Midnight Spell founder and drummer, Brian Wilson, talks about the band’s origins as well as the recording process of the debut album: SKY DESTROYER
Midnight Spell is a Heavy Metal band from Miami, Florida founded in late 2016 by drummer Brian Wilson. After finding a lineup and having composed material of their own, in early 2021 the band presented their debut album: SKY DESTROYER. The album has given a lot to talk about and has become one of the best received releases of this beginning of the year, showing that the United States is currently brimming with Heavy Metal. We contacted Brian Wilson to tell us about the formation of the band and the gestation of a debut album that has been very well received by fans of the genre.
How was the band formed and how difficult (or easy) was it to get the members of the current lineup?
The idea for the band began in late 2016, but didn’t take shape until mid 2017, when I recruited The Hammer (Shane Graham, guitar). For a while it was just the two of us and we wrote a good amount before anyone else joined. It wasn’t so difficult as it was time consuming to get everyone else. All five of us knew each other already, but had been playing in different bands. In my eyes, they were all the best musicians South Florida had to offer and I knew we could accomplish great things if all of us got together. So, finding everyone wasn’t so difficult, it was just a while before everyone ended up on the same page, because everyone was already busy with their own bands. Luckily, it all came together eventually and we have the great lineup we have now.
How is the scene Miami, musicians who play heavy metal abound in that place?
It’s a pretty decent scene. We have a lot of bands, but Miami, and Florida in general, leans very heavily towards death metal, black metal, and grindcore. If it’s not extreme metal, it’s very difficult to gain the attention of the local scene. That was another difficult thing about forming Midnight Spell, is very few people wanted to play the style that we do. Luckily, the local scene completely embraced us when we did finally surface.
Where did the name of the band come from, why did you decide to name the band Midnight Spell?
We went through a few different names before settling on Midnight Spell. I was pretty indecisive as to what I wanted to call the band. Back in 2016, I was in another band that was unnamed, and the name I suggested for it was Frontier. It wasn’t used, and the band broke up, so I thought that’s what I’d call this band. It didn’t really fit the music though, so one day I wrote down a bunch of words on a piece of paper and tried different pairings and different orders. One was Midnight Spell, but it lost out to another name, Burning Night. As time went on though, I liked the name less and less and Midnight Spell grew on me, and when we were in the studio recording the demo, I decided last minute to change the name.
How was the writing process for the album, did you write the songs after releasing BETWEEN THE EYES or do they belong to the same creative process?
A lot of the songs were actually written during the same time we wrote the demo. In fact, we recorded a few of these songs while recording the demo too, along with a couple other songs that were never really finished. The first songs were written between me and The Hammer, such as “Between the Eyes”, “To the Stars” and “Blood for Blood”, before the rest of the members joined. But, as the lineup came to completion, everyone had their own input. So, everyone contributes to the writing process, which is great. If one member doesn’t know where a song should go next, it’s likely one of the other four of us will. It’s a very democratic process.
How was the recording process, was it fast or you had some kind of complication?
It took about 8 months total in the studio. It would’ve been quicker but about halfway through is when the pandemic hit, and that made a mess of everything. It was really hard on the mixing process specifically, because our engineer actually caught Covid and was unable to work for a while and we went a long time without being able to make any progress. Luckily though, he recovered and we got it done in the end.
What do you think of the good response the album has had, did you expect a reaction like that?
We’re very happy with the response! I think we all knew we had something special with this band, especially with all the work we put into it, but the reaction has definitely exceeded what we thought it would be. The number of articles, videos, and comments we’ve been getting is absolutely incredible, and we’re very thankful for it.
How was the recording of the video Lady of Moonlight and why did you choose that song?
It was a fun video to shoot. We shot It on campus at the University of Miami with a close friend of the band, Chris Briggs, who attends film school there. We chose that song because it seemed like the one that caught people’s attention the most. Since our first show, that song seems to really connect with the audience and people tend to remember it. So, it seemed like an obvious choice for a video single.
According to your Bandcamp profile, you have already sold all the copies of your CD and also those of vinyl, could you confirm this information or how is the situation currently?
The CDs being sold out was an error with the website, and they’re back up for sale. As for vinyl, the band’s personal stock is all accounted for, but there will be plenty more available through Lost Realm Records and other sources in February. You can also currently preorder them at www.miamimetalmerchant.com. There are other sources you can order the album from too if you’re not in the US. There are stores all around the world selling it online.
Do you think this shows that bands can still achieve some commercial success, or is the reach still small?
It’s so hard to say. There are absolutely no rules anymore. It’s extremely difficult to break through playing rock and roll or any kind of heavy music, but there are a few bands out there that have defied the odds and risen to very high levels. Ghost is a good example. Whether you like them or not is irrelevant. The fact they’re as big as they are defies all logic of what’s popular today. So, anything is possible. It’s just really important to stand out as much as you can, in any way that you can.
Very interesting Heavy Metal bands are beginning to emerge (and even resurface) in the United States such as Eternal Champion, Glacier, Saber, Haunt, do you think this decade could belong to the United States?
The great thing about the Internet is you can get noticed no matter where you’re from. What’s funny about that, is that all of those bands’ biggest audiences are probably outside of the United States. But maybe if more bands from the United States gain popularity, we can see a rise in the American audience as well. Like I said earlier, there are no rules anymore so anything is possible! As far as I’m concerned though, the decade belongs to Midnight Spell.
How do you plan to promote the album further considering that nowadays it is not possible to play?
That’s been the hardest thing not just on the band, but for everyone. We’re lucky to have the Internet to be able to deliver the message, but there’s nothing like getting out on the road and touring for it. We’re just going to do the best with what we have to work with. Right now, above all, our priority is staying busy writing so we can get more content out as soon as possible. That’s the only way to stay relevant.
Thank you very much for your time and congratulations on the Midnight Spell album! Any final words for readers?
Thank you! Sky Destroyer is out now on Iron Oxide Records and streaming now on all major platforms. You can order a CD along with other merch at www.midnightspell.bandcamp.com, and vinyl is coming out in February through Lost Realm Records. Always support metal!