Underneath This had the pleasure of interviewing the talented Minor Soul, an acoustic-pop band composed of two brothers Jack and Max Wagner. Last year, Minor Soul released their debut album, “Home Is Where You Are.” For more information, please check out http://www.minorsoul.com/ and proceed to the interview here!
Please describe your path to becoming musicians.
Jack: So I got my first guitar when I was eight, and I began learning all the Beatles songs and immediately began writing songs. When Max was about 13 and I was 15, Max started stealing my guitar from my room and playing it, so I decided to buy him a guitar that year for Christmas and I also taught him a few chords. Eventually we started writing songs together and we recorded some of our songs and put them up on YouTube. And to our surprise we were contacted by Dave Stewart, who is a music legend and the songwriter and producer from Eurythmics. He loved our music and flew us to LA to produce some songs and get us started in the industry. And since then we have been playing shows and writing and recording non-stop!
What has been it like working together as brothers?
Max: It is amazing working with my brother because we know each other so well and are so comfortable. We can be very honest with each other, and we know that we won’t take it personally and we both know we love each other. So it’s a very healthy and constructive partnership.
What has been the most powerful moment performing live?
Jack: Probably when we first started getting fans to our gigs who were singing along to all the lyrics in “Beneath My Skin”! That was the moment when we realized that this music we write is important to people. It was very special.
Who and what have been your influences?
Max: Jack and I have very different influences — I love pop music that’s on the radio today, and Jack is more old-school and listens to Radiohead and the Beatles and Bob Dylan. So the both of us bring something different creatively when we write.
How have your personal identities affected the music that you make?
Jack: Well Max and I are both very sensitive people so I guess our music is emotional and quite personal to us. We sing a lot about love and all the things that come along with that. And also about growing up.
In what ways has technology played a role in your careers?
Max: Technology has been great in many ways for us! We are very active on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook, which is how we connect with all our fans. And we also produce most of our own music on our laptops so in that sense technology has been a great help in our career.
Your style has been described as “acoustic pop.” How would you characterize your songs?
Jack: Our songs are just honest pieces of music that we think people with connect to emotionally. We write our songs from an emotional place inside of us, and most people go through similar emotions. But our most important stylistic weapon is our harmonies, for sure.
The debut album is called “Home is Where You Are.” How do you define a sense of home?
Max: This was the debate we were thinking about when we decided to name the album “Home Is Where You Are.” Jack and I have a very difficult time defining what home is. We were born in London, grew up in Hong Kong and now we live in New York. So we decided that home is wherever the people you love are, and that can be multiple places around the world at the same time.
My favorite song on that album is “Everyday Feels like Sunday.” What is the story behind this song?
Jack: Thank you! We are very proud of that song. We just wanted to write a simple song about waking up next to someone special and realizing how great things are when that person is around. We wrote that one completely together from start to finish.
How was it working with Dave Stewart on “Beneath My Skin?”
Max: Working with Dave was an incredible experience. He is so talented and so creative, and a great friend of ours now. His production on “Beneath My Skin” really paved the way for the style of music we have now. He started us off, and has had a massive impact on our career.
I really like your new single! How did you decide to entitle it, “Charlie Chaplin?”
Jack: Charlie Chaplin is another song we wrote completely together in our dad’s living room. He had some DVDs of Charlie Chaplin movies and we thought that Charlie Chaplin would be such a powerful character to have in a song about someone who is too shy to admit his feelings. It happens to all of us, and he is one of our lifelong heroes.
If you could have another profession outside of music, what would it be and why?
Max: In a parallel universe, I think I would probably be a celebrity chef like Gordon Ramsay, and Jack would be a football player for Chelsea FC.
What are you up to next musically?
Jack: We have a ton of new songs that we can’t wait to share with you all. There may be another album coming soon! But that is our little secret, ok?
What insights do you have for aspiring musicians?
Max: The best advice we can give to aspiring musicians is to be true to yourself, to believe in your own art and to not take “no” for an answer. And also learn Protools so that you can produce your own music!