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Formed in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2007, MINT JULEP is the husband-and-wife team of Keith and Hollie Kenniff. Subsequently relocating to Portland, Oregon, the duo cut a limited release album, Songs About Snow, in 2008 and the EP, Adorn, in 2010 – effectively a trial run for further recording in their home studio, the fruit of which is a sublime follow-up, Save Your Season, released by Village Green in 2011. The couple is currently writing and recording their next album, Broken Devotion, which is slated for release in mid 2013.
Hallmarked by Hollie’s seductive, dreamy vocals and a succession of memorably soaring choruses, all of it etched with Keith’s vivid, glinting keyboards, towering guitars and miscellaneous instrumental hooks, Mint Julep make lustrous modern pop music that is wistful and mellifluous yet simultaneously powerful, even epic – equal parts shoegazing romanticism and cool, Kraftwerkian polish. Their songs seem instantly familiar, like old musical friends, a ’classicism’ offset by the freshness and luminosity they exude as they usher you on a breathless ride through the sunlit uplands of electronic indie-rock.
Mint Julep was designed as a conscious departure from Keith’s previous, ambient-orientated projects. “When Hollie and I set out to do something, I wanted to find some way to incorporate her vocals into a slightly different style, rather than just write similar material to my solo work and lay her vocals over top”, he says. “I had the need to write something that had some distorted guitars, loud drums and was a little bolder than what I had previously done. We messed around with a track one night (which became ‘Stay’) and it was a fun process, so we just kept writing more songs so we could do a project together.”
Soon a working pattern emerged, with Keith composing music around Hollie’s lyrics or making tracks which Hollie would then add to. “It just developed after a lot of trial and error, and after a while the material started to plateau and began to sound like an album…”
A Pennsylvannian by birth, Keith Kenniff is an honors graduate of Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music, best known as the brains behind dulcet ambient/electronic practitioners Helios and the fingers on the ivories of post-classical piano minimalists Goldmund (the latter’s music once described by no less an authority than Ryuichi Sakamoto as “…so, so, so beautiful…”). A succession of albums under those aliases has made Kenniff the darling of discerning critics and his music has also been widely used in film, television and advertising, not least on the soundtrack to the 2012 documentary Bones Brigade, as well as composing for clients such as Apple, Facebook and Google.
Originally from Ohio, singer Hollie Kenniff maintains dual US/Canadian citizenship, having spent part of her life in Ontario. Aside from Mint Julep, she has collaborated on several additional musical endeavors in tandem with husband Keith, including a children’s music project, Meadows (inspired by the couple’s young son), whose debut longplayer was recently released, and an ambient diversion under their own names. An album of the latter, A Deep and Dreamless Sleep, is slated for release in 2013.