For those who got to the Vogue early enough on the night of the Decibel tour, Ohio-based lust, filth, and sleaze merchants Midnight probably don’t need any introduction. For those who missed their set, you fucked up – I guarantee you no other band in the history of the Decibel tour have ever started their set by destroying instruments, as they’ve been doing on most stops on the tour. We caught up with main man Athenar for a brief chat about the band. The best part? A new full-length later this summer. Get excited!
Indy Metal Vault: I knew that Midnight was a pretty prolific band, but until I was doing a bit of research for this interview I had no idea exactly how prolific. You’ve got to have close to 30 releases, but what’s even more remarkable is how consistent they’ve all been in terms of their quality. I’m curious as to your songwriting process. I remember a piece in Decibel a few years back where you said something to the effect that you wrote a new song every day while taking your morning piss. Roughly how many of those songs end up making it onto Midnight releases? Do you have a backlog of songs or riffs that you’re drawing from, or do you start over with each new release?
Athenar: The morning pizz songs are usually not heavy metal at all. They’re more likely to be top 40 chart toppers in the 70’s or 80’s. When a song comes around you just have to grab it. There are no backlog of riffs, you make up a song then deal with it. Sometimes of course you have to tweak the nipples but that’s all in a days work.
IMV: Speaking of how consistent the band has been over the years, Midnight is kind of like Motörhead or Cannibal Corpse in that whenever you put out something new, your audience pretty much knows what to expect. Are you ever tempted try something different?
A: Different like jamming a finger up my butthole? No. Not sure about that CC reference, but I just do what comes out, ya know? Don’t overthink anything.
IMV: So there are two difference versions of Shox of Violence – the MLP that just has the four new songs, and the CD/digital version that has an additional 20+ live tracks, covers, etc. What was the thinking behind doing two versions? You’ve done a 2xLP compilation before – why not do so again?
A: The idea was not to release a cd with just 4 songs on it. So as a bonus we put all those songs which have not yet appeared on cd format. More bang for your buck, kinda like the whore houses in Germany that are not in the popular tourist area.
IMV: How did Midnight end up on this year’s Decibel tour? Both in terms of your music and the band’s image, you seem like the outliers in what seems like a less varied lineup than in years past. Will that change the way you approach your set at all, given that you might not be playing for the kind of audience your used to?
A: The kind folks at Decibel axed us to play, we accepted. Never was really worried what people think of us musically or personally. I think if somebody is going to the Decibel concert they probably expect to hear distorted guitars, bass and drums played in the style of heavy metal.
IMV: I always like to ask about live rigs. Your bass and guitar tones are pretty straightforward, so I don’t imagine you have a huge pedalboard. What does your live setup look like? I’m particularly curios about what distortion pedal you use.
A: Yeah I prefer to keep things simple, less shit can go wrong. I just use a Boss bass overdrive for the bass. I think Vanik uses a Tube Screamer and a wah pedal.
IMV: What’s next for Midnight? Any splits or anything in the works for later this year?
A: There’s a new full length lp to be released on Hells Headbangers in late summer. I’m about to record another lp to be released probably in 17 months or so.
Clayton T. Michaels (Senior Editor) is a mild-mannered college English teacher by day, and a craft beer drinking, black metal and grindcore loving misanthrope by night. He’s also an award-winning poet and rabid Red Sox fan. Send him your promos at [email protected] You can also find him posting pictures of black metal cassettes and beer can labels on Instagram as @ironhops.