Mint Royale Biography

Mint Royale was started by UK DJs Neil Claxton and Chris Baker as part of a desire to branch away from house music. Claxton had already found rewards in production work as part of the Development Corporation, remixing for artists such as Gabrielle and the Stone Roses, and also helping with production work on the successful Urban Cookie Collective project. Baker had previously been a part of Pure Silver. The two men met at college, but hooked up again at a party in 1997 and joined forces as the Mint Gun CluTheir debut project, ‘Get Set’/‘Eel’, was released on Skint Records later that year and quickly led to higher profile work as the duo remixed hits by Kenickie (‘I Would Fix You’) and Terrorvision (‘Tequila’). The name change to Mint Royale followed, and after signing to Faith & Hope the duo released the disco-flavoured ‘Deadbeat’. The b-side of this release, ‘Deadbeat (Version)’, found its way into the sets of Norman Cook and Boy George among others. In early 1999 the duo released another single, ‘Rock And Roll Bar’, followed by the jaunty, sitar-led, ‘From Rusholme With Love’. ‘Shake Me’, featuring vocals from Gail Hebson, was released three months later. Mint Royale’s long-playing debut On The Ropes (1999) proved to be a carnival of varied musical styles, taking in ska, big beat, easy listening and pure pop as in the outstanding ‘Don’t Falter’, a collaboration with ex-Kenickie singer Lauren Le Laverne. This reached the UK Top 20 in January 2000, and was followed by ‘Take It Easy’, that incorporated a sample from Andy Kim’s 1974 US chart-topper, ‘Rock Me Gently’.

Claxton and Baker’s increasing prominence both as DJs and as a live act garnered them a significant following among the UK and US music press. Their second album Dancehall Places (2002) repeated the formula of its predecessor and generated a second UK hit single, ‘Sexiest Man In Jamaica’. The duo subsequently embarked on their first proper live tour, taking in appearances at all the major festivals during 2003. During recording sessions for a third album, however, Chris Baker announced he was leaving Mint Royale. Claxton completed the recording of the album with the usual roster of guest singers, and even made his vocal debut on the track ‘My Heart Is Beating Fast’. See You In The Morning was preceded by the single release of Mint Royale’s remix of Gene Kelly’s ‘Singin’ In The Rain’, used earlier in the year in a striking television advertisement for the Volkswagen Golf.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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