Lay it On Me with Minto

Despite boasting a native New Brunswicker in their lineup, Vancouver band Minto is about to make their maiden trip into the province for a couple of shows on their current national tour.

Ryan Hoben, vocalist of the Neil Young inspired group, originally hails from Fredericton and is looking forward to finally getting his band “home.”

“I spent about 18 years in Fredericton before moving to Calgary to pursue acting courses,” Hoben says via cell phone.

Hoben would leaving Calgary in favour of Vancouver in the pursuit of additional acting opportunities and while in acting school, he met a couple of people who would eventually join him in Minto.

The band is currently on the road in support of their second record, the multi-dimensional Lay It On Me.

To help make their visions of their new record a reality, the band trekked from Vancouver to Chicago where they had the opportunity to work with legendary indie producer Steve Albini.

“We had assembled a dream list of producers that we wanted to work with and he was at the top of the list,” Hoben enthuses. “We really looked up to him for his work with The Pixies and the Magnolia Electric Co., and then through a mix of phone calls, e-mail, good luck and good timing, we made it happen.”

The band spent just under two weeks in the Windy City, recording at Electrical Audio (Albini’s studio) during the evening and spending their days eating a lot of pizza, taking in some live music and happily getting lost walking around the city.

“We actually booked the studio time before we even had the money to pay for it. We were that excited about the prospect of going to Chicago to work with him. We worked our asses off as a band to make sure that everything came together.”

Upon hearing a collection of the tracks from Lay It On Me, observant listeners will notice a distinct lack of one particular style of music dominating the record.

Like their hero Neil Young, the band can change gears from rootsy-country inspired songs into grungy foot-stomping tracks at the drop of a dime.

“We like to be able to keep our musical styles open. Musically, we can be very mixed up,” Hoben happily confesses. “We don’t go into writing songs with any pre-conceived notions of what the song should sound like. We let the song dictate where it ultimately leads us.”

Of the 20 dates the band is currently scheduled to play across Canada, no one in the band is more excited at the prospect of playing in New Brunswick than Hoben himself.

“We are very excited to finally come out east. Then again, everything east of Alberta will be new to us as a band.

“Leading up to the tour, we were meeting and planning and making sure everything is falling into place and there is a real undercurrent of excitement in all of us about this tour.”

But the real reason behind the band finally coming to New Brunswick for shows is revealed as our interview winds to a close.

“My parents would kill me if we didn’t get to New Brunswick to play shows,” Hoben laughs.

Catch Minto (presumably with vocalist Ryan Hoben’s parents in attendance) at the Paramount Lounge in Moncton on Thursday October 22 and at the Kinsmen Centre in Fredericton on Friday October 23.

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