411 Music Interview: Elliot Minor's Dan Hetherton
Posted by Daniel Wilcox on 03.24.2014
Prior to the band's final shows this weekend, Dan Hetherton of classically-influenced rock outfit Elliot Minor took time out to talk to 411's Daniel Wilcox about how the upcoming shows came about, rehearsals and the future of the band!
Due to popular demand, this month, pop rock outfit Elliot Minor returns from its hiatus for a series of one-off shows in London, England. Alex Davies and Ed Minton will join up with Ed and Dan Hetherton and Ali Paul for two shows at the famous Camden Underground on March 28th and 29tth and one final show at the O2 Islington Academy on the 30th. Tickets for the first Camden show went on sale and sold out in 30 seconds, prompting the additional dates. At the time of writing there are just a few dozen tickets left on sale for the final date at the O2 but don't expect them to last.
Elliot Minor put out their self-titled debut record in 2008. Elliot Minor peaked at number six on the Official UK Albums Chart and also spawned a number of charting singles that would become cornerstones of the band's energetic live shows for year to come. "Parallel Worlds," "Jessica," "The White One is Evil" and "Still Figuring Out" all reached the Top 40 of the UK Singles Chart. The band's second record was titled Solaris and featured the hits "Discover (Why the Love Hurts)," "I Believe" and "Electric High," the latter peaking at number thirteen on the UK Indie Chart. The band's songs were also used for BBC's coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The band's success ensured Elliot Minor frequently graced the stages of the UK's biggest music festivals, including Download, Reading and Leeds and T in the Park.
From the moment Dan Hetherton confirmed rumours of a hiatus back in December 2011, the band's fans have been asking when they will get back together for more shows. Well in 2014 the band announced the string of one-off performances and recently I had the chance to talk to the band's drummer and backing vocalist Dan Hetherton about the shows and the future of the band.
Elliot Minor has always had a vocal and loyal fan base, and they've been anxious to see you guys again for some time. What made now the right time to do these one-off shows?
Dan Hetherton: It was now or never really! We've all been busy with other things over the past few years and we've all got plans for the future. We'd talked about doing more shows but the timing never quite worked out. Eventually it got to a point when we decided if we were going to do more shows we just had to book the gigs and see what happened, otherwise we might never get round to it. We tested the water with a few cryptic messages on our social networking sites hinting at more shows and got an amazing response so we just went for it and hired a venue!
How have rehearsals been going for the upcoming shows at the end of the month? Was it difficult getting back into the swing of things or did it feel natural?
DH: Rehearsals have been going well. It definitely sounded like we hadn't played together for several years at first. We've done so many variations of the same songs on different tours it took a little while to figure out who was playing what. Once we'd actually got our individual parts right it all came together really easily and felt really natural.
What was the vibe like getting back together with the other members of the band after all these years? Had everybody kept in touch since the Elliot Minor hiatus was announced in 2011?
DH: It was like it was back in the early days actually! We've organised these shows ourselves and with no management, label, tech team or any of the baggage that comes with turning music into a business. It's just like we're starting out again. Everyone is enthusiastic and up for having a laugh. We have kept in touch over the years, Ed Minton lived with me for a few months while he was down in London which helped get things moving again and got us talking about doing more shows.
You announced the Elliot Minor One More Time show back in December, and tickets sold out in a matter of seconds causing the band to add two additional shows. Presumably the response by your fans was a pleasant surprise?
DH: Yes it was! We had no idea what to expect after all this time, but we're really happy that people still want to come out and see us play shows.
You're playing two shows at the Camden Underground, a legendary venue. What made this the ideal place for the shows?
DH: The Camden Underworld has hosted so many great bands over the years but it's also really unpretentious. We felt like that was the perfect setting for the gig(s). When we'd planned to do another show we weren't looking to play to large crowds with fancy production. We just wanted to get together and bash out some of our tracks to anyone who still appreciated the band and the music. The fact that it's turned into three shows now is great, and it was a complete surprise when the first one sold out, but it hasn't changed what we set out to do.
It's quite an intimate setting you'll be playing, but you've also played in front of thousands of fans including various festivals around the world. What are the main differences between playing to such large crowds compared to smaller, more intimate venues, and do you have a personal preference?
DH: With large shows you really have to put on a performance and there's a lot less margin for error. Obviously it's a great feeling playing a large show and pulling it off after all the hours of rehearsal time and pre-production, but there is nothing quite like the atmosphere in a small venue! It's very relative as it depends on what you've become accustomed to, but I've always had a preference for playing smaller shows.
What can fans expect from the shows?
DH: Hopefully a taste of the early days! A lot of energy with a focus on the music.
I guess this is this burning question the fans are dying to know the answer to. These shows have always been promoted as a one-off, but has the reaction from fans prompted a re-think? Can we expect to hear more from the band in the future?
DH: Never say never! It hasn't prompted a re-think at this stage, but it's definitely got us talking again so there maybe things in the future. Who knows!
Moving away from Elliot Minor now, how are things with your other project The Dead Famous? Do you have plans to tour or release an album in 2014?
DH: We hope so! It's harder to start up a new band (of course), but we're working hard on it!
For anyone that hasn't familiarised themselves with The Dead Famous, why should people be checking you guys and what are the similarities and differences in comparison to Elliot Minor?
DH: Humm, well it is what it is really, it's a mixture between Elliot Minor and Go Audio, so more rocky, synth / dance vibe!
In conclusion I'd like to thank you for taking time out of today to answer my questions and wish you luck with the upcoming Elliot Minor shows and all your other projects. Is there anything you'd like to say to your many fans in closing?
DH: Thank you! And thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years, it's been a long time since we started out, spending hours every night responding to messages on Myspace!
I'd like to once again thank Dan for his time and remind you all that the band play three "One More Time" gigs in London on the 28th, 29th and 30th of March. The link to check ticket availability is below.