Fly By Midnight

Justin Bryte and Justin Slavo of Fly By Midnight

New York-based indie-retro pop and visual collective duo Fly By Midnight is made up of songwriter Justin Bryte and songwriter/producer Justin Slavo. Following a sold out album show in NYC and performances at U.S. colleges, the Firefly and Panorama Festival, the duo have continued to generate a strong, independent buzz by releasing catchy, original pop anthems and reimagined cover songs.

With over 250,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel, Fly By Midnight’s consistently strong releases have been praised by Billboard, Buzzfeed, NYLON, Huffington Post and Ones To Watch, and have been placed on numerous Spotify New Music Fridays. The band members met through a studio based in Staten Island and following a co-writing session, they decided to form the duo.

The duo have been releasing original pop anthems like Vibe and Just Say It along with catchy covers for a few years now and been gaining serious traction. They also collaborated with many artistes; one of them being MOTi, a Dutch electro house DJ and producer. Known to family and friends as Timotheus “Timo” Romme, this DJ can be recognized by some of his most popular tracks including Hooked and Up All Night with R3hab.

Fly By Midnight's Happy About Everything Else album cover

The sounds of Fly By Midnight and MOTi blend together perfectly on Spark. Kicking off with Bryte’s vocals that will have listeners reminiscing of retro-pop, the track slowly fills with light percussion and soft guitar elements. As the tempo picks up during the chorus, the track gains more and more depth through the addition of synths and more percussion. A funky electro-house drop follows before slowing down for the verse and starting all over again. This is a must-hear.

After the release of their compilation New York Nostalgia, the boys released their first project, featuring old and new tracks, on the album Rerunning (November 2018), and since then they have had quite the buzz-worthy year, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.

Exactly a year later, they brought out an eight-track album of songs titled Happy About Everything Else that extends the pair’s run of flawless, no-frills pop, which seems to be their sweet spot, working with each other and a limited circle of collaborators.

With two solid albums, the boys recently pushed a new single LA Lonely in May this year. The song became an instant hit with their fans worldwide.

VERUS FERREIRA spoke with Justin and Slavo on the phone, a few weeks ago. Excerpts from the interview:

Hi guys, hope all is well with you and you’re taking care of yourselves in these trying times. So let’s start with the usual question… How did the two of you meet and how did you decide on Fly By Midnight?
Justin: We met in a studio in New York. It started with the two of us writing, and we quickly evolved into the duo.
Slavo: We had our first single ready to release before deciding on our name.

What’s it like to perform at the Firefly and Panorama music festivals?
Justin: Both were really different. What I loved about Firefly was, even though it was scorching hot out, we and the fans just sweat it out together. Tons of energy and love.
Slavo: Getting to meet fans after both performances was a great feeling, too.

Tell us something about your second album.
Salvo: Well, it’s an episodic experience of romance and repetition. It’s jam-packed with nostalgia, making it an engaging experience from start to finish.
Justin: The album is equal parts emotional and danceable. Flawlessly combining emotionally-charged lyricism, infectious pop beats, and stunning harmonies, the eight-track album features previous singles Waiting Tables, Waking Up and a separate single You Belong.
Salvo: You Belong takes you on a romantic and emotional journey. The track explores the moment when you realize you miss someone and want him/her back; when you realize that they literally belong to you. It’s a heart-wrenching and deeply relatable listen.
Justin: The cover art is like a shrink wrapped vinyl record… a throwback to the era of music (the 80’s) that has so inspired our work.

You’ve done a lot of collaborated work with many new artistes…
Salvo: We want to do that more, as working with other artistes is the best way to expand what you’re doing. There’s definitely an evolution that’s happening, and we can only hope that with everything we continue to put out people get more and more excited about. I’d like to specially mention our work with singer-songwriter Carly Paige in 2018 on the song I Feel It. It was a great track and had an equally jamming video, too.

Tell us about your latest single LA Lonely.
Justin: We began writing the track back in January when we moved from New York to LA. We were surrounded by lots of people, and yet felt this void and disconnect. The song reflects everyone’s emotions in that current situation.

What genre do you cater to and how has your music evolved through the years?
Justin: We’ve always found ways to blend nostalgic elements into pop music, but it’s definitely evolved over the course of our career so far.
Slavo: What we love about creating for Fly By Midnight is that there’s really no rule set. Some songs will pull influence from the 90’s alternative era, while others have more electronic layers.

What are your thoughts on performing live on digital media? Do you feel virtual concerts are the next big thing to happen to music?
Justin: Virtual concerts and live sessions have been around for awhile, but I think amidst everything currently happening they’re needed to sustain and strengthen that connection.
Slavo: We’d be lying if we said we didn’t miss the face-to-face adrenaline of a show, but these sorts of performances allow us to reach everyone in the world.

Among your many covers produced over the years, which one would you say gained maximum traction?
Justin: It would have to be our cover of We Don’t Talk Anymore.
Slavo: I remember watching that go from 50,000 to over 10 million so quick.
Justin: We recently had the official video to our single Love Me Like A Friend (laughs) have a similar “overnight” spike and it continues to feel unreal. That feeling never stops being wild.

What has been the most difficult part of your journey?
Justin: I would say being like brothers, growing up and hitting these transitional points in our lives, there’s a lot of adjusting that takes place. It’s not always the easiest. From moving across coasts… to living together. Balancing writing for Fly By Midnight while writing for other artistes. There are a lot of changes needed to work together on to get through smoothly.
Slavo:  I don’t think we’ve ever had difficulty on the creative side. It’s always been just finding ways to continue supporting each other in these different chapters of our life.

What was the inspiration behind Fly By Midnight?
Justin: We’re night owls by nature. Always creating at odd hours.
Slavo: Calling something ‘fly’ is a very retro term that we thought resonates with the nostalgic vibes behind our music.

Any Indian artiste you would like to work with?
Justin: I think the Indian music culture in general is really intriguing to us.
Slavo: We love the idea of collaborating in a genre that’s outside of our comfort zone. We’ve been listening to Armaan Malik and we love his track Control.
Justin: Next time we speak to you we may be promoting a track we did with an Indian artiste, who knows? We hope to collaborate with MUNA and Charli XCX, as well.

Verus Ferreira
Latest posts by Verus Ferreira (see all)

Verus Ferreira

Verus Ferreira covers the hottest desi and international artists for THE TEENAGER TODAY. Passionate about music, he is the author of The Great Music Quiz Book and The Great Rock Music Quiz Book. A freelance journalist for over 27 years, he also contributes to musicunplugged.in