Minster Hill

Howard Herrick
Ten years is a long time to wait for anything. But that’s exactly how long fans of New Jersey based rock outfit Minster Hill have been clamoring for a follow up to their critically acclaimed self titled debut.
Just released this fall, "Capturing Clouds in a Bottle", Minster Hill's sophomore disc features a completely different sound than what fans are used to. The surreal imagery and insightfully sarcastic lyrics remain but the folk-influenced sound that dominated their debut has been replaced by a decidedly more polished power pop/rock sound.

Though there has been a decade long space between albums, Minster Hill front man Howard Herrick has not been idle. “I spent most of the last few years honing my skills, just basically starting from scratch again.” In that time he recorded over 100 songs and acted as the Executive Music Producer on the Renee Zelwegger and Kevin Bacon movie My One and Only.

At 44 years old Herrick is not your typical musician. He’s a father and husband who is much more concerned with making good music than with touring and enjoying the lifestyle that comes with it, and that mind state is reflected in his writing.“ As you get older you really do mellow out. I’ve actually watched and noticed how I’ve changed as a writer, I started out not following any rules at all and as I’ve gotten older I realized how much structure means and realized how much you really need to have elements to make that song stick in the listeners head.”

Aside from Herrick’s improved songwriting skills he also had to deal with the change in how to market and sell music since he last released an album. “I look at the internet as a whole new world and I feel like I had to completely start over and figure out how to reach my listeners.” The solution to this problem was creating a one stop shop of sorts in howardherrick.com, where the MH front man streams and sells his music but also showcases his photography, sculptures and a forthcoming children’s book/CD companion package.  

How do you describe your music to people, Howard?
"Minster Hill a place where power-pop music florishes from the seedlings of greats like Cheap Trick, Weezer and the Beatles"

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Record, write, play, listen, read,,,,,,,,

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Making money to be able to make more music!

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I thought I'd be a football coach or involved in my Father's work.
However, I "hoped" to be creating music as young as I could remember.

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
Since I do not tour my community has really had very little impact.
I do get the opportunity to inspire and show other younger musicians that live in my area what I do and that is very satisfying.

What other artists out there do you love?
The Beatles          The Who
Cheap Trick         Squeeze
XTC                    Jeff Buckley
The Cars              James Taylor
Bread                   Genesis
Yes                      King Crimson
Jethro Tull            Flaming Lips
Wilco                   Led Zeppelin
Jellyfish                 Kinks
Badfinger              Raspberries
Big Star
and many many more!!!!!

What does your future hold?
I am currently writing songs for a new cinematic thriller out next year.
I would love to, much more often, release albums of my music.
I have a new pop record coming out the first quarter of 2010.
I also have an acoustic record, an Alternative Folk, Americana record in the can. I have been working on a progressive rock record, as well as a female vocal record in the style of Barbara Streisand meets Anita Baker.
I also would love to more often write for recording artists.
My long term goals, as of today, is to write for film and Broadway.