Minas’ reputation as a producer has been growing in recent years, most notably for his work with Dead Method. He is now branching out as a solo artist in his own right and has recently finished work on his debut album. He’s just released “Drinker” as lead track from the album and so we caught up with him to find out more about his life and work.
You were born in Greece and grew up in the valleys. Do you think being born in Greece has had any impact on your musical influences? If so how?
As far as artist, not until later in life. Being from outside the UK definitely impacted the music I related to early on. My parents would play Greek music sometimes and talk about how they missed it all the time so there was always a sense of not fully belonging where I was, as well as being the foreign boy in primary school.
You are no longer an active part of the band Dead Method but you continue to produce for them. Why the change?
I never used my own vocals or ventured outside of Dead Method after packing in my desire to be a house music producer. After years of working with Lloyd and then eventually working with other artists and my own voice, I found I needed to express myself independently, allowing Lloyd to do the same with Dead Method. It was too much for one project if that makes sense.
Numerous acts who work with in your field lack a sense of performance with many just standing behind a laptop with only the occasional nod of the head. You, on the other hand, seem to relish live performance and engaging with the crowd. How do you approach your live performances and given time and increased budgets what are your ambitions on stage?
Growing up it was stuff like Punk, Metal, and Hip Hop. Everything from Slipknot to Fugazi to Lil Jon to Prodigy – it was all big sounds that got me. For a while I did perform from behind a laptop, with Dead Method and even in the early stages of Minas. After a while though I realised I wasn’t being true to myself and letting out everything I wanted to. I was mad influenced by Keith Flint’s stage presence growing up and I love Chino from Deftones – in particular his amazing energy. Same with Travis Scott. When on stage I tend to tap into my anger and passion. Anyone who’s seen the latest live shows and heard the unreleased stuff would find that a lot more apparent. There’s nothing like the split – making one half a crowd lose their shit while the other half look a bit frightened and confused. I guess the only thing I’d want to sort with a bigger budget is some pyros and lights, kind of predictable but it’s always effective when watching from the audience I find.
(Minas at Chapter, Cardiff 2019 – phot0 Francis Brown)
When you were actively working with Dead Method the band took part in the Forté Project which works with emerging acts in South Wales. How did you find that and what did you gain from the experience?
It was a good time, met some cool people, got some good experience and played some gigs I wouldn’t have had the chance to without them. The biggest thing I gained though was support, not the promise to share your music afterwards on Facebook but genuine support of me and what I do. Ed Townend and Spike Griffiths have fully had my back since, as an artist and in my production work with other artists, can’t fault them.
You’ve produced a wide range of acts including Dan Bettridge and Luke RV. What other artists would you like to work with?
It’s a tricky one cos I’ve been blessed to get to a point where I’m working with artists I respect, especially on a local level so it’s hard…definitely Mace, he’s fire, Nigel and Shlug too just cause it’d be a mad one but I need to get a couple more drum mics. Outside of Cardiff I’d love to have a session just jamming with Burial one day but doubt that’ll happen. Headie One, Pa Salieu, Protomartyr, Sampha, Solange, Yves Tumor, I dunno I’m getting overwhelmed at the thought haha.
How would you define your role as a producer?
I just want to see a vision come to life, the true expression. I’ll do whatever I can to make that happen for whatever artist I’m working with, be that a Grime tune, a Neo Soul jam, a Folk journey or some mad abrasive wall of noise. I’m obsessed with learning everything about a genre and feeling like I can do it back to front if I need to. I just think music is the best way to express your story and emotions, I feel so blessed to have artists put their trust in me to help them do that.
You’ve released a couple of Eps so far and you’ve just completed your debut album during lockdown. Did that have any impact on the material and did you encounter any problems with lockdown and social distancing in completing the recording?
Luckily no, cause I record and produce my stuff in my own space. The thing that was hard was the drop in motivation to actually finish it while being on lockdown in the same environment; it’s hard to find inspiration.
What can we expect from the album? How does it differ from the material released so far
It differs a lot. Well I mean there are definitely points that are close to my sound so far but the album happened when I realized I wanted to express everything, kind of show who I really am. A few of the songs were written while jamming with the band too so you get that energy from us doing a madness in rehearsals. It’s heavier, louder and even though it talks about the darker side of life it’s got some good banter in there which I felt my previous stuff lacked.
(Minas at Chapter, Cardiff 2019 – phot0 Francis Brown)
The new single ‘Drinker’ is about how people respond to situations when they are feeling overwhelmed. Can you tell us more about what prompted you to write this?
Yeah, basically I just got to a point where I reverted into my own head quite badly. Ended up doing a lot of dumb shit and making a lot of mistakes, pushing loved ones away, that kind of thing. I wrote this after working to fix relationships and my own mental health as a kind of nostalgic moment, a way of not forgetting what happened so as to not fall down again.
Live shows are out of the window at present so how do you intend promoting the single?
Just in the ways you would without gigging it. It’s a tricky climate at the moment so it’s good to have this track to see how things pan out before going into album release mode.
Listen to/buy the track now at bandcamp: https://minassound.bandcamp.com/track/drinker