"Whether it’s intentional or not, we often gravitate towards consistently strong songwriters. Most artists can stumble upon a great song if they write enough of them, but in my experience, it takes a gift beyond hard work to be able to write many albums worth of great songs."

If you are familiar with Winspear, the independent label from Bloomington, Indiana, you know their dedication to the indie genre. With artists ranging from the Colombian indie band Divino Niño to singer-songwriter Barrie, Winspear's catalogue contains some of the most important up-and-comers.

Featuring an array of pop centered production, the label's initiative to champion songwriters as creatives is of the most importance. In the short time that Winspear has been signing artists, they have already found a place in the ever-growing, ever-chaining world of pop music.

To celebrate their first label sampler, Winspear Volume 01, we caught up with founders Jared Jones and Ben Wittkugel to chat all things Winspear.

Various Artists - Winspear Volume 01

Featuring tracks by Barrie, Divino Niño, Slow Pulp, Video Age, and more

Buy Now

What do you think defines a Winspear artist/what do you look for?

Jared Jones: Whether it’s intentional or not, we often gravitate towards consistently strong songwriters. Most artists can stumble upon a great song if they write enough of them, but in my experience, it takes a gift beyond hard work to be able to write many albums worth of great songs. With some genres, the energy or vibe is more important than the underlying composition itself. But with the style of music we seem drawn to, an underlying composition full of strong pop melodies, seems to be a somewhat unifying force among our releases. Many of the artists we work with are also skilled producers in their own right. The creative and technical skillset required to take a song from start to finish always impresses me too.

Ben Wittkugel: Music we enjoy and want to tell people about! From there, I love to hear about their life experiences and how it relates to their work. A thoughtful and creative visual approach draws me in and helps round out a project.

If you could sign an artist from any period of history out of the blue right now who would you grab?

Jared: Probably King David from the old testament. It seems most historians agreed he actually existed sometime in 1000 BC, so I think that’s fair game for this hypothetical. And according to tradition, he was a very sick harpist. His story is literally legendary and the press cycle for the album would be unstoppable. No brainer.

Ben: I remember listening to SZA’s first two EP’s (See.SZA.Run, S) as a teenager that I came across on the online forum KanyeToThe. If I was running a label then, I definitely would have tried to get in touch.

Lots of great albums get lost in the shuffle of new releases. Are there any albums you released that you really love and think deserved more attention than they received so far?

Ben: Majetic’s (fka CARE) Luv In The Ruins is a special release for us. It was one of our earlier releases and marked a specific time for us as a label and Justin Majetich as an artist. It’s a sprawling two part album that was released alongside a beautiful art book that Justin designed and collaborated with Chris Cox on, one of our longtime creative collaborators. As New Archive, Chris Cox & Ben Biondo have played a part in the creative and visual identity of both Majetic and Major Murphy.

Are there any albums you hope to reissue in the near future?

Jared: Winspear has never properly reissued an album before, we’ve intentionally kept our focus on new releases. We have put back in print some titles of ours that were previously out of print or sold out though, but that’s not quite the same. It would be cool to properly reissue some of our earliest releases from 2015 or 2016 that never made it to vinyl. There is a really cool record from The Lemon Twigs we put out back in our early days that has been almost entirely scrubbed from the internet. Other than that, who knows. Maybe we’ll start crate digging in Japan and reissue some lost City Pop gems.

Indie music has changed so much in the past thirty years, what is the most exciting aspect of the state of things in 2023?

Ben: Supporting individuals who are making music and encouraging them to continue on their artistic journey. Many artists, who might be new to most, are often experienced artists who have been making music for many years and can benefit tons from finding one or two people who believe in what they’re doing. I find value in coming across music that people don’t know yet about, and then figuring out that very first release.

2023 is here, what do you have in store for us?

Jared: We’re kicking off 2023 with our first label sampler, Winspear Volume 01. It’s been a nostalgia-filled project revisiting older songs in our catalog. One of the best parts of it has been digging deep into our digital archives for demos and songs we were sent over the years that had never gotten a proper release. After that, our next release will be a new project from Barrie. Looking forward to sharing more very soon, but it’s an excellent follow-up from last year's Barbara. Then you can expect new music from Divino Niño, Video Age, and ghost orchard in 2023. This year will also see some new faces introduced to the Winspear roster. Excited to reveal more there very soon.