Back By Midnite is a metal trio coming out from Philippines. They started as a pop band, but saw the light and currently they are the only all-female metal band in their country.
Listen to Back By Midnite while reading the interview:
The first thing that kept my attention about Back By Midnite is that you started as a pop band. What made you change your style and turn a metal act?
We started out as a 4-piece group but when our keyboardist left so she could concentrate more on her studies, we just somehow, moved on to covering more rock songs for several reasons. One of the reasons is that it was kind of hard covering songs from The Corrs or Mandy Moore without keyboards. Another reason is that rock songs seemed to fit Jehan’s (vocalist) voice more than our old covers of pop songs. And lastly, we found our passion in Rock. The intensity when we’re up on stage playing these songs, head banging and screaming…its just pure Passion.
Usually it happens the opposite. Young musicians starting as metal with a radical taste, turning to a softer sound as they career goes on. Any thought or temptation of turning back to the poppy style to be a bit more commercial?
People have been asking us that and even advising us to shift to another genre but we just can’t do it. We have had offers from recording companies that want to sign us but with the condition that we tone down our music and be more pop-ish. But ALL of us don’t want that. Coz it’s not just our music that we’re compromising…it’s our passion too. Coz we love what we’re doing and we love the kind of music that we play. We’re not doing this for the money but for the love of music…our kind of music.
Your sound differs from song to song, but it keeps a hard rock basis, sometimes a bit alternative sometimes thrash a-la-Metallica. How would you define your sound?
Our manager calls our music Girlie Rock. Its coz we play rock music but we still incorporate being females into our music Like our lyrics can sometimes be about love but the instrumentation is heavier that what you expect from love songs. Some people have called us BETALLICA (Back by Midnite + Metallica). But we can’t complain! WE LOVE METALLICA!!! They’re probably our biggest influence. But of course, we want to make our own sound and be known for our original compositions. But it really doesn’t matter to us what our genre is for as long as we play what we feel and do what we love.
Metallica would be one of your main influences. But in your music there’s also an alternative edge, some pop, even hardcore flashes. Which are your main influences?
We all have different influences maybe that’s why there are other elements in our music. As a band, we love Metallica (of course), Pantera, Mudvayne, The Cranberries, Disturbed, Kittie and System of a Down. We also idolize a lot of local bands from the Philippines like Slapshock, Queso, Kapatid, Greyhoundz. And Bands from Davao, our hometown, like Go Larry Go, Go for Devotion, Grrrr, Mackina, Spiral Thunder. Individually though, we have different influences. Jehan (Vocalist) is the ultimate rocker girl who loves Korn, The Cranberries, Metallica and Nirvana. Dice (bassist) is more into Incubus, Silverchair, No Doubt, Bob Marley, and Black Sabbath. Suji (Drummer) loves Sting, Dream Theater, Paramore and American Headcharge.
You come from Philippines. How is its metal scene, is it easy for a metal band to get the media and fan attention?
Here in the Philippines, there are a lot of Metal bands and a lot of people who appreciate metal. But it is difficult for metal bands to make it big especially in getting media attention since recording companies are quite hesitant to sign up metal bands so we really have to work hard to play in as many venues as possible to promote our music. But there are a LOT of really good metal bands here in the Philippines.
Is there any problem to get a busy gig schedule?
In our case, since we are all students, it is kind of difficult for us to commit to gigs. We can get to play and practice only during summer breaks, semestral breaks and Christmas break especially since Dice and Suji are in Manila and Jehan is in Davao. But for other bands, there are a lot of independent gigs especially in Manila during weekends. So it gives artists the opportunity to showcase their talents.
And are you pioneers in being an all-female band in your country?
There have been other all-female bands before us. But we’re not sure if they still play until now.
And you keep on being a trio, after your keyboardist left. Are you planning to make your family grow again, or this is definitively the right format for you?
We talked about this before but the thing is…we don’t want to add a new member. If ever we would, it would still be our keyboardist. We have made this work for 7 years and being in a band is also about friendship and companionship.Adding a new member would mean adjusting to a new person when we have already become comfortable with each other. We have been through a lot and we work well as a group. This is definitely the right format for us.
And why did you decide to be an all-female band. Was it on purpose, you deliberately wanted to make a female band? Or it was just a coincidence?
Suji was in a band in high school where in she was the only girl. In college, she decided that it would be fun to have an all female band. But of course she envisioned a pop band…not a rock-metal band. Hahahaha!!!
Do you think that being an all-female act opens you some doors? It makes it easier to attract new fans?
Well, being an all-female band has its perks. People become more curious and more receptive. But we think that being an all girl band has been more of a challenge to us. We have always aimed to be as good as the guys. We want them to appreciate us not because we are girls but because we can also play well. Also, we cover songs from mostly, all male bands, so we also want to give justice to the songs that we cover. We don’t stop just because we can’t do it and think that people will be more understanding and lenient because we are girls. We want to be able to do what guys do and give justice to our songs.
It has passed four years since the “Past 12″ album release. When are you going to release a new album? Have you composed new songs already?
We are currently in the process of recording the second album. We have actually finished the second album 2 years ago but for some reason, we never really released it. Now, we are re-recording the songs. We hope to release the second album before June of 2009.
You are very young, are your lyrics focused in your age troubles and feelings, are them orientated to a certain range of age?
When the first album “Past 12″ was released, we were about 18 and 19 then, so we wrote songs about our experiences…about love and heartbreak. But most of the songs in the first album were composed by Jehan’s sister, April. For the second album, about 8 out of 10 songs were composed by us. And I think the themes of our songs for the second album are more mature.
Talking about your age, I can imagine that you are already allowed to be Back After Midnight
Hahaha! Exactly!!! And we don’t have parents tagging around for every gig anymore. Hahahaha! But our parents were very supportive of us since the beginning and we are very thankful for that.
Which are your real expectations for the future?
In the future…hmmmm…that’s kind of difficult. Dice is in Dentistry proper, Suji in Medicine proper and Jehan is taking up Mass Communications as of the moment. I’m sure we’re going to be busy with our individual careers but we hope that we can still get to play and do what we love. Maybe we’ll have less gigs but I hope that we can still release more albums.
And this dream you know that (probably) never will come to reality, but you are willing to live?
Of Course! We have been hanging on to the band for quite some time now despite the challenges and hardships. But we have been together for 7 years! And for us, it is not about the fame, the money, the endorsements but for us to be able to do what we love and to be able to play our music.
And tell the readers why they should check Back By Midnite.
Hey guys! Check out BACK BY MIDNITE. We’re a 3-pc all female rock band from the Philippines. There’s not too many of us out there and our music represents our artistic side. It makes us different. Like us or hate us. We can’t please everyone. Nevertheless, we’d still be rockin’ our brains out.