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Minuit - The 'Final Fling' for MINUIT

06 Nov 2014 // An interview by Ryan Kershaw
 

From The 88 to Last Night You Saw This Band there has been a great output from Minuit. Quite often there is a lot of work behind the scenes with music that the listeners don’t hear, from rehearsing to promotion. Has that been the case with Minuit and what are your views on mixing art with work after the last 11 years?

Woah. Huge question. How do you pay the rent? Art is work. People look at a band on stage and think, ah they must be best of buddies. But it's heinously hard work. The fact we're still together to do a final fling is our biggest achievement. Ha. We intentionally took on a lot of the work ourselves. We produced the albums ourselves. Ryan mixed all the material. We got other people to master it yes and do some artwork, and make videos, but the motivation came from us. Right down to the tours overseas. We worked with people to make it happen, but Minuit is extremely hands on for us.

Paul, you have taken the main management role for Minuit, for the sake of other musicians reading this interview, what 3 bits of advice could you give to self managed artists?

The scene has changed so much since we began. And the internet is opening things up. But I would say -

Think small: Do what you know you can achieve and enjoy it. The worst times we've had were when we over stretched and were biting our nails 'til the end. That's not a way to enjoy a gig.

But on the other hand, follow through with the ideas that come to mind that you really like: Don't just do it the way other people do it, if you think something is going to suit your band (venue/online promo idea/set list/what ever ideas you can think up), do it! Who cares if it doesn't work out. That's what we're awesome at in New Zealand, we don't just follow other trends. Back yourself.

Get people involved: We did crowdfunding through PledgeMe for our vinyls and it was awesome, and intense. But one of the funniest times we've had dealing with people directly. I think it helped make people feel part of Minuit, which they are.

And always answer other people's emails.

Paul and Ryan, what are your origins with using electronic instruments, and what first drew you to them?

The mid 90s sound of Tricky and The Prodigy, they were new sounds for us, new styles. We'd come from guitar backgrounds and these were acts using electronic samples and instruments to make them sound like a band, but bigger and broader and creepier. They really inspired us to get samplers and work out how to use them and it felt like a brand new universe of finding any sound imaginable and using it in a tune.

Ruth, you started jamming in the Minuit line up on drums, do you still play?

A mate has borrowed my drum kit. But technically I still own it. Just saying Jacob. Ok.

Ruth, with The Final Fling tour approaching, and the “garage sales” of your old merch etc coming up, has this time inspired you to write or influenced your current writing?

Hmmm, not new stuff. I did a jelly installation down in Christchurch over Labour Weekend where 1000 kids came and built a city that was supposed to wobble. Does that count?

It might seem weird to ask but as there doesn’t seem to be any animosity in departure, are you all excited about the doors that may open in the next chapter, and do you have plans musically for the next year or so, or are you taking it as it comes?

Ryan will always do music I think. He has his studio and DJing and producing. Ruth, will probably be elbow deep in jelly. 16 years is a long time in band years. It's been through a few different era's. We really wanted to 'bookend' the catalogue and say, yes that's what Minuit did. Finish it off. I think that's healthy. And then move on. And we're all cool with that. And then as you say that leaves several doors open.

I loved Paul's quote in an interview from a while back: “the best way to make the Gods laugh is to tell them your plans”. Have you had or made time to really enjoy the little milestones along the way, and what are some of the unexpected highlights that have popped up over the years that Minuit fans may not know about?

First of all, I didn't write the quote. But it does seem appropriate, right. You can plan all you like, but then life happens. I'm really proud of where we've ended up. Essentially we tried to do things that we wanted to do. Sometimes to our detriment. Sometimes getting us shows in Viet Nam. But we did things our way. There are always unknowns. Like the cooking course in Hoi An. Or the trip to the Artic Circle after the shows in Finland. Or using the lift in the rickety old St Petersburg apartment building when all the locals used the stairs. One of the things I'm most proud of is doing Ruth's book. The lyrics and words in there are poetry. I even got one line tattooed, it made so much sense.

 

Although labelling an act like Minuit into “electronic” may be a little irritating, there is no doubt that you have had a big influence on electronic music in New Zealand. Are there any specific underground music groups or artists now - electronic, acoustic, pan pipes, Syd Barrett with a seashell – whatever style – that excites you or ignites your passion for music and who are they?

I never knew what Gamelan music was. And then we teamed up with an 18 piece traditional Balinese Gamelan and did two festivals one summer playing Minuit tunes. 21 people on stage, our samplers and these fiery, loud brass percussion instruments, all intricately and rhythmically played. That whole crew played Gamelan music 'cos they loved it. Not for money or profit. But just to slam out some crazily funky tunes. Enormous respect.   

What would make this last tour awesome for the three of you?

Still being alive at the end of it.

Any last words to the fans before the musical onslaught of the final tour?

Thank you!

 

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
Buy Online @ Mightyape
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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