Midnight Realm Interview “The new album is going to be called ’The Rebuild’.”
I must say the word “faithful” exists for the amazing 6 pieces band from UK. I was curious about their thoughts for the beautiful EP “Polarissima” and the upcoming full-length and they gave those incredible answers one by one to my questions.
First of all, I would love to ask you about the brilliant EP Polarissima. Together with the artwork of the EP, the name “Polarissima” reminds me naturally to the spiral galaxy “Polarissima Borealis (NGC3172)”. What is the meaning of Polarissima for the band?
Liam: The name “Polarissima” was already established when I joined the band, so I had no part of choosing it for the EP. Still, my first impression on the name was that it commanded power. I love astronomy too, so there was a bonus!
Dan: I began writing the EP with our previous keyboard player Alan Woodham. We wanted to create a concept of a world like ours, but make it just that little bit different so we could add that aspect of fantasy in there. I used to read a lot of papers on astronomy when I was back in college and the name Polarissima kept cropping up. I thought it would be an excellent place to stage the storyline that the EP tells.
As I mentioned above, the beautiful artwork of the EP also gives me some imagination of the cosmos. Whose idea was it?
Dan: That was my idea again! Haha. Space and planets have always been big inspiration of mine and to incorporate those images into the music just seemed natural for me. As we have progressed though we’re moving away from the whole ‘solar’ theme and actually getting into the storyline. Our concept imagery is now based more on the world after the destruction and the rebuilding of civilization. Dystopian society is a really powerful image and something that we’ve been using a lot in the writing process for the new album.
Liam: Yeah, it was a good call – like I said, I love anything to do with astronomy so it was a huge inspiration, particularly when Dan and I were writing the lyrics to the songs. Writing in line with such a concept has been fantastic.
Ste: We initially thought of Colin Marks (www.rain-song.co.uk) to do the artwork as we had seen a lot of his album art for bands like Scar Symmetry, Xerath and Nevermore and we really liked his whole style and vision. We think he really captured what we were trying to say perfectly.
Every song in the EP sounds very atmospheric, progressive, aggressive and melodic, and the lyrics includes some huge themes about the human race. They are not of a personal nature, right? Can you describe the songs one by one?
Ste: Think I will leave this up to Liam and Dan as they did most of the song writing etc for the EP!
Dan: The lyrics to the songs aren’t personal in any way really. The EP tells the story of a moon that is heading toward the planet, and a girl who keeps seeing visions of the world’s demise. The whole thing is about her coming to terms with the oncoming extinction of her race and reflecting on what impact her species has left on the planet. I suppose it can mirror is some ways conceptually what we are doing to our own planet, but hopefully our moon wont be falling on us any time soon!
Liam: To me, they’re only personal in terms of encapsulating some views that I hold on us as humans; both as animals and as members of society.
For example, Abstract Connections talks about how our way of life is taken for granted and how our earth is exploited in order to quell our greed, impatience and materialistic “needs”… not to sound like a tree hugger or anything, you wouldn’t catch me dead in a Prius! For me, its just about being aware.
John: Polarissima is a very natural intro. We needed something that started small and built to a huge crescendo to set up the album. It’s very filmic, and flows straight into Abstract Connections
Abstract Connections has very strong guitar leads, so they keyboards needed to sit behind that but still give it the atmosphere set up by Polarissima. The sustained strings that build up from the bridge into the chorus allowed that to happen.
Liam: Solaris is about living in a world that’s gone to shit… whether it was our doing or not, we’ve paid the ultimate price and the world (and us) is on the cusp of extinction. The end chorus however suggests a glimmer of hope that we may turn the tables if we are willing to change. Will we? Who knows?
John: Solaris was actually the last song we wrote for the E.P. It has a rather staccato feel in the guitar line, so when writing the keyboard parts, it was clear that it needed a strong backing line. The huge orchestration of the previous tracks needed to continue, so we took the opportunity to write a segue between the intro and first verse and the outro, which features harp, strings, piano, choir, French horn and a bassoon.
Liam: Enlightenment is always associated with positivity, but Mystic Revelations is about the sudden realisation of bad things to come and the desperate struggle to find a solution. The verses speak of a struggle to come to terms with what appears to be inevitable, while the chorus shows a cry for help – a need for all of these events to get turned around.
John: The song features a choir and harp as its main orchestration. The title already sounded very ethereal, so the backing needed to be very choral, with strings giving it some depth. The harp lead also accents the entire song, playing melodies over and with the guitar.
Liam: Requiem is all about renewal. For me it’s very much a positive song, despite the current concept allowing plenty of room for depression and gloom. Rising through the ashes of the planet we once had and still holding bold aspirations of success and positivity? Hell, its smiles all round!
John: Requiem was the song that changed the least (keyboard wise) from its inception to its recording. It’s the most progressive song on the record, but it also has a very thrashy feel to the verses. It also features two smooth synth leads, giving it a very Soilwork-esque sound. The song finishes with the synth lead, which I think hints nicely at the change of the world in the album, from its heavily orchestrated introduction to its thin electronic outro.
I’m also paying attention to the band’s name. I mean “Midnight Realm” sounds very mystic for me. Do you have any point with the name? Who gave the bands its name?
James: When I joined the band "Midnight Realm" was already its designated title, as it started off as Daniel’s project. I think each one of us perhaps has a different view on the meaning behind the name. I believe it to be a description for what the EP collectively stands for. When the world has wasted away we enter a realm of darkness.
Dan: I took the name from a project our old keys player Alan started. We thought it sounded different to what everyone else was calling their bands at the time and we have never looked back! I’ve been writing under the name Midnight Realm for about 4 years now, but as a complete band we have only really been together the past year or so.
The official music video “Solaris” is totally impressive, especially for your fans in the world who have never seen the band at gigs (like me). You succeeded to express the Universe of the Polarissima with the dismal location and the white dressed girl. Can you tell me any episode of making the video - behind the scene?
Liam: FATIGUE! Never had such a bangover in my life, it took about three days for my spine to return to normal! I can’t think of anything gossipy to share, but it was the first time I’d ever been with the guys in such a serious “we’ve got a job to do” situation. I believe that we were 100% efficient and that as a group, we could tackle different, more challenging scenarios – such as naked car washes, ABBA themed weddings and politics.
Dan: The music video was shot by Richard Slater, a friend of mine at an abandoned industrial works in Hartlepool, about an hour from where we live. We shot the video on two separate days.
John: We wanted to replicate the artwork, but on a tight budget creating an apocalyptic wasteland is rather difficult. The first weekend we travelled down to film all the scenes in which our friend Alex, playing the girl from the cover of the album, was walking around trying to make sense of the world.
Dan: when it came to shooting the band live they had fenced off the whole industrial estate and told us we couldn’t record on the land. It was a bit of a nightmare but we found a location nearby and finished the video there. I think Richard did a really good job of making it look like the actress was the last girl alive, and we are going to be using him again for our next music video!
Ste: The only downside was that in getting up at 5am in the morning to prepare for it, the last thing I thought about was sun cream as I was just praying it wasn’t going to rain (it is England after all) – so by the time we finished up I suddenly realized that I was burnt to a crisp….
James: The wind made it seem like we were cold but we were actually slowly sizzling in the sun after every take. Stephen and myself were both totally burned by the end of the day, if I remember rightly you looked like a beetroot by the time we had finished shooting, isn’t that right Steve?..
Ste: SHUT IT!!!! Next question!?
By the way, you guys replaced the permanent drummer already, right? Can you tell me the history of the band? Please introduce current members.
Liam: Yeah we got a new drummer! He’s not bad, not bad at all!
Dan: Steve Cross our last drummer was working with us on a session basis till we found someone closer to home. He lives about 4 hours away from where we practise and getting up to us on a regular basis was becoming really difficult; so we felt it best to start looking for someone full time in Newcastle. Patrick got in touch with us shortly after we posted up an advertisement for a new drummer and we’ve just clicked. Learning the drum parts played by Alex Rudinger (the drummer who played on our EP) is no easy feat but Paddy has done an excellent job, and our new material is sounding even better!
Ste: We have been through a lot of members in the past for various different reasons, either musical incompatibility or people just generally not fitting into the fold as well as we hoped. The line up as it is now will be the one we push forward with and we are all very happy with the way things are. Patrick has filled that space we were looking for and things are going really well with him.
Patrick: Having drummed for a couple of local acts around Newcastle I was on the look out for something a bit more serious to focus on. By chance I saw that Midnight Realm were after a new drummer and felt the songs were suitably challenging enough to excite me and I already vaguely knew John so I sent him a message. The ball just started rolling from there and I'm looking forward to the future of Midnight Realm.
James: Our line-up is now: Liam Posselwhite on vocals, Daniel Russell and Stephen Traut on guitars, myself (James Carter) on bass, John Dalziel on keyboards and Patrick Deans on drums.
Dan: Alan Woodham our old keys player is always helping in the background too with the orchestra. He’s very much our ‘man behind the scenes’!
I’m already eager for your first full-length CD. Do you have any specific plan for it at the moment?
Liam: METAL! SO MUCH METAL! But not too much… just the right amount.
Ste: The plan for the moment is just to crack on with the writing and recording of the new album. We are already well under way with a good 5-8 tracks nearing completion. We don’t want to jinx anything but we are hoping to have it released some time in the first half of 2013.
James: The new album is going to be called “The Rebuild”. We'll have some sneaky surprises and previews for you all near the winter months. Until then I’ll just say it’s going to be heavier, it’s going to be faster and your going to love it!
John: It’s going to be huge- imagine the E.P with more orchestra and more groove.
Dan: Conceptually the album begins in the aftermath of the EP. The world has all but been destroyed by the impact of the planet and civilization is living in a dystopian chaos. The album follows the rise and fall of ‘The Architect’, a man who has a utopian vision and will stop at nothing to make it happen.
Patrick: We have just about enough material to make a full length now it's just a case of putting the songs together into a coherent order. My main goal is to incorporate as much cowbell into the songs as possible.
Well, Polarissima is also available at famous Japanese CD stores called “disk union” and “Amazon Japan”. I got some positive feedbacks from the people who checked it out already. How do you feel about it? Do you have any message to Japanese metalheads?
Liam: I honestly can’t tell you what that means to have fans that are so far afield! It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling in my….
Dan: Now now Liam! It really is an overwhelming feeling to know that people all over the world listen to and support your music. We honestly can’t thank you all enough, and we WILL be over to play to you. We will find a way!
Ste: We are all so happy that the Japanese people have had the chance to listen to the music through you Kumi. We love you for what you do and your passion for metal! – It’s inspiring!
James: I still cant get my head around it, we have fans so far spread over the globe. It’s incredible. I just want to thank every one of you who has supported us!
Patrick: I had no idea it was on Amazon, that's awesome! Can't wait to play in Japan hopefully someday soon.
John: We’re so glad that people enjoy the CD, I never imagined that it would make it all the way to Japan! Thank you to everyone who has bought it, and has spread the word about Midnight Realm. Don’t forget to stop by our facebook and say hi!
Midnight Realm Official Music Video “Solaris”