Our friends over at COPILOT Strategic Music + Sound are obviously experts on all things audible, so we count ourselves lucky to be on their mailing list for the annual holiday (virtual) mixtape they put together. This past holiday season, one track in particular stood out for us—that of Brooklyn’s own Minarets. Intrigued, we asked Jason at COPILOT for an intro to this previously—to us—unknown band. The result: A quick interview with Minarets’ main man, Jon Weinman and a lovely Song of the Week. Check it—
Kindness of Ravens: So, tell us about Minarets. Going off your site, all I know is you’re “electronic pop from Brooklyn.” Very mysterious. Is the band just you?
Jon Weinman: Minarets currently exists mainly as my solo recording project. I like to play all my instruments and produce and engineer everything myself. I do have some amazing guest musicians on some of the tracks, but for the most part it’s just me. We are currently working on putting together a lineup and a live show that we hope will be ready for the summer.
KoR: Originally from Brooklyn or are you a fellow transplant?
JW: I’m originally from Rockland County, New York, about 45 minutes from midtown Manhattan. I have lived in various neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn for the last 4 years while I have been attending school at NYU’s Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music.
KoR: How long have you been making music under the current moniker? …I totally sounded like Data from Star Trek with that question….
JW: The moniker is pretty new, actually. We just released our first singles at the end of 2010, so I’d say I’ve been using the name since about that time last year.
KoR: So, does the band name have any significance? Subtle nod of support to the “mosque at ground-zero”? Huge fan of that old Dave Matthews album…?
JW: The name is kind of just an aesthetic thing. I’ve always loved the architecture of minarets. The soft curves, ornate patterns, and monolithic power of the structures have always caught my eye and imagination. I also just like how the word rolls off the tongue.
KoR: Nice, indeed. This can sometimes be an overly lame question, but how do you generally do your song-writing?
JW: I generally have a couple different approaches that I favor. Sometimes a song exists first as a single line or melody in my head, and I use my computer or guitar to orchestrate around it. Other times, the orchestrations come first and I write melodies and lyrics afterwards by examining the emotional needs of the song and trying to best serve them. For the three singles that I currently have up on the internet, I used the latter technique, taking little bits and pieces of orchestration and chopping, manipulating, and gluing them back together until the song achieved the emotional feel that I was after.
KoR: I hate the ‘what music inspires you’ question, so I’ll instead ask—What have you been super-keen on lately, music-wise?
JW: I just recently saw Broken Social Scene for the second time in the last few months and I once again had my mind blown. I think what they are able to do as a true artists’ collective—blending the spacey, far-out soundscapes with the anthemic album rock—is really special. They give back so much to their crowd and you can truly feel the joy they have up on stage, which I appreciate. In terms of a new artist, I got really into Twin Shadow‘s record last year. Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear produced it and I am just so into his sonic footprint, as well as George Lewis Jr.’s amazing melodies and vocal double-tracks.
KoR: Oh, totally. We got really into him last summer and included him on this…somewhat bizarre musical choose your own adventure we did. So, any plans for some formal, long-play releases or you more into doing things tapas-style, serving up the music as it’s ready via the interweb?
JW: We are going to be sticking with the tapas-style releases until we really have a great live show on its feet. An album is a huge endeavour, and when we do it, we are going to have a unified vision and do it right. For now, though, I am thrilled with the response that we’ve been getting by releasing our songs hot off the presses and I think we will continue to do so. We are also working on a little promo campaign to give away new songs using special edition stickers with QR codes that link to free downloads placed throughout the city.
KoR: You mentioned live shows. So you’re thinking this summer?
JW: We are currently working on putting the live show together. I recently had some friends return from studying abroad who are going to be key pieces of that puzzle, and I think we are all stoked to get in the practice space and start adapting these compositions for a live setting.
KoR: Can’t wait. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us, Jon.
Check out Jon’s contribution to our Song of the Week series—“Raised in the Light”—and, when you’re done with that, head over to their Bandcamp page to listen to two other fine, Brooklyn-made pieces.