Minute Taker is the moniker of British singer-songwriter/producer Ben McGarvey. Previously an office daydreamer, he now spends his hours crafting his emotive, nostalgic songs in his small home studio on the Pennine moors, surrounded by synthesisers, gadgets and cats.
His latest 80s-inspired synth-pop album Wolf Hours came out in January 2022 following a successful crowdfunding campaign in which fans pledged a total of £20,000 in support of the release. The album includes the singles The Darkest Summer, Lead You Home and After The Rain (featuring Bright Light Bright Light) which has received airplay on BBC Radio 2.
The album's music videos are taken from an audiovisual show, also called Wolf Hours, that Minute Taker developed and toured in 2019-20 in collaboration with various LGBTQ+ filmmakers. Funded by Arts Council England, Waterside Arts and Superbia at Manchester Pride, each short film explores the psyche of a gay man at a different point in time. Lead You Home, set between 1981 and 1918, depicts a love story between two star-crossed World War 1 soldiers, whereas The Darkest Summer recalls idyllic memories of a day at the seaside in 1989 with a former lover, now lost to the sands of time.
Along with releasing two other acclaimed albums (Too Busy Framing and Last Things), several EPs and official remixes for Yazoo and Erasure, Minute Taker has gained a reputation for his inventive cover versions of classic songs by some of his favourite artists including Tori Amos, Depeche Mode, Madonna and Pet Shop Boys. Many of these were recorded exclusively for Secret Songs, a series of homemade albums available for fans via a Patreon-esque subscription service. With over 400 supporters Secret Songs plays a key role in allowing Minute Taker to sustain a career as a fully independent artist in the digital age.
Find out more about Secret Songs here.
In 2021 Minute Taker performed his haunting piano cover of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill live at the Manchester Pride Vigil. A remix of the song by Matt Pop was released by FYLF Music to raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Aside from the release of Wolf Hours, 2022 has also seen two collaborations with his good friend and fellow synth-pop artist Color Theory, along with I Don’t Understand (Song for Ukraine), a song Minute Taker wrote and released in order to raise money for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal who provide vital support to families fleeing the Russian invasion.
'Wolf Hours' and all of Minute Taker's releases are now available worldwide from the Minute Taker Store here.