A few weeks ago, we caught up with YouTube stars and up-and-coming 80s, electronic pop duo, Fly By Midnight.
So, you’re readying the release of your debut EP, Party Favors, how’re you feeling about it??
J: Slightly nervous.
S: Yeah, definitely anxious. *laughs*
J: We really glued every creative piece of our mind to the EP. Tonnes of eclectic influences, as well as risks we haven’t taken on previous singles.
S: If you’re a fan of Fly By Midnight there’s really no way to prepare you for what we’ve created for this EP!
Are there any surprises on it, maybe a surprise feature, or a different sound to what we’re used to from you guys??
J: In typical music industry fashion there’s always the possibility of a feature right up until the day before the EP is released. We have a couple in mind…. but no promises *smirks*
S: We really wanted to embrace the vibe of previous Fly By singles that people have latched onto, but take more liberties to incorporate other sounds we haven’t previously. Still retro & feel good, but with a handful of twists.
Your current single “Vinyl” is an absolute banger! What was the reason behind releasing this?
S: We always say “Vinyl” is the first song we’ve written with a real relatable message to people our age. It was also the first single we’ve released where Justin & I had our individual moments to kind of show off as vocalists. Definitely, more of this vibe to come on the EP as well!
The lyrics are on point in terms of culture, did it come from any personal experiences with technology interfering in life/relationships?
J: *laughs* Completely came from personal experience. Slavo & I are two dudes in our early 20s navigating this new dating culture like everyone else. “Vinyl” really turned into this confessional of how weird & bizarre social dating apps have become.
I see your sound as ‘anthemic indie-pop with a sprinkle of the 80s’, how would you guys describe your sound?
J: Well firstly, that’s a dope description of our sound. We label our genre retro-pop simply because the term “retro” is vague enough to pull inspiration from any previous generation of music. With this upcoming EP even more than previous singles you’ll feel influence from the 70s, 80s, 90s & early 2000s with a modern twist. We like having that space to really pull from whatever vibes come from the past & not feel limited when making it feel current.
Who influenced your sound? And who influenced and inspired you to get into music?
S: Justin & I have our own individual influences & share a few as well. The first one that always comes to mind is Billy Joel. His narrative songwriting is definitely heard in our previous & future records 100%!
J: It’s always been a fun question for us because we both have different journeys how we stumbled into a career in music. To make mine short & sweet: theatre geek turned pop addict turned YouTuber turned songwriter.
S: I guess mine would be the equivalent of High School Musical except I played football in highschool/college instead of basketball. *laughs*
Let’s go right back to the beginning! How did you guys meet?
S: Justin and I met a few years back through a studio we were mutually working with. I moved to NY from FL to pursue music as a producer/engineer. I eventually came across ET Studio Productions and met Justin who was working on his solo project at the time.
J: We started writing together with no intentions of forming a duo. Just two guys who vibed unusually well not only when it came to the music, but also just as really tight friends. Slavo had laid down a harmony on a record we had written & walked out of the vocal booth. In my typical dramatic & overly hyped up way I pitched the idea about creating a duo and pretty much taking over the world. In perfect Slavo fashion, he shrugged his shoulders and said “okay.” *laughs*
Justin, you appeared on MTV’s MADE series! How did that help your career?
J: It helped in the respect of solidifying how addicted I am to making music. I was chosen for that show mostly because the producers thought my drive & determination would speak to other 17/18-year-olds pursuing a passion. Ever since I’ve known that music is all I want to do.
We must talk about YouTube! Why did you decide to go the YouTube route?
S: YouTube kind of fell in our lap with Justin previously laying groundwork down on the platform with his solo project. He had previous knowledge on how unique of a tool it could be if used correctly. We both knew it was the right place to give Fly By Midnight the opportunity to reach an international audience.
J: I’ve always loved the idea of turning people into fans across the world with the click of a button. Still never gets old when we tour somewhere and people who come out to the show say they became a fan from a video their friend posted on Facebook. Still weirdly futuristic to me *laughs*
What was the decision behind doing covers rather than originals to start the channel?
S: Justin & I love creating our music from scratch, but there is something uniquely rewarding taking on another artists’ song and recreating it as if it was our own. I think fans of our covers know how much fun we have making them & it translates on screen.
Your videos often cross 100k views, but how was it when you saw how your cover of Charlie Puth’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore” exploding?
J: Totally insane. You never really get an official e-mail saying “Hey something you’ve created is going viral.” *laughs* That video opened up a tonne of opportunities for us as well. Go record you singing with some friends in the car & you never know what will happen next.
What’s the favourite cover that you’ve done?
S: Although it’s not our most viewed video, our cover of Drake & Rihanna’s “Too Good” has always been a standout of mine. The colours in the video & our energy really capture the vibe of the record.
J: I’d say my favourite would be our throwback cover of “Everywhere” by Michelle Branch. It was the first time we’ve done a cover of an older song & we weren’t sure how it was going to be perceived. Felt super nostalgic reading comments of how it brought viewers back to their high school days & all.
Have you got any big ones planned?
J: We just released our new cover of Harry Styles’ debut single “Sign Of The Times” featuring the most dope girl group The Janes. Going to let that do its thing on our channel for a bit while we prep for EP!
You’ve got the release of Party Favors soon, but what’s next for Fly By Midnight? Headline tour? Huge debut album? Taking over pop?
S: With the Party Favors EP coming out this summer we definitely want one NYC show to give old fans & new ones the real Fly By experience. Details TBD, but we want it to really compliment the new records.
J: Have some really exciting meetings come June. We’re always trying to bring this project to the next level so who knows!
And finally! If you could choose three people – dead or alive – to work with, who would you choose?
J: *First three that came to my mind* Jon Bellion, Gibb Brothers (Bee Gees) & Elton John.
S: Billy Joel, John Lennon & Max Martin.
Thank you for your time, good luck with your EP and YouTube channel!
Check out the boys cover of “Sign Of The Times” below and let us know what you think in the comments!