Minos the Saint are a staple in the southern music scene, as inevitable as king cake at Mardi Gras and crawfish boils in summer. Their eerie, effervescent take on folk and zydeco classics has singled them out as unique amongst local Louisianan festival-circuit bands.
Founded by Ben Herrington in 2013, Minos the Saint is composed of five musicians: Peter Simon (vocals and guitar) Ben Herrington (accordion, keyboards, and trombone) Micah Blouin (percussion and vocals) Joel Willson (violin and mandolin) and Arisia Gilmore (French horn.)
Totally Wired recently caught up with Ben and Peter to find out what Minos the Saint have been up to during the turmoil of the previous year, when we can expect new music, and what their plans for the future are.
Totally Wired: “Awake and Dream” was such an astonishingly beautiful debut. Any plans for a second album in the works? And as the creators of the album, how would you describe “Awake and Dream”?
Peter: “Awake and Dream” is our first work, and really captures a very special time where our joined collaboration was realized. The album is intended to portray our live performances which are often described as dynamic and whimsical. We are finishing up our second album, tentatively titled “Atchafalaya Child” set to be released this summer.
Totally Wired: Like your website bio says, Minos the Saint is definitely not a typical LA folk band. Y’all have such a unique, layered sound, it’s entrancing. How did your different musical backgrounds knit this sound together?
Peter: We started as a duet, then grew to six! This slow burn, “bit by bit” approach helped us realize the creative mind and input of each member.
Ben: Yes, also I think a key is that all the musicians in the band have a wide variety of musical interests. As varied as aspects of our sound can be, I think we really lean heavily on elements which are comfort zones for each of our members. While we’re always trying to push the envelope as a whole, much of what we do is based on expressive techniques that we’ve each been working our whole musical lives to refine. Bringing those individual life-long pursuits together to form a whole is what continues to make it enjoyable and exciting for us.
Totally Wired: The pandemic has obviously been an extremely trying time for anyone with a job in the arts. How have you guys been keeping it together?
Peter: We’ve managed to keep moving forward simply because we have an album to make. So, in a way, the pandemic offered us a time to stop and capture the material we’ve been working through.
Ben: Also, I think the last year has really brought us on this interesting journey of questioning and learning about what it means to express ourselves as a band. For a while, it seemed like there was this momentum forcing us to figure out how to express ourselves remotely. Having gone down that road for a time, I think now we’re maybe at a place where we can see the beauty of small-scale human interaction with new eyes. Everything old is new again.
Totally Wired: This is a bit unorthodox, it’s a reverse interview question! What question have you been dying to be asked—and never have been—by a music journalist? And what’s the answer you’d give?
Ben: The question: If your band were a Labyrinth, who would be the Minotaur? The answer: either me or Joel, but for different reasons: Joel because he’s our chaos agent and myself because I am the most consistent in my demands over a long period of time.
You can find Minos the Saint on Instagram @minosthesaint, on Bandcamp, and on Spotify.
Photo Credit: Aaron Hogan of Eye Wander Photography