6th May 2012 4:45pm | By Editor
Frontman for Kiwi rock band Midnight Youth on wanting to be the biggest band to come out of NZ, and their first London gig
You put out a couple of early singles and paid for your own trip to New York – what fuelled this DIY spirit?
We just backed ourselves and our music. We didn’t have to think about it, really, we got an opportunity and weren’t about to let money or labels get in the way or hold up that dream.
Your first record, The Brave Don’t Run, was a global success – how did you deal with the pressure?
It was a strange situation. Yes, we’d had success in New Zealand and there was some pressure there, but for the rest of the globe, we were an unknown entity. We tried to think mainly of the rest of the world, so we could strive to make something great without thinking of that local pressure too much.
How was second record World Come Calling different to the first?
It was vastly different in almost every way. Most of the band were 18 when we wrote our first album, so we had grown up in life experience, music taste and as a live act, too.
And you recorded it back home ...
We recorded in Auckland rather than New York, in one studio instead of six, with a producer we knew rather than a stranger, and surrounded and fuelled by friends rather than the buzz of NYC.
Was the songwriting different?
We wrote songs that suited our live show rather than it being just a studio creation – we’re five young guys playing rock ‘n’ roll music and this album shows that.
How did you pick Who Said You’re Free as the first single to release?
We all had a vote in the band and it was the clear winner. It’s a bit of a statement single in terms of signalling a change in our sound to be slightly heavier, so it was good to be straight up and out first with that.
And is there anything in the pipeline for album three?
Honestly, we haven’t thought a whole lot about it – it will still be rocky, though, to help make us a successful international touring act in five years.
Why did you opt to cut off all your hair?
Once the Lord Of The Rings buzz had died down, the whole hobbit-cut got old quickly.
How have your relationships changed?
We know each other probably too well. As well as being a band together for the past six years, we’ve also been living together for the last two, so it’s definitely much more of a family now.
New Zealand’s a rock country – where else did you draw inspiration from?
For this record, a lot from the UK, especially that Nineties rock scene. We wanted to channel the attitude and grooves of bands like The Verve, The Stone Roses and Oasis. And I suppose it was Nineties all round as we took a lot from Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Jane’s Addiction.
How do you kill the downtime on tour?
The best thing to waste away time on tour is to explore wherever you are with some locals – there’s usually a hidden gem in every town ... even Canberra!
What’s been your best moment so far in the band?
Playing the Big Day Out main stage in our hometown in Auckland was amazing. Having the whole place sing your song back has got to be the highlight.
What has been your strangest gig?
We played a showcase to one man, Warner Bros VP Seymour Stein (who helped create the New Wave scene), in Auckland. It was bizarre as hell.
Are albums a collection of singles or a cohesive piece of work?
Ideally, it’s a cohesive account of where the band is at creatively at that point of time. We think about singles later on. Our first album was definitely a ‘collection of songs’ but most first albums are. It can take a few years of songwriting and growth to get that first one out.
Where do you stand on illegal downloading?
Downloading and streaming are the new radio in many ways – it’s how people discover music. It is the future as far as I can see and bands and the industry has to adapt to survive.
What are you expecting from your London show?
This will be our first ever visit to the UK, so it’s a mystery. We don’t have a lot of expectations, but hopefully we can get a fair few people in and make a good sweaty night of it.
Midnight Youth play Borderline on May 15 | £15
Orange Yard, W1D 4JB
Tube |Tottenham Court Road
Welcome to London’s summer of ‘nu-circus’, with hot performers bending their bodies all over...
Thousands of pretty young things are flying solo in London, but where are they?
Toast the summer with London’s top cocktails or a bargain beer: where to find cheap deals every...
When George Fredenham, one half of wild food outfit The Foragers, picks a flower and hands it to me,...
Vegetarians are in vogue thanks to the horse meat scandal. Here's TNT's guide to London's best...
Thrust your index and pinky fingers skyward in celebration of a year with stacks of gigs you can’t...
Afternoon Tea is an English institution, one that any visitor to London should endeavour to enjoy....