Midnight Eternal’s Richard Fischer took time to talk with NRR about the band’s first U.S. tour with metal veterans Queensryche and Armored Saint.
New York’s symphonic metal band Midnight Eternal was formed in March of 2014 when former members of Operatika, Richard Fischer and Boris Zaks, invited Daniel Prestup (Rivera Bomma, Spider Rockets) and Mike LePond (Symphony X) to join them in recording a two-song demo. During the recording, the band acquired Raine Hilai‘s vocal talents from her previous theater and solo work. Shortly thereafter, Greg Manning (of Spider Rockets, Zamora) joined the band as permanent member taking over bass duties.
After releasing their demo, featuring songs “When Love and Faith Collide” and “Masquerade of Lies,” the band booked a number of high-caliber shows. In 2014 and 2015, Midnight Eternal shared the stage with Kamelot, Dragonforce, Sonata Arctica, Delain, Xandria, Doro, The Agonist, and Quiet Riot. Come late 2015, the band hit the studio to record their self-titled debut album and received rave reviews.
NRR: The band formed during 2014 after you left your other band Operatika Elemet?
RF: Yes 2014. Boris [Keyboards] and I technically didn’t leave the band. It wasn’t stagnant, it was dormant, and we were hoping to start to record an album.
During January or February 2014, Boris called me one morning about starting another project; just a project not, a band. He had a couple of songs … and a drummer lined up, Dan Prestup … I [told him I was] down to record some songs on the side. [We] got Mike Lepond (bass player from Symphony X) to play on the two songs,”When Faith Collide” and “Masquerade of Lies.”
Dan met Raine Hilai … at a mutual friend’s party … so we reached out to her, and we really liked her voice. It was different, and not the standard operatic female vocal. It was kind of a Broadway thing.
From there, we recorded the two songs ourselves … We had fun recording the songs, good chemistry and got a slot opening for Adrenaline Mob, Russell Allen’s side band from Symphony X.
So, we needed a bass player, and Dan has been playing with Greg Manning from another group. We reached out to people we knew. Once we started to play live as a band, it wasn’t a side project anymore. It was a full-blown band, and that is where we’re at today.
NRR: When you opened for Adrenaline Mob, was that at the New York/New Jersey area?
RF: Yeah, it was at Dingbats at Clifton, NJ and was one of our first opening gigs.
NRR: When people listen to symphonic metal bands, they default to the bands from Europe, and when I read this band is from New York, I thought this is good.
RF: Right, we are a rare commodity here. Most of the bands that are metal from [New York] are heavy … I would say more thrash but not death metal; [rather they are] more aggressive metal. So we are defiantly different, and most people would not think we are from the East Coast.
NRR: It is refreshing for a US band. Did you send your recordings to different managements to get a record deal?
RF: Well, we were lucky enough to get the attention of Management Company and signed with them last year and sent them the two songs we mixed and mastered and some demo tracks that became the album. They liked what they heard and [we] signed with them.
From there, we recorded two more tracks that are on the album; “Signs of Fire” and “Shadow Falls”. Then [we] submitted four mixed and mastered tracks that include “When Love and Faith Collide” and “Masquerade OF Lies.” The Management Company sent the songs to the labels, and we signed with a label at Sweden named Inner Wound Recordings.
NRR: Who does the songwriting, including the lyrics and music composing?
RF: The music is written primarily by Boris; [it] just worked out that way with some of my riffs. I did co-write a couple of songs. The title track “Midnight Eternal,” “Shadow Falls,” and “Like An Eternity.”
On this album, he wrote about fifty percent, and some of the lyrics and Raine (singer) wrote the other portions of the lyrics. They are the main composing and lyric writers and the rest of us shape the sound. Boris [sends] the keyboard arraignments to me; then I come up with the guitar parts and different layers. Then, I … send them to Dan for his drum parts then [on] to Greg for his bass parts. That is how we work to come up with the songs.
NRR: Listening to the songs and reading the lyrics it seems the theme of songs come based on relationships and/or lust, depressing or sorrow moods?
RF: Definitely, The lyrics have dark tinges to them, dealing with un-acquired love and kind of like dark fairytales, I would say.
NRR: The band also signed to Marquee/Avalon for Asia?
RF: Yes, I forgot to mention that. They are the label and distributor for the Asian markets, which was arranged] through our management company. [We] were happy [they contacted] these labels because we are a rare band. We were lucky to lock on a record deal with our first album when in this day and age, the music business is in shambles.
The strong songs and playing on the album, I think, had a lot do with it. We have a lot of experience and to finally to put out there a larger audience especially for our first album, and we are proud of that.
NRR: For the bands you opened for such as Doro, Xandria, Kamelot and Quiet Riot. Did you perform with them in your home area and did you travel with them?
RF: No, we didn’t go on the road with them and [only] opened for them locally. For the Doro show, we opened for them in New York City at the Gramercy Theater. Kamelot and Dragonforce [were] on the same bill [when] we opened for them in New Jersey at the Starland Ballroom. And [we opened for] Quiet Riot … in Queens, New York.
NRR: For November and December you’re travelling across the US opening for Queensryche with Armored Saint.
RF: Yes, we are looking forward to that, and we have been looking for tours. Our management has a partnership with the booking agency, Infinity Concerts. [They] approached us [to inquire] if were interested [in opening] for Queensryche across the US. We were like “yeah!” So [we] were stoked [after] landing that tour.
NRR: That will be good exposure for you especially on the West Coast and Southern California where Armored Saint is the home band and for those who have not have heard and a different sound.
RF: It is an honor to play with these bands to larger audiences and Queensryche for me is one of my all-time favorite bands. [It was personally] an honor [to play with QR] and with John Bush of Armored Saint and his work with Anthrax. They are bands that have been in the industry for thirty plus years and have earned their stripes.
Also, it is good for [the bands on tour] (Midnight Eternal, Queensryche and Armored Saint) that we offer something different, [and] not the same kind of metal for the whole show. I think it will be a good tour.
NRR: Is the band currently doing shows around your home area?
RF: We are looking to book some warm up shows and [are] currently working on the next album and starting to demo some new songs. [We are] also planning the tour with logistics, so that is where we are at.
[We are also trying] to book some local shows to get out feet back in the water … because it’s been a while since we’ve played. We have been rehearsing the tour set.
NRR: Is the band performing ten songs on this tour?
RF: I think we are performing nine [songs] because [we] only have a half hour to play and don’t want to take stage time away for Armored Saint and Queensryche. The songs are the rockers from the album and most of the fans don’t know who we are. [Our set may encourage them] to listen to us and buy the album.
NRR: It was good talking to you, and the songs are good.
RF: Thanks for the interview, the kind words and what the future holds.
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