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Minuit - Minuit Newsletter Interview

30 Nov 2012 // An interview by Peter-James Dries

With three albums and multiple EPs already in their catalogue, the Kiwi band with the French name have toured far flung venues from St Petersburg to the Czech Republic; storming The Crystal Method's DJ night in Los Angeles; playing the hotel where Tarantino wrote Pulp Fiction in Amsterdam; and headlining the Hanoi Festival in Vietnam.

It is with much expectation that Minuit are set to release their fourth full length album Last Night You Saw This Band on 21 December 2012 at 12:12am, followed by an album release show on 22 December 2012 at Dux Live in Christchurch. With a sound as addictive as it is distinctive – it's Minuit.

Ruth and Paul spoke to Peter about their music, strategies and influences, here's what they had to say:

First off, I’d like to say I’ve been a fan for the longest time. I bought The 88 the day after seeing the video for Menace on late night music television, and I’m one of those lucky few that bought The Guns EP on the first day.

Ruth: You rule

How would you describe Last Night You Saw This Band to someone that had never heard Minuit, (without using the word Tropical)?

Paul: Ahahaha – but tropical is a very good word to use! Songs that are crisp and percussive and lyrically juicy, like a pig on a roast for a midnight feast on a t******* island while downloading scarey movies on your wifi.

I read that Last Night You Saw This Band is being released independently. Has this posed any benefits or difficulties compared to releasing under a label?

Paul: Heaps more work bro! But that's cool, we get to release it on one of the craziest dates of the year, I don't think a label would have gone for that. We still have people who are distributing it, and others working the promo, and a bunch of good folks making kooky clips online. There's a lot of talk of adventure on this record, and releasing it yourself sure is that!

You’ve used different strategies for writing songs in the past; at times music first, other times, like with Fuji, lyrics first. I heard tell Last Night You Saw This Band was developed around Ruth’s dictaphone recordings from Rarotonga. Were recordings as difficult to make music around as Fuji proved to be?

Paul: It's cos you have unlimited ways to try songs out when they're written on computers. Lots of options can be counter productive. But what I liked about the dictaphone tapes was it allowed parts of songs to be juggled around and joined to parts that were completely different. Then a theme and a thread started running through. It gave ryan and I a lot of scope musically. I think it's quite different for what people might expect from Minuit, and also from an 'electronic' act.

Did any of these dictaphone recordings make it into the final release, environmental artefacts and all?

Paul: Ha, yes...working in computers you're always searching for found sounds that aren't a preset or out of a box, to make your track unique and yes there'll be some things in the background from her demo's, mainly texture and quirky things. Actually that crackly vocal at the start of Ghost I'm pretty sure was straight off the tapes, and some stuff in What We Know. The kids singing in Islands were from a trip to Haiti that I did and recorded them. Hadn't meant to add them to a Minuit track, but it seemed to fit perfectly later on.

I remember someone bragging to me when Minuit were coming to Palmerston North, “I saw them in Nelson before they were big.” That was back in the day when Hugh Sundae predicted, correctly, on that Space music show that "these guys are going to be huge." Are you still the Minuit you were back then? In what ways do you feel you’ve progressed since those formative years?

Ruth: Did Hugh Sundae really say that? I had no idea. Well, hasn't that dude just moved to the top of my xmas card list!  It is hard to know if we have progressed or regressed sometimes... All 3 of us have quite different music tastes, so it has always been a case of having songs that you win and lose with on the albums for each of us I think.  We're obviously the same Minuit in the way that it is still us 3 faffing about which is cool, but we've probably changed in the way that we know what we are doing more. Actually, you know, now I think about it, we might know less what we are doing now. Hmmm, I don't think they should have let me answer this question.

Paul: She makes some good points

I’ve always seen Minuit as quite a political band. I remember accidentally taping Queer Nation after a late night movie, and being pleasantly surprised to find Species II was the theme song, and I read just recently Ruth versus the Skinheads. Not to mention the Occupy movement adopting your song Stories for Boys. What pertinent world issues have caught your attention of late?

Ruth: It's very cool to me that you think that, because I often feel like anything I am trying to say gets overwhelmed by most people believing that electronic or 'dance' music is only about drugs and waving your hands in the air. Like you just don't care. And I don't, so there. (They probably shouldn't've let me answer this one either...) BUT - ISSUES - Maui Dolphins, 55 adults left, I mean, come on - we gotta get this right!

Paul: Ha...one of the most misquoted songs of ours I think is Aotearoa, where a lot of people think it is patriotic and says “We are New Zealand”, whereas Ruth actually says, “We are a new Zealand”. Meaning it is up to the people who live here to make this country what it is going to be, we can choose what we get involved in. Big things (or more importantly) small things, you do what you gotta do.

Now that you’re no longer just a band from Nelson, or a band from New Zealand even, but a part of the New Zealand psyche, do you still hold any other bands as influences, or is it more about just being free and Minuit in this advanced stage of your development?

Ruth: Free and Minuit - Freeuit, if you will...

Paul: It's all about playing live. When you see an act play and you don't expect it, and it blows you away and actually moves you, thats awesome. And it doesnt happen all the time, sometimes not even always with the same act, but if the atmosphere is electric and bizarre, and next day you're all like, last night I saw this band! Thats what its about.

I remember listening to Find Me Before I Die A Lonely Death.com on the way down to Ladeda a few years back, and the excitement of seeing Minuit perform live. Where in New Zealand have you found the most receptive, amped, enthusiastic audiences?

Paul: Impossible to say. There have been so many crazy situations where people have been involved in Minuit, sometimes playing live, sometimes behind the scenes, seriously, it has been a privilege to see such hard out commitment to making a gig go off.

I have a vague recollection of an interview on television with Paul lamenting that the sound tech asked him to play a few notes on his keyboard and not quite getting the whole sampler thing. Have there been any recent ‘face-palm’ moments while doing the live Minuit thing?

Paul: Only when people think that because it's electronic you're just pressing play up there. You'd be surprised what goes on...

I know the album isn’t out yet, but provided the world doesn’t end the day you release Last Night You Saw This Band, what will be the next chapter in the story of Minuit?

Paul: The best way to make the gods laugh is to tell them your plans

Ruth: If it does end, thank you very much for liking our music. x x


Thanks Ruth and Paul for answering these questions.

 

About Minuit

Minuit has a heart. And it beats loud. Real loud.

Having toured their synths and samplers from Hanoi to Helsinki on the live circuit for over a decade, this trio have crafted their own energetic sound – and it's refreshingly different.

Out front, the enigmatic Ruth Carr mixes sinister with salvation in a jubilant cascade of lyrics, while bandmates Ryan Beehre and Paul Dodge forge their rib-rattling, hip-shaking beats around her.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Minuit

Releases

Last Night You Saw This Band
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Aotearoa - The Remixes
Year: 2012
Type: Album
The Guards Themselves
Year: 2006
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
The Guns EP
Year: 2004
Type: EP
The 88
Year: 2003
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Except You
Year: 2002
Type: EP
Luck
Year: 2000
Type: EP
Silver
Year: 1999
Type: EP
Sonic Experience
Year: 1998
Type: EP

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