INTERVIEW: MELBOURNE POWER-POP PROJECT MIDNIGHT DRAGS

Hi Lucas, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi! Not too bad considering we are in another lockdown.. 

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “It’s True”?

Sure, it’s a fuzzy, scuzzy, glammy piece of pop-rock about self-loathing and depression. The song was written around 3 or so years ago and was kicking around in various demo versions and arrangements until we decided on the album version which came together when jamming. I wanted it to sound fairly nasty and a little noisy but with some sweet pop melodies as a counterbalance. Bittersweet is a good way to describe it. This song was recorded to 2” tape at my studio with musicians Ash Naylor on guitar, Warren Booth on Bass and Brett Wolfenden on drums.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

No specific event, just expressing the feelings of being in a relationship and not feeling worthy of someone’s love. You end up pushing them away and generally act like a pretty horrible person. When you are in a dark place mentally you can lash out in hurtful ways, I think this song is begging someone to leave the relationship before that can happen.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the song?

No plans to release a video of this unfortunately.. 

The single comes off your new album Bad Business – what’s the story behind the title?

The title ‘Bad Business’ is kind of multi-layered, most of the songs on the album are fairly dark in nature and tell the stories of all kinds of bad people.. well maybe not ‘bad people’ per se’ perhaps they are good people who end up doing bad things? Bad Business also refers to various unsuccessful businesses I’ve tried to start over the years as well as touching on the way the music ‘business’ has changed over the years (I told you it was mulit-layered!). 

How was the recording and writing process?

It was sooo much fun.. we recorded at my studio over a week in September 2019. We generally tracked the drums, bass and my rhythm guitar first. We recorded to tape so the take had to be spot on (as editing tape or even dropping in is a pita) and I’m sure we had a few attempts before we got in the groove. Guys like Ash Naylor & Bill McDonald are ultimate pro’s and watching them create parts and convey musical ideas is something special. Brett ‘Wolfie’ Wolfenden on drums is an amazing player and gave the songs such special energy.. My old mate Warren Booth played a lot of bass on the album too and he always nails a super solid groove. We didn’t labour over the recording of the songs too much, we went with the right vibe as I wanted this album to be somewhat loose, rocknroll and imperfect..  The songs were pretty much all written by the time we came to rehearse, we did play around with arrangements and did quite a bit of ‘fat trimming’ to keep the songs super streamlined. We recorded 11 songs and ended up using 9 of them for the final album. 

What role does Melbourne play in your music?

I think for me, the city’s influence is more of a subconscious thing.. Melbourne is such a  melting-pot of musical styles and cultures and I think that perhaps translates to how I approach writing, listening, seeing and recording music. In saying that, i’m working on a new song called ‘Daniel’ so..

What aspect of longing and loss did you get to explore on this album?

Well, a couple of the tracks are specifically about longing and loss: Ronnie & Somebody Like You.. these two are love songs essentially, and they deal with the emotional toll/not being able to cope when the person you care for the most is taken away from you. Ronnie is more upbeat and Somebody Like You is a sad ol’ ballad.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I find it everywhere.. The songs and stories are about me, people I know, people I don’t know and people I’ve made up, sometimes all within the one song! Books, movies, music and artwork are all great for inspiring and evoking passionate feelings. Musically, I wanted to go with a bit of a 70’s garage rock vibe mixed with some other stuff or course too.. I was influenced by the sound of bands such as Cheap Trick, Bowie’s early/mid 70’s rock stuff, T-Rex and maybe throw some Kiss in there as well. Straight up though, this is a pop album.

What else is happening next in Midnight Drags’ world?

The album comes out really soon so I’m very excited to get it out into the world, it seems like a lifetime ago that we were in the studio rocking out .. that’s the main news happening for now. 

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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