Interview with Midnight Idols vocalist Diamond C
Conducted by Robert Williams
Midnight Idols are a Seattle based heavy metal band who perform an aggressive take on old school traditional eighties metal. Upon receieving and reviewing a promo copy of the group’s "Sworn To The Night" CD released through Metal On Metal Records, I instantly became a fan upon first listen. What you can expect from these guys is a heavy dose of attitude mixed in with those NWOBHM hooks and eighties bombast. Though they have encountered some lineup changes over the years, their current roster boasts guitarist Kurt Kofelt (Agent Steel, Holy Terror) and from the enthusiastic words of vocalist Diamond C, the best is yet to come from Midnight Idols as the band will shortly begin work on a four song EP.
How are you doing today Chris?
I’m doing really killer, thanks! It’s a sunny Seattle day for a change… Enjoying a brewski and chilling.
Give me a little back history on Midnight Idols, how did you all originally meet and end up jamming in a band together back in 2002? How would you describe the metal scene in Seattle at that time? Were people pretty receptive at first to your sound when you guys started out?
When we formed back in the day it was me and Thermo, I knew him from various bands and had played his tavern with some bands I was in .we were both between bands and had an idea to really try and do our dream hard Rock heavy metal band combining all the shit we grew up on mainly 70’s and 80’s stuff cause that’s our era.
I’d say the scene was pretty non existent for old school metal ,minus Seattle heshmasters Skelator so we played with alot of hardcore and punk bands. Even outlaw country That always went well because we would be the guys doing something different and more melodic but still keeping it really sleazy and heavy. In fact our first cd has more of a Sunset Strip meets Maiden sound.
I first heard Midnight Idols when I came across a promo copy of the excellent "Sworn To The Night" album and I was instantly hooked with the NWOBHM inspired vocal delivery and traditional heavy metal sound of Midnight Idols. How did you guys hook up with Metal On Metal Records, how have you enjoyed working with them as a record label and will you continue to work with them in the future?
Well we sent that demo out to several mags and labels and they were the first that were interested in putting it out for us and As far as working with them they are a good gateway to Europe although shipping from Italy can be a bitch and expensive. we’ve been through alot of changes since we signed with them so it’s been a hard to keep in contact as much as we should but so far I’d say it’s been a positive experience.
What have you guys been up to as a band since that time? You guys must have written some new material considering the last album came out about three years ago, are there any plans to record and release a new full length? How would you describe your new material?
As far as what we’ve been up to that’s a interview in it’s self! Let’s just say were back in track and new stuff is beginning to run like molten steel out of the old eardrums! Musically I’d say it’s more of a return to our roots really aggressive with the trademark hints of NWOBHM.
I know that there has been some recent lineup changes in within the band, tell me about your new players and where they came from and what you feel they bring to the band in terms of musicianship, songwriting and stage presence…
Let’s put it this way we’ve had two bass players and six different guitar players over the years. The Idols are kind of an institution more than a band sometimes! But too the pint, I mean point, we recently added Kurt Cofelt and really if you don’t know who the fuck he is hand in your metal card.
Two names… Agent Steel, Holy Terror and then there’s Karkass mostly known in Seattle as a bassist but recently has been playing guitar for several local bands.( Last American Badass, Brewtal Thirst)And that motherfucker Is intense on the stage look out! Songwriting we mostly write together so it does take a little more time I’d say Karkass comes with the basics and we embellish. although Kurt’s got some shit already written that we’ve been working on as well.
There were two records that came out prior to "Sworn To The Night". How can fans get their hands on the self-released "We Rule The Night" and "Nightrulers"? Are there any plans to reissue those records through a label with distribution?
Well you can get "Sworn To The Night" on CD Baby as well as "Nightrulers" I believe there on iTunes as well and you can always go to Metal On Metal.I’d like to run a small press on the first two in the near future, cause you can always get ‘em at our shows! But as far as label support we’d probably just do it DIY .
Performing the style of metal that Midnight Idols play, I would assume that you guys have received a good deal of attention and/or correspondence from metal fans in Europe. Do you foresee making it over to Europe at some point to play some festivals or maybe put together a club tour?
Yes I would have to say our biggest fans are from Europe and I would be really interested in doing some smaller fests or a couple week club tour but nothing in the cards now.
Let’s talk about who or what originally inspired you to become a lead singer for a heavy metal band; Were you self taught or did you take lessons with an instructor? What advice would you offer to someone interested in becoming a vocalist for a band?
Well I’m self taught. I smoke. I drink. I don’t really have to much advice to give. I started cause I was the drummer for a band and had the best voice so I just did both. Cause we didn’t wanna add anyone else to the mix. And after a while I was really having fun with it so decided to step out from the kit. As far as singers go, let’s just put it this way, the video for "You Got Another Thing Coming" left a heavy impression! I was ten years old, already a die hard AC/DC fan and was familiar with "Unleashed" but I wanted to upgrade my denim with some leather after that shit! But "Screaming" blew my fucking little mind! Easily one of my hugest influences, Judas Priest! That was a great time for metal, you had basically the second wave of the NWOBHM with its American crossover with them and Maiden and of course the great German bands like Accept and the Scorpions, Krokus…
What was your musical background like prior to forming Midnight Idols? Had you been singing in other Seattle area metal bands?
My musical background pre-Idols was playing drums for a bunch of hardcore punk and crossover bands for the last twenty-three years in Seattle. My first singing gig was with a band called Bearskin Rugburn and I also played the drums in that band. It was more of a sleazy hard rock band with metal and punk edges.
Tell me about what inspires you as a lyricist when you’re in songwriting mode? Where would you say you draw your lyrical inspiration from?
As far as lyrics, I wait until the song is done, give it a few spins through the phones and start making it up. I’m a die hard horror and exploitation film freak and like to read a lot, so a lot of my ideas come from there…. and you can’t forget old scratch and booze and women!!
At what point did you realize that heavy metal music owned your soul? Can you pinpoint a specific band or group of bands that forever changed your life and made you proud to call yourself as a metalhead?
I would have to say it was the 80’s when "Screaming For Vengeance" came out along with "Number Of The Beast" and you also had the first two Crüe records, so as you know, once that happens you find Motorhead, Slayer, Bay Area stuff and their East Coast counterpoints by the late 80’s, I’d say metal owned my soul I would be the one cat in the punk band with the Venom shirt and I started adding a lot of double bass to my playing and there was a good crossover scene in Seattle at the time as well, with The Accused and Forced Entry, Coven and Bitter End and it all kinda went from there.
After being a band for over ten years what would you name as being some personal highlights of your musical career over the past decade?
It’s funny, we’ve shared the stage with 3 Inches Of Blood to Faster Pussycat! But I think our CD release party for "Sworn" at Slim’s Last Chance would definitely be a highlight. It was packed and we had them screaming for more!
What’s next for Midnight Idols?
As far as the Idols future, now that we’ve finally solidified the line-up again we are writing like crazy and would like to record a four song EP ASAP!! To let people know we’re still here and mean business!! And hopefully to do a couple of West Coast trips along with local shows!
I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk metal with me today Chris, Before we wrap this up do you have any last words for your fans reading at home?
Thanks a lot for your time! I’d like to say we have a great little underground scene up here for metal and check out are label mates Skelator! Also, next time Witches Mark makes it up here let’s make it happen!! Rock on brothers of steel!!!!