Interview: Rob Wylde (Midnite City)

Midnite City – Hair Metal is safe!

Album number three of Nottingham/England-based hair metal outfit MIDNITE CITY has been highly anticipated by fans and press alike. “Itch You Can’t Scratch“ incorporates all the qualities the previous two albums did have and takes the sound of the band onto new level. Frontman Rob Wylde (ex TEENAGE CASKET COMPANY, TIGERTAILZ) talks about not being able to tour, recording under the pandemic situation and about lots of other topics. A very nice and humble guy but someone with a clear agenda. MIDNITE CITY is striving to save hair metal and they will do!  

I guess you are rehearsing for the upcoming UK shows at the moment, right?

Yeah, absolutely! We are about to start pretty soon. We couldn’t go out and play in a long time. This is so cool as we added lots of new songs to the setlist. For our headlining shows we are about to play seven new songs from the new album which is pretty exciting. Actually, as we recorded the album in five different studios, this time it is the first time to actually play the songs together as a band. This has been a new experience for all of us.

We talk about record number three. Usually people say, you make it or break it. In my opinion you definitely make ist. Same line-up luckily, same style basically, so where do you see differences compared to the first two albums?  

I guess we set the bar pretty high with the first two records. We love the new one and nevertheless, it’s a little bit different in places. It’s sleazier, it’s heavier at. Times and some details like certain keyboard sounds and stuff have been changed. We really took our time and combined the best of the first two records and added something new to still make it sound like MIDNITE CITY. Take a song like “They Only Come Out At Night“ which is something we have never done before. We wanted to put out songs as singles prior to release which are different and show different sides of the band. We put out three singles prior to the album release and the first was probably not an obvious choice as first single. The record label had the idea of coming out blazing after the time where we were forced to do nothing because of the pandemic situation with likely our heaviest song ever, “Crawlin’ In The Dirt“. We certainly all wanted to do “Atomic“ and “They Only Come Out At Night“. I think it worked. We spent a lot of time and money on the videos. Especially the last is really cool. 

The funny thing is that although you mentioned the three singles, which are all great, but my favorite at the moment is “Fire Inside“…

Yeah! I don’t know what happens but if there is going to be a fourth single at some point then it will be this tune. You know, I am the sole songwriter in the band but there have been two songs I co-wrote with Pete, one being “Chance Of A Lifetime“ and the other this song. A lot of people like that song, too. It’s that Def Leppard “Hysteria“ or Danger Danger “Don’t Walk Away“ kind of mid tempo vibe. We are definitely going to add this song to the future setlist. Glad you like it, too. 

The artwork is totally different from what you have done before. Was it a conscious decision? First album on a new label etc.? Does it go along with the fact that there is a bit more of everything on the new album? For example the hardest song you have ever done?

Thank you! It’s almost not photoshopped in any way. Only the album’s title and the girl’s tattoo on the arm have been added later on. It’s a real leather jacket that’s been torn. We just tried to keep everything fresh. But we never gonna stray from our style although we might add some new ingredients at times. The basics of what we do remains the same. The new artwork corresponds with tracks like “Crawlin’ In The Dirt“, I guess.

And then there is the Japanese bonus track which is an original new song and not an acoustic or live version of something familiar. It’s called “Girls Of Tokio“ which is kind of cool, especially knowing the loyal fanbase in Japan…

Yeah, we wanted to do something special this time. The song was written because Shawn, our keyboard-player, came up with the idea and asked my to write about our trip. It mostly expresses our appreciation for our loyal fans in Japan. We played there once, five guys from England in Japan for the first time and it has been a blast. Bon Jovi did something similar with the song “Tokio Road“ back in the day. And another reason for putting it out on the Japanese version only was also the fact that we eventually put out the new album on vinyl, too. So eleven eleven songs wouldn’t have fit on the vinyl whereas the regular ten do pretty well.

During lockdown, apart from a couple of solo acoustics, you played a full show for streaming purposes. It was kind of cool and really, really well-filmed. It had everything…except a crowd obviously. Are there any plans to release this show later on probably as a bonus disc or something like that, as audio and/or video? Or even as a proper DVD release?

We were not sure whether this would work out, but at he end of the day it did. There were some interview parts as well between songs and yes, we talked about doing something with it. So, it might happen. We wanted to cheer everybody up a bit in these troubled times and I remember playing this huge venue actually and it was literally just two people, the guys filming, to look at. That was really weird, though. It kind of killed the vibe a bit but we gave our best and many people reached out to us saying they missed it and want to see it.

Pete Newdeck has recently been announced as drummer in VEGA, too. Will this lead to conflicts in terms of schedule? Or is it even likely to have some double dates with them? And would the latter theoretically be possible?

Well, Pete is more or less only helping them out and as we have played with them before anything can happen. I am sure Pete would be up to it. Midnite City for sure is his main focus and priority. You know, he’s doing constantly lots of studio work and is always busy. There’s not going to be any issues. We already played with them six shows in 2018 which was pretty cool. I know some of them since I was 17 and I even played bass for them many years ago. I wasn’t an official member but some kind of a session bass player and even play on their second album. I mean as we in Midnite City haven’t played in a while I think Pete would go for it and what I can say is that it’s very likely that the two bands end up on the same festival at some point. So, let’s see what happens…

Rob, you do bits and pieces here and there aside from MIDNITE CITY as well.  For example you sang for NITRATE and a few tracks for DARREN PHILLIPS PROJECT including an amazing PAUL STANLEY cover. Have you heard anything from KISS management or Paul himself? Did they like it?

Ha, ha…no! Would have been cool and interesting but no, they didn’t react at all. It was not the obvious song choice to be honest but I love this song. Everybody knows I’m a huge KISS fan. Originally, I wanted to do “Sword & Stone“ but ended up doing a rather obscure choice of a song, “Best Man For You“, a rare demo that did not make it on his first solo effort back then. I was absolutely hoping to receive some feedback. But hey, I am happy with how the song turned out actually.

Anything else in the pipeline for you personally aside from Midnite City?

There is going to be some more stuff with Nick and Nitrate, a a possible next album we are working on at the moment. And Darren also reached out to me about some future release. We just talked a few days ago. Always keeping busy, that’s the only way to do it! I am constantly writing songs nevertheless. And apart from that, there might be some more acoustic stuff I’m doing in the future. And out of nothing, there’s going to be a Tigertailz show coming up which is really cool. The band has been more or less on hiatus for three years and I’m looking forward to see the guys again and I’m sure we are going to kick ass.

Anything you would like to add, Rob?

Well, thank you for your support, Martin. Check out our label’s website for merch and stuff. We can’t wait to play the new songs live! And don’t forget: We’ll be in Hamburg/Germany in September 2022 at Indoor Summer! See you then at the latest!

Martin Stark

Author: Martin Stark

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