Chilling with Anastasia Minster

Chilling with Anastasia Minster


It was a sunny but cold winter’s day when I sat down with a new emerging artist Anastasia Minster. I first met her in a coffee house on piano singing some haunting jazz while her creative partner painted a beautiful and unique kind of themed portrait. Anastasia is one half of a duo team called Watercolour Jazz. It is a unique concept that envelops jazz music and live creation. This is something that should get more attention from the art community, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let us simply begin with the begin…

BT – How did you start, how did you get to Canada and begin your musical journey?

AM – I was born in Moscow, Russia and started as a teenager and I was in quite a few bands. In my early twenties, I began to start my solo career and started writing my own songs. I used a grand piano for that, and quite soon, I started my own band.

BT – What was the name of your band?

AM – It was Anastasia Minster.

BT – AH, Ok keep it simple.

AM – It started as A Minster to make it more mysterious. When I moved to Canada five years ago, I had to start everything from scratch here.

BT – And how did you find that journey, coming to Toronto and discovering the musical scene here?

AM – It was very difficult, it is hard to describe, when you are born somewhere else and   grow up that is your home. When you come here you don’t know anyone or have any connection, so you have to build it all here. At the same time you are going through a huge identity crisis as an immigrant. It wasn’t easy but I did manage to find the right people fairly quickly. We started to play together and recorded the album,” Hour of the Wolf”.

If you didn’t know Anastasia Minster, she has a limited release CD out now. Hour of the Wolf will be part of my review in the next little while, so stayed tuned to read and understand this rare and uncommon recording. Let’s just say if you like dark and quiet places, this review is made for you.

BT – Who did you connect with here, musicians, people in the industry?

AM – Those would be mostly jazz musicians. I also met a great sound producer and sound engineer which was big luck that I found them, because the producer is quite unique.

BT – You can give him a shout out, what is his name?

AM – His name is Jeff McMurrich.

BT – When I first met you, there were two artists called Watercolour Jazz. What I loved is that there are two different artists doing their own thing at the same time. Ksenia Sapunkova , the painter seems to be getting influence through the music you create. How do the two of you work together?

AM – It’s just like you said, we inspire each other and every time we get together, we create a new piece each time. We feel very connected with each other, it’s really wonderful and I am glad we started that.

BT – Do you talk about themes before hand? I see different ideas come out of each show.

AM – Yes, we don’t really pick a theme, but we pick a song and then we know what the theme is going to be. The lyrics are full of symbolism, so there is a look we can explore.

BT – What came first the chicken or the egg? In this case was it the painting influencing the music or the other way around.

AM – We had the album first and the paintings came out after that. My music is mostly dictated through my experiences and what is happening in my life. So now what is happening at this point, I am working on a new album. It is going to be quite different.

I am collaborating with some really intelligent and talented musicians. The new direction will have more electronics, more pads and some samples. I really like to work with other people and that feeling of collaboration. That is how I connect.

BT – So with the musicians you are working with, would you tour and bring these people along and showcase them?

AM – I am definitely thinking of touring at this point.

BT – How far out would you like to stretch this tour out?

AM – I don’t think I can do it in Canada, but Toronto and Montreal I can see. Also, in Europe. I can see my music is getting some more attention in Europe. I like to have my audience sit back and absorb what I am playing.

With that said, I think Anastasia is a very wise young woman to go this route. Europe is very rich and open to many kinds of music. Montreal also has a thriving jazz scene that would work well with her sound. Toronto, her home base is just waking up to a growing jazz scene, and I hope she catches a wave to ride and to influence our variety of sounds in this great city. I believe she could become a strong asset as she explores and experiences the rich vibrations this city is known for. We just need to explore and experience it as well, so go out and discover someone new to enjoy. You can start with Anastasia Minster.

Here are some more images of Anastasia Minster:

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To get more info on this up and coming artist go to…

To learn more about Watercolour jazz go to…

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