RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW CHESTER BAND THE MIDNIGHT FOXES
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
A stranger came into my Year 3 class (8 years old) and he sat at a piano. One by one, we each had to say whether one note was higher or lower pitched than another and I was picked to learn cello. I was hooked at that early stage before picking up the guitar at 14 when I learned being in an orchestra was less cool than being in a band.
Introduce us to you all and your musical history.
We’re a five-piece who answered an online ad that I (Joe Fox – Guitar/Backing Vox) posted to create an “unforgettable live act”. We formed in late February 2020 and we had to cancel our second band practice for the Pandemic. So while we’ve been together for over 2 years now, we only really got started from our first show in July 2021. Members include Spike Flannery (Vocals), Pavel Zeliankevich (Guitar), Gareth Allen (Bass) and Rhys Jones (Drums).
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
How did you all meet? – Ours is really quite a boring story, we answered an ad and got lucky with the people who applied!
We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world to share music with America and the UK, good idea?
Great idea! There was a time when getting your music into different countries was impossible without considerable effort and expense.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Tyrion Lannister is actually the son of ‘Mad’ King Aerys Targaryen II.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Annual SCUBA Insurance,
What useless party trick do you have?
Joe Fox – I can swallow Twiglets whole.
Spike Flannery – I’ve been known to juggle small hamsters.
Pavel Zeliankevich – I can make wine glass sing and it annoys most people
Gareth Allen – I can turn money into guitar pedals.
Rhys Jones – I can bend a yellow pages with my bare hands.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Our first show. It was a massive achievement for all of us to keep going as a new band during the lockdown. We wrote the songs and uploaded the stems to a Google Drive for each person’s part, we had a couple of practices and that first show was a moment of release for all the steam built-up for 18 months. Add to this, that most of us had spent a couple of years away from the stage with previous bands, and it was Pavel’s first time on stage and it was a pretty special moment for all of us.
What was the worst experience on stage?
We played a headlining show at The Cavern Club and by the time we got on stage, I (Joe) was pumped. We opened the set with Running in the Rain (for release on 14th October) and I thought it would be a brilliant idea to leap from the drum riser to the stage below when the guitars come in. I felt like Van Halen leaping through the air and when I landed I continued playing like I was some rock god. However, I soon realised that something was wrong when I could no longer hear my guitar on the stage monitors. I checked all of my connections, and checked my pedalboard three or four times but still, no sound was coming out. It took me 3 quarters of the song to realise that I had accidentally turned the volume knob on my guitar down. Not a good look.
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about.
Joe Fox – My surname is purely coincidental and is actually my married name.
Spike Flannery – My grandfather invented the car indicator.
Pavel Zeliankevich – I crossed from South America to North America by foot.
Gareth Allen – I have a pet chicken called Beyonce.
Rhys Jones – I was born in the small Welsh village of Stoke-on-Trent.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
We hit, pick, pluck and bang objects until it makes sounds that we think sound nice.
What makes you stand out as a band?
We’re fairly humble guys who feel uncomfortable boasting or making hyperbolic statements about our music. So when we say we’re proud of our rhythm and the energy we put into our live sound, it’s not said lightly.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
Joe – Supporting a lower league football club (Walsall) which has been in a sharp decline since 2015. Meanwhile – the rest of the band supports Liverpool.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
Joe Fox: Smoke from the Embers – It’s 180bpm so it feels like we’re playing on the edge of our abilities but it’s such a rush playing loud and fast.
Spike Flannery: Running in the Rain – It’s the first song we played live as a band.
Pavel Zeliankevich: Fireflies – I get to use different playing techniques, such as e-bow, volume swells and I get to practice my coordination and balance to switch effects.
Gareth Allen: Smoke from the Embers – Purely for the bpm.
Rhys Jones: Shots at Dawn – The ending is an absolute blast and has a bit of everything, floor tom grooves, hi-hat doubles, interesting fills and changes in time signature.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it?
We’ve released three tracks in a six-week window from 16th September – 14th October. When we started recording and releasing music we made a promise that we’d release once a month but summer commitments got in the way of this, so this is our effort to catch-up on that schedule. An AI app told me that they all share the same quality of being Epic, Anthemic and Confident Indie Rock with elements of Psychedelic Rock.
Talk me through the thought process of the singles?
We were lucky when our sound engineer at a show told us that he also runs a recording studio called Through the Roof Studio based in Manchester. We made the decision back in June 2022 to start recording our catalogue with the studio and we’re now working our way through the list, so we’re still very early in the process. When we get to the end of the list we’ll compile them and release them with 3 or 4 unreleased songs. After this, we’ll begin recording a new album (we’ll give RGM a call when it’s ready for release).
What was the recording process like?
We decided to record three songs concurrently rather than focus on one song at a time. It led to a pretty punishing schedule for each person to record their parts.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the singles?
1 – As much as we want to please everyone and make everyone fall in love with the song, it’s not possible.
2 – When writing a song, you come up with loads of different parts and the temptation is to keep them all in at once. It was a tough lesson learning how to take a step back and realising that ‘less is more’ while also making it a much more cohesive song.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
I’ve read from someone who knows far more about music than I do, that “music is never perfected, it’s released”. We’d love to spend months tweaking and playing with effects but there comes a point when you say that the song sounds good – we’ve finished.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
We want to get on stage as much as we can. We were formed to make an unforgettable live show and we’re still developing that concept.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Only a huge thanks for giving us some of your time and getting to know a little about us.