Artist Interview: “The Midnight Hour” by Ghosts and Leviathans

Q: What’s it like producing and writing your own songs? Was it easy or hard?

MATTHEW: I love writing and producing my own songs! I love the autonomy and control it gives me over the vision that I am trying to create and it gives me the space to experiment in a way you might not if you were around other people. And I love that I go into each new track never really knowing what to expect as the result. I don’t find writing or producing technically difficult, but there are times at which you don’t feel very inspired (especially over lockdown!) which makes it hard to come up with even a basic idea for a track. I think the hardest part is trying to push myself more and more and to ensure each project I make feels like a development or improvement of the one before, and that I’m always making music that feels like an extension of my personality and the music that I am currently inspired by.

Q: You wrote this song when you were isolated from your friends because you moved from Ireland to London. What impact did this song have on your emotions? Did it provide some relief or made you miss them even more?

MATTHEW: To be honest I’m an emotional train-wreck, so I’d say probably both! In the midst of writing it and recording it I definitely felt a lot of relief because I was able to spend time daydreaming about what I wanted to say and be a little bit nostalgic which is my favorite pastime. I think showing it to my friends and seeing their reaction definitely made me miss them a lot more. I think the hardest thing to acknowledge was by spending all this time writing about my friends and speaking to them on video calls was that I didn’t really have the strong support network that I had in Ireland here in London, and that definitely scared me a lot.


Q: I like the personal touch that the talking and laughing in the beginning adds to the song. Why did you add that and who is it?

MATTHEW: Thank you so much! At the start you can hear my friend Francis who is a phenomenal poet, and he’s talking about how every time we hang out with our friends we insist on showing them really depressing stuff our other friends have made, and we make such a thing of it. Like we could spend 15 minutes crawling through our Gmail trying to find the roughest demo of all time. I think that really speaks to how much we all support each others work which I’m so grateful for! I wanted to use my friends voices on the track so I recorded one of our online calls, and I just trawled through it afterwards to see if I could find a funny or cute quote, and I felt like that one really worked – it’s quite funny, but also you really feel the love that I want to push to the forefront of the song.


Q: During the time you didn’t really know your housemates, you would try to sing quietly so they wouldn’t know you existed. What has changed since then, relationship-wise with your housemates?

MATTHEW: So much! I now get on really well with my housemates, one of them Mia is a singer-songwriter too so we’ve collaborated loads and she’s been my rock during lockdown. I now sing and play piano freely in my room and we have a very laidback vibe in the house and everyone is super encouraging and supportive!


Q: What was your favorite part about working on “The Midnight Hour”?

MATTHEW: Honestly I enjoyed all of it! I had no expectations of what I was going to make starting off, and I felt like as I added each new layer to the track, it was like the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. I really enjoyed trying to build the drop at the end of the song, and just trying to push it as far as I could. I’m really proud of the lyrics – as a writer sometimes I worry that what I’m saying isn’t necessarily what I’m trying to say, or that I could phrase things a little better, but with ‘the midnight hour’ I really felt like each lyric perfectly encapsulates the sentiment I wanted to share.

Q: Why is it called “The Midnight Hour”?

MATTHEW: I think that the phrase “the midnight hour” evokes a certain atmosphere that really spoke to the feelings I wanted to convey with this song. It reminds me of sleepovers with friends, being up all night and feeling like you and whoever you’re with are the only people in the whole world, and there are no obligations or responsibilities until the sun comes up again. It’s kind of like the world pauses for a moment, and in that moment all you have is peace and calmness. It kind of has occult—like connotations too, that the world is perhaps more receptive to a certain kind of energy at midnight and that it’s the perfect time for casting spells, reading cards and enhances our intuition and overall powers. In my head, the midnight hour is the perfect time to manifest, and since this song is technically one big manifestation, I felt like it would make my wishes even more powerful to have the song take place in this setting.


Q: What is one song or artist you will never get tired of listening to?

MATTHEW: This might genuinely be the hardest question in the world to answer. I have such nostalgic attachments to some artists, like Frankie Cosmos, whose music I don’t think I could live without. But I’m brutal for getting obsessed with songs and overplaying them for a week straight and then never wanting to hear it again. Right now I’m obsessed with “Cry” by Donatachi. I’ve been obsessed with their music for a little while and this new track is this insane mixture of like, video game music, drum and bass, and nightcore and I feel really inspired by the way this track just blends together like 5 different genres and it still sounds cohesive whilst being super experimental, with a beautiful melody and an incredible drop!


Q: Is there something you are working on now that we will see in the future?

MATTHEW: So much stuff! I just dropped my EP ‘spells to bind us’, and I’ve been so overwhelmed by all the support so far! I have a gig in The Moustache Bar in Dalston on the 5th of June and I’ll be playing some tracks from my new EP there! I have loads of new music finished, and I want to start releasing some singles as I get so involved in the creation of a full scale project that I find it really time consuming. I get really bored of stuff I make quite easily and am always eager to start new projects so I think the best way to work is to keep firing stuff out as soon as it’s finished so that I can keep consistently dropping music whilst working on new stuff all the time. And I’ve producing and collaborating with loads of my friends and lots of that is due to be released soon!

Interviewed by Taylor Berry

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