Mink15 are an
electronica-downtempo acoustic indie band based on the Shropshire/Powys border.
Ash sings, Andy does the music. Sometimes Rob does guitar.
Their latest release is Pebble Beach
They have previously released the album ‘Gone…’
Mink15 – An Introduction
Mink15 were originally an offshoot of Rob and Andy’s semi-acoustic duo; Cotterill and Kearns. After struggling to find the right singer for the project Rob moved on to form The Paris Riot Remedy. Some time later, Andy, having about 20 Mink tracks in various stages of completion, introduced the material to singer/songwriter, Ash, who he met through a mutual friend in 2009.
In January 2010, with Ash on board, the early Mink15 track ‘Mr. Haze’ (a tribute to Isaac Hayes) was transformed into the highly accomplished recording ‘Gone… and Back’, though this was never released as a single.
The first Mink15 release was ‘Sickening Love’, which was based on a reggae-like cello riff Andy had recorded over a year previously. Ash dusted off an old acoustic number of hers and blended it perfectly to the reggae groove. This tune was finished quickly and was put out as a digital single on iTunes and Emusic. The song received excellent reviews from listeners and went on to be featured on episode 7 of the Pixicast Electronica Podcast (Pixiguts, Palace Network).
The second single ‘Moth in my Ear’ was accompanied by a quirky video made by and staring Ash (and her cat). After releasing the third single ‘Beautiful’, Mink15 had found their groove and work on the album was already in motion.
Their sound palette widened as the songs took on rock sounds with ‘Birdie and Salvo’, disjointed ambience with ‘Christmas Beetles’ and a Latin feel with ‘The Thing’. Perhaps the only thing tying them all together is the down-tempo electronic sound and Ash’s jazzy voice.
For completion of the album, entitled Gone…, Andy took his mini-disc recorder to Shrewsbury bus station in order to capture the right ambience for the background of ‘24’. A dub version of ‘Sickening Love’ was cooked up as an intro. ‘Demolition’, one of the early numbers, got a new chorus and the very first Mink15 track, ‘Moon Drone’, was dug out and brushed up to find a place on the album. ‘Gone…’ was released on 23rd February, 2011.
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Andy: “I’d pretty much given up on the Mink15 tracks, I knew they needed a good singer to bring them to life… then I met Ash. She sent me a couple of her old tracks and I was blown away by her voice. When she first visited my studio with a song she’d written for the Mr. Haze track, I was so happy: it’s a great dynamic melody, the lyrics are clever and mysterious. I was concerned that I’d find a great singer who’d come up with rubbish like ‘ooh baby’. Ash does the opposite of that.”
Ash: “After meeting Andy I knew he was really keen to try out another singer for the Mink so decided to give it a go, not expecting it to develop into anything. I wrote ‘Gone… and Back’ (fondly abbreviated to GaB), then Demolition (which was re-hash of an old Callisto lyric). Then one day I was listening to a CD of Mink grooves and was attracted to a weird, short snippet with a reggae beat. I got the idea for the lyric, based on a song I’d written with my guitar. ‘Sickening Love’ virtually wrote itself. The song was complete in about two minutes. I knew straight away it was a hit: So cute and catchy. That’s when I decided to give more time to Mink15.”
Andy: “We had a few technical issues: Ash has too wide a dynamic range! The melody of ‘Birdie and Salvo’ is a perfect illustration of this. The verse starts off quite softly but the chorus was huge and distorted the mic. We tried to record the parts separately but it didn’t work as the song lost its flow.”
Ash: “My biggest regret is not being able to rock it out more on Birdie and Salvo. I originally wrote that song with some proper belting. But it didn’t work in the studio setting so in the end we had to settle for me reining it in. Every time I listen to Birdie and Salvo, I cringe a bit, as the chorus is way too tame. But I am rather proud of the really high notes I sing in that song.”
Andy: “Ash’s perfectionism in front of the mic. could be frustrating at times. I think we must have recorded ‘GaB’ something like 40 times. But I knew if the end result was going to be good Ash had to be happy with it.”
Ash: “For me, the best thing about Mink15 has been making music purely for the pleasure of making music. After so many broken promises of recording contracts in the past I just gave up. I never planned a return to singing, as I really didn’t think my voice was good enough. Working with Andy has been great because it’s given my voice and song writing skills a new lease of life. If anyone else likes what they hear, that’s just a bonus.”
Andy: “I’m used to writing my own lyrics and melodies, so the process was a bit unusual for me as I had to tailor the tracks to fit the melodic lines Ash was writing. She would rock up with more or less finished songs, it was then up to me to build the music and mood to fit. It pretty much all worked straight away, musically speaking.
Ash: “Mink15 is one of many musical projects I’ve been involved with. I’ve written enough material over the years to fill 4 or 5 albums, yet this is the first one that’s ever been completed. So I’m immensely pleased about it and thank Andy for his perseverance and flexible nature, not to mention his obvious talent…. and to Rob for his awesome guitar contribution.”
Andy: “Rob was happy to leave us to get on with the album, he was unable to play on some of the newer tracks due to other commitments but he seems really happy with the finished result of ‘Gone…’.”
written by Skinny and Pointy Creations