Interview – Mint Julep

With their beguiling new album Stray Fantasies set for release tomorrow, we caught up with electro-pop wife-and-husband duo Hollie and Keith Kenniff, collectively Mint Julep, to find out how their music has evolved and what to expect from this album and future projects…

Mint Julep formed back in 2007 – how does it feel listening to the music you’ve made over the years, does it just bring back lots of memories or do you feel yourselves critiquing it?

It’s a bit of both, we always make the releases the best they can be at that particular time. There’s a certain tug to think about what we would do now with different experience but it seems futile. There’s more nostalgia than anything, our first son liked to sleep to our first album, he really liked hearing Hollie’s voice, so listening back to that reminds us of that time a lot.

Stray Fantasies is out tomorrow – how would you say your music’s changed or evolved into this album?

I feel like the songwriting technically has gotten more solidified. We made a conscious effort to really think about song structure and melodic contour within verse/chorus relationships. Production-wise also it’s moved in a bit more of a synth-centric direction, but it’s been really fun to suss out a lot of textural differentiation using only a minimal array of synth resources.

Do you have a favourite track and why?

Keith likes Vakaras as it has a raw emotional quality. Hollie likes Iteration as she loves shoegaze stuff and it has that ethereal, textural, spacious vibe, and she likes how the chorus turned out.

I would say the album makes for a very cathartic listen, emotive but with a positive energy. How do you think or hope that people will react to it generally?

I think we want the music to feel relatable but unique. It’s not always about breaking new ground, but about creating a listening experience that’s enjoyable and has enough new things in there to propel the genre forward. Hollie’s lyrics are often dealing with issues people often face throughout most parts of our adult lives and we hope that people will connect with that in a meaningful way.

Aside from the two of you, who else has been instrumental in making the album happen?

Our record label, Western Vinyl, has been very supportive in taking us on (this is our first album with them, although Keith has done multiple releases as Goldmund throughout the years with WV), it’s a great home. Also Yuuki Matthews, who helped mix the album, was a great supporter and motivator.

Which other artists have you been listening to lately that you would recommend?

We both like Broncho, Girl Band and Ruby Haunt a lot. We are also enjoying seeing more female composers represented in the ambient genre, like Maria Somerville, Saariselka, Anne Muller, Felicia Atkinson, Mary Lattimore, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, etc…

And what’s next for Mint Julep?

We already have another release all ready to go, so we’ll let this one simmer for a bit and then release details of that within the year. Keith will be releasing some more piano/ambient music as Goldmund this year and Hollie also just released a solo album of ambient-ish material late last year and is continuing to work on new material for upcoming releases.

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Stray Fantasies is released on 31st January 2020 via Western Vinyl – you can listen to Escape below and pre-order the album here


Interview by Siobhan

Photos/artwork via One Beat PR

30th January 2020