Winona Forever — one of the bands performing at Shindig, the CiTR radio competition at UBC — is quickly establishing itself in Vancouver's alt-rock scene.
The four-piece, partially named after the infamous Johnny Depp tattoo, first performed together last October as a group of three as they then added a fourth member in January. Rowan Webster-Shaw and Ben Robertson are both lead guitars and vocals, and Alexander Bingham is on drums. The group currently does not have a permanent bass player, but have Isaiah Dobbs joining them for Shindig.
Since forming, Winona Forever has frequently performed in Vancouver at events such as Strathcona Fest, Futurefunk and Ignite Youth Fest. They also travelled to Victoria for Vic42 and frequently perform at the Matador. As two of their members are under 19, they are very limited in the venues and events they can play.
"It's kind of hard to find places to play when you're underage," said Webster-Shaw.
Despite this, he then went on to talk about the great energy that the all-ages scene provides and when the band is able to play more shows, they will continue to frequent the Matador.
Winona Forever released their first single, Mikhail Baryshinokov, in June and then released their debut EP, Yacht Rock, in August. Although these releases were later in the year, the group says that they always perform their own content. In the six months before their EP was released, they had a full 30 minute set of original music, which was later recorded. Robertson estimated that they have written around 20 songs even though they only have released five so far.
“We have a lot of unreleased stuff, [but] it takes us a while to record anything," said Robertson while noting that they record their own music. Despite this, the band is quickly writing new songs and currently has a new 30 minute set — just in time for Shindig.
While the group doesn't have any solid plans after Shindig, they say they want to keep on performing and writing new music as a group. They are hoping to finish their next album by the new year, but say that nothing is set in stone so far.
Robertson said, “We had some nice feedback from people so we’d like to keep the ball rolling and get another release out there in the next couple months."