We can’t speak highly enough about Mina Tindle’s debut album Taranta. It really is a record lavishly dressed with passion, invention and downright catchy tunes. The French musician took two years to construct her form of perfected pop, but we can safely say it was time well spent. We caught up with Mina to find out how it all came together.
Bowlegs: So was this beautiful pop album really recorded all over Paris during a two-year period?
Mina: The two-year period is right. We recorded the album mostly in Ménilmontant, a Parisian neighbourhood, up on a hill. But we also brought our suitcases and a few mics to Normandy, in a small and beautiful church. Then we recorded at a friend’s house in Brooklyn – some trombones with Benjamin Hofer Lanz, a wonderful musician.
Bowlegs: With such a long process I imagine you were getting more and more proficient in the studios as you recorded – did you notice this at all? Did it result in scrapping any of those tracks from the start of the process?
Mina: It is true, when you have all this time in a studio you have the temptation to experiment many things. This freedom is rare. In the end I think I wrote half of the record during this time. So I wanted to include these new tracks and sometimes had to let other ‘older’ songs go.
Bowlegs: Each track has its own personality – it means I have a favourite new track every week! How did you go about arranging each track? Did the songs in their stripped down form suggest where and how they should develop and grow?
Mina: Thank you. Well, my friend and producer JP Nataf fell in love with some of my demos years ago, and I think he has always tried not to lose what he has liked about them. Then, as I said, we felt free to try new arrangements and bring the songs somewhere else. Not in order to change them, but to make them grow. But we did not always know where, when or how it will end. It was kind of scary.
Bowlegs: Would you say there is a constant thread throughout the record – a constant emotion, vibe, story that you wanted to send out with this album?
Mina: It is a hard question, I don’t know … I guess I am a wondering person. Each song of this record could be summarized as a question, an intuition, a feeling, a struggle. I guess writing a first record is like going on a quest. The thing is, you don’t always know which quest.
Bowlegs: Tell us about Too Loud – it’s got such a vibrant energy to it – what is it about? What instrument do you write these songs on?
Mina: I wrote this song on my vintage and cheap keyboard, with a really cheesy drum machine. Then I recorded it almost live with great musicians I worked with on this record: Maxime Chamoux (from the band (Please) Don’t Blame Mexico), Thomas Pirot (Nelson) and Guillaume Villadier. I think they brought the vibrant energy you talked about. We were in a great studio, near a river, it was sunny, we were eating barbecue ribs! The real life, in other words.
Bowlegs: When you start your next album is there anything you might do differently in the recording process?
Mina: Right now I could say everything! I think changes are good. But this is what I say now. Frankly I have not thought seriously about it yet.
Bowlegs: What female musicians do you take inspiration from?
Mina: I love Kate Bush, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Karen Dalton, Feist … there are many of them. Then I actually listen to male singers a lot, like Milton Nascimento, Caetano Veloso, Bill Callahan, or bands like the Dirty Projectors, Beach House. I can go on for a while…
Bowlegs: Do you think it’s a more difficult journey for a musician from France rather than America? Why sing in English? is that purely to get the songs to a wider audience, or does that come naturally to you?
Mina: I do not know about the difficulty. As far as singing in English, it has been natural at first. Because I came to music through an Anglo-Saxon angle. I had a band called The Limes, with some friends based in North Carolina, then I lived in the US for a while. Nevertheless, I feel more inclined to write in French or even in Spanish these days. Because, in a weird way, I find it less expected.
Bowlegs: Now the album is out there and garnering such great reviews, what do you have planned for the remainder of 2012?
Mina: Touring I guess, resting a bit when I can, travelling with friends.
Bowlegs: And if you’re coming to the UK, we really hope you’ll find time to pop by the Bowlegs studio and do a music session with us!
Mina: Well, invitation accepted!