On the Verge: Gabriel Mintz

Maggie Ambrose, Gabriel Mintz

Emerson College alum Gabriel Mintz revisited his campus of old in support of his latest record, Future Wars. Although he did not work formally with WERS himself, many of his friends did, and he remembers time spent recording here fondly. “I was in this room.” Mintz laughs and looks around the studio with a charmingly kiddish smile strung ear to ear. The skinny musician perches on a stool, glasses-clad with tight brown curls down to his shoulders. From first looks, you might expect a timid sound to come out of him, but that could not be further from the truth. Mintz’s sound is surprisingly full, with dancing acoustic guitar and absolutely beautiful vocal range.

He began with a song called “Slow Close,” written and recorded entirely by himself for Future Wars. The track is subtle and simple, with an almost sweet-sounding relationship between instrumentals and vocals. “My only wish is that one day I’ll know what made you,” Mintz sings.

His album, which features Mintz’s own original artwork across the cover, was released this past summer. “Future Wars is a record that I wanted to put out for so long. It’s some of the tracks that mean mean the most to me… I made them in some of the weirdest places in my life: spiritually, in my own studio, in my own way.”

Letting us into one of these wonderfully strange places, Mintz tells the story behind P Rebel, a song from Future Wars. “P Rebel was very interesting. That was one I recorded when I was visiting my parents in Maryland and I had an 8-track in the basement, a little digital 8-track, that I used to record the whole downstairs in the basement. The lyrics are ‘Oh, gonna try not to wake you’ – that’s the whole lyric. It was an interesting one because everybody was asleep upstairs and I was thinking, ‘What am I gonna put on the vocal track?’ and that’s how P Rebel formed.”

His last song in-studio, “Hole in Heaven,” is an older track originally written by Mintz’ close friend Bradford Button. Although he values working alone, a large aspect of Mintz’ musical style revolves around collaborating with other musicians. “I work with some really really really neat folks that do a lot bigger and more interesting things than me, younger and older,” he says. “Every aspect of me surviving and doing things is this collaboration. I try to serve whatever function is needed for those I love and work with.”

The track itself might have been written by Button, but it holds true to Mintz’s personal style. Mintz beautifully values musical space and time. He composes his sound slowly and purposefully, letting each note sink into you. “Hole in Heaven” leaves you heavy-hearted, but certainly wanting more.

Mintz’s his next music project is recording with Temple Echoes, a group comprised of aforementioned Button and another friend, Mike Bayer, on drums. But for now, he says, “I want to drive around and explore on my own, kind of free to do what I want”, he laughs, “and then I’ll go back to Seattle and finish recording this Temple Echoes record.”

Writing and Photo by Maggie Ambrose

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