RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW THE MIDNIGHT VORTEX
What made you decide to start the band?
We all really love music! We’re super passionate about making it and sharing what we create. We also can’t imagine doing anything else with our lives!
Introduce us to all the members and your musical history?
Mo (guitar) – The first time I picked up a guitar I knew that was what I wanted to do – it all started with a band called ‘The Experience’ in Morocco. In 2013 I moved to London, started playing at jam sessions and open mics, and in 2016 I joined the house band of the legendary Passing Clouds club. In 2018 Rabie and I formed a band called ‘Spicy Wings’ which eventually became ‘The Midnight Vortex’
Rabie (drums) – When I was a teen back home I used to live in an area that was famous for musicians, so I was always attracted to learning about music – I wanted to be a part of that world. So, I started learning and playing drums! After a few years, I met some friends who had a band already and by chance they needed a drummer so I filled the role, but I had to hit pause while studying. I came to London and started going to see live music, hanging out at venues, and getting to know people in the industry. Mouad and I met in one of the venues which I used to jam in every Sunday – in 2018 we formed ‘Spicy Wings’ (which eventually became ‘The Midnight Vortex’
Danny (bass) – I fell in love with skate punk bands in the early 00s and naturally wanted to emulate with my mates. I played guitar in a band with my schoolmates for 4 years in my teens. ‘Organised Confusion’ gigged often around Sussex & Kent supporting ‘GetAmped’ (they were on Kerrang! ) and winning a battle of the bands in Tunbridge Wells. A uni migration split us up and I had an 11-year hiatus in terms of playing in bands. In August 2020 I joined Mo & Rabie for a jam session swapping 6 strings for 4 and haven’t looked back!
Robin (guitar) – I picked up guitar in my early teens, like 13 probably, after being introduced to AC/DC and Black Sabbath. The first band I got involved in was a “power metal” band called ‘Insignie’ where I played from the age of 17 till 19. Shortly after leaving the band I left for London and immediately started getting involved in jam sessions and bands. To name a few – Stark Rebels, Whopine, Dave Winkler’s Star Circus… and of course The Midnight Vortex.
Bri (vocals) – I can’t remember when I started singing – so very young, probably! I first contributed backing vocals to prog rock band ‘Mandalaband’ when I was 18. Then I started singing Radiohead-inspired songs in acoustic duo ‘My String Theory’. Then, prior to forming hard rock band ‘Black Palms’ with collaborator Chris Sarantis, we made various projects ranging from electro to trip-hop to punk to blues-rock. I’ve contributed vocals to a few electronic projects, too including ‘Marc JB’, ‘Sounds Of iO’ and ‘Greedy DJs’.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
“What made you decide to start a band” haha.. Why does anyone?? It’s fun..
Robin – “Do you get much p***y on your d**k as a rock star?”
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Conspiracy theories are interesting because they can give you an idea of what people are thinking about and how they see the world, or perhaps that they’ve got too much time on their hands, haha.. an interesting theory is that this whole reality could be constructed and we’re all living in the matrix controlled by our desire – increasingly it’s becoming true through algorithms used by Facebook etc. to create personal bubbles and echo chambers. Your reality is what you make it and what you’re fed.
What useless party trick do you have?
Robin – Getting absolutely wasted and turning my p***s into a helicopter… haha
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
We’ve only done two gigs, but probably at our NYE party! We played a cover of ‘…Baby One More Time’ and everyone was singing it back to us – it’s a cool feeling..! Maybe down the road, people will sing our own songs back to us, but we’ve gotta earn that over time.
In the meantime, it’s such a great feeling when every member of the band is confident and the individual performances are raw and honest – you can feel it reflects on the audience and creates an amazing connection… well, they tell us afterward anyway, haha..
What was the worst experience on stage?
Again, we’ve only had two gigs, so not a lot to report.. maybe when Bri got too excited with her tambourine and whacked Robin in the face, or Rabie’s kick pedal falling apart mid-set.
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about?
Mo – I do speak 5 languages: native North African (Amazigh) Arabic, French, English, and Romanian due to my studies in Romania
Danny – I have plenty of tales to share… but I’m not sure how PG or PC they are… I went deaf for about a week after pouring black pepper essential oil in my head. I had a stuffed wildebeest head called Asaf but lost him in a pub & I looked after a shrub called Susanalbumparty for a year.
Robin – I love wearing Motörhead t-shirts but I can’t get enough of ABBA or Bee Gees!
Rabie – I was a mountain guide in Morocco..!
Bri – my day job is as a school science technician, I studied biochemistry at uni but realised I wanted more time than a scientific career would allow, so school working hours and holidays are a great match for being creative on the side.
If you had to describe your band to an alien how would you describe it?
Pleasant vibrations… sounds like a sex toy, haha..! To be honest, if we just played, they’d probably get it… if you have the technology for interstellar travel, surely music isn’t much of a challenge..? Or maybe it is? Hopefully, the aliens are into a mix of classic rock, grunge & blues – probably the kind of thing that would have attracted them to the Earth given the radio waves we’ve been emitting for the last century!
What makes you stand out as a band?
We’re a diverse bunch, we’re all Londoners now, but we’re from all over. Our current set is quite varied in dynamics, tone, mood and style and we’ll strive to keep that a constant as we progress. We definitely don’t want to cave to the pressure of trying to recreate songs that may prove successful and becoming formulaic ‘cause we like our songs to be honest.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? (Can’t say the virus)
Well, the virus is affecting everything! It was amazing that so many people were able to come to our NYE gig, but there were so many others who didn’t, which is fair enough. When one of us tests positive, or we have to cover at work for sick colleagues we can’t meet up to rehearse which slows everything down. We’re doing ok considering we’ve only been (all) together for less than a year.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
We have a song called ‘Addicted To You’ starting with a gentle interweaving melody on the guitars and vocals, which creates an intimate atmosphere to begin that builds to a loud and energetic finish – it’s fun ‘cause you can see people engaging with the changing mood and head-banging by the end of it!
I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
Our new single ‘Long Way Ahead’ is coming out on the 15 of January! Our second single! We’re also playing at Luna Lounge in Leyton on the same day.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
For us, the track was inspired by the extreme situations, both physical and mental, that people can find themselves in surrounding war and tough times in life in general – it talks about finding hope through sufferance.
We hope anyone who listens is able to hear something relatable in the lyrics and find their own stories in our songs. We like to keep the meaning ambiguous and open to listeners to interpret in their own way.
What was the recording process like?
The day we recorded was full of energy and enthusiasm – we spent the whole day focusing on recording 2 songs that we thought were good to start with from our repertoire (debut single ‘Before You Know’ & this single ‘Long Way Ahead’).
It was set up like a live session, recording most parts simultaneously, then adding the lead and vocals on top of the take we wanted to go with. Danny’s brother Jack very kindly came down to the studio to film and take some photos, then Bri made a music video from the footage for our debut single – it’s up on our YouTube channel!
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
Well, we’ve all been writing music for a while, so no great learning curve in that sense. Overall, this song was one of the last songs we got together, but even so it just felt like it was ready to go, which isn’t always the case, but sometimes it can happen that way…
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Recording in a live-style session is cool, but it does allow bleed from other instruments unfortunately, which affects what you can do with mixing and production. It’s given the sound of those two tracks a particular vibe, but in future we wanna try a different approach.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
Playing more gigs! Recording more singles!
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Yeah, we have also got our debut single up on Spotify etc, so if you like our new one, you’ll probably enjoy that one too! – go give us a follow!