The Minor Elite are a new four-piece from the Sunshine Coast who have developed their own brand of grunge rock. We caught up with guitarist Wade Clayton to ask him all about the band’s music!
Where did the name come from?
Minor Elite came about like all good band names after a few beers, but we were originally going to play as ‘Memories and Dust’ taken from a Josh Pyke album of the same name (we actually got his permission through his management company), but at the end of the day the name didn’t fit. Minor Elite has so many meanings that can be taken from it but only we know truly what it means, which is kind of cool.
How did you form?
Lead singer, Matt Vanderveen and I had had a few jams together and then lost contact for a couple of years, then by pure chance we bumped into each other and Matt said he wanted to get a band going. We started writing some tunes and then along the way, Jamie Bingham joined us on the bass and finally Charlie Whaite on the drums and here we are.
What’s it like to have your debut release out?
It’s very satisfying hearing the final product and being able to share it with everybody. Now when people ask about the band and who we sound like, they can tell us. It’s also cool seeing other people’s reaction to it, whether they love it or hate it. So far everything has been really positive and we can’t wait to hit the road and give to them live.
Why’d you decide to make it self-titled?
Well, there wasn’t any concept behind the album so it just seemed like a natural choice.
Was it hard to decide what made the album?
Yes and no, because at the start we planned to just lay down four or five songs as a demo … nothing flash, but we were offered a production deal so we went in and laid down seven tracks for an E.P. We had it mastered, but then we got a manager who convinced us not to release the E.P. but instead record some more songs and release a debut album. We re-tracked five E.P. songs and put down six fresh tracks – eleven all up. In hindsight there are maybe a couple of tracks that sound a bit different to the flow of the record, but all in all it shows a bit of diversity and it gives the listener a break and takes you on a journey so to speak.
Where is the front cover from?
It’s a shot of a statue taken by a relative of our bass player in Florence’s Boboli Gardens and then graphic designed for impact. We chose this image because it’s big and timeless which we hope our songs are. We want to write songs that stand the test of time. There is a lot of un-inspired auto-tune rubbish that won’t stand the test and we don’t want to be like that.
What was the inspiration behind the video for Daydream of the Night?
Nothing at all, it was just a funny clip that went along to the groove of the song.
Now that the album is out what is planned next?
Gigs, gigs and more gigs. Maybe a tour down the East Coast and then a trip to Perth in the beginning of next year, then back into the studio for some pre-production midyear. Maybe then start tracking another release and hopefully pick up some cool supports along the way.
You’ve been described as sounding across between Ride and Alice in Chains, do you think that’s a fair call?
Major compliment that’s for sure!! We are all big fans of Alice in Chains and Ride but I think we are definitely a unique sounding band.
What are your major influences?
The Seattle sound of the ’90s – Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden is our common ground as a band, but individually it varies from the Police to Black Sabbath and Angus and Julia Stone to Pink Floyd … the list would be truly endless.
When writing songs do you usually write the lyrics or the music first?
Usually it will start with a melody, whether that be a vocal line or a guitar/bass riff. Once the hook is established we try and let the song write itself. We’ll try everything to make the song is as good as it can be without becoming self-indulgent. We are all about the song itself and once we’ve got all the parts together we start pulling out the bits that don’t need to be there, or parts that are really good might throw us on a different tangent and the song will become something different. We are very prolific writers but to finish a song to the point we know it can’t get any better takes months.
You reached #1 on Triple J’s Unearthed Charts earlier this year, has this had any impact on your music’s exposure?
Yes, It has in some ways, with more people finding us easier on the site plus a lot more fans seem to come out for a show, Triple J Unearthed is an good way to get your music out there … but we think that once a band makes it to number one it should call for automatic airplay.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
All the time!
What’s the first album you ever owned?
For me it was Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA followed by Michael Jackson’s Bad.
Is there any question you’ve always wanted to be asked?
Would you guys like to open for Pearl Jam on a world tour?
Is there any question you hate being asked?
Would you like fries with that?