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Wait A Minute!

As they prepare to release debut Marcata, Dublin act The Minutes talk about signing to Rubyworks, and declare that some bands just don’t cut the rock mustard

Roisin Dwyer, 02 Jun 2011

“I don’t think there are many real rock bands out there. We have supported loads of bands – bands that are meant to be rock bands and they’re not loud, they’re not rock… I get the feeling some people are faking it.”

The Minutes’ lead singer Mark Austin is pondering the current state of rock and has concluded… well, that it’s not up to much at the moment. The trio are on the verge of releasing their antidote to this sonic quagmire, debut album Marcata. It is, quite simply, a savage aural assault hewn from the legacy of The Yardbirds, Count Five and The 13th Floor Elevators.

The title is taken from the New York studio where the opus was assembled. The trio decamped Stateside due the prohibitive cost of recording to tape in Ireland and their insistence on taking the analogue route.

“For us it’s very important because we’re such a live band,” explains Mark. “There’s something about the three of us playing in a room together looking at each other’s fucking eyeballs and it’s really loud, getting that on tape all at the one time. It harks back to the old days when you just had to be a good band to make a record, you couldn’t fake it. You can fake it so easily now.”

The trio (including Mark’s cousin Shane Kinsella on drums and Tom Cosgrave on bass) have been gigging extensively since 2007 and recorded the album in late 2009. Why the delay

in releasing?

“We only started working with Rubyworks at the end of last year,” says Mark. “We were going to put it out ourselves. Then Shane went for it one day and e-mailed a load of labels and the lads got back to us. Having people that know how to put out a record and how that whole machine works is so much better than pissing it all up against the wall. It happens to a lot of Irish bands. They put out an album themselves and then they disappear. We knew that we needed a record label to put it out. We want to be around for a long time we don’t want to do

it arseways.”

Dublin’s Rubyworks label is a small but accomplished operation, home to Sinéad O’Connor, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Fight Like Apes and Gavin Friday, amongst others.

“We met them a few times initially,” explains Mark. “We’re not kids. We were old enough to go in and say, ‘We’re not settling for anything. This is what we want and this is how we want to do it.’ The first thing they said to us was how much they loved the record, which was really cool.”

The collection has an impressive cast including engineer Kevin McMahon who has previously worked with The Walkmen, Titus Andronicus and Dublin troubadour Mark Geary, John Goodmanson of Jaguar Love and Fight Like Apes fame mixed a couple of tracks and Rocky O’Reilly from Oppenheimer produced ‘Heartbreaker’. Also on the credits is James Felice of The Felice Brothers.

“He’s just a mate of Kevin’s,” notes Mark. “We went to the bar one night and he introduced us to this guy saying, ‘This is James, he plays in The Felice Brothers.’ We just needed a piano player for a couple of songs and he came down and played on the record. He was cool, we sat around drinking beer. It wasn’t very formal at all. He was helping out.”

The band paid a visit to CMJ Music Marathon and stayed on for the recording. Other North American visits over the last couple of years have included a stint at Canadian Music Week, while last year they went to South by Southwest.

“We thought, let’s go over there and play a rake of shows. At the minimum, everybody will know who we are,” says Austin of the SXSW visit. “We got Other Voices out of it too.”

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