On 29th May 2007 at 09:00 Anonymous 4117 wrote...
Daniel Powell talks to York's Elliot Minor as they begin their tour at Leeds' Cockpit venue.
As I'm lead up the stairs into The Cockpit's less than impressive backstage area, it suddenly dawns on me that I know absolutely nothing about the band I'm about to interview; aside from a few trivial facts that anyone with a web browser could find, I'm pretty much clueless. So it is with much trepidation that, after muted greetings and awkward shifting in chairs, I finally sit down with Elliot Minor's guitarist Ed Minton, and guitarist/vocalist Alex Davies for a little chat.
As far as most of us are concerned, you guys are still a pretty unknown quantity; could you tell us a little about how you got started?
AD: We first started out at school really. We kinda started as an acoustic duo, and then once we left school, we met Dan [Hetherton, Drums], Teddy [Hetherton, Bass] and Ali [Paul, Keyboards].
EM: We were called The Academy. This was all probably not even a year ago.
Would it be fair to say that things have happened pretty fast or was it more gradual?
AD: I don't know really, Dan had been plugging on Myspace pretty much 24/7 [laughs].
EM: Things seemed to happen a lot more once we changed our name.
AD: We hadn't really played a lot of shows; we weren't really a live band.
Before you changed your name, you were picked to support Mcfly at Newcastle Arena in 2006, how did that come about, and how did it affect how things were happening?
AD: It was a competition, MySpace wasn't it? [Ed nods].
And how does playing something like that compare to playing a 300 capacity room such as The Cockpit?
AD: I remember the soundcheck, just us soundchecking like guitars, drums, whatever, you could hear a sort of echo, and then with all the people...
EM: The vibe you get is completely different to a small venue, well not a small venue, but anything smaller than arenas. It's much more fun, more intimate, whereas up there you're really concerned about how you sound.
Would you say that you prefer the intimacy, like getting in the faces of the audience, or do you prefer having the chance to move around and put on a bit of a spectacle?
AD: Probably bits of both.
EM: Yeah, the idea of playing arenas it's... well, strange.
To me, having only heard the single 'Parallel Worlds', it sounds like it belongs in arenas, is that what you are aiming for?
AD: Yeah, well the album we have just finished has a lot of orchestral elements, a lot of strings, so the dream for us would be to get an orchestra to play live with the band.
I make a remark about 'doing a Metallica', recording a record like S&M.
EM: That would be amazing.
With regards to you personally, as opposed to the band as a whole, what would you say your influences are, or were growing up?
AD: For me it's really weird, I wasn't into any pop stuff, any bands or anything, it's gonna sound really geeky but I was more into classical stuff, film soundtracks, things like that.
So are you classically trained?
AD: Yeah, it probably made us better musicians, like I might find it a little easier, I never really played guitar before, I just picked it up because I'd played piano, violin, stuff like that.
EM: Alex arranges and records all our stuff too.
That has got to be an advantage, and would you say your influences are similar?
EM: I like classical stuff too [Ed is also classically trained], but when I was growing up, like thirteen or whatever, I was into Green Day, stuff like that, like everyone was, but I don't have a favourite band or anything.
At least you haven't come out with the usual list of bullshit influences, like most bands try and drop the heavier names in there to be taken seriously.
EM: We aren't really trying to sound like another band, we just record it, if it sounds good then cool.
Would you say a lot of people have preconceptions about you based on the type of music you play or the bands you've been associated with?
EM: We have a bunch of songs that sound like the single, more that kind of stuff, but we also have other stuff going on, different styles, and people seem to react pretty well to everything really.
AD: Have you heard the pipe sort of sound from the 'Titanic' and 'Braveheart' soundtracks? Well we got that guy who did those to come and do some stuff for us, which surprises a lot of people I think. We do like a bit of variety.
Is that something you strive towards?
AD: We kinda try to pack as much as we can into two minutes or whatever [laughs].
EM: How many tracks were there? I think we had something like over a hundred tracks on Parallel Worlds, the session for that was massive.
AD: That's why at the moment we still use a couple of backing tracks when we play it live, otherwise it would just kinda sound flat.
As the conversation progresses, and the guys begin to relax somewhat as people shuffle in and out handing out itineraries for the evening, talk turns to the current tour and the daunting prospect of the imminent Download Festival slot.
AD: We still sometimes feel like we have to prove ourselves, like we're playing Download, and they throw piss and all sorts of stuff at bands so that should be interesting [everyone laughs].
Were you asked to play or did you have to ask for a slot?
AD: We were pretty much just told we were doing it, that's usually the way it goes, I mean, we'd have liked to do Reading and Leeds too but I guess we weren't invited [laughs]. But things are on their way now, like this is the first show, tonight, where we've actually had merch, so something must be going right.
Literally just as Alex finishes his sentence, its mentioned that we've been talking for quite a while, and as the band will have plenty more to do before stage time, the interview will have to be wrapped up which is pretty convenient for me since I'm pretty much out of tape.
So there you have it, a band thrust into the limelight at an early stage that still have something to prove, even if it's only to themselves. But with the musicianship involved and the dedication they're showing early on, this is likely to be one band that are certainly in it for the long run.
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On 29th May 2007 at 09:00 Anonymous 4117 wrote...
On 29th May 2007 at 17:16 Anonymous 30 wrote...
"they throw piss and all sorts of stuff at bands so that should be interesting [everyone laughs]."
We should throw piss at them at every gig and see if they laugh...it could become a trend associated with the band. Elliot Minor = Piss throwing.
On 27th August 2007 at 13:10 Anonymous 6773 wrote...
Good to see a band with something different to say and with a bit of intelligence - unlike the previous posters
Love your stuff guys.