Wintersleep is among this year’s Juno nominations.
Nearly a decade has past since the band scored the 2008 Juno for New Group of the Year and nomination for Alternative Album of the Year. This time around they find themselves up for Adult Alternative Album of the Year.
Drummer Loel Campbell — formerly and occasionally of Stellarton — isn’t quite sure what makes the distinction between Adult Alternative and regular Alternative, but he’ll take it.
“It is a surprise, totally,” he said. “You just don’t know what way the wind’s going to blow. I guess, you know, this record (The Great Detachment) has done really well and it’s had a lot of success. I guess I get it. We haven’t had a nomination in a music category since almost 10 years ago. It’s nice, you know. It puts wind in our sails, it makes us feel relevant.”
Last year, Wintersleep’s single, Amerika, spent 11 weeks on the top of the charts, a move that saw the band topping international acts like Foo Fighters and Mumford & Sons. Now that success sees them in the running against Canadian icons like Gord Downie and Leonard Cohen, something Campbell said he’d never expected to see.
“No, definitely not,” he said. “When I was reading the category I was like ‘okay, what are we doing in this category?’ It’s kind of weird. Those are two heroes of the band. We followed their careers since we were able to walk pretty much. That’s part of it all. To be mentioned in the same breath as those artists is just incredible.
“It’s high art, those people,” Campbell said. “Obviously we try to make the best music, and spend so much time on writing music and lyrics. It’s cool to be able to be mentioned in the same category as them. We’ve always thought that way about our music, that it’s relevant and important, and that we care so much about it and put so much time into it. For somebody else to put us in a category with those people, it makes it more real. It’s very cool.”
Basia Bulat, and Andy Shauf are also in the running for Adult Alternative Album of the Year.
Campbell said he doesn’t see the nomination as “validation” exactly, but likens it to something more akin to acknowledgement or appreciation. As well, while certainly not bad news, nominations and awards aren’t really a motivator for the band.
“It’s definitely not something we set out to achieve,” Campbell said, “however, it is nice to receive a nomination among such great company. But it’s not something we try to orchestrate happening. It’s nice when it does happen, it makes everything sync up for us. It seems like people are embracing what we’re doing, that’s a good feeling.”
Campbell said the band doesn’t have definite plans just yet to take part in Juno Fest but said guitarist Tim D’eon is harbouring high hopes of taking part in the Juno Cup — the musicians vs. NHL Oldtimers or Rock vs. Jock all-star hockey game.
“I don’t do it because I can’t skate,” Campbell said. “(Jim) Cuddy (of Blue Rodeo) is pretty cut throat when it comes to his team. He’s a pretty competitive guy, he’s pretty serious about it. He doesn’t take it lightly…”
The band does have plans to take part in the Juno Gala, and Campbell is optimistic about Juno Swag, although he’s heard the swag glory days might be a thing of the past.
“I don’t know if that happens anymore,” he said. “I’m hoping there’s goodies in April, but I’m not holding my breath.”
He said the band was present for the press conference in Toronto when the nominations were announced. Attendees scored some sweet free “fancy” pillows, which he agrees isn’t particularly rock and roll.
“No, it’s not. It’s pretty sleepy.”
Hopefully Campbell and company walk away with something with a bit more bragging rights in April.
The 2017 Junos take place Sunday, April 2 in Ottawa.