Winter Academy was formerly the name of a collection of songs written between 1994 and ’96 by the late singer Billy Mackenzie and Scottish musician Steve Aungle. The latter along with Welsh/Canadian singer Lisa Meilen have recently put together a band of the same name, currently based in Berlin, Germany. As is often the case, it was through an advert in a magazine that Steve Aungle and Lisa Meilen first met. Aungle recalls their first meeting: ‘She came round to my house and just started singing a load of ideas at me and at first I wasn’t sure- although I recognized immediately that she had a really good voice.
Then right at the end she played me a rough recording off her phone of a song idea in German called ‘Berlin- sie ist meine Welt’. It hooked me instantly. ‘That right there’ I said, ‘leave it with me- I can do something with that.’ So I did and I realized I had found not just a singer, but also a collaborator.’ Within about six months they had enough material together to think about a live show. And so the search for other musicians in Berlin began. ‘It was hard,’ says Aungle, ‘because although there are plenty of musicians here, most of them, especially the German ones have this mentality that they expect to be paid for rehearsals. If you can’t pay them, they will still rehearse but refuse to play the parts as written- instead improvising a load of crap over your music. It’s a kind of punishment for not being paid. So we ended up doing our first show with an Argentinian guitarist and programming all the other parts.’
Winter Academy have now turned to youtube and digital downloads as the way forward. Their debut single ‘Berlin die Dame’ can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0Ve6_wtH24 with more releases to follow.