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Time to rock

Shane Kinsella doesn't beat around the bush. Nor do his two band mates, Mark Austin and Tom Cosgrave. Which is why, when The Minutes tell you that they were "sh*te for a long time," you tend to believe them. Then again, it could be that the lads are just being modest.

"It's not like we're trying to reinvent the wheel, or that there's no one else playing rock'n'roll," says Shane, "but we're doing something that people are enjoying".

He has a point. In sticking with what they do best, the Dublin-based trio have delivered a simple, hook-laden, straight-up rock record, Marcata. Heavy riffs, urgent vocals, and pounding beats -- the way rock'n'roll should be. Their website calls it "music for fighting and f**king", which, the lads explain, is a cheeky way of describing what their tunes are capable of. It gets you revved up. Turns you on. Fills you with passion, let's say.

The album -- named after the New York studio in which it was recorded -- has been a long time coming. Spend an hour in the company of these guys and you'll find that the history of the band dates right back to the days when frontman Mark and his cousin Shane staged "epic" secondary school gigs in Rathfarnham.


Yep, they're an ambitious bunch. Take, for example, their 'secret' album launch, which took place on the rooftop of a city centre music store. They've also been known to stage impressive pre-show parties, too -- one on board a bus, the other on a boat. As Shane puts it, it's about getting up off your ass; using your head -- creating a buzz.

Yes, they're relieved that the album is finally out there. But it's about what happens next that excites this band.

"It's true what they say," says Mark (29), "you strive to get to a level, and once you get to there, you're never happy with that. You're on to the next thing."

As he explains, it's all about waiting for the record "to do, naturally, what a record does."

For Shane, the band's 26-year-old, slick-haired drummer, The Minutes are "better live" than they are on record.

Bassist Tom (29) agrees, citing their year long residency in Whelan's as a major turning point for the band.

"We had our homework done," he says. "We gigged most of the album -- we were playing live shows in Whelan's for a year, on the last Saturday of every month, so we were kind of weighing the songs up against the audience. Songs that maybe didn't get a great reaction, we'd go back and work on them a bit more. We wanted the album to kind of flow like a gig"

Helmed by American producer Kevin McMahon (The Walkmen), Marcata took three, seven hour days to record.

"I have a good feeling about this," said McMahon, at the time, and lowered studio costs so that The Minutes (visiting for a show) could make their dream debut.

Earlier on, the guys admit to having focused their attention on a more generic indie sound. But it didn't last long. "It's more natural now," says Tom.

"The way we played before, it was maybe more contrived, and it was a bit more, 'we need to make this song sound clever', or, you know, 'the Strokes new album just came out -- we need to borrow from that'. Whereas now, we know the path we're on.

"Rock'n'roll is the one part of music that we all really agree on," he continues. "We know what we like and what we don't like, and that's why we find it so much easier to write and record now."


And what about all this nonsense that rock music is dead, eh? Surely they don't agree?

"There's always gonna be rock'n'roll bands," says Mark.

"It's funny, though," adds Shane, "because of all the genres that have come and gone, rock'n'roll is the one thing that's stayed. "

Not everyone will buy into what The Minutes have to offer, but do they care? Hardly. "We're not trying to prove ourselves to anybody, " says Shane.

"We know that people are gonna like us, because the world is so f**king big, you know? Ireland is a bit apprehensive when it comes to this style of music, but we'll be successful. We've worked too hard to not be. We've been trying for so long, it's inevitable. It's gonna happen."

Marcata is out now. The Minutes play Oxegen on Saturday July 9