WM: G’day Athenar! Let’s begin by discussing the unholy beginnings of Midnight. I understand the band was formed back in 2003, did it begin as a solo project featuring just yourself or did you have a full line-up back then? What were your reasons behind forming an old-school black/speed metal band?
Athenar: YEAH IT'S ALWAYS BEEN JUST ME WASTING TIME BY MYSELF. I JUST WANTED TO HEAR SOME MUSIC I'D LIKE TO LISTEN TO. RATHER THAN A BUNCH OF BANDS CLAIMING TO BE INFLUENCED BY VENOM BUT JUST SOUND LIKE CANNIBAL CORPSE OR SOME SHIT.
WM: Aside from the obvious influences of Venom, Hellhammer and Motörhead, what other influences (both musical and non-musical) go into a Midnight song?
Athenar: A BIG INFLUENCE WOULD BE LIVING IN CLEVELAND WITH NOTHING TO DO, NO REASON TO DRESS COOL, NO REASON TO HANG OUT AT COOL PLACES. THERE'S NOTHING LIKE THAT HERE WHICH IS GOOD. AS FAR AS STUFF I LISTEN TO IT COULD BE ANYTHING, THERE'S TOO MUCH SHIT TO GET INTO, IT COULD BE A REALLY GOOD CAR COMMERCIAL JINGLE TO NAPALM DEATH.
WM: How do you achieve your signature raw and ugly sound in the studio? Are there any tricks to the guitar tones you use or certain production techniques that come in to play?
Athenar: THERE'S NO TRICKERY INVOLVED AS FAR AS I KNOW. I JUST PLAY RAW AND UGLY; I'M NOT A POLISHED PLAYER THAT'S FOR SURE. I DON'T ALOT OF DISTORTION BOXES TO FUCK UP THE SOUND, IT'S ALREADY GONNA SOUND FUCKED UP CUZ I CAN'T PLAY WELL ENOUGH.
WM: Why did you release so many EPs and splits before finally putting out your debut full length, “Satanic Royalty”? What can you tell us about “Satanic Royalty”, for those who haven’t already heard the album?
Athenar: I NEVER WANTED TO PUT OUT AN LP CUZ USUALLY WHEN A BAND PUTS OUT SINGLES AND EPS BY THE TIME THEY GET TO PUTTING OUT AN LP IT SUCKS HARD. SO MAYBE PEOPLE THINK THE ALBUM SUCKS ASS!
WM: What has the general reception been towards the full length? Personally, I thought it was great!
Athenar: I GUESS IN GENERAL IT'S BEEN PRETTY GOOD ALTHOUGH PAUL STANLEY HASN'T CALLED ME YET TO HELP HIM WRITE ANY SONGS. THANKS FOR GIVING IT A LISTEN.
WM: I understand that you released a split with Toxic Holocaust last year in order to raise money for the Red Cross relief fund for Japan. Could you please tell us a little about this release and how the idea to do something like this for the cause came about?
Athenar: WE JUST GOT BACK FROM A 3 DAY TOUR RIGHT AFTER THAT STUFF WENT ON IN JAPAN SO IT WAS A LITTLE CLOSE. I USUALLY DON'T GIVE TOO MANY SHITS ABOUT BENEFITS, DONATIONS AND CHARITYS BUT IT WAS JUST SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE TOXICAUST BAND AND JAPANESE METALISTS.
WM: Hell’s Headbangers recently released a Midnight compilation entitled “Complete and Total Hell”. What was the motivation behind releasing another compilation and how does this differ from your previous two compilations, “Complete and Total Fucking Midnight” and “Berlin Is Burning”?
Athenar: IT WAS TO MAKE THE SHIT AVAILABLE, YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE KEEP MUSIC OUT OF PRINT, IS IT HARD TO FIND BRITISH STEEL OR ACE OF SPADES? NWN ONLY PUT OUT 1500 OF THE COMPLETE AND TOTAL MIDNIGHT DLP AND 1500 OF THE FAREWELL TO HELL 10". SO THIS IS FOR THE PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T GET ONE OF THOSE. IT'S ALL THE RECORDED OUTPUT UP TO SATANIC ROYALTY:
FUNERAL BELL 12"
WHITE HOT FIRE 7"
OUTBREAK OF EVIL COMP TRACK
FAREWELL TO HELL 10"
BERLIN IS BURNING
WM: Speaking of Hell’s Headbangers, how has your experience been in regards to working with them when compared to your old label, Nuclear War Now! Productions?
Athenar: HH HAS BEEN GREAT. THEY LIVE AROUND 30 MINUTES AWAY FROM ME SO IT'S REALLY CONVENIENT. NWN DOES A GREAT JOB AT WHAT HE DOES ALSO.
WM: What is the metal “scene” like in your home town of Cleveland? Are there any bands hailing from that area you would recommend?
Athenar: MOST OF THE GREAT CLEVELAND METAL BANDS THAT I LIKE WERE FROM THE 80'S DESTRUCTOR, BREAKER, BLACK DEATH, KRATOS, MISTREATER, PURGATORY, FALSE HOPE. NEWER METAL FROM AROUND HERE IS NEKROFILTH, A GOOD MIX OF SLAUGHTER, NME AND REPULSION.
WM: It has recently been announced that Midnight will be traveling to Australia next year for the Evil Invaders festival. What are your thoughts on this festival? Have you been to Australia before? What can we Aussies expect from a Midnight performance?
Athenar: NEVER BEEN TO AUSTRALIA, WE'RE REALLY LOOKING FOWARD TO IT. I CAN HOPEFULLY PICK UP THE REMAING AC/DC AUSSIE PRESSINGS THAT I NEED AND THE TAIPAN 1770 EP, MAYBE THE 2ND AND 3RD BUFFALO LP'S THAT I NEED. KEEP YOUR EXPECTIONS LOW, THAT WAY YOU'LL ENJOY YOURSELF MORE.
WM: What do you think of the Australian underground? Are there any specific bands (new or old) that stand out to you?
Athenar: I'M MORE FAMILIAR WITH THE MORE POPULAR BANDS I GUESS, HOBBS, TAIPAN, ROSE TATTOO, X, FUN THINGS, RAZAR, SLAUGHTER LORD, THE ANGELS, SADISTIK EXEKUTION. I HAD THE RENEGADE LP YEARS AGO BUT TRADED IT FOR THE CROWLEY LP.
WM: Aside from the Australian adventure, do you have any more plans to tour next year? If so; where? Does Midnight play live often?
Athenar: WE'RE DOING SOME EURO GIGS. I GUESS WE DON'T PLAY AS MUCH AS SOME BUT MORE THAN OTHERS. I'M NOT REALLY A BIG FAN OF TOURS. IT'S USUALLY A WASTE OF TIME!
WM: Last but not least; I would like to thank you for taking the time to complete this interview. Any final thoughts?
Athenar: THANKS ALOT FOR TAKING THE TIME TO MAKE THESE QUESTIONS, SORRY I SUCK AT INTERVIEWS!