Wednesday, 12 March 2014

#262: Catching Up With...The Minx (U&I Music Magazine - March Issue)

Though they've been around for a couple of years now, The Minx, a two-tone/punk hybrid from Wythenshawe, are finally seeing the fruits of their labour reaped. Their last few home-town shows have been sold-out energetic affairs, increasing in size every step along the way and it's easy to see why. Their music doesn't lend itself to the rainy city in the way that it other bands do. Indeed, the inclusion of an organ injects their repertoire with a definite dose of sunshine more akin to the West Indies than Wythenshawe. As a band, they're so atypical of both their surroundings and their era, that it's hard to put a finger on what makes The Minx so special; and therein lies their appeal.

Tracks such as 'Forest Bank' exhibit this brilliantly. Drawing from a wealth of influences such as ...And Out Come the Wolves-era Rancid and The Clash, it's immediately obvious that the band refuse to bay to the generic expectations laid out by Manchester as a city. And while it can certainly be argued that 'Manc Music' doesn't have the same clich├ęd restrictions it did twenty years ago, it's still a music scene dominated predominantly by an indie majority. The Minx, however, have other plans.

Their most recent release 'Corporation Pop' was recorded in one live session, and though the production quality wavers slightly in the face of it, the punk authenticity of the session reigns supreme, giving fans another reason to fly The Minx flag high. A tumultuous, anarchic track, the sheer energy that bursts forth is untapped and unadulterated, much like the track itself. An explosive chorus of gang-chant style vocals isn't quite the icing on the cake as much as it's the safety-pin through the nose, and if any of the four remaining tracks taken from this studio session muster even half the energy this does, we're in for something truly special.

Though it's taken a while for the ball to get rolling, now it has it shows no sign of slowly down, the momentum behind it building with every gig, every release. A host of fairly high-profile support slots across Manchester also, has done nothing to hamper the inevitable ascent to the top of the game. Loud and brash, anarchic though not without melody, The Minx are one of Manchester's most exciting young acts at the moment. You can almost bet that 2014 is going to see them follow in the footsteps of the city's most recent exports. Expect big things. Expect them soon.

U&I: Hi guys, thanks for taking the time out to answer our questions. To start with, your sound isn't inherently 'Manchester', at least in comparison to the generic indie of some acts out there at the moment, but how would you describe yourselves personally as a band?

To be honest, I don’t think we fit in with the whole “Manchester” tag, and what comes with it. The Minx aren’t “trendy”, but I think that’s why it works. Don’t get me wrong, we love Manchester music, and the likes of The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Inspiral Carpets etc are big influences on us but I don’t think it necessarily shows in the music we make. Now the Buzzcocks on the other hand..

U&I: You've been a band for a while now, but it seems over the last 12 months that things have really started moving in your direction, with some decent support slots for the likes of Inspiral Carpets and a string of sold out headline shows in Manchester already under your belt. Was there a pivotal point in which you started noticing stuff happening?

I think last year (2013) was the real start for us. That’s when we started (properly) releasing our tunes and getting real radio play. We had a solid plan from January 2013 to get the “Hey! Mr Warden” EP out, followed by the (Can You Find) My Head? Single, with gigs around both, and we just stuck to it and it worked..

U&I: There's obviously a lot of two-tone and reggae influences mixing with the punk vibes in your music, do you think this is a cultural thing that stems from growing up in a city like Manchester, or is that just the kind of music you grew up listening to?

Both! We’re all really in to reggae, and have been since growing up. We’re lucky to be based in multicultural Manchester, I’m positive that’s had a spin on how our music has formed.

U&I: Similarly, what do you think it is about the city that allows such a multitude of bands to flourish the way they do in Manchester? And do you think the sheer amount of music on offer creates a competition between bands?

Manchester’s always buzzing, with some great live venues so there’s always good shows on. I wouldn’t say there’s competition, in all honesty I wouldn’t mind hearing/seeing more.

U&I: Your latest single '(Can You Find) My Head' came out last year and it summaries The Minx as a band brilliantly. How well has it been going down with fans and critics?

(Can You Find) My Head? has gone down a storm. With the track being picked to soundtrack Dr Martens global AW13 campaign, it put us on a whole new level and opened our fan base globally. Everyone seems to really dig it, which is cool.

U&I: You announced on Facebook the other week that you had been in the studio laying down some new tracks. When can we hear them and are they another EP or part of something longer?

We popped to a little studio in Rochdale, set up live and laid down 5 new tunes in a day. We filmed it all and will be uploading each track as a series over the coming months. The first track has just gone live “Corporation Pop” (see above)

U&I: You had a crazy year in 2013, and must've had some brilliant experiences. What's been some of the most memorable? Any tour stories you want to entertain our readers with?
The best experiences of 2013 were definitely our 3 consecutive sold out Manchester shows at Soup Kitchen, Deaf Institute and Sound Control. Each one was just brilliant and bigger than the last. As for tour stories.. We’d rather forget.

U&I: Manchester's full of eclectic venues, they're as much a part of the city's musical heritage as the bands which play them, arguably more so in the cases of some. With that in mind what do you think about the current noise complaints befalling some venues in the Northern Quarter?

I think it’s all a load of bollocks. If you move next door to a music venue, then it’s expected you are going to hear noise. If you don’t want to hear noise, move to rural Wales or something.

U&I: You're gigging with Darlia at SoundControl late next month, and you must've gigged with a fair few bands in a similar position to yourselves over the years. Anyone you'd like to plug or give it of exposure to?

There’s some great bands knocking about. The great thing about putting on our own headline Manchester shows is we get to hand pick the support acts. So far we’ve had Guy Connor, Bourbon Street Beat, The Velveteen Saints, No Hot Ashes, Dirty North and soon to be James Munro at our next sold out Eagle show on the 28th March. They’re all great.

U&I: With 2013 proving to be the year for you that it was, 2014 is going to have be pretty special to top it. What are the band's plans for the year ahead? Headline tours? Prospective albums? Festivals?

Onwards and upwards. Our debut single “No Friends” is set to be re released around April time. We’ll be looking to do our next big headline Manchester show around the same time (venue TBC). Small tour, and as many festivals that will have us?

U&I: Finally, any parting words or exclusives you'd like to leave our readers with?