Hey RUST readers, we’ve been hearing chatter from EU and UK about Midnight Boy, a breakout Swedish Synth-Pop’ster who is about to claim his territory on the disco floor in a big way. With a natural sense for rhythm and style, Midnight Boy is coming on strong – and we like it a lot! His smooth vocal delivery captures 80’s cool with a modern twist, and his songs balance easy danceability with complexity and substance. He’s got the looks and the moves to go with the talent and he’s one of those artists that could instantly make the transition to global fame with that “just right” combination of intellect and sexy physical presence.
What’s extra crazy about him is that he recently sold out his show in LA, despite there only being a few tracks out there. People are taking notice and this is definitely an artist to know about right now. Here at RUST Magazine we’re super grateful that we were able to get him to talk a little about the 3 songs that will be on his upcoming EP.
Foto credit – Josefin Mirsch
When You’re Strange:
This is the first song I ever wrote for Midnight Boy. I had pretty much been living in my studio for three years, trying to improve my writing and production skills. I was really frustrated at the time and suffered from a writer’s block although I was 23 years old. I also had some personal issues and wasn’t very happy with myself. So, the timing was perfect.
I remember I had been sitting there in the basement a whole day without coming up with anything. I was just about to leave as I did one last half-hearted attempt to come up with something. I picked some classic chords on the guitar and started to sing. Ironically I felt right away that there was something cool about it. I immediately came up with the beat using a cheesy live drum sample with a characteristic cowbell. That helped me to sort out the rest of the song melody and I wrote the lines ”When you’re strange” and ”You know they’re gonna hurt somebody, somebody like you” which are now considered as the key phrases in the song.
I look at ”When You’re Strange” as one of my most important songs since it was really the beginning for me as artist Midnight Boy. It turned out to be the starting point for a very creative period that followed after that. It was the first time I realized how easy it can be to write a song if you just don’t try too much.
Roll With It:
This one I wrote just a few days after ”When You’re Strange”. It came very naturally as I was fooling around with two lo-fi analogue drum machine samples in the studio. It was all very playful. I thought the groove had a serious 80’s vibe and it felt almost like it was teasing me in a sense.
The first demo didn’t have much in common with the final master though. It lacked the punchy synth-bass which is more or less the ground structure of the production now. It had more of an ambient touch to it with many layers of pads and strings, all resting on that analogue drumbeat and it actually sounded more like something straight out of the 80’s back then. It also had a different chorus and there were even an outro part so it was basically another song.
It was cool but a bit too sprawling so I took the melody in the bridge and used that as the opening line in the chorus while I turned the chords around in this part. I already had the title ”Roll With It” which pretty much defines the way I felt musically at that point.
I worked for a very long time on the production and tried out several arrangements before I came up with that octave bassline. I’ve never spent so much time on a track, not before or after my work with this song. I often stayed up for 30 hours in a row. I didn’t really know what I was doing and had no experience of serious music production- and mixing. It took me more than two months to finish the song and when I eventually did I was so tired of it I didn’t listen to it for almost half a year.
Don’t Say No:
I met with Kristoffer Östergren and Olle Blomström at the Warner Music Studios in Stockholm in late August 2014. We’d never worked together before and didn’t know anything about each other. It was really an open field and my former experiences of co-writes like this one aren’t all that good.
However, we started to play around with a beat and a bassline and I remember thinking it wasn’t that cool because it had that typical four on the floor kick, which has always been a big no-no to me. Obviously that’s the most classic and safe way to arrange drum pattern but I’ve always felt it can be a bit boring too; I’m usually inspired by rhythmics and grooviness when I make melodies.
Luckily Olle, who was the main producer on ”Don’t Say No”, is a very talented musician. He pretty much ”cracked the code” right away by adding some really cool synth arpeggios and percussion to the track. It totally did it for me and Kristoffer and from that we came up with the melody and the lyrics for the chorus while dancing around wildly in the studio.
Having the chorus part done and set we actually spent the rest of that day arguing about the vers and the pre, haha. Me and Kristoffer had two different ideas that we were both feeling strongly for. At the very end of the day we could finally agree on how we wanted it so we recorded some vocals just to put down the idea. I believe that if we wouldn’t have done this, there’s a chance that we never would have finished the song. It’s always hard when you’re missing out on parts and you have to force yourself into the process again.
I’m really happy we were able to compromise with our egos and come to a solution ’cause when we met for the second time in the studio we had an amazingly good vibe right away. We wrote the rest of the lyrics really fast and did the basic productions. Since it’s called ”Don’t Say No” we wanted it to really feel that way to the listener. Intense and very straight-forward and therefore like something you wouldn’t be able to say no to. I think we managed to get it that way, it’s one of my coolest and most groovy tunes and I’m very proud of it.