An Afternoon With Ed Minton of ‘Elliot Minor’

28 Nov

By Rahsian Parris

Elliot Minor - From Left to Right: Ed Minton, Dan Hetherton, Alex Davies, Ali Paul and Ed Hetherton

I recently caught up with Ed Minton (from band of the moment, Elliot Minor), who took some time out of the bands hectic UK tour to talk about their new album Solaris, dish the dirt on his band mates and shed some light on what really happens on tour with one of Britain’s favourite pop rockers.

I am anxious, my palms feel clammy and all of a sudden I feel overwhelmed. Is my voice shaking? I am introducing myself and I start to stutter, why am I giggling like an excited child? Maybe it is because I am about to talk to a founding member of one of my favourite bands. I manage to get my name out and ask Ed how he is, “Hiya, I’m very well thank you. How are you?” he says. Much to my surprise, the young, modest voice on the other end of the line is instantly comforting and just like that, it is like talking to an old friend. I answer his polite question, mentioning how petrified I am and slightly unnerved that my other interviewee – Alex, who sings lead vocals – is still asleep in bed. “Do you want me to wake him up?” asks Ed, more as if he were asking me how many sugars I would like in my coffee rather than if he should rouse his superstar band mate from the depths of post performance slumber. He tells me, in an almost childlike fashion, that unfortunately he is not allowed to anyway (orders from management) and that the interview will continue Alex-less.

“I’m the guitarist Ed, not the bassist one” he exclaims, not to confuse ‘the Eds’ (there are two, Minton and Hetherton, brother of other band mate Dan Hetherton) “I’m 23, I was originally born in Japan, I came over to England when I was eight and I’ve been here since.” When asked if he plays any other instruments, other than guitar, he sheepishly replies “in the band I sing a bit, but that’s about it” and outside of the band? “I can play the piano and violin” he says, so matter of fact that you would think that mastering the art of playing such instruments is common practice. Having said that, in Elliot Minor it is. Between them they play nine different instruments including the cello, clarinet and double bass and that is before we even consider their hearty vocal talents. “We all did music at school, we all took to studying music as a major subject, so we all pretty much did the same thing” says Ed who went to independent school Uppingham in Rutland, England. With such prestigious schooling behind him and co-founder, Alex Davies, there is no wonder Elliot Minor are massive; Uppingham’s former residents are no less than Charlie Simpson (formerly of Busted, currently of hard rockers Fightstar) and Harry Judd of punk/pop sensations McFly to name a few. Ed fills us in saying “It’s where I met Alex. We started doing some acoustic stuff together before we formed the full band. We were called ‘The Academy’, but we didn’t really do much with that and then in our gap year we joined up with Dan, the drummer and then we were a three piece for a bit. As the year went on, Alex and Dan got in touch with their friends from school, who were Ali and Ed and then we formed the full Elliot Minor”.

In 2006 the fully formed band entered a Myspace competition to win a chance to support McFly on the Newcastle leg of one of their tours. They won. This instantaneously threw them into the media spot light and they quickly built up a massive fan base, particularly out of McFly fans, but as they signed to Warner Bros. Records (who they parted ways with this year to return to their aptly named indie label, Repossession Records) and went on to support pop/rock giants Simple Plan and and Fall Out Boy; six singles and two chart topping albums later, they are now sporting hardcore fans of their own; just as well because you dare not mention rumours of the feud between them and McFly, you might just get the death stare.

With the band being back ‘on the road’ in support of their sophomore album Solaris it is only right that we get to grips with what actually happens on tour with Elliot Minor. We have heard all the rumours about how younger rockers behave most unscrupulously whilst on tour, but to be perfectly honest, Elliot Minor seem pretty tame as Ed excitedly announces half way through our interview “Alex is awake now…he’s gone downstairs, he’s getting changed, he’s walking around butt naked” before a voice in the background shouts out “Edward is a d**do”. Ed quickly lowers his voice saying ” you didn’t hear that did you?”, my uproarious laughter gives it away. The hubbub dies down and we get back to talking about the tour. A popular part of the last Elliot Minor tour was when Alex played his violin live, Ed unfortunately denounces any rumours of this happening on the current tour saying “Well he smashed his violin up…a few years ago or something? Yeah, I think it was when we played the Astoria [in London], he decided to just throw it to the ground and it broke, so until he gets a new one I doubt he’ll be bringing that one out again”. Slightly disappointing, but I am sure there will be other great things on the new tour. What should we expect? “You should expect to see us playing about three quarters of our new album and then pretty much all the singles from out last album. It’s quite an exciting set. It’s got its ups and downs and it’s quite energetic really; I dunno, we’ll just play the songs and see how the kids react”. Fan’s favourite parts of the gigs seem to be when the guys go all sentimental and play some acoustic versions of some of their tracks, but Ed mentions that this wont be happening either. “We were gonna do a song called ‘All Along’ from our second album, but Ali couldn’t learn the part in time”, Ali interrupts saying “yeah I couldn’t be bothered” [there is laughter], “Yeah he couldn’t be bothered to play it” continues Ed, “Nah, I’m kidding, we were gonna do it, but we didn’t have time…we did [‘Last Call To New York’] last tour actually, we were thinking of playing it on this tour, but our set is, I think, the length already, so it would be pushing it a little bit if we added another song, but if the demand’s there we might pull it out as an encore”. This pleases me as it is one of my favourite tracks, thus I go on to tell Ed how I will gather my trustee EM fans and campaign for them to play ‘Last Call To New York’; he laughs and enthusiastically says “yeah you should, then we’ll play it”.

Last year Elliot Minor appeared on BBC Radio 1’s Live lounge album and played a very well received acoustic version of Take That’s ‘Rule The World’, asked if they have any more covers in the pipeline, Ed replies “we just did a radio thing yesterday and we covered Jordin Sparks’ ‘Battle Fields’, that was pretty cool. I know Alex really wants to cover Black Eyed Peas, but it’s just not going to happen [laughter]. Can you imagine that? Alex is like “I’ll rap, I’ll rap” but nobody’s buying it, so nah, that’s not gonna happen” he says in between giggles. “Maybe we’ll put out a band version of Jordin sparks one day, that’d be quite cool”. I am sure the fans would love that, I know I would, speaking of the fans, in the short time that Elliot Minor have been in the spotlight, they have acquired an army of loyal fans that follow them around in adoration and apparently keep them comfy whilst on tour, Ed declares “the best thing a fan has ever done [pauses], you know what? The best thing from a fan, is when a fan gets us a present, like boxes of socks, they’re the most appreciated thing on tour because we obviously run out, then we have to start pulling things inside out [laughs], so that kind of thing is great. Fans also buy you tea and that kind of stuff which is also great [he becomes animated], actually the other day I had a girl customise a mug for me which was really nice. She did the Elliot Minor logo, she just customised it as my own which was great; it’s now on the bus and I drink my green tea out of it. She’d written ‘Ed Minton’s Green Tea Mug’ on it, in Japanese as well, so cool”. So what is the worst thing then? “The worst thing a fan has ever done? You know what? I don’t know, they actually don’t do anything that bad. I guess some things can get a little bit annoying, but that’s fine, it’s no problem”.

As was becoming the ever growing trend at that time, Elliot Minor started out on Myspace before they won the competition to be the support band of McFly and Ed says it was the key to their initial success, “Myspace was, initially, the real driving force behind building a fan base, but it’s definitely kind of ground to a halt now, because nothing happens on it, especially for us; I don’t know how it is for other bands, but for some reason it’s just dead, I think everyone’s bored of it. Facebook is as buzzing as ever, but it’s extremely difficult for bands because you can’t really upload music, can you? I dunno, I don’t really spend that much time online, but Dan, the drummer, is a big gimp, he spends most of his time online so he would know a lot better than I do. He’s quite into Twitter right now” (I get excited and tell Ed how much I love Twitter) “Ooh really? I have my own twitter too, but I struggle to use it” he says. I leap into groupie territory when I animatedly tell him that I’ll add him, “yeah?” he replies “please do”. Back to online communities and the success of the band, we get talking about the pros and cons of social networking sites and music. “It gives everyone a chance doesn’t it? So in that sense it makes it easier for bands to get their music out there, but because everyone’s got access to it now, in a sense, it’s harder to get your name out there; but, I guess if you’re a band and you just wanna get your music out then it’s very helpful, in that sense it’s amazing; but I do feel that it’s kind of going downhill now. Myspace is incredible for it, but since that’s dying down now, it’s starting to get harder again”.

There is a bit more noise now as Ed heads out onto the tour bus, the boys are playing Swansea’s Sin City tonight, so no doubt they need to go and prepare. As we come to a close we chat about memorable moments and Ed’s favourite Elliot Minor show. “The Astoria in London. There was this real buzz period where we had our first album out and our Japanese label was on board, it was just a really good time for us. There were like two thousand kids just going mental, it was unbelievable. It was also our first show where we had pyros [pyrotechnics] and all that stuff, so that was probably the highlight for me; but to be fair, every show is awesome, though I am looking forward to the one in Edinburgh” Queue me getting over excited. “I really am, Edinburgh’s always been a wicked place to play. We played the Liquid rooms before and Studio 24 is it? They’re always such a great crowd up there and also it’s just a beautiful city, I love being up there”. He goes on to tell me about his best live show outside of the band, a Green Day concert in Tokyo that he went to see with his best friend “it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life. That will definitely stay in my memory forever”; and for the rest of the Elliot Minor tour? “We’re touring up until the start of December and then we’ll get a bit of time off, I’m going back home to Japan. We’ll get back in the New Year and hopefully, I think this is the plan as it is now, we’ll have a single out early next year and then we’ll just carry on touring. Maybe another UK tour, but we also promised our European fans that we’d go out there and maybe head to Japan as well because they’re releasing an album in March”.

Huge gusts of wind blow down the phone and Ed is audibly cold, the tour bus should be leaving soon to head to the venue of another explosive Elliot Minor show, but in the mean time, at least he has his customised mug and Green Tea to warm his hands and cockles, for after all, this is one rock star that is far more ‘Home Sweet Home’ than ‘Anarchy In The UK’.

Elliot Minor play the HMV PictureHouse tonight in Edinburgh – Doors 19:30 For more UK dates visit www.Elliotminor.com

The New album Solaris is OUT NOW

Advertisements

One Response to “An Afternoon With Ed Minton of ‘Elliot Minor’”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention An Afternoon With Ed Minton of ‘Elliot Minor’ « Octave -- Topsy.com - November 28, 2009

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eden, Tom Rhoads. Tom Rhoads said: An Afternoon With Ed Minton of 'Elliot Minor' « Octave http://bit.ly/7gTU4I […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: