Gayle and I both fell in love with Midnight Snack last summer.
I had to tell Gayle about them, as they were all the rave to me and I had played their album nonstop since returning home. A week later, Gayle was working at the former Parlor and called me at 9pm to say Midnight Snack was playing right now, in Norfolk! What a coincidence! I rushed to the arts district to enjoy the show with her.
As we both are groupies of Midnight Snack, we decided to interview the band together for their upcoming show at Work | Release on Friday the 13th as part of LAVA festival. The show is free and starts at 9pm. This will be their 3rd time playing in town and we are excited to welcome them back. Responses are from Jack Victor, their main songwriter.
Hannah & Gayle: In a band full of many members, how does everyone’s creativity play into different or similar roles in the making of the music?
Jack Victor: Each member of the group has a different set of skills to offer, so we don’t end up stepping on each other’s toes too much. For example, I like to write songs and lyrics, but I don’t like working on the computer. Pete and Mike are great technologists, so when we work on a recording Pete does most of the engineering and Mike does most of the mixing. I keep my hands off during those steps.
What does an average week look like for Midnight Snack?
We all have various other gigs during the week. Several of us teach private lessons on our respective instruments. Pete works as a freelance producer. Mike works at the Asheville-based synthesizer company, Make Noise. Depending on what we have going on, we’re also either spending four or five days a weeks rehearsing, performing, or recording for Midnight Snack.
After seeing you on the street that Sunday morning, I looked Midnight Snack up on the web to find that the band loves to busk. What part about these impromptu public performances do you love or is rewarding to you?
One thing I love about street performing is that the audience is totally honest. If they don’t like what you’re doing, they have no reason to stick around so they keep walking. On the other hand, sometimes people are so surprised to stumble upon a performance that they really love on the street. It’s nice to make a person’s day like that.
Describe one of your most memorable shows and where it was.
The very first Midnight Snack was pretty memorable. Mike and I were still in high school and we debuted our new project, Midnight Snack, at a battle of the bands at our school. A bunch of our friends stormed the stage and the teachers were freaking out, trying to get everyone to sit down. My buddy jumped off the stage and crowd surfed for a bit. The music was pretty goofy back then, but that show was so fun.
Who are your musical influences?
Between the six of us our musical influences are pretty far-reaching, but some of the most significant ones for developing our sound as a group have been The Talking Heads, David Bowie, Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens… Also several relatively new artists like Tame Impala, Beach House, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, St. Vincent. I’d say we are most heavily influenced by art rock, psych rock, and dream pop.
What themes do you like to write about?
So far I’ve mostly written about change, love, and friendship. I try to write about subject matter that I think my friends might relate to.
What is the next or current project for the band?
We’re working on a new album at the moment, and hoping to release it in the fall. This record has been entirely DIY. We’ve been recording it at our house. There will be another tour to go along with the new record as well.
What are the band biggest ambitions, goals, or interests?
It’s tough as a musician to look way down the line and set really big, far-out goals (and have them be realistic). For now, we’re just focused on trying to make a really great album that is really going to stick with folks and really move them. Also, we’re trying to make a more engaging and emotionally impactful live show. We’re already having fun. Success is whatever you want it to be.
Do you have any special preparations or traditions before playing a show?
We get into a group huddle and usually one person will give a short pep-talk and then we say a bunch of cheesy-lovey-dovey stuff to one another and then we meditate for a few seconds.
Currently? Hopefully not much. We tried to eat everything before we left to go on the road for three weeks. We all live together so it’s easy to coordinate these things.