Wave on

MiNNETONKA: Next up in our Liverpool bands folio, the hypnotic Merseyside vocalist hits the beach
By Alex James Taylor | Music | 30 March 2015
Photography Amy Gwatkin
Fashion Vincent Levy.

MiNNETONKA shot by Amy Gwatkin for HERO 12: Darkness Falls

Top image: MiNNETONKA wears jacket by DIOR R15; shoes by CAMPER; her own jeans

Taken from HERO 12: Darkness Falls

Speaking with MiNNETONKA, it seems apt that the moon should be so dramatically framed by the window ahead. Tonight it is larger and more imposing than ever, the last super moon of 2014 fills the night sky. Emma Leatherbarrow, the girl behind the moniker, intends to fully embrace this evening’s lunar phenomenon. “The moon is so beautiful today, when you’re stood on an empty beach facing this enormous moon, it’s breathtaking. That’s what I’m going to do after chatting with you, head straight to the beach.”

“Honesty,” the young musician suggests when attempting to dissect her sound and find the commonality between each of her songs. “I think the main thing is that the themes I write about are things which have happened, or are happening, to me in my life.”

It’s an insightful self-diagnosis for the artist who’s been writing with By The Sea’s Liam Power (her vocals appear on new album Endless Days, Crystal Sky) and Bill Ryder-Jones, also producing. A candid intimacy is cultivated by subtle textural layering and ethereal vocals which flow in hushed frequency. Like Shakespeare’s Ariel they lull you into a dream state, whispering secrets directly into the listener’s ear.

And perhaps this simile rings true, for MiNNETONKA has always been fascinated by dreams and the subconscious. “Friends actually come to me with questions about their dreams. The subconscious is so telling. It’s all about the power of the mind, you can do everything if you put your mind to it.”

MiNNETONKA’s namesake is a Lake in Minnesota, named by the Native American Dakota people who so cherished its purity. This one, however, resides on the Wirral, appropriately next to a beach which leads into the River Dee – “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to move away from the beach actually, I’m addicted to the sunsets and the waves, it’s medicine for the soul. I recommend it to everyone.”

There is an old legend which says that – although it crosses the path of Bala Lake on the way to the Irish Sea – the waters of the River Dee do not mingle with the waters of the lake. They pass straight through, emerging undiluted for their final journey down to the sea. “Creative freedom is essential for me, I love nourishing a distinct aesthetic and sound, one which is built on my own personality.”

And away she goes, undiluted, on her journey towards the sea, illuminated under the moonlight.

Follow MiNNETONKA on Twitter and SoundCloud

Additional image credits: Photo assistant NATHAN CHANDLER; special thanks to CAMP AND FURNACE


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