Interview with Midnight Miles
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Music has always played major roles in the lives of everyone in this band. Everything about it. Not nearly enough words to describe it. It’s an incredible thing really, and it’s also why we’ve all come together. We’re creating something that with any luck others might connect to and get inspired by.
If any one of us weren’t into music, we’d all probably still be as involved and into other multiple art forms.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Anything that quiets the mind and grounds you in the present. That’s where a lot of inspiration manifests for us. Whether it be riding motorcycles, restoring furniture, walking through the woods, writing, or travelling… It varies for each of us. Playing in a band is often about combining these individual passions and working together to make magic happen.
How long has your band been around?
The band has been cooking things up for about 2 years now, while Justin (drummer/producer) and I (Ryan/vocals) are going on 10+ years.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based out of Montreal, Quebec. While our hometown is quite charming and has plenty of great venues, it actually has little influence on the music we play. However, we definitely acknowledge and appreciate the countless artists in this city and are grateful to be a part of it.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always felt this nostalgic, sort of dreamy, almost magical serenity whenever travelling somewhere at night. Those are the Midnight Miles.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Probably our most memorable one was a recent show at a lovely intimate Montreal venue called “Le Verre Bouteille”. It was one of those nights where the place was bursting at the seams with all sorts of music-loving people, old friends and new ones! Everyone was on the same page, 100% tuned in, no one on their devices – and that’s what it’s all about. Sometimes it’s not the size of the venue that matters as much as the connection you feel with the audience.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
A good venue is any place that is both accessible and accommodating to the musicians, the staff, and those attending the show.
There’s an old Montreal theatre called The Rialto (built in 1924) which architecturally and aesthetically stunning. Definitely a favorite to many.
But of all the cool venues here in Montreal, I think we’d look forward to playing Metropolis [now called MTELUS]. Although some of us have already performed there in other bands, we’re yet to take the stage as Midnight Miles. It’s a cool space with a capacity of up to 2300. Great lighting, great sound, good layout and so on.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
If I was able to get my hands on a musical time machine, how about… Midnight Miles opening for The Faces (1971), Paul Butterfield (1972), Free (early 70s), ZZ Top (70s-80s) and The Black Crowes (90s)?
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
One piece of advice for starting out would have to be… soak up inspiration wherever you find it. If travelling is your thing, travel. If food is your thing, eat. Nature, get outside. Love, go and fall in love. But most importantly… be persistent in digging deep from within yourself. Learn as much as you can from others, yes, but remember at the end of the day your own voice will always be the most authentic. The one that connects to people and makes things happen. It’s great to be able to sing like Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding – but carving out your own thing… that’s the real deal.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
“Be bold. The mighty forces will come to your aid.” (Goethe)
I would basically say… Always try and be straight with people you associate with. In business, with music, relationships, anything. Everybody should be on the same page about what’s going on and what the deal is. Avoid creating situations where people could misinterpret what’s actually happening. In other words, keep communication wide open.
Of your songs, which one means the most to you and why?
Our first single entitled Coming On. It’s an analogy for being amidst all sorts of craziness, but then getting the sense that change is on the horizon. The character in the song insists we embrace what’s happening rather than avoid it. It means a lot to me because of its empowering message.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Coming On is our most requested tune, and also our favorite track to play because it has this powerful pulse that doesn’t quit. The instrumentation and all the three-part harmonies on this song gel together in a way that’s incredibly catchy. It’s a blast to perform live.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
A lot of times, I’ll come into the band’s jam space with the bones of a song – the basic idea for the music and some lyrics. We usually jam through it in a variety of keys and tempos. While we’re improvising and taking risks, the song eventually becomes a song. Everyone in the band contributes to the final piece of music.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
To me, rock’n’roll is a melting pot of blues, gospel and country. When this kind of music is executed in a way that’s raw, rebellious and authentic, anything is possible. The messages vary but I think the purpose of Midnight Miles is to liberate and inspire the listener creatively. We want to talk about a whole array of topics but beyond that, we hope the music instills a sense of courage and strength in people.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We’re lucky that we all get along great despite the common challenges bands usual face. For sure we’re only human and each of us unique, but when it comes to Midnight Miles, we all share and contribute to the vision. Together, we work as a team and we’re all grateful for that gift.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We vow to keep playing live shows and connecting with people. Simultaneously, we intend to keep things rolling in the recording studio in order to constantly be delivering that fresh heartfelt music to you.
Our debut EP entitled Steal Away is slated for release on May 18. The record will include a bunch of new tunes we’ve had the pleasure of putting together over the last year. We’ll be playing the Tremblant Blues Festival on July 14, and hopefully a few other cool outdoor gigs throughout the summer.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?