Minotaur Shock

•• Minotaur Shock
•• Published: SoundsXP, September 2005
•• Original article: http://www.soundsxp.com/2390.shtml

Having found himself lumped uncomfortably into the so-called 'folktronica' movement with previous album 'Chiff-Chaffs and Willow Warblers', the release of this year's 'Maritime' has seen Minotaur Shock (aka David Edwards) triumphantly shrug off such contrived media pigeon-holing. Having now made the transition to the 4AD label, his set of shiny sea-shanties has received praise from all quarters, not to mention forming possibly the happiest album of the year. With latest single 'Muesli' out this week, we caught up with the Bristolian by email to talk about Prefab Sprout, turning prog and the dreaded 'f' word.

SXP: How are you?

Minotaur Shock: I'm ok thanks. Got half an eye on that Dylan documentary. Waiting for the bit where he gets shouted at for plugging his guitar in. Bit windy outside, nice to be in.

SXP: What's the inspiration behind your music making?

Minotaur Shock: Its like an itch that I wake up with sometimes. More often than not I'll get 'inspired' when I'm nowhere near any recording equipment and I'll have the best melody/drum break ever in my head and then forget it. And then I'll sit in front of the computer all day trying to write something and end up getting nothing done except emails. I guess the main inspiration is to try and make people's lives that little bit better for however long they devote to listening to any music I make, whilst always making sure the music amuses me the most.

SXP: You cook up such a varied musical hotpot with a broad set of influences, who are your musical heroes?

Minotaur Shock: It changes depending on what mood I'm in, but today I'll say Steve Reich, Robert Wyatt, Prefab Sprout, DJ Shadow, Pavement, Steely Dan, Miles Davis, Pet Shop Boys, Scott Walker, Philip Glass, Gentle Giant, Cocteau Twins and David Bowie.

SXP: How would you say your sound has evolved since previous album 'Chiff-Chaffs and Willow Warblers' and how do you see it evolving in the future?

Minotaur Shock: The sound has certainly firmed up a lot - 'Maritime' is not based on samples like 'Chiff-Chaffs' was, and I was a lot braver in what I wanted to do. I tried not to fall into the trap of attempting to be experimental for the sake of it, I was far more interested in creating something that challenged myself (melodically and harmonically), and I wanted to make something that on the surface was quite simple but was a lot deeper than meets the ear. The production values are certainly higher, anyway, and I concentrated on structure a lot more. The sound is gradually moving towards a more organic, complicated mess. I'm turning prog, basically.

SXP: 'Maritime' is such an ecstatically happy album, are you in love or is it just the sea air?

Minotaur Shock: I'm in love with the sea air. I got bored with modern electronica and wanted to make instrumental pop. To see what would happen.

SXP: What shall we do with a drunken sailor early in the morning?

Minotaur Shock: Steer clear of him, I should think.

SXP: Does 'folktronica' actually exist and do you find the tag annoying?

Minotaur Shock: No idea if it exists, not even sure what it means. The tag did annoy me but now I'm so used to it that I don't really care. At least its not trip-hop, that's worse.

SXP: How has the move to 4AD changed things for you?

Minotaur Shock: There are more people involved with the records, including a lot of people I've never met. Which is a bit weird. I've never really had worldwide distribution on my records before either so it's strange thinking that some silly music I made in my spare room has found its way to Australia. It's also pretty crazy that I'm now on one of my favourite labels from when I was a teenager.

SXP: You have a link to the Bristol Tourist Board on your website, what do you think makes the city such a hotbed for left-leaning musical talent?

Minotaur Shock: I think Bristol exists in a strange vacuum, I only ever notice it when I go up to London or wherever, but people move very slowly in Bristol. There isn't a particular rush - people develop at their own speed. I think that's why the musical community in Bristol is such a strong one, people are left to their own devices and just get on with it without jumping on bandwagons and suchlike. I reckon.

SXP: Finally, what are your plans for the future?

Minotaur Shock: I'm working on an as-yet-unnamed electro-pop project right now which will have proper singing and everything (not by me), and I've got some remixes lined up. I'm also demoing tracks here and there for the next album. Which is hopefully going to be a lot of fun. It's sounding a lot 'liver' than Maritime. And I'm going on holiday this week so that's gonna be ace.

SXP: Thank you!

Minotaur Shock: No, no, thank you.

- Ian Roullier, 09/2005

Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014