Interview with Windser: Chasing Nostalgia & Finding What Was Missing

Through Windser, Jordan Topf masters his craft, fully realizing his abilities as an artist and celebrating them accordingly.
Listen: “July” – Windser




“I like to let people assign their own meaning to the songs, but for me it was inspired by the movement and finding gratitude in my new reality,” Jordan Topf, known by the moniker Windser, notes of his new single “July.” “There were a lot of songs in the cannon I had saved, but with summer coming to an end I felt it fitting to release it on the last day of July.”

July,” released on the 31st of its namesake, serves as the debut release for Topf’s solo venture as Windser; previously, Topf served as lead vocalist and guitarist for rock outfit (and Atwood favorites) Mainland. And while Mainland followed a rock n’ roll ethos, Windser, contrarily, finds Topf taking a step back and just taking a deep breath.

“When I decided to do a solo project, it became clear to me what had been missing for so long,” Topf notes. “The creativity and limitations you find in doing things completely on your own is very freeing.”

July - Windser
“July” – Windser

The single shines in its ability to navigate nostalgia and emancipation, captivating listeners from its opening verse. The song posits possibilities of past and future, presenting itself as dichotomously aware of all that has happened and all that is yet to come.

Where did all the time go?
Where did all my friends run to?
I think I’ll take the high road
Is that what we were meant to do?

“July” openly discusses former relationships with former friends, ostensibly ruminating on what once was. While his is not a deterrent, as Topf denotes continuing to move forward, it still does not take away the idea that pressing onward still takes a good deal of strength to do. One can always move on from the past while still feeling uncertain about the future.

I’m finding it harder and harder to climb
All of the mountains in my mind
In my mind

The song seeks out clarity, as Topf tries to maneuver through his emotions about his former and future lives. As the song swells into its chorus, it becomes increasingly evident that while being forward-thinking is seemingly the best way to go on, it is still difficult to overcome feelings of nostalgia and longing for what once was.

I don’t wanna grow up
Before I die
Cause everything about you is hot like July
I don’t wanna grow up

I’d rather stay high
‘Cause everything about you is hot like July
Hot like July
‘Cause everything about you is hot like July

“July” feels wholly poignant in the current state of the world; reminiscing on what once was while adapting to the inevitable newness. The song shifts into its newness with hope and promise, as Topf offers to drop everything and just disappear with his partner. And why not escape, while the rest of the world is ostensibly in shambles?

So give up the apartment
I’ll quit my job and runaway
I’ll leave with you my darling
‘Cause there’s no reason we should stay

Topf is no stranger to music-making, and throughout his career as an artist has always succeeded in his ability to tell an illusory and ubiquitous story that somehow always feels prescient, expertly narrating humanity in all of its intricacies. “July” is no exception, and as Topf continues to pursue this new venture with Windser, one cannot help but feel excited for what’s to come. Through Windser, Topf masters his craft, fully realizing his abilities as an artist and celebrating them accordingly.

“With Windser, I wanted to take my music back to where I came from,” Topf notes. “…The waves, the stillness of the woods, and the records I used to listen to in my bedroom.”

Listen: “July” – Windser



:: A CONVERSATION WITH WINDSER ::

Atwood Magazine: First of all, congrats on going solo - how exciting! What made you decide that you wanted to pursue this new adventure?

Jordan Topf: Thank you so much! I’m excited to enter my chapter two as a solo artist; it’s been something I’ve considered doing for a long time and this year I took the leap. Ever since I was a freshman in high school, I played in bands and I’m grateful for those times and the camaraderie I found in different group projects. You learn a lot about working as a team, what strengths you possess, performing live, and ultimately who you are as a musician. That being said, I felt it was time to do my own thing.

The sound of the music and lyrics are a direct correlation of my thoughts on life as I see today.

You've mentioned recently on your Instagram some of the things that have influenced this new project, that you felt like something had been missing for you. How do you think it has shaped you as a person and as an artist?

Jordan: When I decided to do a solo project, it became clear to me what had been missing for so long. The creativity and limitations you find in doing things completely on your own is very freeing. You’d think that getting help from others in the beginning stages of the creative process would make things easier, but now I only seek help from my closest collaborators when I hit roadblocks in my process. To be able to write, produce, and mix my own records without interruption gives me a lot of space to make art and music that is a truer reflection of who I am.

What do you think is a 'truer reflection' of who you are now?

I’ve grown a lot since Mainland, and I’ve become more in touch with my point of view as Windser. The sound of the music and lyrics are a direct correlation of my thoughts on life as I see today.

Windser © 2020
Windser © 2020

And the new single, ''July,'' is really wonderful. It feels very nostalgic, which I love. What inspired its lyrics?

Jordan: Thank you! Nostalgia was a big part of the song’s birth. At the beginning of shelter in place, my girlfriend and I went up to Northern California to this house in the woods. I set up my studio and started to write the record at that point and “July” was one of the first songs that came out. I sat down and wrote it in a couple hours, and started to produce from those initial acoustic guitar strums. I like to let people assign their own meaning to the songs, but for me it was inspired by the movement and finding gratitude in my new reality.

How do you think this 'new reality' is going to ultimately affect music as a whole?
Jordan: I think people are going to become more self-reliant and contained. I produced, mixed, and played all the instruments on “July” myself and I believe most artists are going to be recording themselves out of necessity!  As for live shows, it’s going to be awhile until we see artists on the road again. Make sure to donate to NIVA – save our stages!

What made you decide that you wanted 'July' to be the debut single for Windser?

Jordan: There were a lot of songs in the cannon I had saved, but with summer coming to an end I felt it fitting to release it on the last day of July.

Music helps you feel understood, but it also helps you dance and brings you out of body in the best ways possible.

Nice. A lot of your former project, Mainland, seemed to be inspired by more synth-y, gothy type stuff, but Windser feels like a fresh departure from that. How do you feel you're separating yourself from that project and this one?

Jordan: With Windser, I wanted to take my music back to where I came from. I spent a lot of time thinking about the sounds I grew up with in Santa Cruz, California. The waves, the stillness of the woods, and the records I used to listen to in my bedroom. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Beck, Portishead, Chris Isaak, and 90s electronic music.

One thing that I really love about you and the music you have always made is how evocative it is. How important do you feel that it is, especially right now in our current world, to be telling stories through music?

Jordan: Storytelling is an American tradition that I hope to carry on in my music. I think people need the medicine of storytelling during these times more than ever, to let them know they are not alone, and to pull them out of the tragic reality we’re all experiencing on a daily basis. Music helps you feel understood, but it also helps you dance and brings you out of body in the best ways possible. The best thing we as artists can do at this exact moment in time is to bring joy and make people move.

Has your idea of success changed at all moving into Windser versus Mainland?

Jordan: Over the past year my idea of success has diversified. At the moment, I produce and co-write for different artists, write music for TV and film, and do Windser. Before, I was primarily focused on Mainland and touring constantly. I quickly learned that I have much more to offer than solely being an artist, and that helping others achieve their vision is so rewarding!

What has been your favorite part about creating and shaping Windser so far?

Jordan: Finding the common threads for sounds and visuals has been incredibly enjoyable for me. I’ve been saving my sounds so whenever I come across something that inspires me, I can pull up that familiar synth patch, drum machine, or guitar tone and go from there. In doing that I create limitations and everything sounds consistent. There are also these moments when I’m in the studio and I get into a rhythm! That rhythm I like to call “musical nirvana” or some would call flow-state. It’s this infectious feeling of creative release, movement, and feeling deeply in touch with myself when the song is sounding exactly how I want it to. I start to howl and shout at the top of my lungs! No one can hear me for miles.

What do you hope people will take away from Windser when listening?

Jordan: I hope you feel swept away into the grooves and sounds, I hope you feel understood, and if you need to, cry tears of joy and sadness.

The project is out; it's here; it's really real! So where do you think you go from here, now?

Jordan: A music video is in the works, so be on the lookout for that. More singles to follow this Fall, and an EP at the top of 2021.

— — — —

Connect to Windser on
FacebookTwitterInstagram 
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
📸 © Windser

:: Listen to Windser ::

More from Maggie McHale

Today’s Song: alextbh Fosters Passionate Synergy on “Between”

alextbh's new single "Between" delves into a connectivity mutually shared in every...
Read More