Interview: Minerva

Get to know the influences and inspirations behind the ICMP rock band...


Inspired by the sounds of Nothing But Thieves, Muse and Badflower, Minerva is a rock band of ICMP students and alumni with an exciting 2023 ahead. 

Initially a solo project for Minerva McLeod, the group has now developed into a fully-fledged musical outfit with Raphael Dias (MMus in Popular Music Performance Masters alumnus) as lead guitarist, Pablo Amador Flores (MMus in Popular Music Performance Masters alumnus) as drummer and multi-instrumentalist alongside Aleksander Staalesen (BMus in Popular Music Performance student) on bass and guitar.

In this new interview, originally broadcast as the first episode of our Radio and Podcast Society's RADAR podcast hosted by James Arlington, the group discuss the release of their debut EP ‘Bloodshot Eyes’, the technical side of their live setup and what’s next for them.

How would you introduce yourself? 

Minerva (M): I guess we’re mainly a rock band, somewhere between heavy rock and more pop-punk kind of stuff. Bands that we sound like are similar to Badflower, My Chemical Romance more emo and maybe Nirvana too.  

How long have you known each other?

Pablo (P): About a year. Me and Raf did the course together. 

Raph (R): He got stuck in Mexico because of Covid...

P: So I had to start later… I remember watching the classes online and hearing someone with a French accent.

R: We met on Pablo’s first day, we were sitting next to each other. He looked weird, but nice. I met Minnie on the first induction day during the presentation at the Islington Assembly Hall. 

'My Kind' is your debut single - how did you got about writing it?

M: I was home schooled, then went to sixth form. It was a bit of a jump and so I was feeling out of place. It was a night where I couldn’t fall asleep and I just spammed lyrics into my phone. That’s how it came about. 

Do you now write together?

M: Yes, we have been writing an album so we have been writing together. Me and Raph write together, then we write as a band too. 

What is your process when it comes to instrumentation? 

R: It depends on the song. There are some we wrote together in a rehearsal room so with main guitar, bass, drums and vocals, then we take to the demo process where we added ambience, some form of synth and effects, sounds you might not necessarily hear. 

Adding sounds low in the mix is one of the most important parts of the creative process. You might not hear them but it makes the song sound better." 

How was playing the Islington Assembly Hall for the ICMP Freshers event? 

R: It was exciting. I remember at the start of the first song, only Minnie plays, then Pablo plays and the sound of the drum were so huge, it got me so excited.

I saw the audience and all of these people we didn’t know. It was like 'that’s a lot of people'. We’ve been playing gigs for less than six months so going from playing a small venue with 20 people to this huge space, it was so cool and motivating for us. 

P: It was a great professional experience, the sound is different to the pub, there are other technicalities you have to account for. That was a great thing for us to experience as a band. 

Your live set up is different to the traditional band set up - could you talk us through it? 

M: Yes, we don’t have any amps on stage. We all have amp simulators and pedal simulators and we run it through the front of house. 

R: It is convenient and allows us to have the same sound no matter where we go, this is the main advantage. Then on the mixing desk, you can have as many as tones as you want - instead of with a pedal board that can be more limiting, it gives us access to explore more tones and textures. 

Does this give you a consistency of sound? You manage to give everything similar depth? 

P: Yes and for consistency, playing to a click also helped us. Initially, it was hard to glue everything together. As me and Raph had been playing together for a bit, we understood each other, but we had to build a connection with the other members. 

What is your favourite song from your debut EP 'Bloodshot Eyes'?

R: For me, the song 'Dead' on the EP, it’s a banger

P: I would say 'Trapped'. I love the 6/8 feel of it.

M: It changes for me a lot. 'Dead' is a song where I think I properly found the sound for. I love 'Trapped' too. I can’t choose between them. 

It’s interesting that you have different answers? 

R: With the EP, me, Pablo and Alex have a different view compared to Minnie. When she made those songs, we were not in the band, we had nothing to do with the writing or recording process. They were almost like covers for us, then we put our own thing into it when playing live which is why we have our different favourites. 

How do you write songs now? 

M: For some of the songs on the album, I still started writing them on an acoustic, doing the vocals, then bringing it to the rest of the band. It’s always very natural as we’re so comfortable now and on the same wavelength with the music, especially for the album. It feels good to throw the ideas together and make them make sense. 

How do you go about finding gigs? 

M: We found a promoter through friends called Hot Vox who we have had a lot of gigs through. 

We played at the Freshers event, then a lot of other students got in touch to offer us more opportunities and have started to follow us on Instagram and attend our shows. That was really cool.

Visit for more information and look out for more music from them this year.

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

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To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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by ICMP staff writer
April 18, 2023
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