I first heard of Manchester group The Minx via twitter when they were given a helpful Tweet by Peter Hooton of The Farm. It seems he’s not the only one keen to spread the word. The Minx will shortly be playing alongside Tim Burgess at Kendal Calling, Sex Pistol Steve Jones requested their CD to be sent to his US home and Paul Heaton was recently seen hanging around listening to them at Blueprint Studio where they were recording their debut single "No Friends".
If you like young bands (they are all under 23) with a bit of energy then you will probably like The Minx. Inspired by Punk & Ska, the band are creating a lot of noise (literally) and a big local following largely due to the quality of their songs and the mayhem around their live shows.
I caught up with Paul (guitar) Andy (Drums) and Steve (Bass) in the Northern Quarter of Manchester last week, shortly after the launch of No Friends.
Tell me about the launch of No Friends...
We had the single launch in Manchester on Thursday 14th June. It was pandemonium. We booked a fairly small venue as we wanted it to feel like a really special event. Mic stands and drum parts were flying everywhere. It was a cracking night all round.
The production sounds great – what was it like working on it? Where was it done?
We went into the studio a couple of months back with Tim Thomas (Snoop Dog, Damon Albarn, 50 Cent), engineer and studio manager at Blueprint Studios. He’s brilliant to work with. We were on the same page completely. Considering it was our first time in the studio, it all felt really easy.
What’s No Friends about?
From what Chris (singer) tells me, it’s about making your own mind up. Don’t let anyone brainwash you or tell you whom you should or shouldn’t be.
Who’s writing the songs?
Chris writes all the lyrics, but we all write the songs. It usually starts with one of us bringing a melody or an idea into the rehearsal room and it goes from there.
You sound quite Punk/Ska - who are your influences?
I think we’ve got collective influences and individual influences, musical and non-musical. As a band I know we’re all just inspired by passionate music, something with meaning. From Punk to Motown, something you can feel.
How long have you been together?
We’ve been gigging constantly around Manchester and its surrounding towns for about two years now. We can’t get enough of it. It’s our meat and drink really. We hadn’t recorded anything properly up until now though.
The last time I heard a sound like this, late 70s early 80s, the country was on its arse. Why do you think tough times produce music with energy like this?
I’m not too sure actually. I think you might get the best out of songwriters when they’re angry at something. Maybe that has something to do with it.
Was there a conscious effort to sound and look like you do as a band?
No, nothing’s fake or contrived. We just dress the way we dress and play the music we love.
How are the live shows going? Where are you touring and who with?
We love playing live shows. Luckily we’ve managed to build a bit of a live reputation around Manchester. We played a four date mini-tour of Italy in December last year and recently played Newcastle O2 Academy with Bad Manners. We’ve been gigging around other places in the North too. We’re playing Kendal Calling at the end of July and we’ll be announcing some more exciting shows in the not too distant future.
Is there one record you can rely upon to get a crowd going?
A few have popped up. ‘Scoops’, which is a b-side on ‘No Friends’, the single and a newer tune called ‘Forest Bank’ which is usually the set closer at the moment always seem to go down a storm.
We are both going to the Stone Roses later. I remember them painting their name on most of the surfaces around Manchester around 83-85 – how are you spreading the word?
We are actively spreading the word on Twitter/Facebook etc. - this can be great but we also think it spreads the support out - e.g. you can get people drawn to bands just because it’s the “in” band to follow...we want people to follow us because they like the music. We are getting a reputation for being a great live act with great tunes and that is what is spreading the word.
What’s on your iPod at the moment?
I’m always listening to The Clash. They’re my idols. Sex Pistols, The Housemartins, Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, Big Audio Dynamite and The Beach Boys are always on there too.
Do you think music has got better or worse in the last 30 years?
Neither. Great music has always been out there no matter what genre you’re into. Sometimes you’ve just got to look a bit harder for it.
Over a drink we talked about a shared love of the Punk Britannia series and how that scene would be hard to replicate nowadays. The lads expressed frustration at the poisoned chalice of the historically brilliant Manchester music scene - on the one hand being surrounded by famous bands (including the reformed Stone Roses) is inspirational but it can also stifle new talent trying to break through. When people are too busy looking at the past, it’s possible to ignore the future.
No Friends is available on iTunes, Play and Amazon.
Click here to follow The Minx on Twitter
Click here to follow The Minx on Facebook
Click here to listen to the new single No Friends
Click here to follow Howard on Twitter
If you liked these, you'll love these
Click here for more stories on Music
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook