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Articles Home » Music Talk » Interview with Midnight Spell Drummer Brian Wilson By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
Interview with Midnight Spell Drummer Brian Wilson By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Casting Spells

Interview with Midnight Spell Drummer Brian Wilson

By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Boston Rock Radio

 

Photo by Roberto Badillo


Two thousand twenty-one is off with a shot with the debut full length from Miami's Midnight Spell on Iron Oxide Records.  The traditional metal band is an original but naturally pays homage to the sounds of the genres furthest reaches.  First gathering the attention of the underground metal circles with their 2019 demo Between the Eyes the quintet is set to reach a wider audience with their full length Sky Destroyer which officially launched January 8th.  The band consists of the twin guitar attack of Denver Cooper & The Hammer, vocalist Paolo Velazquez, bassist Cam Martell and Brian Wilson behind the throne.  Today Boston Rock Radio sat down with drummer Brian Wilson to discuss the happenings of Midnight Spell.  Thank you Brian for this exclusive Boston Rock Radio interview.

 

Congrats to you Brian and Midnight Spell on the release of the debut full length Sky Destroyer. You are not only the drummer but also co-producer.  Please tell Boston Rock Radio how long this endeavor took to write and record?

Thank you! I’d be lying if I said it was a quick or easy process. Some of these songs were written as far back as three years ago, a couple riffs going back to even late 2016. But the band didn’t form until 2017 and was under wraps for a long time. I didn’t want to unleash Midnight Spell into the world until all the pieces were together.  So, the writing for the album was mostly done between 2017 and 2019, and every member in the band had a lot of involvement in it. The last song we wrote was "Midnight Ride," which was finished only a week before entering the studio. We started recording in December 2019, and that process alone took a very long time. Mainly because the pandemic hit in the middle and that made a mess of everything. Our recording/mixing engineer even caught Covid while in the mixing stage of the album. But despite all the setbacks, after about 8 months in the studio, we eventually got it done.

 

Midnight Spell:  Lady of the Moonlight Video

 

What is the band rehearsal dynamic like?  Do you all live in proximity to each other in Florida and have band meetings and all that?

We all live within about a 50-mile radius. We meet as often as we can, though it has been tough lately during the pandemic. I know a lot of bands these days write entire albums remotely from their bedrooms, but we don’t work like that. I find it very hard to get inspired sitting alone at home, and I know the other guys in the band feel the same way. But when all five of us are in the same room together, the ideas flow very easily. Especially since everyone in the band writes music well. So, if one of us doesn’t know where a song should go next, there’s a good chance one of the other four will. While Sky Destroyer was written over a two-year period, we were still a developing band, and some songs were written before the lineup was even complete, so I think the next album will be completed much quicker. We seem to have really locked in with each other by now and there’s already so many ideas for a follow up.

Photo by Michael Polissky Productions

 

You are working with Iron Oxide Records with the release.  How did that come about?

Bart Gabriel is a pretty respected name among the metal community, and we had been friends on Facebook for I don’t even know how long. I was familiar with his label, Skol Records, as they’ve put out a lot of releases for bands that I’m personally a fan of, both new and old. So, I contacted him one day and asked if he’d be interested in working with Midnight Spell, and he was pretty into it. He told me he was working on a new label, iron Oxide Records, to focus more on new bands and we’re proud to have Midnight Spell be one of the very first releases under the new brand.

What formats and fun merchandise is available from your social media?

Sky Destroyer is available on CD, vinyl, and cassette. If you’d like to buy directly from the band, we have CDs, shirts, and downloads at our Bandcamp. (www.midnightspell.bandcamp.com) The vinyl is limited to 250 copies and is being put out through Lost Realm Records. The cassette is even more limited to 100 copies, so don’t sleep on it!

If you can say something about about the importance of your band members to you and that Midnight Spell sound:

  • Denver: Denver is a modern-day guitar hero, and his playing adds so much dynamic to our sound.
  • Cam: He’s very passionate and he’s a guy who just gets heavy metal, so naturally he plays it well.
  • Hammer: A personality unlike any other, a monster player, and an absolute riff machine
  • Paolo: The absolute best singer I know, and someone whom I vibe very well with musically

 

Midnight Spell:  Between the Eyes Video

 

Growing up in Florida what was the metal scene like for you just being a fan of local as well as national acts coming through?

I started going to shows on a regular basis as young as 13 years old, and the local scene was very accepting of me from day one. I also attended almost any and every show I could, both local acts and national/international acts, of which we had a lot come through. With a few exceptions, I’ve seen almost every band I’ve ever wanted to see at least once without having to travel too far. So, people have gotten to know me pretty well here over the years, especially since I started playing in my first band at 15. And it almost feels like I’ve played in almost every local band at one time or another. That said, the scene in Florida, especially South Florida, is predominately extreme metal. Sometimes it seems if it doesn’t have blast beats or growling, people won’t come see it. And I like death metal and black metal too, but my roots lie heavily with NWOBHM bands and things like that, so a lot of times I felt like there was something missing for someone like me. When I formed Midnight Spell, I was very curious how it would go over, as I’ve seen a fair amount of “traditional” heavy metal bands come through, both new and old, and play to nearly empty rooms, and there’s certainly no other band like us in town. But the scene really came through for us, because when we played our first show, it was packed. I hadn’t seen another crowd for a local show quite like it in a long time, and I even had people tell me they travelled from other parts of Florida to be there (In Florida, we have the Miami scene, and the Tampa/Orlando scene).  People still consistently come to see us too, which I’m very grateful for.

Photo by Debra Martins

 

You are also the touring drummer for one the greatest guitarists ever in that being Yngwie Malmsteen.  What have you learned from him during rehearsals and touring with YJM?

That’s a good question! I would say I’ve learned to never compromise on your vision. Heavy metal is almost never practical or easy, but the extra effort is always worth it. And making it happen is what sets you apart from the others. I take the same attitude as him towards certain things in my own band, and I’ve seen what a difference it makes. Of course, I’ve also learned a lot about the music industry, and of course, most importantly, that “more is more.”

You also play in a death metal band called Hellwitch and thrash group called Thrash or Die.  How does Brian Wilson fit all of this into a seven day week?

There have been certain points when things have gotten overwhelming, but I also enjoy what I do very much. At one point in my life, I was playing in three very active bands and would sometimes leave one rehearsal, and head straight to another one with another band. At this time though, Hellwitch is on hold, and Thrash or Die is luckily very accommodating to me. Thrash or Die’s bass player also plays in Malevolent Creation, so it’s something we do when all of our schedules line up and everyone has time. A very big inspiration for forming Midnight Spell was that I wanted to have my own band with my own identity, rather than play other people’s music all the time. To have something I could listen back to and say, “This is me.”

On a final note please share any recent music documentaries that you enjoyed on Netflix?

I quite liked “Devil at the Crossroads” about the 1930s Blues guitarist Robert Johnson. Very interesting story and who knows where guitar playing would be today without him! Aside from that, as far as music documentaries go, my go-to is always “Anvil: The Story of Anvil.” Not only a band I listen to very often, but I can’t help but relate to the passion they have. And don’t forget there’s also the always true-to-life classic, “This is Spinal Tap!”

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