Words Zoe Cooney
Images Wayne Ye
The stars aligned when 16-year-old Minseo ‘Mintie’ Cho and 15-year-old Riley Allardice started playing music together in their grade nine music class.
Although they’re still in the early stages of writing songs and performing, this dynamic duo could easily slip into one of Hobart’s bustling pubs, colourful markets, or busy restaurants as a regular live act.
Mintie and Riley met last year after Riley moved to Tasmania from Western Australia. They were put in the same music class at school, where their friendship and passion for music quickly brought them together.
“It’s really fun having someone to play some music with and just chill out with,” Mintie says. Mintie sings and plays guitar, while Riley plays lead guitar over the top, experimenting with different riffs and solo melody lines. The pair is often asked to perform at school events, and has played a few gigs in venues across Hobart. The musicians have spent the past year experimenting and developing their sound, which they describe as having a chilled-out acoustic vibe, echoing the likes of Sticky Fingers and Triple J’s Like A Version.
The sky is the limit for Mintie and Riley, who let creativity take them as high as they can go. “We like to take songs and change them,” says Mintie. She adds that Riley doesn’t always know the song she brings into the mix: “I’ll just start playing and he’ll play along and make up a lead over it”. Riley chimes in, recalling the time they covered Jane S. Piddy by Rodriguez. Riley had no idea how the song went, but this gave him the creative freedom to do what he wanted with it.
When it comes to writing their own material, Mintie and Riley take inspiration from their lives as students (even their least-favourite teachers are not off-limits!). Now in their final year of high school, Mintie and Riley have a few years of musical experience under their belts. Mintie started learning the guitar in grade seven for a health assignment and Riley began when he was about 11 years old after rocking out on Guitar Hero 5.
When they are not at school, doing homework, or playing music, you can find the two absorbed in their own hobbies. Riley loves to ride bikes around Hobart and enjoys riding his BMX at skate parks, while Mintie visits an art studio down the road from her school where she brings the ideas in her notebook to life. She also plays basketball when the season is on, and likes camping and hanging out with her friends.
But music seems to be the number one passion for Mintie and Riley, and they both give insightful and honest reasons why it’s is so important to them.
“Everybody has this reality that we live in, and there are things that people do to try and escape from that for a little while because of things like stress,” Mintie explains. “I guess for a lot of people [the escape] is music.”
Riley continues by pounding on his chest, over the top of his heart, with a closed fist. “We were all born with a rhythm: da-doom, da-doom, da-doom. It’s a great thing to study to, great thing to do homework to, great thing to party to, a great thing to sleep to; anything.”
For now, Mintie and Riley are enjoying the music, friendship and creativity that brought them together a year ago. They have open minds about what the next few years hold for them; as individuals as well as band mates. Hopefully, we will see Mintie and Riley in the not too distant future performing at a gig in Hobart, and playing the music that makes them happy.