The World of Winifred’s New EP “Carpet of Flowers”

May 24, 2024

Text: Jeremy Whitaker

Before you can understand the complex production and glitch-like pop music of Winifred, it is crucial to understand the artist’s history. “It’s definitely not my first rodeo,” she jokes, “Winifred is my middle name, birthed from a previous music project called Kate Martin, which is my first and last name.”

Under Kate Martin, Winifred garnered major studio and writing experience through the creation of three albums that work to inform her current sound. Aside from technical knowledge, this previous project, defined as an indie singer-songwriter project with folk and ambient elements, was a hands-on masterclass in writing. “I'm writing with a lot more intention than I ever have before. For me, that's a totally new and exciting challenge.”

Knowledge of Winifred’s past allows the listener to understand the advanced nature of her new EP Carpet of Flowers. Winifred describes Carpet of Flowers and her music at large as a balance between ethereal and grit. “There’s a lot of meat and attitude in the way that I execute my production.” The EP is fraught with imagery as the singer seems to create a visual world that thrives on crafty contradiction. Sharp as flame and soft as a Carpet of Flowers, one cannot deny the range that Winifred possesses. Influenced heavily by the moody pop and vocal instrumentation of Banks and the genre-bending Caroline Polachek, Winifred is armed and ready to tackle wherever her mind takes her. “I think music is so infinite and limitless and that's what I love about it.”

Just before the release of her second EP, Winifred took me track by track through Carpet of Flowers as we discussed the nature of creative industries and asked ourselves, “Is love enough?”

Photo Credit: Georgia Wallace


While it may appear that the serene imagery of the title “Carpet of Flowers” is in opposition to the glitch-tech production of the track, the two are joined in symbioses through Winifred’s soft but often biting vocals. When all elements are combined, the artist creates a landscape with her sound, a world that the listener is invited to indulge throughout the length of the EP. “I wrote ‘Carpet of Flowers’ last May when I was on a UK writing trip. I wrote this song with Tutara Peak, and he's since become a dear friend of mine. To me, this is everything I'm aiming to achieve when I write music. This is how I want to express myself.” Previously, Winifred had described her music as a sort of ethereal grit, and according to her, this song encapsulates that vision perfectly. In fact, the essence of “Carpet of Flowers” was so central to the Winifred project, that the EP was named after it, and more importantly, the song is featured as the EP’s opening track. “It really invites you into the world of this EP. There's a mysticism about the track that feels kind of dreamy and inviting, but then the choruses really have something to say and they're quite aggressive almost. They've got that kind of bite, but then it goes back down into the dreamy. It strikes that really nice balance.”


Following the sonic welcoming of “Carpet of Flowers,” the EP hits lyrical brilliance with “Fixed on You.”

“This track was definitely the easiest to write. It was one of those experiences where the track really just wrote itself. There are some songs that I've written that take four days of intensive labor to write but ‘Fixed on You’ we wrote in one afternoon. The lyrics just kind of poured out of me.” In contrast to the tech-feeling introductory nature of the opening track, “Fixed on You” feels more suitable for an audience in its steady rhythmic, and hypnotic nature. “At this point was quite early on in the Winifred journey, but I knew that my intention for writing music was to create something with a live audience in mind, something that people could really sing along to and lose themselves in.”

Aside from the lyrical spontaneity of the track, “Fixed on You” differs in its production. “It has that sweet simplicity to it that I really value in songwriting," says Winifred, “I come from sort of a maximalist background where I tend to jam pack as much as I can into three minutes, but this song has this really meditative repetition to it. I think that's why it resonated.” The artist describes the mood of this song as “lowkey bedroom pop energy,” but true to the identity of Winifred, there are always elements of cutting-edge production that give her songs breath. In the case of this track, it is one of the moments where vocal manipulation around the lyric “Melting into you” seems to stop time as the world of Winifred melts and materializes simultaneously.


“The Winifred project is highly visual, and I try to encapsulate that in not just the music I'm writing, but the visuals I'm creating to go with it as well.” This attention to detail is apparent from start to finish. Carpet of Flowers itself is a journey into a visual realm that Winifred creates, backed with visual lyricism and world-building production. “The way we can sort of visualize or add a visual element to that is the way we produce those vocals. Picking those opportune moments to add splashes of reverbs and delays and effects to just really give people that synesthetic experience when listening to the songs.”

“Blue Fire,” released as a single with an accompanying music video, contains imagery best suited for the sonics of the album, and surely the midpoint of the five-track EP is its visual highlight. “At the start of last year, I reached this moment where I thought I had all the tracks ready for the EP, and it was actually a really confronting moment. I stepped back and listened to everything that I had at that point, and I was like, ‘It's not done.’ Then I went to Melbourne and I wrote with my good friend Jackson, and we came up with “Blue Fire.’” For Winifred, it wasn’t just one of the missing pieces, it was the EP’s cornerstone that came from pushing herself further than she thought possible. From this period came “Blue Fire” and the title track, “Carpet of Flowers.” “If I wasn't prepared to be honest enough with myself, to keep pushing, which is exhausting and kind of emotional, I don't know if it would've come about. So I'm really grateful.”

The track has a sense of sentimentality that sets it apart from the others on the EP. “It’s sort of like an ode to the time when I lived in Melbourne. Melbourne is such a culturally rich, diverse, hectic city. It's so beautiful. I come from a really small regional city called Townsville, so I grew up in a very different landscape. I did the big city thing for about eight or nine years, and I loved it, but I think there was a part of me that always felt slightly displaced. There were so many times where I felt like I was just standing still, and life was just happening around me in fast motion. [“Blue Fire”] is definitely a mood piece. It's not trying to outshine any of the other tracks on the EP, it's really just coasting.”


One of the first lyrics in the cinematic “Want It Bad” encourages the subject to “Sign your name on the dotted line in blood.” While originally, I thought Winifred was taking upon the persona of a dark temptress, the actual lyrical meaning is entirely steeped in commentary. Although it is the EP’s shortest track, “This is definitely the cheekiest.” Winifred elaborates, “I was feeling quite removed from the music industry. I was feeling really conflicted because I love my job, I love creating music, but I was feeling this dissonance.” At the inception of this song, Winifred suffered from feelings of inadequacy in an industry that is “highly competitive and highly transactional.”

“A lot of creatives at heart are very sensitive people. The more I delved into the depths of the industry, the more I found myself feeling more distant and removed from it. So I guess it's a bit of a cheeky jab at the music industry. It’s basically from the perspective of an artist on the outside looking in on the industry and asking themselves, ‘is this it?’ ‘Is this what I want?’” Through the aforementioned lyrics, Winifred highlights the paradoxical nature of creative industries, known for profiting off the hearts of creatives while expecting constant reinvention and always demanding more. “You have to come back to the art at the end of the day and make sure that you're prioritizing your health and looking after yourself, whatever that looks like.”


The closing track of the EP poses a question, “Is love enough?” Where most of the EP feels surreal and esoteric, the finale feels personal and human in a way that the other tracks do not. Throughout the EP, Winifred bounces persona with ease, but the closing track confirms her identity as real and deeply emotive. “I wrote it quite a long time ago, and it was about me foreseeing the demise of a relationship that I was currently in. I'd been in this long-term, long-distance relationship with this person who was beautiful. There were no major red flags or issues, but I think we knew that we weren't completely compatible. It's that kind of slow realization and slow death of a relationship that can be so excruciating.” 

While the song doesn’t have the crisp imagery common on the EP, for Winifred, the track is transportive. “I think back to when I was 20. There was so much going on in my life. Something I used to do to kind of hide from the craziness of life is I get in the shower, and I go into the fetal position and just let the water run over me, temporarily hiding from the reality of my situation. I feel like this song is that in a way because it's basically taking temporary refuge from the inevitable of the future.” The lyrics like a sonic shield for Winifred and her companion, “The future can wait tonight. I'm here with you.”

The EP ends on an emotional climax, but “I promise next EP I'll go out with more of a bang,” Winifred laughs. I have a feeling she’ll continue to keep us guessing. 

Carpet of Flowers is out now.