The artist known as Midnight, former singer of cult band Crimson Glory now releases his first real solo album after 15 years of silence….
He is in Landgraaf, The Netherlands, doing interviews to promote his new album and I have the chance to talk to him and it turned out to become one of the strangest interviews I have done for a long time…. So here we go, be prepared to be amazed!
The new CD called “Sakada” is playing in the background as I am trying to ask Midnight the first question…..
Midnight: I am sorry, I was listening to my own songs again, I cannot concentrate on this interview and listen to my music, I am sorry, I am crazy, I know, sorry… could you give me a couple of minutes to… you know, how much time do we have for this interview…. Please let me take three minutes to recapture myself, okay??
When did you started to get ideas for a new album, because you have been away so long?
Midnight: when I was about 15, ha ha ha…
So, that means that you are about 43 right now, right?
Midnight: No, I am not, I am 3000 years old, on 29 April is my birthday and then I will become 3005! Really, man. I know I am reincarnated more than once and every time I reincarnate I start to grow spiritually. I told my parents stories that I could not have known, so….
How did you come up with the name Midnight?
Midnight: It is the name of my soul, man. It is not the name my mother and father gave to me, okay; we have time, so…. I was in the mountains in California and I met this woman in a bar and she was telling me crazy things about myself that she could not have known actually and she goes like, your name is Midnight, right, she was a psychic of course. And she said to me: you are a psychic too and I said yes and she said to me, your spiritual name is Midnight and that makes sense, so. Is that too long for an answer, I am sorry, man, but it is the truth.
So, you lived in a cave for almost 15 years, is that the place where you came up with ideas for new songs?
Midnight: Maybe you are the first one I tell this to….I think I put myself into a situation where I am going to suffer a lot; I need that, my job on earth here is to suffer. All the greatest artists suffer; you cannot be a great artist without suffering. I took this time off to suffer s that I can give all my life experience to the audience. When you are 20 what are you going to write about, you have seen, done nothing yet. You have got to feel it all before you can lay it on the line out there. All the geniuses are all crazy of course, ha ha ha… But there is a thin line, genius, crazy… If you are normal you have to be in the middle somewhere. Sorry again for this long answer.
The lyrics are important for you, but not everyone is capable of understanding English, is that a problem for you?
Midnight: You have touched on a very interesting subject there. It bothers me that listeners from foreign countries cannot understand my lyrics because my lyrics are so important, man. That is also the reason why I am not going to put on the lyrics on the cover of the CD. I am going to make a book with the lyrics and several translations on the same page, so that anyone can understand the lyrics. You have got to understand what it says, that is the most important thing in the world for me. I am not trying to make money, no, it is about the art!
Which languages can we expect in the book, then?
Midnight: Definitely Dutch, Greek, German, French, Spanish…
What makes the Greek language so special for you?
Midnight: Because it is the hardest, ha ha ha…..It is like singing, which is why I choose metal to sing, it is the most difficult, and it is a challenge.
In what ways is the new album Sakada a heavy metal album?
Midnight: There are touches of metal here and there, there are touches of trash metal even. But actually I would call it a potpourri.
“Incubus” and “Pain” are the 2 metal songs actually according to me and “Pain” I would describe as a guitar orgasm all the way…..
Midnight: Ha, ha, ha, that is what it is actually, yeah, you are right, man. I have never heard anyone call it that, that is perfect, man. I wrote this song and I knew this strange guitar player and he used a vibrator on the strings and that was great and when he was playing his guitar like that, it looked like he was on drugs or something and I said he had to be the guitar player for “Pain”, so….
How was it to work with Ben Jackson, your former Crimson Glory bandmember, again?
Midnight: Oh, man, just great. Ben is one of the most beautiful people in the world, maybe the most, except for my daughters of course. I love Ben; it was great working with him again. I needed a bass player for a certain song and he came and the chemistry was right back again.
Did he contribute to any of the songs?
Midnight: No, he just played the bass on “Berber Trails”.
Could you tell something about the other guys in the band?
Midnight: That is an interesting subject…. I have known Phil (Anderson, MK), the drummer, since 1977 when we formed a band, my first band ever and there I met this guitar player called Scott Gibson and I asked him if he could play the mandolin and he said yes. And I said: okay, let’s play the Battle Of Evermore by Led Zeppelin and he said okay. So, he started playing and it was just amazing, I felt magic, I felt the bond between us, but then he disappeared for 10 years and that explains a lot, right….
The album is called “Sakada”, what does it mean?
Midnight: What do you think? Well, a sakada is an insect, let me start from the beginning, I am sorry… On tv someone said: the sakada is back after 15 years of absence; they stay underground for 15 years and then they spread their wings and come out. I go, like: what the hell, that is perfect; I was also underground for 15 years, so that was perfect timing. These insects come out of the ground and they make a very loud noise; for some people it is beautiful and for some it is just noise, or annoying as hell.
Just like your new CD, right?
Midnight: That’s it, man. You said it, that is the truth!
How did you end up with the Black Lotus Label?
Midnight: A friend told me that this label was interested in my music, so they asked me if I would redo my former album “M”, and I said no, because that is a crap album, I recorded it in 5 hours and it is not meant to represent my music. But we started talking some more and I gave them some of my new material, we started negotiating and they care, man. They care about the artist. Major labels just care about money. To them it is more personal, we are a family, you know that is important to me because I never had a family.
Are there already plans for a tour?
Midnight: We are talking about it right now, working out some places where we would like to play, but there are no definite plans yet.
You are going to play the guitar and sitar as well on stage?
Midnight: Yeah, I have to, ha ha ha.. I do not like to, I want to focus on the vocals, theatrics. I want to be an actor and a singer and I would like to use my hands a lot, but….
Are you planning on wearing any special costumes?
Midnight: Many different things, yeah. I thought about a concert where everybody in the audience had to wear a costume and I think I will do that.
Which is something new, of course?
Midnight: That is the idea, man. The world is waiting for something like this. I think that many people have been watching and listening to the same crap for years!
What do you call crap?
Midnight: Commercial music is what I call crap. What the media feed to the population, that is crap, you have to look deeper than that.
With Crimson Glory you guys all wear masks, what was the reason for that?
Midnight: The mask was something to draw attention to our band. Also we could hide behind the mask. I knew we would become very famous, so I did not like it that people recognised me in the street. You know, you are sitting in a restaurant with your wife and you cannot even enjoy your meal properly…I still liked to have a private life.
Do you still like the old Crimson Glory stuff; I think that some songs are real cult tracks!
Midnight: Thank you, I do not listen to them anymore, when I listen to them I do not hear enjoyment, I only hear the mistakes and that is the curse of being an artist.
But surely you cannot deny that some CG tracks are still great….
Midnight: of course, you are right….
But will you be playing CG songs on the coming tour?
Midnight: Of course, the ones with the mistakes ha ha ha…Live the songs even sound better. You know the CG songs were actual vocal gymnastics. I could not do that anymore. I am not that good of a singer. I am a creator; I do not see myself as a good singer, really not….
So, do you practise a lot to keep your voice in shape?
Midnight: Hell NO, ha ha ha…fuck it, no… But if I wanted to be a world singer I would!
You said that you are a creator, would it not be a good idea to write a novel?
Midnight: Very nice question, as a matter of fact I just started on something. When I do lyrics I have to put a whole story in a song, please give me the freedom to write it into a book and I did that. I came up with a brilliant story, but it is still a secret, so I tell you this only if you put out the recorder!
Do you read a lot?
Midnight: I should, but the problem is the time, literature is very important to me, but actually I work visually, tv, movies, you know….You can draw the comparison to my music; when you read a book it is like I tell people what my lyrics are about, when you read a book you draw your own picture, that is what I want from people who listen to my music. When they ask me what are your lyrics about I say: draw your own picture! With a movie, you see it, which is different.
What is the last movie you saw?
Midnight: What dreams may come with Robin Williams.
Do you also like fantasy movies like The Lord of the Rings?
Midnight: Yeah, great stuff, what a movie! Excellent, Peter Jackson did a marvellous job.
Something different actually, are you a religious person?
Midnight: Not religious, spiritual!
What is the difference?
Midnight: Big difference. God has so many faces, but it is all the same spirit, only many different masks, mine is better than yours and that sort of nonsense… Religion is bullshit to me; it is tradition, nothing more. I have 7 angels that follow me and they make things happen, they know that I am not too smart on my left side of my brain. The right side is genius, man and on this side (right) it is not that smart. They help me, man!
So, I gather that you are also not interested in politics?
Midnight: Here we go…actually I really was not, till that fuckin: redneck bullshit asshole motherfuckin’ Bush guy took control!
You really like this guy, right?
Midnight: I love him to death, man. Phil is political and he made start to pay attention to it and when I did I started to get upset, ha ha ha. We have been to protests, since the 70-ties the USA have never been so divided, man. Here’s a solution, maybe you can better not mention this…..If everyone would donate a dollar to hire an assassin to kill Bush that would be great, okay print it, what do I care. He freaks me out, maybe he is the fuckin’ antichrist, I do not know. He is a dumbass fuckin’ Texan who has no connection with humanity. I mean, why is he so aggressive, Iran is next, mark my words. But, again, maybe Bush is there for a reason. But I need to say that if you kill in the name of religion you are wrong!!! As you can hear, besides music religious understanding is my next favourite thing.
Are you not fed up with doing interviews?
Midnight: No, keep them coming, especially if it is one like this, ha ha ha…. I have been doing this for a week now and I love it, it is great, it is all about the people. Actually it is a working vacation!
So, thanks for your time and your interesting answers.
Midnight: Thank you, man. This was the longest and the best interview I have done, ever. Thanks a lot, see you on tour!Interview by Martien Koolen,