The Midnights

The Midnights are a ska reggae band originally from Wellington who are now based in Auckland. They have been around for many years consistently touring and gigging.

I chatted to Leo from the crew before they play at the One Love Festival in Wellington on Waitangi Day, 6 February.

Roughly how long how have the Midnights been together?

Well, we’ve officially been together since 2010 but we are all old school friends and have been playing together since we were about 16 or something like that. We are an original reggae band we have a lot of different styles of song-writing and it all seems to come together in an original rockers ska style.

So the Midnights have a debut album coming out?

Yeah, it’s our first album.  We have played and toured for ages but have never really released anything except for a little E.P. awhile back.  The album release date is in April and we’re putting it out through Loop Recordings.

So what was on the EP – live or studio tracks?

It was all studio stuff.  We gave it to radio stations etc but it never really got properly released.

A lot of people seem to know of the Midnights; considering you only have a E.P. which wasn’t formally released and a track on Conscious Roots.

I guess because we’ve been touring and doing gigs since 2002.  Can’t believe it’s now 2010!  But it is ba long time toe  playing together with the band and we’ve also been at heaps of festivals around the country.

I think bands are better off touring and gigging and building their fan base and then putting an album out rather than producing an album first and then trying to build a fan base.

Yeah you need to forget what you see on T.V. and judge bands on their live shows.

So what have been your and the bands influences in terms of artists from here and overseas?

There’s heaps of bands I like but as far as influences, definitely the Wailers and Lee Perry.  I guess most of the old-school Jamaican rockers sound, but also the soul, blues and R&B sound has been a big influence.  But in saying that we like to keep our sound experimental, not being boxed into being just a reggae band.

So the Midnights is a four-piece – have you ever thought of expanding your sound?

I have actually got a new young guitarist who also does back up vocals, so we are a five-piece.  Another singer would be good for three-part harmonies, but as far a horn section goes I think we are just trying to keep it a bit original in not having one.

What MC’s and singers have the Midnights worked with in the past?

Tuffy Culture was with us for about two years, we have heaps of ragga dancehall MC’s jumping up on stage, and lately MC Silva.

So apart from the One Love Festival here in Wellington what other gigs do the Midnights have lined up?

We are playing February 13 in Auckland and on the 19th I think we are playing with Hikoikoi from Wellington.

Cool I just saw Hikoikoi at Parihaka – they are definitely a group to watch.  How do you feel about the state and scene of reggae music in Aotearoa?

I have lived here all my life and the moment I think it is really healthy.  But definitely getting more reggae on the airwaves would really help the scene grow.

Cool thank you for your time and see you at One Love.

More info:
Midnights website

Hawk I