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Midnight Youth guitarist, Simon Oscroft talks about growing up and new album in interview with Tri-State Rock
Simon Oscroft, lead guitarist of Midnight Youth, has spent the past month hanging out in New York City checking out the sights and enjoying some time off before things get busy for him and his fellow New Zealand band mates. He definitely deserves the vacation after spending the past few years, riding on the tails of the success from their debut record, The Brave Don’t Run. Released in 2009, it has catapulted Midnight Youth to fame and earned them accolades such as the New Zealand Music Awards Best Album and Best Group of 2009. Luckily, I got the chance to speak with him before he is off to California to promote their newest album, World Comes Calling.
Tri-State Rock: You’re supposed to travel to LA soon. When will you be hitting NYC/ Tri-State area with Midnight Youth?
Simon Oscroft: "I wish we could play in NYC, but we’re playing shows for big corporations and people in the industry over in Los Angeles. It didn’t make sense to double up and play here and in Los Angeles when most of the people we needed to play for are over there. We’ve played here a couple of times before. It was an amazing experience and I’m hoping we pass through NYC soon."
TSR: Have you noticed any differences between the music scene in New Zealand and here in the USA?
SO: "Well, in New Zealand, almost every single band knows each other because of its small size. It’s nice in a sense but you do have these band rivalries so it makes it a little more difficult to climb the ladder. I find Americans to be far less judgmental towards each other and it seems to me that whatever scene you play in, you can be happy doing so without being pigeonholed into a certain genre. You have more options when it comes to music. I like the fact that in America you can do whatever you want to do and have a nice size of people to support it."
TSR: How do you find the audiences here? Are we more accepting?
SO: "American crowds are more open-minded and accepting to a brand new sound, whereas in NZ for the most part, they have preconceived notions of what already should be popular in music. So creating a sound is more difficult. I find it easy to impress people here in the States. I don’t mean to sound arrogant but I feel more confident playing in America because we are better received here."
TSR: It’s been a complaint that it’s difficult to get noticed in the States if you are foreign. How do you use it to your advantage?
SO: "When Americans find out that we’re not from there, it kind of gives us a one up. We get the advantage that they are intrigued by us. We’re different and they don’t know all about us yet."
TSR: How would you describe your sound?
SO: "Well, our sound is definitely influenced by the fact that we’ve been together for such a long time. We started this band like 8 years ago, and because we’ve like grown so comfortable with each other, you can definitely hear it in our music. I know it doesn’t necessarily describe our sound but it definitely describes why our sound is the way it is. We just try to write really good songs you know? Altogether, we like to put on a good loud rock show but at the same time, we like to write songs that everyone can take something from or relate to. You can have a good time at the show, or sit back at home and plug your headphones in there and take what you want out of it. "
TSR: Your music has been recently featured on shows like MTV’s The Challenge and One Tree Hill. What is your reaction to that?
SO: "It’s been so fucking awesome! Its really the dream because that’s its not just the fact that that’s where the music industry is progressing toward but we can reach a lot of people through this form of entertainment. I mean look at Sweet Disposition from The Temper Trap. It took off after being in the movie, 500 Days of Summer. When one of our songs is involved with television or film, it definitely takes off. It’s just been so exciting."
TSR: Your second album was released this past October. What has been the reception so far?
SO: "We’ve gotten some awesome feedback from our new album. The critics have been positive compared to what they wrote about us in the first place. They didn’t like the fact that we were so ambitious because we wanted our music to be played in arenas. Its been really well received this time around. They’ve seen the results from the first album, and they have to admit that we’ve done extremely well."
TSR: You’ve definitely matured between albums. What do you attribute that to?
SO: "It’s pretty natural that when you’re writing your first album, you’re innocent, you know? You don’t know what the industry is like and you’re doing your best, and we definitely matured as adults between recording both albums. We all moved out from our parents’ houses, moved to Australia and began to tour as much as we could. It was strange to grow up as adults while experiencing what it was like to be a famous musician. Don’t get me wrong; we are incredibly lucky to experience that lifestyle at 19,20 years old. We grew to be confident because of all of our first record’s success. We knew that we could really excel with our next one."
TSR: So now that World Comes Calling is out, what are you up to next?
SO: "We’re looking for touring deals in the United States, and in the UK. We definitely would like to form as supporting acts for bigger bands… It’d be awesome to play with a band like Foster the People or even play with Incubus again. We played with them a few years ago in New Zealand and it was fucking amazing to play with one of the bands we looked up to all of our lives."
TSR: Thanks again for the opportunity and I hope to see you guys play around here soon. It’d be an awesome show.
SO: You’re welcome. Hopefully, we can see you at a show soon!
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