Interview: Minny Pops
Published on August 23rd, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Amsterdam-based post-punk pioneers Minny Pops recently played their first shows in thirty-odd years, and on 1st September they shall be part of a splendid, Buzzcocks-topped line-up at 1234 Festival in London’s Shoreditch Park. Rocksucker fired the group’s front man Wally van Middendorp over some questions pertaining to current happenings, their recent Slash support slot and their Factory Records heyday playing shows with Joy Division…
…oh, and in the process we learned the identity of the “long-time Salford-born admirer” alluded to in a recent press release. Let’s just say we were Totes Amazeballed…
Click here to listen to a choice cut from Standstill to Motion – recorded live at The Melkweg in 1981 – which incidentally shall be re-released as a two-disc CD/DVD package on LTM Recordings in November!
Are you happy with how the reunion shows earlier this year went? Are you planning many more?
Never easy to be back on a stage again after so many years, but yes the shows went very well with our gig in Manchester being the highlight of that initial run. We are looking into playing some more gigs later this year in London and Berlin and will consider anything else being offered to us, after playing at Tim Peak’s Diner at Kendal Calling we are even ready to play an acoustic set at wedding receptions.
Do you know much about the other artists on the bill of 1234 Festival? Is there anyone else you’re looking forward to seeing play?
What made you decide to get back together after so long apart? What were you all doing during the intervening years?
I wanted to see if our music stood the test of time and wanted to see if we could come up with new interpretations of our songs. I really like the new versions of ”Secret Story” and ”Kogel”. We all went our own ways: I worked for a number of record labels, our keyboard player Wim started his own arthouse DVD label and our bass player Pieter works in a library and gives guitar lessons. Our guitar player Mark and the man with the ”hand” Thomas are new recruits.
Have you talked about recording new material? If so what direction does it look like taking at this stage, and when might we get to hear it?
Tim Burgess invited us to record two tracks to be released as a seven-inch on the O Genesis label and expecting the single will come out in October. We are putting a bigger focus on our beats and even added some soul elements to one song.
What was it like supporting Slash? How did that come to happen?
Playing with Slash was great, it was an honor and a challenge to be up on stage at the Hammersmith Apollo. I thought his audience was really up for a conceptual art-rock band. Can’t deny there was a work related connection with Slash but he really wanted to see us play and invited us to come along and play.
What are your memories of playing with Joy Division? Did you get to hang out with them?
Our gigs with Joy Division were very special, sometimes there was tension in the air and sometimes it was just great fun. Don’t know why but but it seems there is a special connection between Manchester and Minny Pops.
In your opinion, is there much good music coming out of the Netherlands at the moment? If so, what types of music, and in which towns/cities?
There are lots of good new acts in Holland right now; Bertin from Nijmegen, April from Utrecht, The Wooden Constructions from Amsterdam and The Sugarettes from Eindhoven. Musically they range from electronica to guitar pop. Some of these bands operate off the radar from the music industry which is good and gives them an opportunity to develop their music.
Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming acts that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
I saw Savages play in London the other day, there is something special about them.
Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your life with the entire works of just five different musical artists, whose would you choose?
Wow, you have kept the real difficult question to the end, but today it will be David Bowie, the Pixies, Brian Eno, Lee Perry and Shearwater.
Wally van Middendorp, thank you.
Minny Pops will play at 1234 Festival in Shoreditch Park on 1st September. Standstill to Motion will be re-released as a two-disc CD/DVD package on LTM Recordings in November. For more information please visit www.minnypops.com