March 21st, 2012, 9:42 am · · posted by KELLI SKYE FADROSKI, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
A few years ago, rock quintet Midnight Hour was fortunate enough to have its songs appear during episodes of the CW’s One Tree Hill and CBS’ The Ghost Whisperer, along with select placement on various MTV reality shows. The exposure was huge for a little-known local band, earning it more than 18,000 Facebook fans to date, many of whom have taken to the website to post questions.
“We’ve tried to answer each and every one of them,” vocalist and keys player Bradley Lodge (center) says. The band has even received international enthusiasm (particularly from Germany) thanks to the prime-time placement. “It’s kind of crazy, but cool because it feels like we’ve started to build a global presence, as funny as that sounds. It’s obviously not very focused. It’s not like we could go to Germany and have a sold-out show.”
Although the band, including guitarists Tim Johnson and James Mitchell, bassist Jared Mitchell and drummer Dan Ardis, formed more than five years ago, Lodge says that Midnight Hour’s recent participation in the 2012 OC Music Awards‘ best live band showcase series has felt like a fresh start.
“It was a lot of fun and we’re so grateful to have been part of it,” he says. “It was really something that we could get our friends, fans and family to rally around and support us. It was exciting and it got us excited again, and gave us an idea of what we’re going to be shooting for in the future – to really build on our (live) show and get people out to see us.”
Midnight Hour made it to the showcase finals where the group faced off against We Are the Arsenal, Robert Jon & the Wreck, Slime Kings and eventual winner Railroad to Alaska at Samueli Theater in Costa Mesa on Feb. 24. But not taking home the top prize came with a consolation: Midnight Hour also wound up nominated in the web-voted people’s choice category.
Lodge says it was both a surprise and an honor: “You kind of hope for the best but expect the worst. All of it was so exciting that just to be nominated – that was enough for us frankly.”
Yet he admits that since getting together in 2007 – when the rest of the group decided to change things up and bring in Lodge as lead vocalist, and soon after issue an EP – Midnight Hour is still developing musically. “It’s been a long process for us to kind of figure out who we are, and we’re still figuring it out,” he says. “With this new record, we’ve kind of captured this particular moment for us as a band.”
The new record is sold only at Midnight Hour’s live shows – so why not be like every other artist and give it away for free online? With the exception of a couple of downloadable tracks (available via likeandfollow.us), Lodge says there is method to their madness.
“We want to build our fan base at home first,” he says. “Right now, we have fans scattered everywhere, but we want to get back and focus on our own backyard and go totally D.I.Y. and build it from the ground up. The motive behind that, really, was to just get people to our live shows.”
In a time when artists are completely blurring the genre lines, Lodge insists Midnight Hour is much more straightforward.
“We’re a rock band,” he says matter-of-factly. “I mean, some songs are probably more pop-sounding, some are more rock-sounding – but it’s all there.
“The music is a good blend of our five personalities for the most part. I love keyboards and some ’80s stuff and Tim is a rocker, and our drummer Danny, he’s so massive behind the drum kit – you can’t help but be a rock band when your drummer is that hard of a hitter.
“Music is so funny these days. People categorize themselves with, like, five words. You go on Facebook and it’s like: ‘We’re soul, pop, rock, opera, emo … and something.’ What? I don’t know about that.”
Lodge is currently digging the Grouplove album and he’s a huge fan of Mutemath: “I remember seeing them at the Viper Room,” or maybe it was the Roxy, he isn’t entirely sure. “It was my first show I had ever been to, and it was by far one of the best shows I have ever been to still. They’re so technical, so it’s hard to sneak in their influence, but they’re always in the back of my mind when I’m writing.”
With 2012 off to a great start, Midnight Hour is looking towards booking numerous local gigs and honing its live act. The band next performs March 30 with the Devious Means, the Silent Comedy and Robert Jon & the Wreck at House of Blues Anaheim.
Lodge says he also has a few bigger plans up his sleeve for the band as well.
“I want to conquer the world this year,” he says. “I’m working on that. I’m building my global enterprise.”
But seriously: “What we want, it’s not complicated. We just want to play as many great shows as possible and we want to build a solid local fan base. We’d love to continue to play and give the message of hope and overcoming through our music and hopefully encourage and build a positive atmosphere with the youth. That’s the goal this year. If we can get help from the radio, that’s great – actually, if we can get help from anyone that would be great.”
Photo by Brandise Danesewich.
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