Interview: Fly By Midnight
T&D had a chance to catch up with Fly By Midnight before a recent NYC show at Mercury Lounge. They shared a bit on their backgrounds, 80’s influences, and the scoop on their latest video. Watch the video for “Vinyl” below.
T&D: Tell me a bit about your musical backgrounds.
Justin: We both have very different backgrounds.
Slavo: Um, I have been here for three years. I grew up in Florida.
T&D: Oh neat. What part?
Slavo: Central. Yeah, so I went to college for a year. I was playing college football. Decided it wasn’t for me. Dropped it.
T&D: What position?
Slavo: Quarterback. In high school, I did that whole thing in high school. Decided to move to New York and pursue music. I found a program that was really cool, and worked in a studio for about a year and a half. Then, I ended up in a spot where I wasn’t sure about my next move. I ended up finding a studio in Staten Island that Justin was working in. At the time, he was working on a solo project and we just teamed up. That’s really how Fly By Midnight got started. As far as background, I grew up playing mostly rock music. I’ve been playing guitar my whole life.
T&D: Did your parents play music?
Slavo: It’s funny, my mom is like the opposite of music. She claps on the 1 & 3. On the same note, she’s the reason I listened to some of my favorite music.
T&D: My family was definitely the same way.
Justin: That’s a big thing for us too. Both of our families and friends were so supportive from day one. It’s tough for up & coming artists to have that support. Even if we didn’t want to push forward, we have to get our shit together.
T&D: Ha. Absolutely. What about you, Justin? How did you get started?
Justin: My story is a little less Troy Bolton.
Slavo: Oh. This is awkward.
Justin: I was the theater geek. Starred in all of the school plays. Then I thought pop music was the better path towards winning the girls.
T&D: That’s funny.
Justin: But yeah, my parents loved 80’s music. That was a huge influence for me and really came into play when we first got to Brooklyn. I remember I wanted to write a song about a girl I met at Brooklyn College.
Slavo: It’s funny. I remember I had never produced 80’s music.
Justin: And it’s cool to our music and pick apart our influences. Lately, it’s been Jon Bellion and 1975. Billy Joel is a big one.
T&D: What’s your favorite Billy Joel song?
Slavo: “Scenes From a Tiny Restaurant,” for sure.
Slavo: Yeah, I’m actually going to a Billy Joel concert in Florida. With my entire family. Pretty pumped about it.
T&D: Man. Billy Joel in Florida. I bet that’s an experience.
Justin: I love “Tell Her About It.” There’s so many great records that he has done.
T&D: What about some of your 80’s favorites?
Justin: I love “Lose Your Love” by the Outfield, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” anything from Hall and Oates or TOTO. I mean, the 80’s are so best and a bit cheesy, to be honest. We’ve labeled ourselves as retro pop, which is so funny because it’s all over the place now. I mean, every time we go to Urban Outfitters we see cassettes and polaroid cameras.
T&D: I won’t lie, I am totally all up in it. I’m that girl that walks around with my polaroid camera.
Justin: It’s nice timing. It kind of fell in our lap.
Slavo: When we released “Brooklyn,” it was so well received. Even the video is a little cheesy. We embrace it, but we are still growing and progressing. We just filmed the video for “Vinyl” and the colorist is working on it. Excited to be sharing it soon.
T&D: How would you describe the video?
Slavo: Have you seen our cover videos? It’s a mature version of our cover videos. With this one, we’re going for something more cinematic. The song “Vinyl” is really about how Tinder and the way that relationships have changed . We wanted to translate that into visuals. This song is also about warmth and getting back to the natural feeling of meeting someone. We really weren’t trying to do something that pushed the boundaries too far. This is really just how we felt when we were in the process of making it and we think that comes through when you watch.
Justin: The fact that you can’t go up to a girl and say “hello” at a bar and that it’s perceived so negatively.
T&D: Have you been on a really bad Tinder date?
Justin: We went on a double Tinder date.
T&D: Do you not use dating apps anymore?
Slavo: It’s weird – it’s almost frustrating. At first glance, if you say hello – you’re immediately creepy. We’re trying not to be hypocrites.
T&D: I mean, I agree with you. I think people are on auto-pilot.
Slavo: Imagine these kids that are dealing with it. They’re desensitized. It’s even worse.
T&D: It’s not ideal.
T&D: Okay, so you have the show tonight and a couple of releases. What else do you all have mapped out? Any big plans in the next few weeks or months?
Justin: Tonight, being our first headlining show, it’s a really big show for us. A year ago we never would have been able to draw a fan base in NYC. Now, in the New Year, it’s about growing the project to new heights. Hearing out labels, management, and taking on more exciting endeavors.
Slavo: More original content is definitely something to expect. We’ve built up a nice arsenal of music since the start of this project and we’re getting restless with the fact that it lives privately in our computers. With that being said, we’ll still continue to create and discover new sonic avenues.
Justin: When you just said sonic I pictured us rolling around like little blue hedgehogs *laughs*