We recently had the opportunity chat with solo artist Austin John Winkler (former Hinder vocalist) and we are excited for his return to music. He had returned to music by releasing Superjaded earlier this year and it truly rocked! The stage is bright for Winkler and the music scene welcomes his return. Check out our interview below:
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We wanted to thank you for your time to talk with us. American Dreams is now out and it is a stellar anthemic track. You blew us away. Can you tell us about that song and how it came about?
Yes, absolutely. I wrote that song, to begin with I had that little acoustic guitar reverb thing, that guitar riff in my head so I put it out on guitar and then you know, I like to think the best song is kind of just like “spit” out of me. To be honest, it is more or less kind of like my homage of how much I love the American Dream and how much it cost me and at the same time, how much I cannot get enough of it and I just keep on getting back in line and I am sucker for this thing, for this game called life. And I tried to capture that, all sides of the American Dream in this one song. The pain of maybe not achieving it, or the pain of achieving it and then having it taken away from you. All that kind of stuff.
You really do capture it. It is like chasing a dream and it can take you to all kinds of different places along the way, some good and some dark places. That track really does bring that to life.
We know that over the last few years you have been dealing with some health issues and struggles, can you tell us how you are doing now?
I just celebrated three years sober this past May. So I am doing really well healthwise. Mentally I am obviously still a wreck. I have always been that but I am just harnessing it in a lot of better ways these days.
Do you have any advice the young musicians who are in the industry, early on and struggling with addiction at that early age. Can you share any advice for them?
I mean to be honest, if anyone at any age is struggling and they are out still performing, I wioud say if you don’t have your priorities straight and your health is not first and foremost, I would take care of that problem now so you don’t run into those issues. It is way better to take care of the problem now and take care of the person first, then you can do the art that everybody loves.
Great advise for anyone. Do you feel that in the industry, ( I have noticed it myself in the past few years of my 9 years of my sobriety) that there is a shift and a much more acceptance and a welcoming of a sober environment in the music scene, that we did not have before?
Yes, absolutely. I think there are more artists being aware of even mental health and stuff like that, where you need to keep an eye on it. Especially in this industry, I have been in this industry for 20 years and whenever we were poppin, I know that I said Yes to everything. And that is something of advice that I would give advice to the young’uns. You don’t have to say Yes to everything. I mean especially if you are having some success, you don’t have to kill yourself, put yourself first!
You have this never ending energy when you are on and off the stage. It is contagious. Do you have a fitness routine that you can share with us?
A fitness routine, To be honest, I stumbled upon this because I love to run but it is really hard on my knees and my back. So I swim. I swim like the first thing in the morning. Like 4 or 5 in the morning, I swim and I clear my head and get all that shit out of the way so I don’t take it out on people. It is a really good workout and I recommend swimming if you can.
Now going back to American Dreams. Do you have any plans for an album to come out or a new single. What are you working on next?
I definitely have songs being mixed. I do have a record and I wanted to like let kind of everyone know that I am back. I really didn’t have a plan first coming out of the gate. I wanted to at least release the songs that I have demoed over the last year, and know that people would want to hear them. But I do have a full record that I have not let anybody hear, nobody has heard. I am definitely excited to get out there, and they are being mixed. It is just all a matter of time and I know the universe will kind of tell me when that will happen. It is going to be soon, really soon. At the same time I want to do it right.
Interesting thing, is you are doing all this on your own, How is it to have full control over your work?
It is pretty amazing. It is such a great feeling to not really have to answer to anybody. You just put out what you want, when you want to put it out. I know that I can definitely get too comfortable here and that is a bad thing and I am NOT doing that. I promise. I am itching to get this music out there but it has been really really nice to kind of just sit here and make all the rules.
If we can go back Superjaded, this track carries a raw intensity and a rise from vulnerability. How was it to record that song, because we can just feel the emotion coming out.
Thank you, that song is super special to me. I wrote that while I was still on dialysis. I had like a two week window that the doctor told me that I was going to do a trial period, where I wasn’t going to be on dialysis. So I flew to Nashville in that time period and I cut ‘Superjaded’. And you know what? I also cut ‘American Dreams’ when I was there. I did that while I could. I thought that it was my only chance that I would ever going to have to do it. So I didn’t’ even think twice about it, I was like, I just have to get this down, get this song recorded. So it turned out to be super super healing for me and so by the time it came for me to choose what I think I should release, it was a no brainer for me because it had helped me so much and with my addiction. And I thought it is not just about addiction, it is about these nasty relationships you develop when you are in your addiction. And even letting go of relationships that you thought were healthy and you need to get out of. You know what I mean. I had to change who I was completely as a person and cut off all my ties, in order for me to grow and become the person I am now. And that is hard. It is hard to actually really let go of that person.
It is so hard. Sometimes memories can draw you back in and nostalgia can take you down different roads and have you doubt it and say, “maybe it wasn’t that bad?” and then the honesty comes back in and tells you, “No, that is not good for me!”
Now, during Covid, you were dealing with your health issues and it was a hard time, but is there something positive that did come from the pandemic timeframe?
You know what? Time will tell. I mean at least for me, I was already on that kind of journey where I was already isolated myself from my whole world. So I was already in the middle of that kind of journey and on that I am still figuring out where I am going to go now that I am not that person anymore. So it has actually kind of helped me and gave me the time to kind of see who I wanted to be, coming out of the gate. I was still very very sick and not being close to a 100% during that time.
It is funny because the pandemic really changed people in so many ways. As for us, we came out of with the feeling that we just don’t waste time taking crap anymore. Stand up for yourself but priorities changed. Did you come up with any other types of hobbies new passions during Covid, like cooking, painting or anything else outside of the music, or something out of your comfort zone?
Oh man, I am actually working on the production with completely different types of genres of music that I have fallen into and it has been a really really good outlet for me. I’ve been busy, very busy.
How does it feel when you hear from your fans about how your music has helped them and how impactful your songs have been to them? That must be amazing to hear them sharing their stories.
It absolutely is. It warms my heart beyond belief that anything I have been writing has been able to resonate and really help people. Not only just one person, but then to see all these people, tell these stories. I read everything, all the comments, these are my friends, the fans are who I have left, right? I am so happy to be back. It is just the beginning.
Have you considered writing a book? You have quite a story to share and a lot of people could learn from?
I have definitely considered, eventually. One day. I still have a lot more work to do. I feel like my story is just about half way there. I hope.
Do you have any plans for any live shows?
I might be making some appearances at some festivals, but that is all I am saying. Maybe here or there.
Do you have a certain band you are working with?
My band? Yes, I have my guys, Lost in a Name. Heard of those guys? Those are the guys on my record and will be my live guys. They are fantastic musicians.
Now I have to ask, Rock n Roll pairs so well with classic cars. Do you have a favorite classic car?
You know I am kind of a weirdo. I like something a little more simple, like a 61 Impala, two door, like something a little low key, not a muscle car or anything like that.
We look forward to all the new music and are exciting for the album. Is there anything you would like to share with your fans?
Nothing except that I am excited to back in this game, to watch for me, because I am ready. It’s going to be fun.
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We are very excited for the new music and the fans have been loving everything Winkler has been releasing so far. We have American Dreams on our daily playlist and you can pick up American Dreams by heading over to iTunes here: https://music.apple.com/us/album/american-dreams-single/1627158163
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Information & Links:
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