The band has recently released its first album, Lost in the City, and we were lucky enough to catch up with them in order to get the inside scoop on the guys and the songs. Crash Midnight is Shaun Soho (lead vocals), Bo (bass), Alex Donaldson (lead guitar), Steve Burchell (rhythm guitar) and Chris Bishop (drums).
Which members are responsible for the bulk of the songwriting? How does your creative process work? Is there any collaboration with the other band members once you actually sit down and play through the songs together after they are written?
SOHO: For our first album “Lost in the City,” I would usually come in with the basic ideas and melodies and then Alex and Bo would smash those ideas around and mangle them until it ended up sounding like us. For the new stuff we’ve been writing, there’s been even more ideas coming to the table with Steve and Chris jumping in on a lot of the writing.
STEVE: It’s a collective effort. We all have different tastes so it’s about finding the right balance for the song to end up coming out sounding like “Crash Midnight.”
ALEX: We’ve also been experimenting with different people writing vocal melodies and such. Just doing everything in our power to come up with stuff that comes from all different angles.
BISHOP: The challenge we’ve been facing while writing some of this new material, is the timing. We are in the middle of a band relocation with some of the members still on opposite coasts. Ideas get bounced around, with different versions being recorded and emailed back and forth which isn’t ideal. But honestly, we’ve been making it work and love the results.
BO: I wrote 100% of the bass lines I can tell you that. The song writing process is interesting because I don’t think any finished song sounds like what we had in our heads when we started. Sometimes I’ve found it can be difficult at first to divorce the original idea I had in my head from the final version and appreciate the new song.
That sounds like just about any group effort I’ve ever been involved with, Bo. How often does the song/lyrics change (if at all) once written?
SOHO: We’ve had some reworking of songs, especially some of the ones that have been around since the early days, but most of the time they just get a little polished up maybe from the first draft –they stay pretty close.
ALEX: I only care about guitar solos, bro.
SOHO: I lean on Bo a lot as my bullshit filter. If anything sounds a little weak, he’s really good at letting me know.
BO: It’s only because you’re so full of bullshit. One of the things I like so much about the band is that we balance each other out in a bunch of different ways. We don’t let any one person fall too much in love with their own work.
I’ve got to say that it’s working well from where I stand! From where do you draw your inspiration?
SOHO: I’ve always drawn from personal experience and things going on in and around the band for our material. Those are the kinds of songs that always connected with me from other artists. I think it’s more interesting to hear something real than something watered down and generalized to try to appeal to the masses.
Bishop: After years of Metal drumming, I’ve really been burying myself in everything from the 60’s and 70’s, and trying to blend the styles together.
BO: Booze, booze, booze. Actually, one of my sources of inspiration comes from my background in cinema and film production. I like trying to put music underneath stories or scenery that evokes a mood. The booze helps.
ALEX: Looking at my life …shaking my head.
Who or what would you say were the drivers behind your decision to make music and songwriting your career? Who or what would you say influence your music today? Can you identify the point where this changed (if it did actually change)?
SOHO: I was sick and tired of not liking anything on the radio. Nobody was making the music I was into anymore so I said, fuck it, I’ll do it. I think that’s pretty much the same for all of us in the band.
ALEX: Ever since I was a teenager I knew I would be pursuing music full-time. Thankfully that has been the case for the last decade. I feel pretty fortunate I’ve been able to do that in such an unstable climate.
BISHOP: Shaun nailed it. We all have different musical backgrounds, but our vision of what’s missing in music today is what drew us together.
STEVE: Creation of any form is a way to make something that will live on long past our days, and also a way to capture those particular moments and feelings in time in a musical form.
BO: I just liked making things, music seems to be the thing that I make that people appreciate. When I get an idea for a song or a video or whatever, it’s almost like I get an itch I can’t scratch. The only way to get the thing out of my head is to record it. Otherwise, it will keep kicking around in my head, slowly driving me insane. My influences live up by Niagara Falls, you’ve probably never met her.
SOHO: My influences are always expanding. Even more so now that we have more people involved in the writing process. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of western blues music and incorporating that vibe into the stuff I’m bringing to the guys.
I can totally appreciate the feeling that there’s nothing on the radio that you like or can identify with anymore. I loved your music the minute I heard you, I thought “yes, this is rock and roll and I like it!”
So, if everything goes to plan, where do you see yourselves in 5 years? 10 years?
SOHO: Nothing has gone to plan with this band since day one so I have no idea how to answer that. The one consistent has been loosely organized chaos from the stage shows all the way to any business plans. It’s always been a case of trying to hit a moving target, but I think that’s what keeps it exciting for us.
ALEX: ON THE BEACH PLAYING GUITAR.
STEVE: Personally or as a band? Who knows…maybe I’ll be the captain of a Pirate Ship, I’d quite dig that!
BO: Well on my way to becoming a dental hygienist.
Very creative, you all made me smile (laughs). You guys have used social media to draw attention to your band and to your live shows. Do you think that social media has helped to get your name out there? Who is primarily responsible for keeping your accounts active and what do you see as the advantages and disadvantages to having 300K followers on Twitter?
SOHO: Social media is the new version of flyering and canvassing the scene, except now you can reach much farther, much faster than you ever could back in the day. And instead of a piece of paper with a cool picture and the band name on it, now you can give your fans video, music, and tons of other cool shit with the click of a button.
BISHOP: I personally try to keep my doses of social media on the lower side. But from a band perspective, it is invaluable and can really help level the playing field in promotion.
SOHO: I handled a lot of the social media at the beginning but, about a year ago we got this great girl Tara to help us with it too and lately, Bo has been jumping in with a lot of cool stuff and Chris and Steve are getting in on it. Alex can’t seem to figure it out, fucked if I know why.
ALEX: Yeah, I actually suck at Twitter.
I follow the band on Twitter, I’ll have to add everyone…. but Alex I guess, to my timeline. What has been your best moment on stage and where did that take place? Conversely, will you share your most embarrassing or worst moment on stage?
SOHO: Playing Times Square at Best Buy Theater was really cool. We were cautioned that the NYC crowds would be more reserved, but we looked out two songs into our set and there were all these girls on guys’ shoulders and the crowd was just going crazy.
BO: I love smaller, more intimate crowds. Places where you can sweat on your fans. So for me, my favorite place to play was The Continental, down in St. Mark’s Place. It seats about 250 going by fire codes but I’d be afraid to get out of there if 20 people were between me and the door. That’s the type of place where you can only get over because you’re trying. They hear (or heard since they’re closed now) touring acts come through every night so if you’re faking it, they’ll know. And I love that. The challenge.
BISHOP: My favorite… Every time that first song starts and the crowd explodes. Never gets old.
STEVE: Headlined a 4th of July concert in Utah two years in a row in front of 10,000 in Utah – that was pretty cool! On the flipside I got roofied at a show once and blacked out, apparently I fell off stage twice, and left in a wheelchair, it would be embarrassing had I any memory of it!
SOHO: Hollywood last fall was cool too. It was the first time we’d played Hollywood as a band and it was for this thing called the Indee Asylum Concert Series –which is gonna be big. They taped the whole show and it’s going to be available to stream online at INDEEASYLUM.COM.
ALEX: Shaun actually ran into me during that show and gave me a black eye!
SOHO: Yeah so I guess that can double as embarrassing.
I’d love to attend a show, so where can I and our readers see you perform in the upcoming months?
SOHO: Probably by the time this interview hits, the show will be up on INDEEASYLUM.COM – that’s going to be real cool. Our fans from all over the world will finally be able to see a Crash Midnight show.
ALEX: We love you Brazil!!
SOHO: We’re booking a big string of shows in the southwest here from April through June too. All that will be up on the website CRASHMIDNIGHT.COMM as they’re announced.
BO: And hit us up on Twitter too. Let’s see if together we can break Alex on that thing.
I will start following all of you…come on Alex, give the Twitter a go! (laughs) What is your favorite Boston venue to play? Are there other cities that have welcomed you?
SOHO: The Middle East Nightclub, hands down. Those guys are the ones that helped us get discovered. It’s a dirty old rock club and it’s where we would hang probably every night of the week back in the day when we were cutting our teeth.
BO: Yeah, it’s not even a question. I love the Paradise ‘cause they have great acts and it’s a great room but I spend 3 nights a week just hanging out at The Middle East, just to see if there’s gonna be an act I’ve never heard of that destroys the joint. They are one of the last bastions of what music should be all about.
I’m at one of your shows and I offer to buy y’all a round of drinks… what am I buying?
SOHO: Whiskey. If you’re trying to impress us, Scotch. Leave the bottle.
BISHOP: Better make that a double.
ALEX: Whiskey in the winter, tequila in the summer.
BO: Fernet Branca. Cause if you come by with that at the end of a show, I’ll know that you not only appreciated the performance, but you know what I’m all about. I’ll take any drink you’re offering, of course, but that one means that we’ll be talking about the genius of Michael Monroe till I miss the bus to our next show.
STEVE: Real deal Absinthe!!! Though you can’t buy that here so I’ll go for Crown Apple & Cranberry
Got it! When you swing by Chicago it’s a date!
We call ourselves Talk Nerdy With Us and we all identify with the label in different ways. What do you do that would qualify you to Talk Nerdy With Us?
BO: To me it means a love for something that most people don’t properly appreciate. Nowadays the term “nerd” gets thrown around like “skater” or “jock” was tossed around in the 80’s. It can be a catch-all for anyone who wears glasses but it shouldn’t be that. Because the whole band are music nerds; I have roughly a million views on how London Calling was produced. In my mind a nerd is anyone who concentrates on a singular task, be it a song or a video game or quantum physics for a long time until they’re satisfied with the results. That’s what makes a nerd to us.
ALEX: Hook up with a chick wearing glasses.
SOHO: I have a thoroughly useless command of obscure 70’s and 80’s rock band knowledge …other than that I don’t know, fucking arcade games?
BISHOP: I fucking love Space stuff!
SOHO: …enough to capitalize it apparently.
STEVE: I’ll talk Quantum Physics and Dark Matter all day!
Any of you readers who are interested in keeping track of Crash Midnight’s tour dates and music can follow them on social media at: