Hello Lennon Midnight and welcome back to Brutal Resonance! We're stoked to have you on the site again. Let's give our audience a brief introduction of yourself. Give us three of your favorite albums of all time and why you enjoy them so much.
Lennon Midnight: Hello to Brutal Resonance. It's a pleasure as always! Thank you for having us back! We are Lennon Midnight based in Las Vegas, NV, USA. We formed in 2015 and have since released three albums and two EPs. Were hoping to have our third EP done and ready for release by the end of the year. Our new album entitled "Beginnings End" is dropping September 1st via every major digital outlet. Since Klebert (pronounced Clay-bear... aka Bert) is busy with family life as he's now a dad to three amazing kiddos, I will be filling these questions. Three favorite albums; that's a tough one. I'm going to pull three that are more genre related to industrial and goth that stand out for me.
Psyclon Nine's "We The Fallen". This album (along with one I'll mention below) is what kicked my ass into gear to start the whole band thing with Bert. I adored this album! "Crwn Thy Frnctr" was great in its own ways, but Nero and the guys stepped it up to a whole new level with this album. Everything was much more cohesive, planned out and this album included quite a few iconic tracks including 'We The Fallen', 'Heartworm', 'Suicide Note Lullaby' and 'Under the Judas Tree' that really hit me in so many of the right ways when it comes to inspiration! Still to this day, I bug the hell out of Nero to play 'Heartworm' live every time we get together at Psyclon shows!
William Control's "Hate Culture". It's just an amazing album overall! Its story, its lyrics, its themes, how outright raw it is and just overall EVERYTHING about this album spoke to me immensely! Between "We The Fallen" and "Hate Culture", I listened to these albums so many times before starting Lennon Midnight that I'm surprised all of my playback devices didn't start a strike against having to play them over and over. "Hate Culture" really taught me that telling a story through music focused on a character can be done without things being cheesy or cliche. The story told on this album has a special and personal place in my heart and, for me, is a story that is ending after this new album and EP are released. There is A LOT of personal stuff on our albums about my life in general that I think its time for me to start telling purely fictional stories once completed. But again, Will taught me that sometimes going to that dark place and telling a story that revolves around it is exactly whats needed for the therapeutic release some artists require, even when a lot of self destruction is required to write about those dark themes!
Stabbing Westward's "Darkest Days". If you were a teenager in the 1990s, you knew Stabbing Westward. They were one of the biggest driving forces in industrial rock at the time. During the 90s, I liked Stabbing Westward, but they didn't become a mainstay in my life until the early and mid 2000s. Christopher Hall's vocals and lyrics on this album were nothing short of amazing. His self told story after his divorce, which was divided up to four chapters through the album, were very soothing to those who needed a voice talking about heartbreak, regret, self destruction and rising from the ashes of said destruction. The liner art for this album was simply amazing! And it really set the stage for what the album put forth. I wound up becoming friends with Chris (and the rest of The Dreaming prior to Stabbing's reformation) for a bit, though we drifted apart through the years for various reasons. Chris and The Dreaming, which became Stabbing Westward again, really set me down the path of wanting to form my own band and write my own music again!
First let's define your sound; you seem to be a mix of black metal and industrial music in the veins of bands such as Dawn of Ashes and Psyclon Nine. Do you pull inspiration from other genres? And who are your biggest influences in your music career?
Lennon Midnight: Those are a doozy of a questions with some back story. I am very flattered that you've likened our music to Dawn of Ashes and Psyclon Nine. Both were (and still are) huge inspirations. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
On our first album "Fallacies & Other Disappointments", Bert and I were kind of pulling inspiration from all over the place. Bert grew up listening to a lot of American metal bands, the majority of what he liked I really wasn't into as I always had my head buried in what was coming out of Europe. I grew up in the 90's and 2000's listening to a lot of rave/techno stuff, but also bands like Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Old Mans Child, Sonic Syndicate, Naglfar, Rammstein, KMFDM, PIG, SKOLD, Ministry, Razed in Black, Combichrist, Hanzel und Gretyl, Wumpscut, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Stabbing Westward, Gravity Kills, And One, Sisters of Mercy, HIM, Lacrims Profundere, Charon, Negative etc etc. When he and I got together, we both really pulled from the pool of what we liked. On our first album, from my end of inspiration, there's a lot of direct influence from Psyclon Nine, Aesthetic Perfection, Dawn of Ashes, Incubite, Hocico and William Control in there!
After our first album dropped and we started writing for the second album entitled "Post Trauma" almost immediately I really started limiting my listening to bands that inspired me musically. I was trying to force myself to write music from personal feeling (though I still listened to some of my influential bands when I needed help) instead of from direct inspiration. Bert really went off on a tangent regarding guitar work on the album. He went all out to write guitar riffs that challenged him. Still to this day, 'Savior' is one of his favorite songs we've ever written!
With "Beginning's End", we wanted to really try new things. Bert's guitars on this album are nothing short of insane! He really, really, really pushed himself to write things that were one-hundred percent him. It's actually funny though, looking back on our time with this album. Our writing and recording sessions were spaced so far apart that like all this amazing music would build up in his head and then just spew it out! Like he was just pouring out all his frustrations, challenges and annoyances that he'd built up every few months in his guitar riffs! It was really amazing to watch when he wrote for the new album. In the mean time, I got my head out of industrial and goth altogether and spent the last two to three years listening to nothing but EDM, techno, downtempo / ambient house and hip hop exclusively (also a lot of film scores that used heavy modular synths) so everything I wrote for the album was one-hundred percent uninspired by any bands I like... and I think it really shows! Listening to a lot of underground hip hop really made me look at how I wrote my lyrics for this album. Nothing felt difficult or awkward to sing. It all rolled off the tongue easily and made recording vocals a lot simpler this time around! Everyone who's heard the new album has said they're a bit bummed this is our last full album because were going out with a huge bang and on such high note; that our sound has changed, grown and matured a lot on this album, far beyond anything we've previously written. We're both very pleased to hear that feedback so far!
You have a new album coming out soon, one that serves as the end of a story that began back with your original album "Fallacies & Other Disappointments". What story does your first album tell?
Lennon Midnight: So "Fallacies" (for short) was about three major relationships Id had from 2006 up to 2013. All three women I talk about in the songs I'm still friends with (one of them is one of my closest friends in the entire world) and "Fallacies" was really just select stories about my time with them or after them. Though, there is truth and fiction in all of the songs. Have to keep them entertaining. 'Russia / Rossiya' was about my first date with the Lady in Black. 'Unholy' was a mix of the story regarding my relationship falling apart with the Woman in White and a relationship falling apart that a close friend of mine was going through when I was writing the song. 'Seduction Addiction' was actually the first song we wrote about the album by the way! "Fallacies" set the stage for the entire triptych of the three albums we've put together.
Your next album was appropriately titled "Post Trauma". Being that this is the next step in the story, how does succeed "Fallacies & Other Disappointments"? What does this album tell?
Lennon Midnight: "Post Trauma" was about three women I was involved with after the events of "Fallacies" happened. The song 'Savior' was about one of my closest friend's little sister. Her and I had known each other since she was twelve and I was fifteen. My friend was my neighbor growing up and his sister would come out to visit during the Summers up until I was seventeen. Her and I were nuts about one another, but never did anything about it because of those "awkward" teenage years. Fast forward to 2016 when we finally started talking again and that love was still there. However, there were things that happened in her life and mine that prevented us from really getting together. 'Savior' is honestly the only song I wrote that was semi autobiographical in regards to someone else's life. The other two tracks were written based on experiences with women I'd dated in the time frame of 2014-2016 that really left me feeling shitty about everything that had transpired. Fun fact, 'Destructor' was actually named after a scene in Ghostbusters where the guys are on the roof top fighting Zool and after she disappears; she says "Choose your destructor!' and Ray screws it all up! We all know what happens after that!
Your final album, "Beginning's End", serves as the end of this trilogy. What are you hoping to say with this conclusion? And do you think this album will be the best of the bunch?
Lennon Midnight: That it does serve as the end in terms of full album releases, but it's actually the prequel to "Fallacies" storyline wise. "Beginning's End" is about someone I dated when I was eighteen / nineteen. When she left, I was really screwed up for a number of years because of her and things that happened when I was younger until I met the Woman in White in 2004 (when we first dated before getting back together in 2006). I wrote the entire album in third person perspective (which was a first for me lyrically). So there are two main characters on the album, of whom being the Queen of Heartworms and the Martyr. The Queen only makes an official appearance in the album's first song 'Crawl to Light', after that she is 'dead and gone' (as per my lyrics in various spots), but her memories, kingdom and worms keep crawling to the surface to really haunt and torture the Martyr. The Woman in White actually makes an appearance in the final song which ties the albums together. I'll leave that for you guys to check out when the album debuts!
In regards to "the best of the bunch", my answer is honestly, yes. I think this is our best album out of the three. It's the most developed, the best in terms of production (I learned a lot of new things producing and mastering on this album) and the most mature in what we were both capable of doing musically! Bert and I are both very proud and excited for everyone to check this new album out. The album's cover art even plays into the name of the actual album. It's an ouroboros configuration which played perfectly into the name 'Beginning's End', as this is the beginning of the entire story and the end of us releasing full albums.
When can we expect to see "Beginning's End" out in the world? Do you have any special editions planned? I know that both "Post Trauma" and "Fallacies & Other Disappointments" got limited CD runs.
Lennon Midnight: "Beginning's End" is set to debut September 1st, 2020. That is my favorite day of the year as its the end of Summer for Las Vegas (where we live). The days never get hotter afterwords and it means Fall is officially on its way!
Unfortunately we don't have any special plans for it. The band and music thing for us are kind of over for the time being. I run a side business outside of my day job (where we both work together as department heads) that has really snowballed and taken over all of my free time. Over the last five years, Bert has become a dad to three amazing kids and he loves being a father now! He and his wife are very happy raising their children, but as everyone knows that is a full time job that requires a lot of patience, attention and love! We're both very proud of each other for how our personal lives are going. The band thing was never meant to be permanent. It was an art project we started together that kind of exploded for a while. We both had an amazing time with it and we did so many cool things together that we don't look back at anything we've done over the last five years with any sort of disappointment at all!
This album (along with the following EP) will be a digital only release. To be honest, our CDs never really sold. I wound up giving them away to tons of people at shows for promotion and such. So if you have one of our physical albums, feel very special as we don't have any plans of ever making more!
Between your second and upcoming albums, you released a double titled "One Weeks Time". It seems like a very personal album, one that was dedicated to an old friend as your Bandcamp page states. What is that double about?
Lennon Midnight: I'm glad you asked about that as very few people do! 'One Weeks Time' isn't a part of the 'Fallacies Saga' (as I call it). "One Weeks Time" was specifically written about my disgust with what social media has done to our brains and an old friend of mine committing suicide. The person in particular I wrote about was a friend of the Woman in White's when we started dating again back in 2006. I always liked the guy, but he was well beyond where I was with music and making of said music at the time. But I always admired him. We would all get together on occasion and have a really good time. I really liked his drive for becoming the musician he did. He and I didn't speak after the Woman in White and I split, but I'd always catch wind of him from other people here in town. He wound up playing bass in a local band that Bert and I were friends with during our time in the scene. Unfortunately, this person decided that taking his own life would be better than living the rest of it out here on Earth. It broke my heart, it really did. All the memories I had of him were very inspiring and uplifting. Unfortunately, those he had worked with or had been friends with up until his death didn't feel the same about him. I wished so much he would've reached out to me! I was at his point in life where I had the gun loaded in front of me in 2009 (this is what 'The In Between' is about, just as a side note). I would've been to his place in ten minutes to stop him from doing what he did if he had contacted me or if I had known!
But here we are, years later looking back at this song and it still makes me sad in some ways. The part about social media that plays into the song is it seems like with everything in our current society, it gets a viewing time of roughly one week at most. Then it's on to the latest meme or trend or celebrity. We are so quick to forget things like this anymore and it really struck a chord with me (no pun intended) that for roughly a week, I saw people talking about this particular individual ending his life and then a week later, it was gone.
So yeah, 'One Weeks Time' was about the suicide of an old friend and what social media has done to our brains, attention spans and over all, our view of life. Okay, onto the next question as I'm starting to get really bummed out about this one!
Though on one lighter note regarding this song. it was the first time we worked with a female vocalist. The woman singing in this song is named Jodi Lynn. She is one of my favorite people on the planet and she works with both Bert and I. She had never recorded vocals for a metal song in her life and I still think her voice in this song is very haunting and very powerful. She nailed the vocals well beyond anything I had imagined in my head and we had a blast featuring Jodi on this track!
And now that the new album is finished, and this might be a tough question, but what is your favorite song you have ever written and produced under Lennon Midnight thus far?
Lennon Midnight: That is a good question. I have a few actually.
'Occultist from "Post Trauma". This was a huge one for me in that I was really going for that Cradle of Filth black metal feel with this track in my vocals and over all production. And to me personally, I think we hit it very well. This was the most black metal style song we ever produced. 'Occultist' has always been one of my favorite tracks to perform live. The lyrics are a bit fast to me now due to all the syllables I crammed into it, but I remember when we played this song live for the first time it was such a joy to perform. I had so much fun with it!
'Savior' from "Post Trauma". I have to mention this song on the part of Bert. This is one of his favorite riffs he has written period. He always goes back to this track for inspiration. He has always felt this is the most "organic" song he has written in terms of how the song progresses. Lyrically and subject matter wise, this song is very personal to me as this track was written semi autobiographically for a person who is still very dear to me, but who was meant for another life time!
'Bury the Ghost' from "Beginning's End". Both Bert and I feel this is the best song on the new album. He feels that guitar wise, this is the best thing he's written for anything we've ever done. Subject wise, this was a difficult song for me because it had to be just right! I wrote this song about the Martyr meeting the Woman in White for the first time. Basically the Martyr has destroyed the entire world he'd built and everything that was dear to him. He is at his worst! Everything he ever loved is now in ruins, and out of the rubble. The Woman in White appears to him and tells him, "Everything will be okay, just take my hand and I will help heal you." In many ways, this is what actually happened in my own life. The woman who sings on this song is named Heather Eris. I wont go into detail about her though. She has a wonderful voice, but we mixed like oil and water. Her roll will be revealed on our new EP entitled "Serpent or Angel" when it debuts later this year (hopefully a few months after 'Beginning's End' drops).
'Destroy the Rejection' from "Beginning's End". So this song has an amusing story behind it. We had been writing for the new album, and I started this track in Summer of 2017. I wrote it primarily based on a huge crush I had in 2004 on Avril Lavingne. I started listening to her song 'Girlfriend' (which is still a guilty pleasure to listen to in current times) prior to writing the lyrics to this track. The first lyrics to the song were the chorus "Fuck the cause! Destroy the rejection!" I randomly started saying them walking downstairs at home. The saying grew song wise from there. At the time, Bert was huge into As I Lay Dying's new track and he specifically requested we do a metalcore inspired song. So that really became 'Destroy the Rejection'. Overall, we were both very pleased with how this song came out! Bert forced me to do something well outside of my norm, and he got to have fun really writing his first official metalcore inspired song as well! This track is also a huge blast to play live!
As far as the rest of 2020 goes, with the release of the new album, do you have anything else planned? Any other EPs, remixes, live shows or gigs planned?
Lennon Midnight: Outside of trying to get the new EP 'Serpent or Angel' done before the end of the year, not really. We are officially retired as a live act. With Bert's kiddos and my side business blowing up, we simply don't have the time or the drive for live shows at all. Live shows were always very difficult to do most of the time due to our schedules and our adult life commitments. Also, I almost always got dragged into running most of the live shows we were a part of. There were very few live shows we did where we just got to come out and play without my getting involved in making sure shit went down the right way or I was involved in being one of the promoters attached to the show. Hell, Thrill Kill Kult wouldn't of happened in Vegas without my involvement (still a huge thanks to Angie at The Dive Bar for providing your venue).
Also, those of you who have been following us since the early days, there is a special treat coming via the release of 'Serpent or Angel'. We decided to update an old song from our first album for this EP, much like we did with 'Russia' to 'Rossiya'. We've retitled the paricular song I'm hinting at back to its original name when I first started writing it and I think a lot of you are going to like our update to this track! We've been talking about updating it for a few years now, and with the release of 'Serpent or Angel', we thought this would be the perfect time to do it! The entire song has been rebuilt, rerecorded and I'm in the process of mixing it properly for mastering prior to release! Remixes were never my thing. I tried my hand at a few, but honestly couldn't get into them. After giving a few remixes a shot, its just something I couldn't wrap my head around! I appreciate music so much in its original form that its hard for me to reshape it into something else. So, the remix thing is a no go.
Lastly, I'd like to thank you for your time and I wish your the best of luck! I leave the space below free for you to submit any other thoughts or ideas. Cheers!
Lennon Midnight: We both want to thank everyone who has supported us through the years! It was such an honor to have fans of our music. To hear from everyone who sent us messages via social media or that came up to talk to us at shows. I can't begin to explain how humbling it is to have had so many great fans come to our shows, support our music and to engage with us! Like it blew our minds to be honest. I was always personally a fan of hearing from people about what my lyrics meant to them... even if it was well beyond the scope of the original idea I had written. There were a few people who messaged us about how our music had really helped them in their own lives, and you have no idea how touching and heartfelt that was! The fact that something we had created had actually helped someone get through tough times was beyond anything we'd ever expected.
To all of the bands we've played with, opened for over the years and venues we worked with... Thank you all so much for your generosity, friendship and appreciation! It was nothing short of a dream come true for us to share the stage with you all. There were some stressful times, there we some amazing times but through it all, all of you were amazing people! Art comes in so many forms and we both feel fortunate to have shared ours along side yours! Big thank yous go out to Nero, Sevin, Rotny, Christine and the rest of the Psyclon Nine family (I miss all of you very much), Kristof and Dawn of Ashes (thank you for your inspiration to expand my vocals and our tracks into heavier forms of metal), everyone in Element A440 (still one of our favorite shows ever, you all were nothing short of amazing people all around), God Module, Gary Zon and Dismantled, Frankie and Thrill Kill Kult, Angie and the Dive Bar (I miss you lady), Mikey and The Vile Augury (thank you so much for coming out for the Vegas show I put together and for our fuckery during the 2017 Psyclon Tour), Our Frankenstein, Midnight Nightmare, Mandy and The Artifice (even though you wanted to kill me that night of our record release show, I love you woman), Megan and LiquidRed events (you booked us for our very last live show and Megan you are a kick ass lady), Morpheus Blak and Scarlet (thank you for letting us come out to play, that was a huge deal to us), Daniel, Patrick and Walter in EMDF (you all were amazing friends to have support us and for us to support you). And thank you to every single fan out there who has followed and supported us through the years, who has listened to our songs over the web and who have shared your stories with us. We have been nothing but humbled and grateful that our little art project we started together turned into an actual thing that people really enjoyed! I can't begin to tell you how many amazing memories we have from this art project that happened because of your support!
I want to leave everyone with this. Never give up on your dreams. Never give up on what's important to you. People may tell you you're stupid, dumb or silly for pursuing what's important to you. Don't ever listen to them. Go for what your passion is and what you want to achieve in life. While it may take years of chipping away at a great boulder with a small chisel and hammer making tiny cracks, chips and splits here and there, one day that great boulder will break in half with the lightest strike of that hammer because of all the work you put into it. There are some people in this life who will never realize their dreams or passions because they're too scared to pursue them because its "too hard". Don't ever let those people drag you down. As David said in Prometheus "Big things have small beginnings" and that statement is 100% fact!
Thank you so very much to Brutal Resonance for bringing us back and having us do this interview. It is always a pleasure chatting with you! Your outlet is nothing short of amazing for our scene and please keep doing what you do for it!
Aug 25 2020
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I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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