Dressed in a simple jersey top with gold jewellery, fringe falling Birkin-like into her eyes, 28 year old Mina Tindle couldn’t be more Parisian if she tried. It’s taken over two years, a little help from Beirut, and a little more from the National, but the new wave singer is ready for you to hear what she’s got to say.
Born and bred in Paris proper, Mina (real name Pauline, her alias comes from 1972 film ‘Sleuth’) never really felt like a city girl. With Spanish and Algerian roots, her family “were used to the countryside, and the landscape. I’m a city girl, but there’s still country there too. We don’t act like a city family, we want to escape all the time. Even though I’ve grown up in Paris, I have a love for something I’ve never had. It’s strange.”
Wanderlust overcame Mina in her final year of University. Studying History of Art, she accepted an internship with a digital agency in Brooklyn. It didn’t go so well. Politely, she frames the start-up as a bit of a jumble. At the time, she was travelling back and forth to North Carolina to work as a vocalist with The Limes. And then it struck her.
“I realised that music was what I wanted to do, and I wanted to be involved with making music. It was a decisive time. I thought that maybe if I was working in a museum and I loved my job, maybe I wouldn’t have done so much music. It would have just stayed a hobby. But I was like ‘I want to do something true’. I felt like ‘I need to do something’. So I did an EP, just six tracks. I wanted something physical, an object that I could show to my grandchildren.”
From there, the only way was up. Thanks to an earlier stint at a French festival company, she was in contact with the National. She’s modest- “they were not the National that they are now. It’s strange because the guy is one of the only people that I played my music for. It was great to have feedback from such an amazing band. And we kept in touch, when I’m in New York I see them, and when they’re in Paris we hang out.” Back in Brooklyn, opening for Beirut lead to another collaboration. “He’s a great person. One of his trumpet players is a friend of mine- he played on my record. We had no money, so we recorded in the room of a friend’s house. He didn’t even want to be paid- he was like ‘I’m doing it because I think it’s good’. It’s really nice.”
Influences? Too many to list. “Joni Mitchell’s ‘The River’, I love”, Mina swoons. “Cat Power is amazing, but she’s not so much as an influence. It was more that when I first heard her music, I could hear her soul. It’s like she’s got something in her voice that she has to get out. You can feel whatever she feels at the time. The connection with her songs is what I admire.”
The result is ‘Taranta’. A tri-lingual record, it’s a alt folk gem. Singing in French, Spanish and English, language becomes part of the patchwork- a vessel. “I want to have freedom of language, using the language as a tool, like a time signature or an instrument”, Mina emphasizes. ‘To Carry Many Small Things’ has the strangeness of Vashti Bunyan with the melodic nous of Regina Spektor. Meanwhile, ‘Lovely Day’ is Feist-sweet above the off kilter rhythms of Dirty Projectors. ‘Sister’ layers vocals over an unsettling handclap beat- tipping a hat to Tuneyards.
It’s a singular record. No hype. No buzz. “I want to be careful with a new sound”, Mina explains. “I don’t want to lose myself”. She won’t lose anything. In fact, she’s found it.
Feist, Catpower, Emily Loizeau, Emiliana Torrini, Regina Spektor and Kate Bush.