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Midnite City

Binnen één jaar twee albums uitbrengen gebeurt niet meer zo vaak. Het Engelse hardrock gezelschap Midnite City doet het echter gewoon. Maar wat nog veel leuker is, beide albums zijn ijzersterke melodieuze krakers geworden. Keyboardspeler Shawn Charvette is meer dan bereid ons uit de doeken te doen hoe deze Engelsen dit geflikt hebben.

Door: Wim R. | Archiveer onder hardrock / aor

First off, congrats on a very enjoyable second album ‘There Goes The Neighborhood’, how is the feedback up until now?
Thanks a lot, The reviews have begun coming in for ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’ and so far the feedback has been unbelievable! We're all really proud of this record and we pushed ourselves to better our self-titled debut album and we really believe we've done that, and then some! Some wondered that perhaps Midnite City got lucky with the first album and perhaps we're a ‘one hit wonder’ type band. When this album drops, people are going to know that Midnite City is the real deal. We're here to make a statement and here to kick this music scene square in the ass!

Your debut album is only one year old, and there is already a follow up, was it intentional to come with a second album this quick? Or did your label have demands to have a second album out that soon?
Well, on October 19th when we release ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’ it'll actually be exactly 364 days since we released our debut which means technically we will have released two full length studio albums in less than one year which is crazy, right? Due to the success of the first album our record label AOR Heaven was very keen for us to begin working on the follow up album. We hadn't planned on starting a new album due to us being on the road a lot in 2018. We played various times in Europe, toured the UK with Vega as well as playing many major festivals too, so all things considered it was a very busy year for us

If I understood your biography rightly, the songs for the first album were already done for a while before they were released under the Midnite City name. Are the songs on ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’ al freshly penned or are there some songs from the first sessions on the album?
No, every song on the new album is completely brand new. We didn't want to re-release a secnd version of the first album, which we easily could have done. We felt in order for the band’s sound to grow to the next level, we had to write fresh material for ‘There Goes The Neighbourhood’

The production job is impressive. How long did the recording take? Where did the recording take place? Was it a band in the studio session or were there long distance contributions?
Well, our drummer/producer Pete Newdeck is the man responsible for the production on the album(s). He, just like the rest of us, really excelled himself in all areas. He's had some fabulous ideas for production on the songs and he just has a relentless obsession for perfection which really shows and for me personally is great working in these conditions. I like to push myself beyond where i believed I could go also. The record took a total of around four months from start to end and took place at PNP Production, Tewkesbury which is the basement of Pete's house. The sessions took place in different locations. All the rhythm guitars, bass, percussion, lead vocals and backing vocals took place in Pete's studio. The .lead guitars all got recorded by our guitarist Miles Meakin in his home studio in Nottingham and finally all the keyboards were recorded by me in my home studio, also in Nottingham. Some ask me why I didn't go into the studio to record but just like the sessions for the first album, I enjoy being left alone with the songs in solitude, open a few bottles of Shiraz, light some candles and create an environment where i can really get the best out of myself.

Could you give us some insight on the production of the backing vocals. They are massive, how much time etcetera does it take to get it right?
Once again, Pete is the man responsible for this. He is a world class backing vocalist and arranger, which I believe that the actual arranging of backing vocals is an art form in itself and is sometimes overlooked. He spends more times than I care to mention on the songs! When we play live Pete, myself and our bassist Josh 'Tabbie' Williams all sing the harmonies written by Pete and we put as much effort into the rehearsal of them as we do rehearsing the songs. When backing vocals are done right, and well.. You can't help but love them can ya!

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Rob Wylde is the main and sole song writer for this album. Does this mean that the other guys have a say in what comes on the album or not? Or is everything set and done to record?
Rob is an extremely talented and gifted songwriter and has delivered some amazing work on this album as well as hitting some vocal notes I didn't even know he was capable of! Midnite City has a winning formula which worked amazingly well for the first album and we stuck to the same formula for the second album and it's worked even better this time around since we've had 12 months on the road together and all formed a strong bond. We utilize our individual strengths and when you put them all together you get Midnite City. Rob writes all the songs main sections, structure and lyrics and makes a demo of them. The songs then get sent to us all a few weeks before we go into the studio so we can all work out what we want to do on the songs. Rob then goes into the studio with Pete and records all the rhythm guitars, and vocals, Pete by this point already has recorded the drums and began arranging backing vocals. Josh then also travels to the studio to record his bass parts, again another person who raised the bar as he is a stunning bassist with the most amazing feel and natural sense of groove. Miles will then send his lead guitar arrangements and eye watering solos. Then finally, i like to leave what I write until the very end so I can hear exactly what the song sounds like with no keyboards on. That is when I can figure out where and what i need to write to enhance the songs as much as humanly possible. Pete then begins production of the final product. We all write and play from the heart and when you truly give yourself to a song, you leave a small piece of yourself with it forever and you can almost hear the idiosyncrasies your life upon the time of writing. On a personal note my two favourite songs on the album are ‘Heavens Falling’ and ‘Tonight You're All I Need’. When I was preparing the keyboard arrangements for those songs I was enduring a very difficult time in my personal life and used the songs as an emotional release. When you hear the ending sections in those songs it is the equivalent of a person tearing their heart out and laying it down as a piece of music. Midnite City is by no means a one man show and we are all able to fully express ourselves with each individual performance on each composition. That is why we continue to grow as a band because we all have ideas and we all work together as a unit.

Do any of you have side projects or bands just like Rob Wylde? He is a busy guy! Is Midnite City the main band/priority for the band members?
I'm glad you asked this question, you never know what goes on behind closed doors until you ask! A lot of us have various other things going on as well as Midnite City. Obviously Rob has Tigertailz, he also plays the part of Bret Michaels in a tribute band to Poison (Poizon) which I am also in playing the part of Bobby Dall on bass and that is how me and Rob first met! Josh is a deputy bassist for the famous heavy metal band Demon, he also plays with the band Lawless as well as some cover bands. Pete has a list as long as your arm doing mixing and production for various bands, his time performing now is solely that of Midnite City, but sometimes he does do the occasional show with a Bryan Adams tribute. Miles is probably the only sensible one of us and saves his time just for Midnite City along with his successful YouTube channel where he records many videos dedicating covers of his main musical influences, which is where Rob found him originally! Myself, I am known on the scene as a ‘Gig Whore’ which means i never turn down a show! It's very very rare i get a weekend away from being on the road. I play keyboards for an highly successful Guns n Roses tribute band (Guns or Roses), I play the part of Nikki Sixx (bass) in a Motley Crue tribute band (Motley Crude) and I work as a session player for various weddings, functions and tribute shows all over the UK and sometimes overseas. Midnite City is 100% without doubt all our main focus and priority. End of the day it is our own product and for it to succeed we must all be behind it fully and all push in the same direction.

Cn you tell something about the rock circuit in the UK? Is it possible to arrange a decent tour or string of dates to support the release? Any news of dates outside the UK?
The music scene in the UK is probably the best it has been in years. I have been playing in bands like this for ten years and it's never had the support and opportunities it does now. There are so many venues willing to add you to the bill and to arrange dates, so stringing dates together for a tour isn't as hard as you'd imagine. If you have the right marketing and publicist then it’s not difficult. October 19th we have our album launch as part of the Rockingham 2019 VIP After party which we are all stoked about! November 3rd we are playing the Communion Of Rock Festival in Pontypridd, South Wales. 1st December we fly to Germany to play HEAT Festival which again is going to be amazing and mid-December we have a Christmas show at Eleven in Stoke. February 8th we're at Rockmantic Valentines Weekend Festival in Carlisle. So the dates are building up and we're looking into a full UK tour for 2019 as well as some European appearances, so just watch this space!

Well, that is all. Do you have something to add or say that has not been covered by the above questions?
On behalf of the guys I’d just like to say thanks for inviting me to do this interview and a huge thanks goes to all our fans for all corners of the earth! Without you none of this would be possible so all our love goes out to you awesome people! We have a new official website and if you head to our Facebook page you can get in touch with us directly for signed merch, posters, cds and various t-shirt designs!

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