Louis Minnaar (graphic artist, music video director, composer and animator) and his sister Magdalene Minnaar (opera singer, actress, lyricist and producer) were born and bred in the flowery city of Pretoria. They both excelled in art schools at secondary and tertiary levels in Pretoria, Cape Town and New York. They have both chosen their particular direction in the arts but have teamed up in the formation of their new musical collaboration, aptly named MiNNAAR. They are releasing their latest EP, Safe & Sound, today 25th June… we had a chat to them about working together and their latest EP, this is what they had to say:
MA: Tell us about your journey to where you are today, a little bit of background?
Both Louis and I have always somehow been involved with music – from a young age we were playing instruments, singing in choirs, doing concerts and eistedfodds. So we grew, and as I got older I decided to make music my career. Even though Louis chose design (as a career) he was always still part of bands and wrote and produced his own music.
MA: You guys are family and now a musical duo, does this not pose its own set of challenges?
We live so far appart that any time together is bonus, and we love each other’s company. Of course we know each other inside out – emotionally, spiritually – which can be tricky some times when you’re disagreeing, but that doesn’t happen often. We love working together on anything, and we’ve always been doing it.
MA: Both being very creative and talented in your own fields, how have you managed to bring your styles together to form this beautiful operatic-dance influenced sound?
We weren’t really aiming for any specific sound – whatever happened in our last EP, and now in the new release – has come out of “workshopping” our ideas. We both have very diverse musical influences, and a great love for both classical and electronic music, so I suppose MiNNAAR’s sound was inevitable.
MA: What would you say is your biggest influence and inspiration to making music with your sibling?
I think Louis is one of the most creative and genius people on the planet…
MA: Tell us how your first ever gig went?
It was really awesome – it was the launch of our previous EP, simultaniously opening for Bittereinder. It was quite epic with a nice big crowd singing to our songs.
MA: What has you most excited about our local music industry?
The diversity in genres and creativity in getting your own sound, which is taking place all over – thank goodness bands are getting away from just doing rock or bad Afrikaans music…
MA: To date, what has been your best gig / achievement individually and as a group?
Mine was doing the female lead in Phantom of the Opera – just because of the shear scale of the production. It was huge and no money was spared for eqsuisite theatre…
MA: Like us, you are born and raised in Pretoria. Do you see it as a challenge or a blessing to be involved in such a tight, intimate cultural setting? Everyone seems to know everyone in Pretoria…
Well, I’ve lived in Cape Town for nearly 13 years now, so I don’t really know the dynamics there anymore, but from what I hear everyone still living there are VERY happy and content! It’s a huge city though, and I hope that people living there see all the cultures and cool aspects of what makes Pretoria unique…
MA: Magdalene, you got cast in the lead role of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera and have won and been nominated for various awards, what has you excited about working on MiNNAAR with your brother?
The fact that it’s not for any gain other than having fun – we’re not expecting to make money out of it, we decide on our own deadlines, we do out own photo shoots and music vids… It’s not work – it’s play
MA: Louis, you are a part of the awesome group Bittereinder, where you have just toured Holland alongside Jack Parow and Van Coke Kartel, how exciting is it for you to be working on your own project with your sister?
Amazing. My sister is the most amazing vocalist alive and its just so easy to work with her. We recorded the whole EP in less than a day, simply because she nails the takes almost instantly. A true professional.
MA: Louis, you are also creative beyond a musical aspect, can you give us a little bit more info about that side of your life?
I am involved with anything visual. I have a creative company that does animation, video, illustration, print/web design, product design etc etc… I am also a commercials director for a production house called WHATWEWANT in johannesburg. So, in short. I make picture.
“MiNNAAR’s music is an organic mixture of their wide and varied influences and could generally be described as “epic dance-inspired operatic ballads”
MA: You guys release your EP, Volcano, in November last year, how was it received?
People loved it – accross age and taste in music, which I found quite interesting…
MA: Your next EP, Safe and Sound, is available for free download today, the 25th June. What can we expect from this EP?
You’ll have to hear it – we think that it’s very different to VOLCANO, with more “epic ballads” – but it’s once agin a very personal album
MA: Are you guys working on any other projects that we might be interested in? (solo or as a group)
Always… My production compnay is working on a new show for AARDKLOP this year – it’s all about madness and loosing touch with reality, called WAANSIN
MA: Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?
Not a clue! Sidewalk cafe sipping a coffee, or New York strolling the streets?
MA: Where can people follow you guys?
SAFE & SOUND Track Listing:
1. Safe & Sound
3. Shadow Of The Earth
4. This Thing Had No Name
Download SAFE & SOUND Now For FREE: http://minnaar.net