Interview with Midnight from Midnight
by Orpheus Spiliotopoulos at 08 March 2005, 11:08 PM
When Crimson Glory's 3rd album's recordings were completed (Strange And Beautiful, 1991) the Heavy Metal world was shocked by the band's charismatic voice's resignation. Who could expect after all when Midnight stated that he wanted time off from music to be with his family that it would take him 15 entire years of almost complete inactivity to return now, in 2005, under the solo mask granted by the Greek Black Lotus Records? With Sakada being the title of his official comeback album but also the name of a weird insect (you'll find out more by reading this interview), the most friendly but also mysterious (in his own unique way as a person) Midnight got the third degree by Eleni and me. An interview which might solve quite a few questions of yours…
First of all, since we’re from an online magazine, I’d like to ask you what your opinion is concerning the internet, mp3 downloads etc.
Oh, that’s a good one, no one’s asked me that yet. Well, it’s good and it’s bad. I think it’s good because it’s easy access for people to hear music but…what really bothers me, what has always bothered me is…\[staring at the tape recorder]
Damn, I look guilty or something…
Yeah! \[Laughs] No, really, that I really hate…I really, really don’t like that, man.
Yeah but bootlegs have been going on for centuries, from the beginning of time…
I suppose so! The problem is that there are a lot of bootlegs out there from shows that maybe I didn’t sleep for two days and I drunk a twelve-pack before I went on the stage and then it sounds pretty bad and people judge you by that.
By one show.
Yeah, they judge you by just one show. That’s the problem.
I did a little online research on Sakada (debut solo album). I didn’t find it online for download.
Oh, no, no, you won’t find it! I was very, very careful! This is important to me. It’s so special to me that it needs to be protected very much. No one has a copy, man. I didn’t even give it out to my best friends; they don’t even have it. I’m very, very cautious about that. When it comes out of course it’s going to be all over the place…\[Laughs]
So it’s good and it’s bad (the Internet). Sometimes it helps to sell music and sometimes it’s obviously not good.
Eleni: But when your solo album’s out, the lyrics will be on your personal website, won’t they? Which means that you do use the Internet…
On my site? No. There’s some lyrics on my site right now but these are just things that I’m giving to my fans as a present.
Eleni: I thought you never wanted the lyrics to be in the album though…
No, I don’t. Because the artwork’s very important to me. I don’t want a small booklet. I want a big beautiful booklet with nice illustrations, like we used to have with the albums, you know, where we could pull it out and open it and things like that. So, it’s important to me. It’s not about keeping it away from people and trying to sell it…It’s about the art and it’s important to me, really.
Well, it’s been a long time since you’ve been active.
Yeah, it’s been a long time indeed. And I’ve been sitting on a couch most of the time \[Laughs]
That’s a nice way of putting it! \[Laughs]
…or in a cave or in the pool…Inactive is a good word I think, yeah.
A lot of people have been wanting me to ask you what took you so long?
It took me so long because I had to wait for the right time, man.
That’s a lot of years.
I know. I had to wait for the right time. In my life, I’ve learned a long time ago to go down the river and not to try and swim up it. The spirits that surround me – and I think maybe people can hear that in my music because it’s very strong – they tell me what to do and they always lead me in the right path and I’ve learned not to fight that. There’s been many time where I felt I wanna do it now but then something would happen and I’d go OK, it’s not meant to happen now, I’ll have to wait another fucking 5 years or so.
It sort of seemed that when you left Crimson Glory, right after the recording of Strange And Beautiful (1991), you said you wanted to take time off to be with your wife, right?
And it seemed as if you were completely quitting on music.
I almost did. I mean, I could never quit completely because it’s inside of me and it’s got to come out or I’ll go crazy; crazier than I am already. It’s always going to be part of me and it’s always been but I wanted to try and make my family work; that was part of it. I had a little daughter and she didn’t see daddy for a long time and I wanted her to know who daddy was.
You wanted to devote.
Yeah, so I thought you know what, I’m going to quit music, work and make money and come home every night to my family; try to be a family man, nine to five and…it’s not who I am. It didn’t work! \[Laughs]
It wasn’t meant to happen…
It wasn’t meant to happen, man. And then I went and did a lot of crazy things…
Your name resurfaced two or three times. Is it true that you were about to collaborate with a Swedish Metal band called Zoic but didn’t because their budget was too tight?
That’s not true. I don’t remember anything like that happening. Whoever wrote this, whenever he did, it’s not true.
And the second time I read about you was about a collaboration with Atheist’s guitarist Rand Burkey.
Yeah, that was true. I did work with him a little bit. But remember when I told you about me saying now it’s time, now it’s time, now it’s time?
Well, nope! \[Laughs]
I was in a very bad state at that time. I had just realized that I was never going to be with my family again. So I went into the corner, into the dark corner and cried for about a year and drank and laid on the floor…That’s where the track Pain came from… She sleeps all day, She drinks all day, Never leaves the room.
So, anyway, Rand is crazy, man. He’s crazy like me. He’s crazier than me and that’s hard to find! \[Laughs] So I was in a bad place. It just wasn’t the right time, you know. We started working out some stuff and there was some scary things that went on and I got very upset. Someone looked at me in the wrong way, I wanted to fight him. All the anger and sorrow and pain had gathered up inside me…So, that’s why that didn’t work.Of course a couple of times you made some appearances with Ben Jackson who really seems to be a longtime friend of yours…
Oh God, I love the guy, he’s so beautiful, man.Yeah, I mean, it’s obvious that you’ve been friends for a really long time. I’ve always heard about Midnight and Ben Jackson will appear here or there etc…
He’s a fucking beautiful person, man. He’s a really good friend of mine.Let’s move on to your debut solo release, Sakada. Sakada (or cicada) is an insect. Not any insect though but any of some thousands of insects.
True! But they have something in common!Yeah but a little bird told me that your sakada is a…
There’s a lot of little fucking birds flying around Greece! \[Laughs]And they talk a lot!
And they talk a lot! God, he knows all these things, all the details, everything! \[Laughs]So your Cicada is a Magicicada, an insect with a life cycle of 13 or even 17 years, right?
Actually the average is 15. Last time I was in Crimson Glory, the sakadas came. The last time, they came from the ground and then they went back underground and 15 years later they’re up again. And when they come out, the male bugs make a very loud noise…they call it a song but it’s really more like a buzzing, a very loud noise. Hundreds and thousands of them come out and they make this very loud sound. Some people call it an obnoxious noise. Some people might call this obnoxious too \[points at this solo album] but I don’t know…\[Laughs]Yeah but what’s the real reason why you named the album Sakada.
Because I’ve been underground for 15 years…Is that the reason?
Why do I have the feeling that you know something more?You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. \[Laughs]
Oh, no, no, it’s OK. I just had the feeling you already knew what I’m going to say, that’s all.Maybe I do but it’s always more polite to hear it from your mouth. \[Laughs]
Alright then. Well, I fell in love with a woman 20 years ago, man.
\[Orpheus nods his head]
See? He knew what I was going to say…\[Laughs] So, I fell in love with a woman 20 years ago and I saw her like 3 times or so and I loved her and I never forgot about her all these years. And just now, she came back into my life and now we’re talking about spending the rest of our lives together!Combined with…
Combine it with…It’s like I said, the spirits are like hey! Go over there man!. This is how it happens…I do an interview in the morning or the afternoon and later that night I’m watching TV, being online too and someone tells me oh so you haven’t done any music in 15 years and I was like oh, ok, has it been that long? It seems like yesterday to me maybe \[Laughs] and then I hear on TV that the cicadas are back; they only come every 15 years and I went Ok, that’s it!.A divine sign huh? \[Laughs]
Exactly!Sakada reminds me, music-wise, of late 70’s Psychedelic Rock or Space Rock; whatever you prefer. How influenced have you been by bands like Pink Floyd, Hawkwind etc…
People keep talking about Hawkwind, I guess I must listen to this music. I never heard this music anyway. I’ve heard that three times today…Yeah?
Yes. I’ve never listened to this music…I believe you but where does all this really psychedelic aroma of a late 70’s sort of wave come from?
You know, my main influences come from the those parts in music that are timeless, man. Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin will live forever man…and it’s never going to go away. The Beatles……The Beatles…
Yeah, John Lennon was a huge influence on my lyrics. When I first wanted to try to write lyrics, I listened to his things and I went how the hell did he come up with something so crazy? and I need to do that. So yeah, he was a big influence and see what I did, I would take little pieces of everything and mix it together. People say my music reminds them of the 70’s, well that’s a compliment because this music to me is timeless. It’s meant to be timeless, you know, I’m not writing this to make money, I’m not writing this for any other reason…What about the Crimson Glory fans?
I wanna build a bridge to those people, you know, that’s why I have like three or four songs on there that are a bit heavier…Like War for instance…
War…there you go.That indeed reminded me of Crimson Glory…
It doesn’t get any heavier than that though. \[Laughs] Incubus too I thought had a little flavor, a slight touch of Crimson Glory. You’ve got to remember that…That this is a solo album, right?
Yeah and I’m half of Crimson Glory. I am half. But what I am is the mellow half. These are the influences that I had. Now Jon \[Drenning, guitarist] and Jeff \[Lords, bassist] wrote heavier music and then I put words to it. Painted Skies, Lost Reflections…these are my songs that I wrote myself and I interjected my melodic influences into the heaviness that they had and that’s, I guess, where the magic came from, you know… That was the mixture. And now they’re hearing half of that but Scott Gibson, who’s my guitar player…he’s not a heavy metal guitar player necessarily but he’s brilliant and so I said Scott I need you to write some heavier stuff because when I go on stage I still want the aggressiveness. It needs to be a rollercoaster, you know, it has to go up and then down – a heavy song and then a lighter song and then a really heavy etc. To make people confused. \[Laughs]Yeah but do you think that the album’s track list would be easy for…
…the track list has actually just changed by the way…It has?
Yeah, we rearranged the order of the titles. I see. So, do you think that these songs would be easy for a live audience? Maybe a bit weird for Crimson Glory fans coming to see you live on let’s say a solo tour?
For them? Yes. But I want to introduce them to Midnight. I’m good enough and I’m smart enough to write another Crimson Glory album by myself. I can do it. But that wouldn’t be real. That’s not who I am and I’ve been waiting for so many years to let people know who I am and what I sound like, what I want to sound like. It’s important for me to let them know that and if people don’t accept it then…then all I can say is that I’m sorry. I have to be true to myself first and this is who I am, this is what I do. Now, the next album might be even heavier…who knows?You never know…
Yeah, you never know! Experiences in life, they move me…I take it that you’re devoted to your work 1000%, right?
Of course.Does that mean that…
No, it doesn’t mean that. We’re already talking…You knew what I was going to ask huh? \[Laughs]
Yeah. We’re already talking and there is a possibility we’re going to do the next Crimson Glory but like you said, this is the most important thing for me…Your solo album, of course. Your number one priority…
Yeah. Maybe though I never realized how much but really… how many new fans we have from Crimson Glory, you know, there’s so many I went Oh my God, wow!. People will come up to me and go I’ve been listening to you since I was this big \[tiny] and I feel like shit I’m so old! \[Laughs] Anyway, we were saying…About Metatron, Lucifer And The Divine Chaos, the next Crimson Glory album.
Well, we’ll have to decide about that because I haven’t discussed a title name yet with Jon. Sounds like an interesting name though anything with Lucifer is not really my style. \[Laughs] I sing about angels, man…well ok maybe I sing about him too but I kind of try to mix it up a little bit.So are you going to sing on the next Crimson Glory album?
We’re talking. It’s possible.If though you were going to decline such a thing, I was going to ask you if we’d get to see you anywhere live together with Crimson Glory, even for a special show maybe because in early 2006 you’re going to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary…
I’m not going to tour with them. I told them that I will consider singing on a new album as long as the arrangements are right. I will go into the studio I would love to work with the guys again because it would feel great but as far as touring…no. I’m touring with my new band, man. Wait till you hear this! The guitar player could come in right now and make something up and sit down and play it and I will sing it and Phil will play the drums and it will sound like a real song! We have the connection, we have the chemistry which is so important. We can take some of these songs which are three minutes, four minutes and we can make it into a twenty minute long song and make it sound as if we did it on purpose but we’re just making it up as we go on man because we have that connection. One of the reasons why I’ve been waiting for so many years is because I need that, I need to have that. Because when I go off live, I get so much adrenaline that I go crazy sometimes and I need the band to follow me and Crimson Glory never did that, they always followed the song. Even when I went off, I forgot the words or whatever, they wouldn’t wait for me, they’d just keep going. But this band, we all flow together, you know. So when will the first live crash-test be?
\[Bursts into laughter] You’re an asshole, man! I think I like you! \[More laughter] I don’t know man.I had to ask this.
It’s a good question but I don’t know. \[Laughs] As I said, we’re still working these things out. Is the label working on any dates?
Yeah, we’re working on it but we’re not sure yet. It’s a hard schedule these days and we have no definite dates right now but we’re planning on doing some dates and a tour perhaps. But most likely it’ll be some dates, a few festivals, a few shows here and there until next year and then we’ll resign another contract and do another album and then…So right now you’ll just tour the world doing interviews, right?
For now, yes.Then you’ll see how things work out…
Then we’ll see how the album sells.When exactly is it due for release?
April 25th. Four days before my birthday.Really?
Yeah.That sounds like a nice birthday gift! Well, almost…
\[Asking the label manager]Can we wait like till the 29th? It’s my birthday man. Maybe it would be a great idea. So, it’s on the 29th.Great, exactly on your birthday.
Just don’t tell people I’m going to be 2000 years old \[Laughs].Eleni: I wanted to ask you something about the masks I also se here (in the hotel room). You seem to like them very much.
Yeah.Eleni: Where the Crimson Glory masks your idea?
No, they were not mine.Eleni: Are you going to use any masks again for Sakada?
You never know…Maybe, maybe not.Maybe a mask of an insect or something…
That would be interesting but you never know. We’ll see.Our final question would be what is your message to all your fans out there and all our readers? Say anything you’d like to say…
Thank you for waiting, thank you for caring, thank you for loving me and…I love you back. And I’m back, I’m gonna stay, I’m not going away.