Campus Band: The Midnight Hours
Written by Bwog Staff
The Midnight Hours don’t belong in New York City. The band, fronted by Michael Harper C’07 and Lauren Marie Hunter ’07, manages to throw its listeners back to Austin circa 1973 while avoiding any cliché. Rounding out the group of not-so-Texan Texas outlaws are Chris Tomson C’06 on lead guitar, Chris Baio C ‘07 on bass, and Izumi Devalier C’07 on drums. BWOG music correspondent Justin Gonçalves sat down with them at Chipotle on 8th and 34th to discuss Blogs, Digby Sellars, and Madison Square Garden.
How did The Midnight Hours come to be?
Harper: Lauren and I went to high school together in Texas. We were making our own songs and then it came to not be a two-person thing.
Marie: We wanted more of a full band sound.
MH: Then Chris joined on bass. We’ve been friends since freshman year. We’re roommates now.
Tomson: Michael hit on me at a party.
Devalier: Michael hit on me at a party, too!
MH: Really? (Laughs).I don’t remember that. Sorry.
Where did the name come from?
MH: We went through 5 other names that no one hated: The Young Rushes, the Railway, The Midnight Specials.
Baio: That’s a sandwich too. I thought it was fine, but no one else did.
LM: It’s also a lyric from a Ray Charles song.
So you guys recorded an EP, The Five Believers?
MH: Yeah, we recorded it in June. I work for Telecom and after work I would hang out for a few hours and wait for Lauren and Tomson. Tomson’s we did all in one day.
Was it hard to record the drums?
MH: I have all these cheap mics, like ten of them, and two decent ones. We used the conference room in the basement of Havermeyer so she just played to my guitar track. “Ain’t it Something” we had never played as a band before. When Chris was recording the bass part it was like, Like this? nahh. Like this? nahh. Like this? yeahhh.
“Signs” was just something we recorded in Wien. We wanted to call it The Five Believers so we stacked on the fifth song.
Can you tell me a bit about some of your influences?
MH: We like 60s music. Bob Dylan, The Band, The Beatles, Stones. I don’t think CCR’s really an influence but a lot of people say we sound like them.
LM: Texas Outlaw music, Odetta.
CB: Digby Sellars. We grew up listening to Digby Sellars.
What is Outlaw Texas Music?
MH: In the 7/80s, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, they had no luck in Nashville so they moved to Austin. They really like Bob Dylan.
CT: By being outsiders, they were outlaws, though they were truer to country music.
You guys have gotten some bloggers interested in your EP?
MH: A number of blogs
MH: There’s a French blog that covers cosmic American music but no American blog that does that.
How would you describe your music?
MH: The Train. Steam engine. Odessa Steamtrain? You can say that’s our new thing, runaway stage coach music.
How has the core influenced your music?
CB: Our sound has been compared to Hobbes’ Leviathan.
Where would you like to see this going?
MH: Madison Square Garden. (Laughs.) That’s why we practice down here. I think we’ll all be staying in New York for a while. (Awkward pause, silent plea for support.) We don’t talk about the far future. We just hope we live until tomorrow.
See their show Wednesday, November 8, at Arlene’s Grocery at 10 pm.
Tags: campus bands