Interview by ND, based in Hong Kong
Minor Soul is compared with the likes of Simon and Garfunkel,the popular 60s duo known for their vocalharmonies. While being endorsed by producers such as David Steward, of the Eurythmics, they are also watched by big record labels. This year they launched their debut album, Home Is Where You Are.
Jack Wagner, the older brother with curly hair, first had a go at songwriting when he was eight. Max Wagner, the younger brother broke Jack’s ‘secret’ to their mother and quickly became enchanted by music himself. They soon joined forces.
They have now played in Singapore, Hong Kong and New York in over 60 shows, magnetizing large crowds. They play regularly in legendary live houses like the Bitter End, where Bob Dylan used to play.
Art Zeen: Any challenges of working together as brothers?
Jack: Sometimes Max steals my clothes. Hah.
Art Zeen: Who are you influenced by?
Jack: Beatles and David Bowie, things that my dad introduced me to. Max is more in touch with today’s music, pop and charts. I bring the old school and Max brings the club, the modern twist to it. We both worship the Beatles.
Max: I don’t worship, but they are great. I love pop, like One Direction and Keane. I love dance music.
Art Zeen: How has growing up in Hong Kong influenced you as musicians?
Jack: I spent 16 years and Max spent 18 years here. Hong Kong has really shaped who we are. It is so cosmopolitan and international. Max and I don’t associate ourselves with any countries. We don’t belong anywhere. We are citizens of the world.
Art Zeen: As a young band breaking out, do you have any goals in mind for your music?
Max: The goal is for every person on the planet to be able to connect. Songs can stay with you forever and there is no point trying to write songs for top hits. You should write it because someone is gonna want to play it when they are 80.
Art Zeen: What do you write about?
Jack: Breath Again is about freeing yourself from being bullied for who you are. Beneath my skin is a song about loving someone so much that you feel she is a part of you. Streets of New York shows different facets of the city. There are so many people who live on the street for their whole life in New York and so many who live rich in New York. The song paints a picture of the spectrum of life.
Art Zeen: Which performance made a deep impression on you?
Max: One of our shows in New York. A girl drove all the way with her dad and brother from Michigan to watch us because she was our fan. It was a big deal. You could really make an impact on people and when you let someone down, it is bad. You can’t act like an idiot.
Jack: Max and I really want to stay genuine and really care for people who like our music. We are never gonna take them for granted.
Max: Another one is our first homecoming show at the Fringe Club in Hong Kong. People who have known us for ten years came and people that we didn’t even think were coming also showed up. In the end no matter what happens, when you become rich and famous, you should really thank those who devoted their time and believed in you at the beginning.
Art Zeen: What are your thoughts on music trends and what does the future look like for you guys?
Jack: There is a wave of new music like that of Phoenix, popular but not club. We hope to ride on this wave and bring back real 60s music but keep it contemporary.
Streets of New York by Minor Soul