Shooting the Shit with Midnight Pilot

I know you guys are all from Holland Michigan, Did you grow up together and how did you formulate the band?

Grant: We did grow up together, Kyle and I have been friends since birth. Our parents know each other and Chris is Kyle’s brother, so we have all known each other since we were little kids. We started playing music together in middle school, playing instruments and trying to figure them out and I started writing songs my Freshmen year of high school or so.

Since you guys have moved to Nashville, Tennessee, how has Nashville panned out for you?

Kyle: Two years ago we all moved to Nashville. I had been there for a while but eventually the rest of the guys came.

Grant: The transition has been great, Nashville makes for a good central location for a band; especially if you are going anywhere in the country. Everyone is in a touring band there and it’s a good musicians community. Everybody knows each other, everybody hangs out in the same places, it feels like a small town at the same time being big.

The level of musicianship is really great, so Nashville seemed like a good fit for us to try and get in that scene, and because we all have connections in that area, Nashville just seemed like an obvious spot to be in for all of us.

Kyle: Nashville is not huge, it’s definitely not the size of New York but it’s so concentrated with musicians, so when you knock on you neighbor’s door, they very well could be the greatest guitar player of all time. It ‘s a good environment to be in for music.

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What is the significance of the name Midnight Pilot?

Kyle: We have actually been playing music for a long time under other names. When we made the move to Nashville we wanted to rebrand and start over. It was a struggle to come up with a name. Funny fact, before coming up with Midnight Pilot we chose a new name, had it for one month, put out an EP under it, and then we got a cease and desist letter from someone who had trademarked that name. So once we came up with the name, we were ecstatic about it.

Grant: We came up with the name after I was reading a book called Fly Boys, and there is a section bout these dudes who went to bomb Tokyo during World War 2 and there was a line that said Midnight Pilot. I thought that would make for a good band name. We also thought the imagery of the book fit the music.

Chris: We had a database with hundreds of names that we used to combined different nouns. We liked the name Pilot and Midnight so it worked out.

You’ve played alongside singer/songwriter Damian Rice. What was that like?

Grant: So my brother was in charged of putting a choir together at The Ryman in Nashville. He was out of town so I ended up putting together who would choir for the Damian Rice show. So we didn’t play along side him, we were actually choir members at his show.

Kyle: But even so, it was awesome to choir for Damian and to play the Ryman, which is a historic place.

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Your New album “Midnight Pilot” was just released on the 5th of this month. Can you shed some light on what to expect for those who haven’t yet made the purchase?

Kyle: It’s a full-length full band record. It has a little more rock n’ roll than we usually put out in our singer/songwriter way.

Grant: We have kind of been in the Americana genre for our entire existence, and this was more of a fusion of genres. Some of the songs are about the move to Nashville and trying to make it in the music scene and all the effort that goes into it. Some of the songs are about girls that don’t exist.

Kyle: We used to write songs that were totally introspective, songs that were written about our individual situations specifically. That’s still there in this album but we tried not to do that as much. We tried to write about broader things like taking chances in your life and giving it your best.

Grant: More Positive vibes than in previous albums.

What is the plan musically the next 6 months?

Kyle: We are here in New York now, we’re on a bit of a northeast show run and we are doing a bunch of college radio visits. We hope to continue doing this over the summer performing some weekend shows and what not. We hope that we can play at some college shows in the fall and continue to stay busy. We are hopefully planning for some more content and summer festivals for next year.

Which are some of your dream venues to perform at?

Grant: Our dream would be to play at the Ryman in Nashville, also Carnegie Hall. Any place that has a classic vibe were many legends have played. Anything that has a historic feel to it would be my dream venue.

Kyle: I have to say a fun fact about that because that was Grant’s answer yesterday when asked. Just a funny thing that I don’t think many people can say, we did actually play at Ryman with Damian Rice and in High School Chris played Saxophone, Grant played trumpet and I played Tuba all in our high school band. Our high school band won a competition and got to play at Carnegie Hall, so we have actually played not Midnight Pilot music but have played a whole concert at Carnegie Hall. So we have dipped our toe at playing at some historic places, hopefully we can jump all the way in.

Grant: We grew up in the Midwest, so that’s were we think our music connects with people the most, so that’s a region that we would also like to continue to play at.

If you could open for a band, what band would it be?

Kyle: I would choose Coldplay probably.

Grant: I would say Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra because it’s not obtainable but he’s not quite as big as those people in the way that there is a chance.

Chris: I said that past few days that I would like to play with Muse, also not obtainable. I also think our sound would be good for opening up for Tom Petty.

Grant: We Don’t have a lot of obtainable dreams.

Who are you listening to?

Kyle: I am listening to an Indie rock band that just put out new record last year called Colony House. A couple of friends from Nashville made the record and it was my favorite record of last year.

Grant: Some of the more recent bands that I have been listening to would be Blake Mills is one my favorites, one of the best guitar players of all time and he writes some really great songs. Natalie Prass, I have really enjoyed her record, she blew up recently. Tobias Jesso Jr. put out a record recently that I really liked.

Chris: There is just a lot of good talent in town for sure, so just a lot of good local bands. Probably my favorite Nashville band is Paper Route who are acquaintances of the band. Bahamas is a solo artist from Canada.

Be sure to grab hold of Midnight Pilot’s new self-titled album!