Artist Spotlight: Winston Surfshirt [Interview] • Volume

Written by: Shay Coulson

Artist Spotlight: Winston Surfshirt [Interview]

ARIA double-platinum six-piece Sydney collective Winston Surfshirt have spent the past six years establishing themselves as one of Australia’s, and the world’s, finest R&B-soul outfits.

Led by the eponymous Winston Surfshirt, the band channel a vintage kind of rock stardom, one led less by ego than by openness, earnestness, and a drive to share their music with the world. Combining a classic west coast hip-hop sound with the snap of psych-pop and sunny, uniquely Australian charm, the band are a testament to the power of the free-minded and the casually virtuosic.

We caught up with the band to discuss their current tour, recent releases, and upcoming ventures:

Tell us about the birth of Winston Surfshirt. What was the initial spark and how did your band form?
Winston Surfshirt was born [in] about 2010 between bands and projects and took about 5 years to get to its current form, some of the boys are from bands I’ve played with since we were teenagers and some we met through friends along the way.
How do you identify sonically? Which genre(s) do you think best describes your music as a whole?
I don’t really know how to describe it, it just sounds like me, its weird. I’m not trying to write anything in particular. I think you can hear influences in what I do, but I find it hard to give it a musical genre that encapsulates it. The latest description someone overheard in a crowd once was “They’re like Jamiroquai for stoners” – thought that was great.
We’d love to learn about your creative process as a band. Where do you pull inspiration from when creating a track and how would you describe its unfolding?
We have many ways we write songs, sometimes as a band in a room, sometimes it’s a couple of us, sometimes just me making a beat. It’s pretty much always music first, make as many beats as I can and sometimes something sticks and I have an urge to write over it. One of the funniest ways we do it is “the weakest beat”. We created a game, 3 producers, 3 players, in a house/airbnb/hotel we set up 3 studio stations, me, bustlip & Dool produce, Mi-k, Bone & Julio are the players. 30 minute timer we pull names out of a hat and we have 30 minutes to make a fully formed beat. Its real fun.
How do you feel the music scene in Australia compares to the US scene? What are some pros and cons of both spaces?
Uhh its totally different, we only got the chance to get out here earlier this year so we are one tour in and just going through the second run. Honestly though, the first tour was easily our favourite tour we’ve done so we are really excited for this one. We love Australia nothing like playing in your home country, but to be able to come to the US & have people come to our shows is really special.
Describe a memorable performance you had. What makes a performance stand out to you?
In the states my favourite so far was NY last year, just a really fun show [and the] last one on the run so we went Hamm.
Your newest record, Panna Cotta released in 2022 includes a feature-heavy tracklist. What is your favorite track off the record and why?
Hmm my favourite keeps changing, when I was here earlier in the year my fave at the time was “Photos Of You” Ft SWSH. At the mo my fave to play is “All Im Saying” Ft Kimbra
Can you recall a proud moment or accomplishment when you felt Winston Surfshirt hit a turning point as a band?
Urhm, probably meeting Elton John the first time. He invited us all to meet him when he visited Australia cause he was a fan of our first record, just the most amazing man with the deepest love for music. It was super inspiring.
In your artist bio, you are described as being “a testament to the power of the free-minded and the casually virtuosic”. How do you maintain this free-minded spirit as a team when challenges arise?
Music I think, its like my therapy. Making a song and being in that place I sort of think I need it, so to be able to do that as my job is amazing.
What can fans expect from you in the near future? Are there any upcoming projects you can share with us that you’re excited about?
Oh yayrrr we got a bunch of new music coming soon

Listen to Winston Surfshirt’s latest record Panna Cotta HERE and learn more about the band on their website at

Grab tickets to their upcoming show at Sky SLC on the Rooftop on Tuesday, September 26th, 2023! Tickets here.