a children’s song, with a simple melody that makes you feel like you really are floating above the clouds.

The LP’s title track gives off subtle ’80s vibes, with Winter’s angelic voice mellowly singing, “I don’t want to feel afraid to give the love I have to you.” She says it was originally written about an unattainable love but, in the days of COVID-19, has come to signify “the space between humans,” she explains. “The space between human relationships right now can feel so infinite, and the time from now until the way things were pre-COVID feels like an endless amount of space.”

The LA-based artist released a stunning video for the single in April, featuring her turning into a butterfly amid natural imagery and celestial lighting that belies where it was shot: in a New York City apartment. She worked with a director whose background was in puppetry and old-form storytelling, and the result was a style she describes as “old Hollywood mixed with fairytale story.” The metamorphosis is meant to symbolize “coming into your own skin,” she says.

Winter’s childhood in Brazil introduced her to the beautiful, softly sung melodies that now characterize her work, then later on, she became inspired by the shoegaze and dreampop she listened to in college. Endless Space (Between You & I) is her third full-length album, and she’s already released two EPs and is working on her third, but has mostly been taking it easy during the pandemic and hanging out with her cat Zoey, who happens to be the subject of what is perhaps her catchiest song and definitely her cutest video.

All in all, Endless Space (Between You & I) has the heaviest psych-pop influence of Winter’s music. “The way I write songs is very melody-heavy, so I think it’s a cool mix of dreamy, beautiful melodies with psych arrangements and a lot of ambient influences,” she says. “I’d run my mics through pedal board on every song.” She and producer Ian Gibbs also got creative by incorporating samples of bird sounds and fireworks she heard outside her house.

The experimental sound and outdoor samplings suit the natural and otherworldly themes of the album. Winter’s interest in occult literature, tarot, and astrology influenced her songwriting; “Pure Magician” is named after a tarot card, and keeping the video for another single off the album, the airy “Here I Am Existing,” features Winter dressed as various tarot cards. “I was really inspired by the tarot,” she says. “I think they’re really powerful ways to express different human stories and human archetypes.”

Endless Space unfolds the more you listen to it. The album as a whole aims to depict “a utopian dream world — this place that you can either discover deep within yourself or that you can journey in your dreams,” she explains. “Through music, I like to take people through a magical world.” With darkness hovering over the real one, it’s nice to have that escape.

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