midnight hollow 1

Words: Izzy Church

 

The handsome lead singer and guitarist of Midnight Hollow, Spencer Draeger, captivated me from the moment he stepped onto the stage at Piano’s.  Midnight Hollow definitely has a vibe about them which screams, “This is it! This is what you’ve been waiting for and I’m not going to let you forget it!” Midnight Hollow transports you out of the rock bar and into the dance club one second and then back in time in the next with their psychedelic and groovy songs. Make sure to check out their EP, “For the People Inside,” which is set to come out in February 2015. Midnight Hollow is on the musical path to success!

 

Forward is a super hot track. What is the meaning behind this catchy dance beat?

SPENCER DRAEGER: THANKS! We started writing Forward off of one of our other tracks called Easy Village. If you check out our EP, “For The People Inside,” … you can listen to ‘Easy Village’.

I tend to write almost everything in seclusion in my own studio, where I layer/overdub everything and craft the song while recording it to show the live band  (Matt Leibowitz, Vahak Janbazin, and Katie Lee Cambo) and Andrew. But with “Forward,” Andrew and I were kind of joking around during practice, just playing around with this drum loop I had made for “Easy Village” when Andrew decided to put a filter on it. We laughed about it as we pushed it forward into being something awesome.

We had just finished the recording for our self-­titled EP, which is pretty cerebral, heavily layered and psychedelic. Therefore, we wanted to make something different. Being an 80’s baby, who is pretty obsessed with analog synths, I wanted to make something more electronic and danceable. I never like to pigeonhole the meanings of my songs, but since this track was a bit ambiguous I’ll try to decode it a little.

Lyrically, “Forward” is a satirical approach to how often we sit in front of each other and just try to get to the bottom line instead of hearing the whole story.  Living in such extremes can make a person a little neurotic and self­-conscious, especially when we live in the gray and what society values is black and white. The meaning is pretty broad, but it encompasses the identity of the EP and it contains the lyric, ‘For The People Inside,’ which is the title of the album. I believe we live in a place where saying less is more, but to be heard you have to be “extremely” sure of yourself and I think society tends to favor the polarized. I feel ‘Forward’ is a reaction to those around me and my own feelings of being honestly insecure about competing in a world that’s built on on extremes and confidence.

ANDREW SEGRETI: Yeah, I am gonna just default to Spencer’s answer on this one. It’s a pretty damn accurate account of how that song got developed. During that period Spencer and I were going through a lot to figure out the process of completing songs. The line up of the band was very different back then. We didn’t have all the members we really needed to “jam out” in the practice space, and we were really interested in pushing our sound in a new direction.  We had to come up with clever ways of playing music together in order to find new things. This song is the the result of us experimenting with new ideas. I remember when I put the effect on the electronic drum beat, we both looked at each other and laughed mostly because we were just fucking around, but we unintentionally stumbled onto a really cool tone. It’s sort of a testament to letting our work inform itself or just being light-hearted and watching the road as it unfolds in front of you.

 

If you could be a fly on the wall in any person or musician’s home who would it be? And Why?

SPENCER: I’d like to see how James Murphy or Kevin Parker produced their albums. Those two guys seem like they did everything themselves in the writing process and even some of the recording process. To be able to see their tricks with how they got some of their tones or what gear they used would be interesting. In today’s age, I’m fascinated with how one person can make amazing music alone, without going into a studio. There are plenty more I’m inspired by, but those two came to mind because of their DIY mentality from the start of a song till it gets mixed. I think today music is getting more self-indulgent because of technology and those two guys really shine when it comes to making something great and on their own.

ANDREW: I would have to say Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon. I would just love to see how the vibe was between everyone involved. They probably knew what they were doing what was going to be important. I know they were aware of the momentum they had built, but they didn’t know what they were creating was going to be so massively influential and successful. Those sorts of moments fascinate me. It’s hard to look back and imagine what it must have been like, even after reading about it. To be able to see them uncolored, without any personal bias (at least from a first hand account from the artists themselves), would be amazing to me.

 

When you are not performing or rehearsing what are you doing? Hobbies? Other career aspirations?

SPENCER: Honestly, I record day and night and go to shows. I hang with my close friends and girlfriend and pay my rent bartending for a bunch of classless people in a club. Interacting with those people is kind of where my inspiration derives from, though, at least to some degree. I’ll never stop playing music and I just don’t really see myself doing anything else. If I were forced to do something I’d say maybe a writer. In a question such as: What’s your five-year plan? I’d say, maintain what I have going. I’d spend more time rehearsing, recording, writing and playing out, so it’s kind of a full-time gig for me.

ANDREW: I am a photographer as well as a drummer, so I spend a fair amount of time on that. I love portrait work and hope to do a lot more of it over the next few months. However, with the demands of life here in NYC plus having a band and a job it can be kind of hectic. I have plenty to keep me occupied.

 

“Morning Glow” is an awesome music video. What was the inspiration for Morning Glow’s surreal look & feel?

SPENCER: My old friend and the director, Philipe Grenade, came up with the concept. We chose him over other directors one because he is a friend, but also because of how imaginative he was with our music. My whole policy with videos is to be in sync with the motion of the music. The video and the song should be equal and both serve the same purpose, plus the motion and rhythm of the picture should be harmonious with the song and mood.

To sum it up quickly, Philipe came up with the idea of watching classes mingle through out a night of indulgence. Specifically watching one girl trying to find her place in society as a attractive women and what stereotypical emptiness follows her trying to maintain independent.

Filming it was pretty magical. The week prior to meeting with Philipe, Andrew and I ate a bunch of pot brownies and went to see a screening of Holy Mountain at the IFC Theater in the West Village. We decided we wanted that kind of surrealism to deter a kind of linear or obvious narrative because the lyrics contained a lot of detailed imagery already. We used our friend Sarah Stephens who’s a successful model and hired this really perfect actor through Philipe, named Ronald Thomas. It was all shot upstate where we rented a room in a castle and went to a candy factory. Being a photographer, Andrew had built this amazing glass kaleidoscope that we blasted a lot of light through which served as all the psychedelic imagery in the bridge of the song. Overall it came out exactly how we wanted it.  We feel pretty good about having our first video looking the way it did.

 

Describe Midnight Hollow’s sound to me in one sentence.

SPENCER: A psychedelic unicorn ridden by a flamboyant man with multiple floating heads trots at a hypnotic pace through a space ship that’s about to enter a black hole.

ANDREW: Dark, but colorful psychedelic pop with multiple layers of grooveable rhythms and atmosphere plus a ton of soul and a bit of attitude.

Your fans would be underestimating you if they thought you would never……. Fill in the blank.

ANDREW: Fuck, I don’t know how to answer that question, I think we are striving to set up a situation where our fans will always be in anticipation of being surprised. Spencer and I are both unimpressed with bands/artists that find a sound and never explore it. They put out the same record over and over. We think the purpose of creating comes with exploration. You have to dive into a rabbit hole and hopefully come out with something new each time. I suppose only time will tell.

 

How would you rate your live performance?

SPENCER: Well you’re only as good as your live show, so I’d hope every musician would confidently be able to say they can deliver their sound to someone through their live show. Playing live is everything to me and I feel we really have a damn good time playing and re-inventing the song with multiple people instead of just Andrew and I. If it were up to me I’d be on the road the majority of the year playing, so I’ll say why don’t you come see us and rate us for yourself. I’m sure you’ll dig it and if you’re curious there is plenty of live footage on our Facebook page to start you off.

ANDREW: I can’t rate our live show. I am on stage behind my drum kit. Come see us, is all I can say. I try to play it how I would want to see it. If a band doesn’t break a sweat playing their songs, they should get the fuck off the stage.

 

As a child, did you dream of being in a rock band?

 SPENCER: Yeah I think somewhere in middle school I was a pro at air guitar, but I also dreamed of being X-Man and still kind of fantasize about having powers. Plus, I still play air guitar.

ANDREW: HAHAHAHAHA! YES! Singing along to Queen alone in my room pretending I was playing stadiums, or setting up fake drum kits with pillows and boxes. Little did I know what lay ahead of me – warehouse/basement shows and busted punk tours – but I am still that little kid.

 

Your ideal tour experience would look and sound like what? ( Bands? Food? Accommodations? Etc?)

SPENCER: I don’t know. Andrew and I have been in a lot of DIY bands where you end up sleeping in vans, never showering and crashing on some psychotic person’s couch, so we’d keep it simple. It would be nice to have an amazing light show, a bed and a shower. Real middle class, I know.

ANDREW: Good food, a clean place to stay and interesting people to hang with.

 

Who chose the name “Midnight Hollow”? And Why?

SPENCER: I chose the name partly because it sounded cool to me but also because, in the night, people turn. After bartending so many years I kind of felt like a lot of the indulging and thrills kind of made people empty, but the name just kind of stuck without much thought and we aren’t all that grim. Come to think of it, when we first released “Her Morning Glow,” we got pegged a lot for being this really dark, brooding band. I would say we aren’t dark, but we are really sarcastic and pretty light-hearted too, especially on stage. I think our name kind of set an aesthetic that I glossed over and never really thought about. I feel that, maybe, this EP coming out next year will color up the darkness.

 

I hear Midnight Hollow got its start in San Francisco. Why did you decide to move to NYC?

 SPENCER: It only began in San Francisco because my old band fell apart there and I needed a real change away from growing up and playing shows back in SF. TMH began in my bedroom with the intent of having a full band, which would preform the songs in NYC. I also was more of a front man and not really a true songwriter till this point. I thought it’d be inspiring to form the actual physical band in New York where I didn’t know anyone and where I could start with a clear perspective away from people that wouldn’t compare it to the past band. It was extremely difficult getting people together when I didn’t have anywhere to begin other than craigslist. I finally met Andrew and we put together the rest of the lineup shortly after. I did the final takes on a lot of the songs on our first EP in SF before moving out here a few years ago. NY is my home now and I don’t like to think of this being any part of San Francisco.

 

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