Midnight Youth Interview
Simon Oscroft from Midnight Youth
What made you guys come together as a band in the beginning?
“We all had a really strong band community in our high school. Our school had practicing rooms and bands were encouraged. We started at 16 or 17 and entered in a high school band competition where we came in second place out of thousands of other bands. This really gave us initiative.
To someone who has never listened to your music, how would you describe your sound?
“We’re a rock and roll band. We wanna write great songs and melodies; we’re not writing songs for the dance floor. We still write personal and intimate things. We’re a rock band with folk and pop sensibility.”
What was recording your first album like?
“It was amazing. We were 21 years old and we came to New York. We lived in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn where we all slept next to each other. We recorded in 3 weeks and it was amazing. We were in a city we’d never been in.”
What was the first tour you were on? Which has been your favorite?
“It took awhile to get on tour because we lived in Auckland, NZ. We played locally for a couple of years. Our first proper tour was in Australia with some Australian bands, and it was 25 shows in 30 days. We drove around in a van for 8 hours a day and played at night. It was amazing. I’d say it was the best one so far because it was our first. It felt fresh and clean.
What was your reaction when you found out that “The Letter” was a Top 40 hit in New Zealand in 2009?
“We were surprised but relieved because we’d been together since 2005 and waited 4 years to break through. We were pretty confident that the song would be able to make it. It made us feel vindicated.”
Have your ever heard yourself on the radio? What was it like?
In New Zealand, we’d be driving down the road and our own song would come on, and we’d get embarrassed and shut it off. It was sort of like sleepwalking. We were relieved it was getting radio play. It felt like Christmas.”
Tell us about the 2009 New Zealand Music Awards. Did you guys expect to win 3 awards?
“No, we didn’t expect it. It was a huge honor. We were nominated for 8 awards and thought we’d win 0. You never really believe you’re going to win anything. It was a great acknowledgement of the work we’ve done and we were lucky to have support from our own country.”
Which one of you would you say is the craziest?
“Our bass player (Matt Warman). He’s been crazy enough here in San Francisco. He probably won’t make it out; he’ll end up sitting around with a bunch of bums and smoking with them. He’s like a hippie. He’ll end up stuck in this city.”
Are you currently working on a new album?
“No. We’re trying to get select shows or just whatever we can get. We’ve got enough stuff to play live and have some deals in Europe for our current record. The experience we’ll get in the next few months will be inspiration for a new record.”
What do you turn to for inspiration?
“Usually change. Our first record was inspired by living at home without parents and struggling. We lived in a band house all together in Australia; now, we’ve moved back to New Zealand. Change is what creates inspiration. There will be new experiences to write about. Constant movement and change is what has inspired us.
Interesting fact about the band?
“We seem to always wind up in strange situations. We see celebrities that normal people would get star struck about. They always end up in our houses or we end up in theirs. This one time, our friend brought Hayley Williams over and she sat and ate ice cream and watched TV. All these 14 year old girls on Twitter went crazy because she tweeted saying to check us out. This stuff just randomly happens to us. One time we were in Los Angeles and we snuck into Perez Hilton’s birthday party. We pretended like we were from South Africa and sat with Paris Hilton and Christina Aguilera.
Anything else you’d like to say?
“We’re really excited about an American following. We’ve always had a fascination about the States the way Americans do with Australia. We’ve got a passion to release the record and tour the USA and it feels like there are good vibes building up around us.”