by Shazwan Zulkiffli
It’s not everyday that we are able to read about overnight successes, especially surrounding 17 year olds. But Midnight Fusic beat those odds, and during the heat of their anticipation for SPM, they delivered ‘Heart of May’, that was played more than 100,000 times on Spotify by fans worldwide.
A day after the music video of their second single ‘Lovesick’ premiered, I got a chance to interview the boys at BOWERY Kitchen & Bar, where the band members were enjoying thin-crust pizzas, and everyone else was enjoying jumbo-sized hot dogs. Regretting that nasi lemak I had for lunch earlier, I proceeded to sit down with the band to start the interview.
How did you all start?
Arif: It all started a few years ago, it was just Adrian and I. I came up with the name (Midnight Fusic) and I told him about it, and said ‘yea alright let’s form a band’, cause we’ve always dreamed about playing music together, and visualized Midnight Fusic as a band, but we just never got the right people so we stuck as a duo until 2016, when we met these two and we formed a four piece band ever since then (talking about Muaz and Firdaus).
But why Midnight Fusic? Like, what was the inspiration behind that?
Arif: Midnight Fusic. Well, the word ‘Midnight’ was because we were always staying up until late midnight, ‘Fusic’ was actually a combination of food and music, cause that’s what we always do during midnight. People thought it was fusion of music. That’s what the name has become now.
Ok, that’s pretty cool, everyone did that at some point of their lives, I mean it’s relatable for everyone, okay, but how was your first single ‘Heart of May’ written and what is it about?
Arif: Heart of May was written on my bathroom floor. It’s basically about a guy who was just reminiscing about the month of May, Heart of May being like the middle of May because that’s when everything happened, and as time went by, it felt like I was still in the month of May, because everything struck me so… so heavily.
When you say everything, what do you actually mean by it? Like are there any specific events…
Arif: To be specific like a toxic relationship. It was quite toxic, really. I think I was 14… As a 14 year old kid, to get a lot of pressure placed on you, or on your relationship thinking that you weren’t good enough or something, it was quite big, there was no way I could express it and feel satisfied other than expressing it through my music, so that was how I decided to do Heart of May.
So Heart of May is related to Lovesick in a way.
Arif: Yeah. Lovesick is a prequel.
There’s a story. So is there an ending to that story? A third song maybe?
Arif: I guess Heart of May was the ending, the last song of the relationship. Lovesick was the first one, and there was actually a middle song – there was yeah. It was supposed to be in our EP but we didn’t get to release it. So maybe some time in the future, we may or may not release the song? Who knows.
Muaz: We’re like Star Wars now.
Arif: Yeah we’re like Star Wars *laughs*
That’s pretty cool though. As a new band, in the scene, how was your reaction when your song reached more than 100 thousand plays on Spotify?
Muaz: We never expected to go more than that. When we first released this song independently, it only reached about 10? 20 thousand streams? But when we moved it again under our label, the feedback was way more like the fans we got, more response and you know… We really appreciate it.
That’s after Sony signed you guys?
Talking about your label, how’s your experience with Sony Music as of now, like, so far? How’s it been?
Arif: It’s starting to feel like family now, the office is basically like our second home, and we’re always there, rather than seeing them as business partners we see them as like friends, brothers sisters, we like to hang out with them from time to time. So it’s been very… Home-y.
Alright. Going back to the single you guys promoted, Lovesick, tell me a bit about that.
Adrian: Basically I wrote Lovesick, it’s based on his past, Arif’s past relationship, it’s the toxic one… It’s about a guy who’s left in confusion and is finding it hard to let go. It’s a very sad song but instead of making it sound very sad, we decided to funk it up and added a funky bassline, catchy riffs, some catchy beats, and then you have Lovesick.
Nice! Before I forget, congratulations again on the stunning-looking music video for ‘Lovesick’. When was it shot?
Arif: Filming session was… mid December.
That was your first music video experience right? How was it?
Arif: Very tiring. It was a 16 hour shoot, and we shot it in an abandoned haunted house.
Haunted?! Were there any haunted stories that you guys wanna tell?
Arif: There might have been a few stories. Everything around the house was really creepy. It was creepy to start with and the photos around the house were just like…
A photo in the abandoned house. Can you spot the ghost?
Photos? Wait, so like, the house was someone’s house?
Arif: It was… an abandoned house.
It’s an abandoned house with photos?
Adrian: Yeah, and there were children’s drawings on the wall. We were there from 2 pm to 6 am the next day. Anything for the music video right?
So are we gonna see any like split second… ghosts in there, no?
Arif: Honestly I don’t know, you’ll have to find out. *laughs*
So now like, Midnight Fusic is as of now, like I said, is one of the few indie bands that play the way you guys do. But who are your musical heroes? Like how it started?
Muaz: Well, my influences would be bands like 1975, Arctic Monkeys, the Neighbourhood, you know really big names in the indie scene. That’s just to name a few.
Arif: My influences would be 1975 as well, Monaco, The Kooks, Two Door Cinema Club, and also Hujan.
Adrian: Arif stole all of my bands. *laughs* My other band would be Bad Suns, an American band, they’re one of our biggest inspirations too.
Firdaus: As a band, we… like they said before, 1975, Bad Suns, but personally I took my inspiration for playing the bass from Muse, the rock band.
Ok. So are we expecting an Muse-like songs? *laughs*
Firdaus: Not really. Muse-like bass maybe. *laughs*
The term “new faces of indie” has been flying around in relation to you guys… So what do you guys think about that?
Muaz: We feel welcomed. It’s like quite the welcome to the indie scene I guess you could say? To have the statement “new faces of indie” is kind of. It’s quite the big statement to live up to. But day by day I guess we’re living up to it. We’re just playing… We’re just an indie band playing music.
You happened to arrive in the indie scene while it’s currently booming you know… What do you think about the indie scene’s progress, from having the likes of Hujan during the indies punya (can’t hear) and now with (can’t hear) and you guys. How’s the progress… What do you think about that?
Arif: I think ever since Hujan took over the indie scene, it changed… And it evolved as well in the recent years. They added more juice – a bit of a twist and a bit of sweetness, to the indie scene I could say with the kind of sound that they produced and they way that they portray indie itself, I think it’s very different and like you can venture on so many things into indie – there’s alternative indie, there’s indie rock – there’s so many types of indie music, and I feel like that is a huge thing for the Malaysian indie scene.
Are our current batch of indie bands – ready to be consumed, enjoyed by the rest of the world?
Arif: Personally, yes, but most importantly everything should be played equally – I would say, like pop, indie and R&B should all be in the same level rather than one thing is going up and others just staying down here. Music is universal you know, we shouldn’t just stick to one genre.
That’s true. So Midnight Fusic, you guys finished the song Lovesick which blew up – even before the music video came out, so – I mean fans have already asked – any new music coming out?
Muaz: Yes. We’ve got our third single coming up, and an EP to be released in April.
So the third single will be out in April as well, with the EP la?
The last question, any message to your fans?
Arif: Thank you so much for everything, and we appreciate each and every one of your support, I don’t think we would be where we are today if it’s not for the fans, so… They make us feel like we’re on top of the world sometimes, and that’s a great feeling and we owe it all to them. Much love to them.