Singer, songwriter, and producer Jordan Topf, also known as Windser, is an up-and-coming independent artist from Northern California. Formerly a member of the band Mainland, he ventured into a solo project amidst the pandemic in early 2020 to explore the significant changes in his life and all the emotions that came with it. His music is an introspective search for the meanings of nostalgia and growth through personal reflections of the past and acknowledgments of the future.
Debuting with his single 'July' and featuring on Macklemore's track 'New Year,' Windser has gained a lot of traction in the past two years. He recently released a new song titled 'Memory' and is here to tell us the story behind it. Accompanying it are some lovely photos he shot as an avid film photographer on our Simple Use Reloadable Camera Saturday Edition!
Hey Jordan, we're so thrilled to talk with you! Can you please introduce yourself?
Hi! I am a music artist named Windser from Santa Cruz, California. I started releasing music as Windser in 2020, putting out my first single ‘July’ independently. The months following, I started releasing more songs into 2021. And at the end of 2021, I got asked to feature on the new Macklemore song called ‘Next Year.’ We performed on Jimmy Fallon and the New Year's Eve show. Following that, I played some shows and released my new single ‘Memory.’ I’ve been playing music my whole life. I write and produce my own music and for other artists as well.
Where does the name “Windser” come from?
It’s the street I grew up on.
What’s the story behind 'Memory'?
I worked with my friend Day Wave on the song and it was sort of inspired by a close teenage friend from high school that I lost. The song was inspired by feelings of losing someone close to you, of time setting in and moving so fast, and of the nostalgia from memories of people. For me, I connected the song because of that friend but it’s also a bit open-ended. It’s inspired by the people that come in and out of your life.
You also mention that the track revolves around your life in Santa Cruz. How was growing up there?
It was a wonderful place to grow up. I was there up until I was 18, before I moved to New York for a bit. It’s a really beautiful place. The redwoods and the ocean all kind of intermingle and at night, it gets spooky as the fog rolls in.
The vibe of the song and the music I’ve been making the last year is all inspired by Santa Cruz. It’s all so nostalgic to me. It’s about those formative experiences of growing up, such as falling in love for the first time or getting into trouble.
If you had to sum up ‘Memory’ into one message for your listeners, what would it be?
Live in the moment and enjoy the people you love and the things you do every day because time moves so fast.
Onto your photography, when did you first press the shutter button? And what’s your relationship to film photography?
In high school, I took a photography class and learned to develop film. The first camera I ever bought was a Holga, which I experimented with throughout high school. Then in college, I got a Contax T2 because I loved (still do) Ryan McGinley and was inspired by his work captured on Yashica T4 and Contax T2.
I fell in love with other film photographers like Robert Frank, William Eggleston, and Nan Goldin.
When I take a photo on film, it makes the subject or scenery just feel alive. Along with the washed-out colors, it all inspires me visually. I hope to continue shooting film for all my work.
Do film photography and music production influence each other when you’re working on them?
Film photography has always been a passion. A lot of the content I make and the photos I’ve used for singles are all shot on film. I felt like I needed an accompaniment to the music I release so photography has always been the thing that I can do that goes hand-in-hand with it. I’m not much of a tactile artist like a drawer or painter, so for me, photography made a lot of sense.
How did you enjoy our Reloadable camera? Where did you take these beautiful photos?
The purple film on the camera is really cool. It surprised me! I actually took many of these photos on a hike of my dad’s favorite mountain.
Is there anything regarding photography you hope to explore?
I’ve always wanted to make a zine of my photography. As a musician, I travel a lot and so I have all these archives of traveling around America that I’d love to publish.
Anything lined up this year that we can expect?
I’m releasing an EP this Spring! I’ll be playing shows on the East Coast in May, so stay tuned for that!