The notorious Cleveland-based Midnight recently unleashed another punked-up metal massacre with the ‘Shox Of Violence’ EP via Hells Headbangers. It features four new songs and acts as a stop gap between the last album ‘No Mercy For Mayhem’ (released in 2014) and the upcoming new full-length.
There is a compilation with the same title, which has also recently just come out, featuring the new EP plus a veritable feast of bonus cover songs, demo tracks and live recordings, including a couple of Venom covers, a host of covers by punk bands such as The Spits and Pagans, as well as Girlschool, Quiet Riot amongst others, all of which have been given the dirty, unholy and rotten Midnight treatment.
We caught up with mainman/guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Athenar to find out more about the EP, compilation and the current activities of the band.
You have a new EP and compilation ‘Shox Of Violence’, can you elaborate on what this new release contains and what the readers can expect in comparison to the last full-length?
Athenar: It’s a four song EP of tunes to blast out of your stereo! Please don’t expect much, keep your expectations in life low; it’s much easier that way. I don’t wanna make any comparisons, that’s my job. That’s like comparing a left tittie to the right tittie. By the way, there’s never a wrong tittie.
Please tell us about your choice of covers on the compilation release, why did you specifically choose to cover these particular songs and bands?
The cover songs are just bonus trax on the CD version. They’ve already been released throughout the past few years on vinyl. It’s just that they’re kinda throwaway tunes in my opinion, me taking a great song by a great band and fucking it up royally.
There are two Venom covers, was it difficult to pick your favourite Venom song? Why did you settle on these particular songs?
No real reason. ‘Too Loud For The Crowd’ is a fantastic song on a decent album, so I thought I would highlight that one, also ‘In league With Satan’ by Venom is an obvious classic, so I thought I’d ruin it by putting a generic drum beat over it rather than the original hypnotic pounding that Abaddon did.
It’s a nice touch speeding up ‘In League With Satan’, was it important for you to put the energetic Midnight mark on that song? Was it intentional or did it come about via jamming it?
There is no jamming when you record stuff by yourself, it’s called full on masturbation.
Can you recollect when you first heard Venom?
Ah, let me harken back to a much simpler time when Venom was all you needed to make you go into your bedroom, where you could pretend it was just you, Cronos, Abaddon and Mantas doing ritualistic deeds for the devil himself, riding on the wings of hades, plunging daggers into females breasts who are to be sacrificed, tormented, bestial sex and also of riding hell’s stallions bareback and free.
I could imagine Midnight doing a great Warfare cover, what other old metal covers would you like to cover in the future?
No real plans to do any covers for now. When I record a cover it’s usually spur of the moment or just something to do at that time. although ‘Let The Music Play’ by Shannon may be a good choice.
Which NWOBHM bands would you say have had a profound effect and influence on Midnight throughout the years.
It was more that whole thing of metal bands taking the punk ethic of putting out your own records, booking your own gigs, just doing whatever the hell you wanted. The NWOBHM needed to be that way because punk was what all the record labels were looking for, they just wanted whatever was hot and would sell records, HM was old news, so the NWOBHM bands said fuck all that, fuck all that stupid punk shit! We do this because we love it not because we want to have a record deal or some other horseshit.
Please tell us about the new EP cover and title?
The cover was just to make it look very quickly-done, which it was. I explained what I kinda wanted to Eric at Hells Headbangers and he came up with that in 15 minutes. Perfect! Move on. Don’t over think it.
Why do this release in between full-lengths?
Again no real reason, just felt it should be out there for people who are just as fucked as me to hear.
What inspired the lyrics in the new songs?
Mortality, death, depression, sensual sexual desire.
You do some covers by The Spits… is that the punk rock ‘n’ roll band. Why pick those covers?
The Spits are a more current band kinda, by that I mean not from the ’70s or ’80s. They’re from Michigan and they make great music that I like to listen to, so I was bored one Saturday afternoon and figured why not record some songs rather than go drool in the middle of a crowded four-lane highway with my pants around my ankles. In hindsight maybe I should’ve gone drooling in the middle of the highway, oh well.
When can we expect the next full length? Is it already fully written?
I’m hoping late summer. Just waiting for the cover art to be finished. I think the artist has to do some more chores around the house so his mom can give him some money to buy more crayons to finish it up.
When will it be recorded? Will it be a case of more business as usual and continuing on where the new EP tracks have left off?
It’s done, been done. Business as usual? By Men at work? No it’s way more like the second album ‘Cargo’.
What is the Midnight creative process like?
Well seeing as that I’m the only member of the band I usually just stare with a stupid blank look on my face while I’m thinking of song titles and music at work while customers are trying to tell something of very little importance. It’s a very deep process.
If you had to name five bands who have helped fuel and shape the sound of Midnight who would they be?
Band Of Gypsies, Bootsies Rubber Band, Steve Miller Band, The Band, and The Band On The Run. That’s the first ones that come to mind but really I think most people who hear Midnight can tell which five bands are at the top of the list, but there’s so much more!
There’s a couple live tracks on ‘Shox Of Violence’, including a track (‘Unholy And Rotten’) that abruptly gets stopped by the venue after a fire onstage. What happened?
That was from an early gig when it was just me playing along to a tape. I had a huge upside-down cross or right side up depending on which way you look at it, which was on fire; probably not the smartest idea in a crowded club up two flights of stairs, but what the hell, it was pre-Great White. Understandably he didn’t like that idea and wanted to fire to be extinguished. I’m a professional and knew exactly what I was doing at all times! If he really wanted that fire to be put out all the dum-dum had to do was go get a pitcher or two of water from the bar, calmly walk to the stage and dump it on the cross; some people are just plain dumb.
Your live shows are notoriously raucous and energetic, in your opinion what is most important to you when playing live?
It should come out in the music, I don’t know man, something you shouldn’t be able to explain. It’s like why do women’s nipples get erect when aroused? Don’t worry about it.
Midnight has that element of rock ‘n’ roll danger, would you agree and do you think that is missing in a lot of bands these days?
No. Real danger is trick or treating in east Cleveland dressed as a member of the ku klux klan. It’s also very stupid.
Are there any plans for Midnight to hit Europe or the UK again in the near future?
No real plans for now, but I’m sure that will change, unlike my underwear.
The last words are yours…
Thanks a whole hell of a lot for even giving a half of a shit!
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