Interview – The Midnight Slander

The Midnight Slander is one of four bands performing at our festival this April. The 4-piece, consisting of Dave Conner, Mike Gray, Al Rodriguez, and Drew Maziasz originally formed in Charleston, South Carolina. The band has been on a roll since their formation in 2012. They’ve written and recorded a debut EP (in a single weekend), signed to Spectra Records, traveled many miles, and released their full-length The Long Way Home. On April 25th they will be co-headlining the Kryptonite Music Festival with Cities & Coasts. Learn more about the band from their responses and purchase tickets for the upcoming show here.

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Three words we’d use to describe us are….Honest, Americana, Groove.

The story/meaning behind our name The Midnight Slander is….When we first came together, we may have stayed out a little to late and said somethings we probably shouldn’t have said.

We met each other….Mike and Dave knew each other and had played music together on-and-off since the early 2000s and Al and Mike had played together in a Cleveland-area progressive rock band called 70 Lewis.  When the members of 70L went their separate ways, Mike and Dave began talking about writing music again. At this point, Dave lived down in Charleston, SC and Mike and Al still lived up in Cleveland. Dave called Mike one day and said he had bought some discount studio time for a weekend just a few weeks away and had no band to fill it.  Mike jumped up on the opportunity, called Al, and two weeks later they were on the road to Charleston to write record their first EP in about 72 hours. Three years of traveling, playing, moving, and writing music later, the original trio decided to expand their instrumentation, something they had been talking about for some time.  That’s where lead guitarist Drew Maziasz comes in–a great guitarist we had played on shows with with other bands and a Cleveland music podcaster, he brings a new edge to the sound unlike anything The Midnight Slander has had before.

The pickiest eater in the band is….None of us are really too picky…we’ll really eat anything if it’s in front of us!

The most OCD member is….Mike, without a doubt. Everything in his life has it’s proper organized place, and he’s extremely clean.

For fun we like to….Get out and see as much live music around the Cleveland area as we can.  Besides that, we enjoy watching ridiculous, excessively stupid, and moderately disturbing YouTube videos.  Once we start, it just keeps going…

We’re currently listening to….A huge variety of music and artists. To name a few: Swerve Driver, Young the Giant, Jamestown Revival, POD, Sia, Sam Smith, Watsky, Waxahatchee, Kendrick Lamar, Tycho, Cities & Coasts, Animal Sounds, Bob Dylan, and The Kinks.

We find inspiration from….Love, life, our favorite musical artists, our city, and the Open Road.

One thing we want you to remember while listening to our music is….We love what we do more than anything in the world, and we want to share that feeling with you.

The member(s) who does most of the writing is….Without a doubt, Dave.  He has an incredible knack for songwriting, and brings the ideas all the time, whether its a set of lyrics, a catchy guitar riff, or a whole song.  From that point on, we write extremely collaboratively, really workshopping and building the songs as a group.  It’s really refreshing to have that kind of collaboration in a music group.

The Long Way Home was recorded in….The beautiful cities of Charleston, SC and our hometown of Cleveland, OH.  We began the album at Charleston Sound with Joey Cox back in 2012 and finished the album in 2014 with our great friend and engineer Mike Brown at Lava Room studios.

Our craziest or most memorable gig was….We’ll give you both! Our craziest gig was probably last summer when we played Speakeasy Live! in Ohio City with less than 24 hours notice.  A band had to cancel and we got the call…and the next night we ended up playing a crazy fun headlining gig with tons of support from our fans, who were just as excited about the unexpected show as we were!

As far as the most memorable…We have to say our album release party.  We had it over at Mahall’s back in our hometown of Lakewood, and there was something exceedingly special about that night: the energy, the love, and the support of so many friends, family members, and loyal fans who helped us create something that we’re extremely proud of.

Something odd we want our fans to know about us is….That our drummer and keyboardist Mike Gray is the best hip-hop beat producer that you’ve never heard of.

Our last meals would be….We’re not really sure why, but we’re going with it.

  • Fried chicken (Dave)
  • Pierogies (Drew)
  • Steak (Al)
  • A ready to eat army ration meal (specifically an MRE Menu 6, Chicken with Noodles and Vegetables) (Mike)

In the next six months you should expect….Us to record some new music (perhaps for a future EP self-release) and lots of traveling on the road to new brand new venues and cities along the way!

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– Victoria

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