Friday, 14 October 2016

Mint: Looks to Break the Mold and Rise Above - Oxjam Leeds Takeover Festival October 22, 2016

By Rebecca Singer

Let it be said, Mint is a band that knows how to have a good time. From what I can tell, a concert with the Grimsby, England band is more like a giant party -- the more out of control, the better.

Featuring Zak Rashid on vocals and guitars; Adam Shaw on guitar; Andy Maidens on bass; and Sam Chapman on drums, the music of Mint is loud (with quiet sections too, it should be noted), rambunctious and entertaining.  It's perfect candy floss for the ears. Their new EP, "Happiness is Heroin," is filled with four quality songs.

"Elise" is a lively, brilliant tune, with a great sing-song chorus and melody -- it's hard not to get sucked in to this delight. "Living And Dying For" starts off with manic notes, then settles down before taking a manic tone again. "Wolves" is a high-strung cracker that dances around the room in wicked spastic grooves. "Wonderland" is an autobiographical tune about their hometown -- more on that in a bit.

After finding out the lads would be playing at the Oxjam Leeds Takeover Festival on Oct. 22, I couldn't wait to have a chat with them about the band and the show. Zak Rashid was able to chat recently with me.


RS - Great, so tell me about this band you are in ... When did Mint start?
ZR - Mint started around a year ago? Maybe a year and a half? Three of us met at college and we met our guitarist at a party and just went ahead and did it!

RS - Did you just instantly click with each other?
ZR - Kind of … We are all dead similar people really, but at first, we all come across dead different!

RS - Explain ... Do you have similar taste in music? In fashion? Etc.?
ZR - We all are dead similar people, but we all like different stuff. We don't particularly dress similar or listen to the same stuff, we are all just mates.

RS - A variety of tastes brings a lot of diversity to a band, for sure ... What kind of musical influences do you have?
ZR - Personally, I love so much music, like one minute I'll be listening to Simple Minds, and then I'll have Bieber on. I just don't discriminate where a song comes from -- if it's a good song, it's a good song. I guess that's probably cause I'm the song writer. But my biggest influences are always old, they're what started me off!

RS - Oh, I'd never be one to judge ... So who did you first listen to? The Beatles? The Rolling Stones? T Rex?
ZR - Surprisingly, I only got into that gear at about 12 or 13. I started off with AC/CD and Queen. Just for their frontmen! They did it for me. But, as I grew up, I never started to dislike anything I previously liked, I just listened to more and more.

RS - Haha, wow ... There is a big difference between Brian Johnson and Bon Scott and Freddie Mercury ... What struck you about these frontmen -- what did you learn from them?
ZR - Freddie just didn't give a fuck. He proper owned every stage he got on, I loved that. And Bon Scott and Brian Johnson just had them voices that could just make a bloke go gay!

RS - Hahaha! That's awesome ...So you've just put out your debut EP, Happiness is Heroin ... It is a brilliant cracker of a debut too -- how long did it take to record?
ZR - Time spent in the studio was about two weeks, but we did it over the course of the year so we could gradually build a fan base.

RS - How did the song writing go? Is it as a group, or does someone take the lead?
ZR - I write the chords, lyrics, melody and structure, then the guys rip it to bits and we all rebuild it. But generally, it's a group thing.

RS - Do you get to play live a lot?
ZR - Yeah, we try our hardest to either be on tour, or in a studio or rehearsal room all the time!

RS - How is the music scene in Leeds? It looks to be a very happening place, based on the number of quality bands I keep discovering ...
ZR - We love Leeds loads. There's loads happening there and we tend to have a decent following in Leeds which is a bonus! Great venues, good food, it's all we like!

RS - I am excited that you are to play the Oxjam Leeds Takeover on Oct. 22 -- and I will be there to see it! What can I expect to see and hear?
ZR - A guess -- just us? Us being us? I don’t know, I think we have a few new tunes in the pipeline for next year and I reckon we may play ‘em just for you!

RS - Oh, that would be wonderful! I would love to be among the first to hear future hits. Have you played many festivals this summer?
ZR - Yeah, we did a few actually! Our favorite so far, we think, was either Tramlines or Party in The Pines. Both we spent thoroughly drunk with our friends’ bands all just being brotherly!

RS - Sounds like a great time was had by all. I've got to ask about “Wonderland” ... It was written about Grimsby? What prompted it?
ZR - The thing is, no band from Grimsby has REALLY done it, a few did okay, but there isn't a "Grimsby Band" to make Radio 1 consistently. We get told what it used to be like all the time, we get told how great it used to be and how it's a shithole now, but you can't ever leave because it's too hard, to give up. So “Wonderland” is just about that -- how no Grimsby band will ever make it if they don't leave and travel and graft. So I want Mint to do just that. We should be allowed to dream and do cool shit!

RS - Well, I think you lads are well on your way to shattering that myth and doing just what you want. What is next for you?
ZR - Touring all November with a few different bands we are into, and just before that, we are releasing a music video for our new track "Elise" from the EP.

RS - "Elise" is a wonderful tune. Actually, I can't find a fault with any of the four! I liked the "fly on the wall" style of your video for “Living and Dying For” ... what will “Elise” be like?
ZR - It's going to be a live kind of feel to it! That's all I can say.

RS - Oooh, sounds good! So to wrap up, I asked a big fan of yours (Faith) if there was anything I should be sure to ask .... So ... Tell me why you are such a cool dude? Enquiring minds want to know ...
ZR - Hahahahahaha, been working on my perfect personality for years now, Rebecca, so it's nice that it's finally getting the recognition it deserves! I'm obviously joking. Hahahahaha … I don’t know, I'm just dead simple. I like food and wine and sleep. Keeps the mind clean.

RS - But you really do seem like a lovely bloke, very friendly and easy to get on with ...
ZR - Yeah, I'm not dead hard to get along with I guess. I hate talking about myself.

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