One Hot Minute: Valerie talks to The Minutes

Mark Austin sounds a little bit worse for wear. The lead singer and rhythm guitarist of The Minutes, a Dublin rock band that have been slowly making a name for themselves over the last six years, he was out last night until four in the morning. Suitably rock and roll, no?

“We were this thing called F.ounders, which is part of the Web Summit. We had to bring around 15 people in a group, myself and Shane [The Minutes’ drummer]. It ended in a pub crawl,” he says. “They’re all multi-millionaires, and there’s me and Shane with not six pence between us. It was fucking mental.”

They certainly have reason to celebrate. Fresh from two European tours, as well as support dates with the Foo Fighters and The Stone Roses, The Minutes’ time has finally come. After playing together for 15 years, their debut album Marcata was released in May 2011. But what took them so long to get an album together?

“We were writing a load of shit songs! Every time we wrote a song, we went back and thought it was good but it was actually shit. We weren’t working towards an album, we didn’t have that vision. I suppose we were learning, learning how to be a band.”

A cross between The Black Keys and their heroes Thin Lizzy, the recent resurgence of old fashioned rock and roll means The Minutes’ sound has never been more current. Despite this, Mark maintains that it is still a struggle for the band to get guitar-based rock played on a commercial radio station. “I thought it was gonna be better for us, the fact that the Black Keys and the like are being played on the radio. But in truth it’s the same old shit – we’re still coming up with the same old problems,” he says. “It’s too heavy, it’s too whatever – we know the music we’re making isn’t very heavy at all, but it’s loud and it’s guitar rock, so we’re never gonna replace daytime radio music. I used to care about it a hell of a lot more than I do now. We’re a live band really; you’ve got to come see us. You can get the record for yourself, but it’s a live thing. Maybe things will change and we’ll get played on the radio but it’s less of a concern for us than it used to be.”
A second album is in the works, but the band are in no rush: “We’re up in our little rehearsal room, Monday to Friday, nine to five. Doing it like the job that it is, crafting songs. I dunno what the fuck it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be good though cos we’re taking our time. We’re not gonna put it out until it’s right.”

In the meantime, though, they’re not waiting around. The band will support Swedish garage rock act The Hives in the UK this December. The two bands met at a French music festival and hit it off instantly, culminating in the Hives giving The Minutes the gig: “We let it be known to our agents, here, let us get on that! And then they actually asked us to do it. Pretty fucking cool.” The Minutes haven’t forgotten their fans in Ireland, however, with a headlining date in Whelan’s set for the 7th of December. “When you’re away for so long, to come home and realise there are people who actually want to come and see your show – not that you forget about home when you’re away, but it slips your mind.”
Don’t forget about us now, boys. We certainly won’t be forgetting about you.

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