Fly By Midnight are a retro-pop duo from Staten Island, New York City. Members Justin Bryte (vocals, keyboard) and Justin Slaven (Slavo) (vocals, guitar) met through a studio based in Staten Island. Following a co-writing session, they decided to form the duo. Fly By Midnight's single "Just Say It" debuted on Spotify's New Music Friday in 8 countries and has garnered press recognition from the likes of Billboard, Hollywood Life, Buzzfeed and more. We love their newest single “I Feel It” featuring Carly Paige and are so excited to get to hear from this dynamic duo!
UG: Welcome Fly By Midnight to Unheard Gems! We are so happy we get the chance to talk with you!
Slavo: Thanks a lot! We're always up to talk music
Justin: .. or just talk in general. *laughs*
UG:Just for our readers to get a little bit of background on you as a duo, can you tell us a bit about how you both respectively started out in music and then the origin story of “Fly By Midnight” name and all.
Justin: We had both been in music since we were younger. My background started more on the theater side.
Slavo: My first music gig was playing guitar in my older brother's band.
Justin: Years later we linked up in a studio in the corner of good ole' Staten Island. Wrote a few jams together and discovered a really unique creative chemistry.
Slavo: Yup & haven't really looked back since then. The name Fly By Midnight wasn't easy to decide on. Ton of different ideas.. some not great!
Justin: We like to say it combines the retro flair of our music mixed with our nocturnal creative habits *laughs*
UG: How would you characterize your sound? I love your music for feel good anthems and pump up music but how would you describe your sound?
Slavo: Thanks! Like Justin said it definitely has a retro undertone. Really feel good vibes.
Justin: Even some of our songs that aren't narratively happy still have an uplifting sound to them.
UG: You just had the release of you song “I Feel It” with Carly Paige, I love the song and it really is a fun pop listen, how did the collaboration come about and what was the writing process like?
Justin: We were actually in Florida right before playing a show and came across her single "Babe" on Spotify. Her unique tone really caught our ears and we DMed her shortly after. Next thing we knew we were writing together in LA.
Slavo: The whole creation of "I Feel It" happened super quick and effortlessly. Within the first ten minutes we felt like pretty good friends which sometimes doesn't happen in writing sessions.
UG: Any future collaborations we should look forward to and/or do you have any dream collaboration ideas?
Justin: We love the idea of collaborations. It allows us to kind of stretch outside of our comfort zone. There's so much opportunity in this new kind of industry where you can connect with someone with a click of a button.
Slavo: We've recently been collaborating with some awesome songwriters out in Nashville & LA as well. Really stoked with how those songs are coming together.
UG: In addition to your original music or collaborations you also do a lot of incredible covers and mashups, I love the way you reimagine some of the most trendy top 40 songs, what is your process like when you take on making these songs your own and what inspired you decision to record a lot of those videos in restaurants?
Justin: Appreciate that! It's definitely another fun side project we enjoy taking on. From the video side we've never tried to overthink it. One day we wanted to grab McDonalds so we said.. lets just shoot it there until someone throws us out. We were kind of taken off guard that no one stopped us and since then we've kind of made that a thing for a bit *laughs*
Slavo: We like to take on songs we know we can interpret differently. We want to give listeners a different take on an awesome song.
UG: You are on your second leg of a massive school college tour, what has that been like and do you have any favorite memories from tour?
Slavo: We're actually talking to you in the hotel right now *laughs* It's been a blast. Definitely some stand out moments. Ending the last leg of the tour in the mountains of Southern Utah was a standout to me. They shut down an entire block downtown and the sun was just setting as we started. That mixed with the energy of the students was such a great feeling on stage.
Justin: It's the first time we're consistently playing show after show. From colleges to festivals we've met a ton of new and old Fly Byfans. It's a super rewarding thing for us to put faces to usernames being the project started off so heavily online. My favorite
memory so far has to be the performance at Grandoozy Festival in Denver. It's the first year they did it. Ton of energy and people just genuinely loving music. It's an awesome thing to get lost in the jams with a crowd.
UG: You guys have been generating a lot of buzz! Major publications like NYLON and Ones to Watch have been loving your music and you have been on several New Music Fridays on Spotify. What is all this publicity like? Does it ever feel overwhelming? How do you keep things in perspective?
Justin: It's definitely an honor to be getting love from such kickass press & of course Spotify. It's always been such a fan first movement on our end so whenever we see pickups and features on our work we're just stoked to be able to reach more people. We're always focused on our next moves so perspective is always looking ahead.
UG: Anything else exciting coming up that your listeners or our readers should be aware of? Any new releases or projects coming out in the near future?
Slavo: So we're stoked to tell you that the "I Feel It" official video is coming out this Friday (today). Carly flew in from LA to NYC to film it with us. Probably one of our favorites we've ever shot. Following that, always new music on the horizon.
UG: One of our favorite questions to ask at the end of our interviews is, if you could recommend to us another artist you think deserves more recognition in the music industry who would you recommend and why?
Justin: We've been jammin' to a few new acts on the road. Joan is great. Really underrated.
Slavo: For sure. His voice is killer!
UG: Lastly, for all of our readers, where can they find you and your music?
Justin: Fly By Midnight everywhere!
Slavo: What he said.
Check out the music video for “I Feel It” here: https://youtu.be/cGCoaoj6WGY
Interview by: Hannah Schneider