Minni Rider is a Croatian singer, songwriter, musician, producer and a mixing engineer currently based in Berlin.

Minni first came to our attention via a Suzanne Kraft remix of ‘Fool’ from her excellent 2017 debut EP ‘Dark Horse’. Les Inrockuptbles magazine in France described one of the songs as “a solitary journey on the dancefloor” which is a very apt description; the EP has an up to date electronic music sound with a part 80s, part trip-hop vibe with lots of sensuality, intimacy and a certain melancholic but still hopeful mood.

We are looking forward to Minni’s next release, her first full length album as Minni Rider which is due to be released in autumn 2020 via the Sonar Kollektiv record label with a couple of singles to be released in late spring/early summer.

So, tell us a litlle about yourself?

I’ve been a musician for a long time now. I started playing classical guitar at the age of 7. Later I carried on playing in bands. Eventually I started my own projects. Also, for the past 8-9 years or so I’ve been working as a sound-engineer and recently I started producing other artists too.

I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to do what I like doing and I’m very grateful for that. Of course there are ups and downs as in any other job but ultimately I get to do what I love doing, and mostly with nice people too.

I’ve had various projects for the past 15 years but with the latest one – “Minni Rider” – I’ve dug much deeper into production and mixing of my own music, not only composing and performing. And this is the main difference I think, although I do this kind of 80s sounding stuff now (in comparison to my work from 7-8 years ago). At the same time, I like experimenting with different instruments that then influence the genre of music. According to my track record I seem to keep wanting to change things, so in five years time I might be doing something a bit different. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

Which artists have been the greatest influence on your musical style?

I’m very much rooted In the sound of the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve always loved Roxy Music, Sade, Eurythmics, Grace Jones, Dire Straits, Leonard Cohen, Kate Bush, Depeche Mode. I guess those would be my main influences. And actually club music from the 80s and 90s too, like house music and techno.

What is your cuisine of choice?

Well….lately I’ve very much been into Italian food. I was recently on tour with a Berlin based Italian artist called Missincat so she got me into pasta lately a lot more! I love the regular bolognese, it always feels so nourishing, but I also love seafood pasta, of course the seafood needs to be fresh and not frozen and then it’s great. It’s not easy to make good pasta I think so when it’s good – it’s really good. I also do like french cuisine a lot. Maybe that would be my cuisine of choice! All the amazing sauces and the vine… I could probably eat that all the time. Japanese is something that I love but don’t think would be able to eat every day.

Maybe when in Japan! And every now and then I get a craving for something of my mum’s cooking. Something Croatian that I grew up with…

As a Croatian who has lived and worked in both Berlin and London, have you found anywhere in either city with authentic Croatian food?

Well it’s a bit of a shame but I haven’t found a good Croatian restaurant either in the UK or in Berlin. Maybe I just didn’t search well!

Pašticada... is a special dish that is prepared only once or twice a year because it takes 2-3 days to prepare

Which dishes of your mums do you like to cook, tell us about those?

OK so the first one would be a dish called “Pašticada”. This is a special dish that is prepared only once or twice a year because it takes 2-3 days to prepare it. It’s basically a type of “Dalmatian Slow Cooked Beef Stew” but for this dish we use meat that is a little bit older than veal and younger than beef. I’m not sure whether there’s an English word for it. You take a lean piece of meat, about 3-4 pounds, and you keep in it vinegar for about 2-3 days. You also drill little holes in the meat in which you place cloves of garlic and pancetta. It gives more aroma to the meat. After 2-3 days you cook it for hours in sweet red wine called Prošek (not to be confused with Prosecco), regular red wine, a little bit of brandy and lots of vegetables like carrots, prunes, apples, onions etc. Then you sort of blend the vegetables in the end so they make this thick sauce infused with wine and brandy and meat. You serve it with gnocchi which should be home made. My mum does is amazingly well. All my friends love it!

Grilled fish & Blitva would be my next choice. It’s a very simple dish but it’s always so good. In Croatia we put only olive oil, garlic and parsley on the fish – nothing else. No sauces! And the spices should be added once the fish is grilled. My favourite fish would be grilled seabass or grilled sardines. “Blitva” is the Croatian Swiss chard; a smaller, younger version of the Swiss chard found in England I think. We eat it when it’s still quite small and soft. The chard should be boiled in salty water and when it’s cooked you mix it up with 2-3 boiled potatoes, and cover it in olive oil, a little bit of chopped garlic, salt and pepper. That’s it! No sauces!

Do you have any interesting food related facts?

Once I had a thing called Hákarl in Iceland which is basically fermented shark. I almost fainted.

In Croatia the traditional food you have for Christmas is called “Bakalar” which is cod caught and dried in Norway. It’s prepared as a stew. It’s a bit strange that we import cod all the way from Norway when we have the Adriatic sea. There is no cod in the Adriatic though. The sea is too warm. I read somewhere that the tradition was started in the 15th century when an Italian tradesman started importing dried fish for the poor who lived in that region because the poor couldn’t afford fresh fish.

What’s usually on the stereo whilst you’re cooking?

Well recently I’ve been playing Desert Island Discs which is probably my favourite podcast. I also put on Discover Weekly on Spotify. Generally it’s a good moment for me to put on something that I haven’t listened to before, and then kind of flow with it in the background without focusing too much on it. If something comes on that catches my attention, then I walk over to the computer and see who it is, give it a star so it goes into a folder. Then I explore it further later with more focused attention. I also like listening to jazz while cooking. My favourite would be John Coltrane and Miles Davies.

Who would be your dream dinner party guests?

Tracey Thorn, Thom Yorke, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Brian Eno and Beck. And my friend Pitr.

We hear you have a new release coming up on Sonar Kollektiv, a record label we love and we look forward to that. Can you tell us a bit more about that, will there be a tour?

Yes I’m very happy to be releasing on Sonar Kollektiv. I used to listen to Jazzanova (founders of Sonar Kollektiv) when I was in high school actually and they were one of my favourite bands so it kind of feels like magic a bit.. My new album should come out in autumn 2020 with a couple of singles coming out earlier in spring/summer time. We’re working on the timeline and strategy at the moment. I have a solo tour coming up in February supporting Missincat again. And hopefully I’ll be coming to the UK next year too!

Please can you recommend a song for our playlist?

About The Author

David Farrer

David Farrer

David is the founder of EAT HEAR and co-founder of food and drink communications agency Fourteen Ten. Previous to launching a food and drink agency David spent a decade working in music publicity and had the idea for EAT HEAR in the notion that music and food, arguably the most important things in life, should be explored together.

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