Minke Talks “Maybe 25” And Honest Connection In The Age of The Internet
A little over a year ago, we sat down with Minke right after the release of “Gold Angel”, her debut single. Since then, the track has exploded, topping 10 million streams on Spotify and rocketing Minke to a level of stardom she certainly couldn’t have predicted in March of 2017. A thoughtful, introspective musician, Minke spent the next 12 months channeling her momentum right back into her music, and now she’s back—with a brand-new follow up single titled “Maybe 25”.
“Maybe 25” centers on something most millennials have experienced—online dating—and the trials, tribulations, and humor that inevitably come along with navigating internet love. Minke is observant, realistic, and, thankfully, not quite a pessimist about the whole experiment—yet. We caught up with the artist ahead of “Maybe 25” to talk her upcoming EP, Disposable Beauty, finding solace in music, and keeping your loved ones close.
What have you been up to since we last chatted?
Well, I guess the success of “Gold Angel” kind of took us by surprise a little bit. The extent of it and the immediacy of it… Everything happened at once and it was the first song we had released. We kind of thought we had everything set up and ready, ‘cause we just released it ourselves, so then suddenly there was just an overwhelming of label attention and figuring out next steps and a lot of conversations about where I wanted to go and the scale of and all these things I just hadn’t fully thought through. You feel like you’re prepared and then suddenly it all happens and you’re like, “Oh shit, I didn’t think about that.” But basically, it just took a while to figure out what the best deal was going forward—where I felt more comfortable, the team I wanted to have, and financially… in the end I just felt really comfortable with AWAL and what they’re doing right now feels really forward-thinking and they’ve just been supportive from day one. So we are doing that and I get to keep all the rights and feel like I have creative control over the whole thing which is really important to me because I have had deals before and I didn’t feel like that at that time. So once we had that figured out, I really wanted to get the EP really done and have a full vision of what that was and get the songs pretty much there before we released the song. So basically this year’s been writing and recording in London and LA and just getting it ready.
What was the most surprising part or just something that you didn’t expect at all with the success of “Gold Angel”?
It was the immediate, working for so long kind of quietly and then suddenly it’s very loud. It was quite overwhelming. I guess transitioning from being a quiet musician to having to be CEO of a company essentially, and running a small business, which is a big learning curve… and meetings, yeah. That was a big learning curve.
How do you adjust from basically making stuff for you and then making stuff for you but that millions of people are also listening to?
It’s a strange adjustment, I guess. Every band has that moment in their career. It’s overwhelming at first and then the second I picked up a guitar again when I was in my room, which I always used to do, it doesn’t even matter anymore. It’s still the same thing, my love of music is what got me here, and it’s what is the most important thing to me going forward. I would use that to write about how I was feeling, which is what I always do and how these songs are made. I just kind of used it, I guess. If I was feeling really weird then I would write a really weird song, or stressed, or anxious, and then it would make me feel better.
So it’s the same cathartic experience.
With “Maybe 25”, do you feel this pressure to have a big follow-up single?
I really just love that song, and I think the writing of it feels representative of me. I love the fact that it’s got a bit of humor in it, it’s based on real experiences. I wrote it kind of about online dating. I always missed that window when it was a thing, ‘cause I was in relationships, and I found myself being single and I was like, “I’ll try this.” It is such a disposable thing. It’s kind of silly, and it stressed me out, and it was frustrating, but there was a lot of humor in it. It’s such a crazy world out there. So that’s where the original inspiration for it came from, but it became more than that. I was still probably getting over a relationship, so the feeling of longing and just trying to find something real in a very disposable society is how I felt. I still do feel, I think with Instagram, and it’s just made everyone feel super insecure and just kind of frazzled. Pressure-wise, not really. I think “Gold Angel” feels like a bit of a moment, and you can’t chase that because the reason it was a moment is because it was its own thing and I didn’t think it through and I was just honest and real and made the best thing that I could and that happened. So, all I can do is just keep trying to do that and if it happens again great, but I just want to keep making stuff that I’m proud of.
There’s kind of a level of superficiality to being online, whether its dating or not, but I guess the humor part is that, if you take yourself too seriously that’s when you’re screwed.
Exactly, but questioning if you are taking yourself too seriously and also not but flitting between the two is where the song ends up. It does feel.. “Give me highs, give me lows, you want to find something real” and that’s the kind of serious part of it. I feel like we’re just generally restless as humans, or I guess I definitely am.
I feel like one of the universal human experiences is always striving and never feeling completely fulfilled, always needing that next thing… it’s good and bad because it pushes you to keep moving and creating, but also it’s like, will I ever just be content? I don’t know.
I don’t know, either! It’s that idea of sitting back… I never want to sit back and rest. I think it’s a really confusing time right now. I think it’s just… we are so connected but we’ve never been more distant. I am calling the EP Disposable Beauty because it’s this idea of just everything feeling really fleeting and not real. Beauty feels disposable, the songs on the EP are like… one is like disposing of a relationship. My ex had an affair and disposing of that beauty of the relationship for a disposable beauty. “Gold Angel”, feeling like you try so hard to be a siren in this gold angel but in the background really just turmoil and putting on that front. Everything goes to that, really. That’s why “Maybe 25”, I had that lightbulb when it was coming together and i was like, “Oh, I was writing about this the whole time.” That was the umbrella theme over everything and I just didn’t realize.
So how do you come to terms with that feeling of society being shallow, or how do you seek out the things that do feel real and genuine in a sea of so many disingenuous things?
I think it’s just really important to keep your family close and your close friends. For me, I just have always found solace in music. That’s how I seek reality, it’s through that. It’s hard because you want to stay open and soft to new experiences in the world, but I found myself probably having a guard up the last year or so as I figured stuff out in my particular situation. It’s worldwide, and everyone kind of always probably wants something from you and you have to figure out how honest that is or not. Instagram’s made me question things, and people. I’m a very trusting, I like to think honest person, and I love socializing and meeting new people. The false reality that Instagram is makes me question who that person really is. This is not your real life, you’re not at a pool party every day of the week.
It’s the most beautiful, or what they think will be perceived as the most beautiful, version of their life, but it’s not real.
Yeah, so who is that person actually? Sometimes people will hide behind that facade and it’s hard to find who that person is. I seek comfort in the music, that’s where I feel the most safe.
Do you think that the EP is bleak and pessimistic about Instagram and everything, or just a more neutral record of your observations and experiences? How do you think people will receive it?
Hm, that’s a really interesting question. I think I’ve just written really honestly about how I’ve been feeling in a particular moment about it. It relates to it, everything is not fully about it. One song is called “Rest” and the lyrics are just, “All I really need is rest.” The verses are talking about real life experiences, a relationship breaking down. All I need is rest away from this relationship, but also this whole crazy world. I think… is it pessimistic? Probably, maybe a little bit. My natural thing, if it was up to me, would be to not have Instagram and be more mysterious. I really respect artists like Prince, and when there was that element of mystique about it, it made me want to know more about the artist. I don’t think that knowing what an artist is eating for lunch is… I don’t know. I get that a 12-year-old me would be so excited to have that much access to my favorite artist, but I think it makes you relate to the songs differently. I’m not dissing Instagram, I’m fully in it and I use it in a way that I can enjoy it now, but it took me a very long time to get there. There are two songs that I’m toying in and out of, one of which is about that technology connection and there might be one that’s completely not about it. It might be a bit pessimistic, ‘cause naturally I lean towards that, but I don’t know. I just write how I feel in that moment, get it out and move on. I don’t carry it around much like this weight. I think we are all finding it a little bit tricky.
I think we are all a bit sick of it, honestly, and the obsession with stripping celebrities of any version of privacy they have doesn’t make me have a better experience of their music. It just makes them have a worse experience of being alive, so why are we doing that?
[Laughs] Truths! It’s just humans, right? Everyone’s entitled to privacy. But I guess Kanye and Kim are banking photos for days, you don’t actually know what’s going on.
I mean if you can monetize on it, I guess go for it.
That’s it as well, it’s another thing. It’s a business decision at the end of the day. For me, it’s more being aware of the fact that people really want that content. You’re kind of shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t do it, I guess. Finding a fun way to interact with it where it doesn’t feel too heavy.
So when’s the EP coming out?
Well hopefully end of this year, but it might be beginning next. We will see, and that would be entirely my fault because I’m always writing and recording, and I’m literally going to LA tomorrow and then I just start writing again on Monday. I feel like I’m in a really good place with it, once I got the title of the EP, then you can streamline it and I find all these ideas now come to me and I can explore it more.
You have the North Star now.
Right! There are five or six songs that I’m really happy with now. But if I write something better, then I’ll try and put that on.
I feel like it’s one of those things where it’s never fully complete. You could always add more.
That’s it, that’s also the other thing of knowing when to draw the line. You just have to go, “This is good enough.” I would be really happy if what I have right now comes out tomorrow, but I guess I’m always trying to better it.
Featured image courtesy of Minke
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