“We started off making music just for something to do and it turns out we’re actually quite good at it,” acknowledges Modern Minds frontman, Luke Pritchard. “I enjoy writing music now more than ever but the difference is that nowadays I want the world to hear it. I couldn’t care less if reviewers don’t want to write about us or if radio stations don’t want to play us – as long as people keep turning up to our gigs then we’ll keep playing.”
It’s fighting talk from the Modern Minds corner. But, formed in July last year, the cocksureness of the (self-described) “sexy young five-piece” isn’t without its legitimacy. This month they play a headline show at the 300-capacity Temple at The Institute and shortly after they’ll headline the entire OxjamBrum music festival (on the snappily-titled ‘Brum Notes 5th Birthday Stage’) at The Sunflower Lounge. Not bad for a band who look suspiciously like lad rock on the tin.
There are elements of The Courteeners and The Twang in there for sure; it’s very well-judged songwriting with hooks aplenty and a seasoned proficiency for a catchy chorus. But actually it’s impressively powerful; last month’s Escape is multi-layered and relatively harmonious and the use of synths introduces a welcome element of variation.
“We’ve got a variety of musical backgrounds which works surprisingly well,” says guitarist Adam Bills. “Individually we’re listening to Dark Side Of The Moon and Sgt. Pepper’s…,trance anthems, dirty rock‘n’roll and Great Balls Of Fire…” Drummer Adam Phillips pipes up, “I love Manic Street Preachers. They’ve asked me to join but I’m too tied up with Modern Minds at the minute.”
Currently recording their debut EP set for release next year, Luke explains how the band’s songs come together. “I travel the country a lot so I have a free mind most of the time which is perfect for writing – sometimes I’ll write a whole song in my head while I’m driving and will have to remember it the best I can when I get home. Me and Alex seem to have a natural flow when it comes to writing and the rest of the band are brimming with ideas to add in.”
So what’s the best lyric in a Modern Minds track?
“This is the hardest question to answer for anyone who takes pride in their lyrics – unless I believe that every lyric is perfect then I’ll keep on replacing them,” deliberates Luke. “One of my favourites is from a new acoustic track I’ve written called Be There Saturday Sweetheart. The lyric is ‘You’ve got your fingertips wrapped round the dimmer of a lunatic.’ It entails how some men and women have so much control over someone, through the power of love, that it’s sent them crazy.”
And the worst?
“Never have I ever. If you think you’ve written a bad lyric, how can you expect anyone else to like it?”
Photo: Megan Bradley