INTERVIEW: MIDNIGHT MIRAGE
Photo by Collin Stark
Interview with Tyler Shamy
Midnight Mirage consists of Tyler Shamy (vocals), guitarist Eytan Freedman from Michigan, keyboardist Chase Butters from Utah, bassist Josh Peek from Orange County, Calif., and drummer Gabriel Bonomi, all the way from Switzerland. They migrated from all over the world to Hollywood so they could make music combining aspects of pop, soul, rock, and R&B.
They have worked with executive producer Kevin Savigar (Rod Stewart, Josh Gracin, The Cheetah Girls) for over a year, searching for the perfect sound for the band, one that feels original and authentic.
The unique blend of genres they’ve created has been inspired by some of their favorite musicians, including One Republic (Ryan Tedder), Maroon 5 (Adam Levine), Pink, Bruno Mars, The Rocket Summer, and The Script – to name just a few.
Their first single "Bad For You” was released on July 10 of this year, followed by their debut EP of the same name in August.
Tyler left his New Jersey hometown at the young age of 15 to pursue acting in L.A. Once down in LA, since the 2007-2008 Hollywood Writer’s Strike was going on, he decided to focus on his writing/musical project. Through networking he met renowned producer Kevin Savigar (who has worked with the likes of Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and John Mellencamp). As his music grew he realized he needed a full on band. After many auditions and referrals, he found what is now Midnight Mirage.
First off tell us about yourself (How did you know you wanted to be a musician, how long have you been playing music, etc.)
I started with acting in musical theater, so singing and performing was a part of me at a very young age. I then started writing my own music when I was about 12 or 13, and that was the first time I thought about starting a music project in addition to being an actor. The band has been together for just a year or two but we've all been somehow musically involved since we were children.
What comes first for you, the music or the lyrics?
Usually both at the same time, but usually it's the melody or music. Although, I'll often start with a concept before anything.
How would you describe Midnight Mirage’s music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
A combination of catchy melodies, lyrically driven pop/rock with raw emotion, soul, and blunt honesty. Maroon 5 and One Republic with a dose of adrenaline, or crack.
TS, you said that two of your musical influences/idols are The Rocket Summer (Bryce Avery) and then Pink. What inspires you so much about these two, very diverse, artists?
Their lyrics and unique voices are probably what inspires me most. They have so much passion and truthfulness in their music, and they say things that a lot of people wouldn't. Their writing doesn't revolve around a simplistic, dumbed down idea. They're catchy and incorporate mainstream pop but have lyrics and messages that are thought provoking, emotional, inspiring, relatable, and everything that music is supposed to make you feel.
Define what pop music means to you.
Pop music is universal, relatable, catchy, melodic, and...popular.
Who/what do you think changed the music industry? Why?
It's hard to pin point one person or thing, because it's always changing and evolving, and that's a result of everyone involved-from people in their basements on unemployment to the mega stars and major labels who dominate. I think change with anything is inevitable. If I had to choose on thing that I think changed the music industry, it's the internet and technology.
TS, you are well known on YouTube because you do a lot of popular cover songs from your favorite artists. Why do you choose to do these specific songs over others? How do you come up with the concepts for the music videos you make for them?
I choose songs that my fans request, or songs that are doing well on the radio or itunes because I know people will be searching for them. Even if it's number one, though, I have to connect with the song and think that I can give the song an interesting twist, or at least justice, before covering. Frequently I like taking a female song and making it male, because I think it's an interesting to hear a completely different rendition in that sense. The concepts are usually pretty simple, but usually when I listen to a song (a good song at least), I visualize something. If physically possible, that thing that I visualize is what I put into the video.
TS, you moved to LA to pursue acting and then because of the 2007-2008 Hollywood Writer’s Strike was going on you decided to pursue music. Besides being in Midnight Mirage you also pursue acting and are a voiceover artist. How do you think these two different aspects of the entertainment industry affect each other?
These aspects all go hand in hand in many ways, hence the reason you see music artists crossing over into acting roles and actors crossing over into singing or music. All of these things are entertainment, and they all revolve around creativity and essentially "art". It certainly makes it challenging for me to pursue all of these elements, but I love them all and hope they'll all equally be a part of my career.
What are the top 5 favorite albums that have changed your life?
I think individual songs tend to change my life more so than whole albums, but probably The Rocket Summer's "Hello, Good Friend", Pink's "Mizundastood", Maroon 5's "Songs About Jane", Jack's Mannequin's "Everything In Transit", and Gavin Degraw's "Chariot".
WHY do you play music?
Because we love it. It's in our blood.
What are you hoping fans take away from your new album “Bad For You”? What did you take away from the making of it?
We're hoping fans really enjoy it, learn all of the songs, love every second of it, and feel something while they're listening to it. Some of the songs are just fun, but some are thought provoking, emotional, or have messages. The theme throughout is that even through pain, heartbreak, betrayal, and anything negative, there's a way to make it positive, rise above it, or look at it in a different light. It's all about putting things in perspective.
What inspires and motivates you to pursue a career in music?
I initially got into music hoping it would open up doors in acting and voiceover honestly, and songwriting just poured out of me like a need. It's like therapy for me, and whether I'm doing it professionally or as a hobby, music is definitely a part of me considering my father was a singer/pianist/songwriter before he became a lawyer.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where's one place you would like to either play a show at again, or play it for the first time?
I'd like to play a show in Asia because I've seen how crazy some of the fans get, but my all-time favorite venue that I hope to play at one day is the Hollywood Bowl.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned working in the music industry?
Know who you are and what you want, don't take anything to heart, have tough skin, and make music that you'll want to play for the rest of your life.
I see a lot of musicians losing sight of what music really means to them because of the rapidly changing music industry. From your point of view do you see these newer/younger musicians pursuing this industry because they are dedicated to the music or for the money/fame side of it?
I think a lot of people want it for the money and fame, and so many of them don't realize how much work it really is. You have to love it, because there are plenty of ups and downs and pros and cons to being in the business. The foundation of your drive and motivation has to be the dedication and love for the music and creative side of it, because the business side of it can really wear you down if you're in it for the wrong reasons, or even if you're in it for the right reasons! I think youtube has given a lot of people hope, but there's also a lot of false hope out there unfortunately because of how easily some of the younger stars have made it (from youtube, overnight sensations, etc.). The majority of the time though, it's not an easy ride!
Lastly, what are Midnight Mirage’s goals as a band?
To make a living while living out our dream, to spread our music to as many people as possible, to tour the world, to make the fans feel like they can resonate with us and know that they have a friend in us, and to lift people up through our music when they're feeling down, or just give them a good cry to get it all out when they need that too.