Sound Off: Fly By Midnight
May 29, 2020
The indie-pop duo Fly By Midnight may have released their new single “LA Lonely” a few weeks ago, but it’s still HEAVILY on repeat here at PopularTV. Since meeting in 2014, Justin and Slavo have had a range of success with their retro pop hits. Most recently, the guys’ single “Lovely (feat. Betty Who)” was featured on Spotify’s Chill Hits playlist with over 6 million streams!
The boys’ music gives off a nostalgic blend of modern-day indie-pop with a mix of electronics even when covering music like their viral cover of ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore” by Charlie Puth, which has garnered over 25M views!
Keep reading to find out more about their latest single, how they met, and what’s coming up!
1. Tell us about “LA Lonely.” What is the song about?
Justin: We wrote LA Lonely in two parts actually. The first was when we moved from NYC to LA this past January.
Slavo: Justin had brought in what ended up being the first couple of lines of the song.
Justin: It was something quick I jotted down after being out a bar one of our first weekends out here. The concept started off as this uneasiness of moving to a new place. Being surrounded by people, but still feeling disconnected. I think we jumped into celebrating before even unpacking boxes in our rooms.
Slavo: Our co-writer on the song Zoe Moss flew back to NYC with everything that was going on and we finished the song a couple months later via Zoom. By that point the definition of “lonely” had changed for all of us and it became more about universally being isolated from one another.
2. The video is so cool! How was shooting it at home?
Justin: Thanks a lot. It was honestly a lot of fun. Our videos have always been something we put a lot of our creative headspace into. We’re lucky that within self isolation our best friend & video collaborator Matt happens to be my roommate.
Slavo: It was two days of shooting at Justin & my place. Mapping out this idea that incorporated some interesting tricks, but also had this underlying heartfelt story.
Justin: When Slavo sent me the final scene of the clips of us with our friends and family I got pretty emotional. It’s a really unique time for everyone and we’re just glad to be able to give this kind of content to the world.
3. Tell us about your partnership! How did you meet and why did you decide to become a duo?
Slavo: Justin & I met about 6 years ago when I moved from Florida to NY. At the time Justin was working on his solo project with a studio based out of Staten Island.
Justin: After writing together and hanging a bit I approached Slavo with the idea of starting the duo. From there we haven’t looked back.
Slavo: It’s wild to think how all in we were from that point on.
4. Why “Fly By Midnight”?
Justin: *laughs* It’s a pretty anticlimactic story. We’ve always been night owls when it comes to being creative so we wanted to incorporate night into the title.
Slavo: Originally it was “Fly By Night”, but that’s a pretty well known Rush song so we added the mid and called it a day.
5. Describe your creative process. From where do you start or seek inspiration?
Slavo: A lot of the time I’ll come up with a chord progression or rhythm that we feel really good about. Justin likes to come into sessions with a concept or a couple of lines he wrote down previously. From there we usually have a conversation about what the idea means to us and where we can go with it.
Justin: Sometimes song concepts come from a real emotion I’m feeling, but other times we can be inspired by someone else’s story.
6. Who are your biggest influences in music?
Justin: Growing up I was constantly listening to Backstreet Boys mixed with 70/80s pop (Toto, The Outfield, Hall & Oates).
Slavo: From a songwriting perspective I’ve always loved Billy Joel. The narratives he creates are really engaging.
7. Tell us an artist, dead or alive, that you would love to work with?
Justin: George Harrison, arguably my favorite songwriter in The Beatles.
Slavo: George Daniel (drummer for The 1975).
8. You have a song with Betty Who called “Lovely.” How did this partnership come about?
Justin: Our favorite part of the collaboration with Betty is how organically it all came together. She posted the original “Lovely” on her Instagram story one day. We DM’d her, told her how we’d been fans of hers for a long time, and how much it meant to us that she supported the track.
Slavo: A couple of weeks later we decided to take a shot and ask her to join us on a re-release of it. Before we knew it we were on the first flight to LA and in the studio together.
9. All your music videos are so creative! What is the secret to creating? Have you ever had a creative hiatus?
Slavo: That means a lot to hear. Can’t say we’ve ever had a creative hiatus.
Justin: Some songs and video concepts come quicker than others, but I think our need to create something different every time keeps it feeling fresh.
Slavo: It helps that it’s both of us. Being able to bounce ideas off on one another keeps the flow continuous.
10. You have a YouTube series called “FBM Covers”. Which has been your favorite song to sing and why?
Justin: We learned a lot about ourselves as artists and what works together while recording that series. My favorite will always be our cover of Michelle Branch’s “Everywhere”.
Slavo: Have to agree. All 3 covers off The Boombox Series were a really cool throwback experiment.
11. East Coast or West Coast?
Justin: My heart is still on the east coast, but maybe more time out here will change my mind.
Slavo: East coast for sure.
12. Describe your music in one word!
13. What is your advice to someone pursuing a career in the music industry?
Slavo: Make sh*t that makes you happy.
Justin: Don’t wait on anyone. Learn to create & release on your own.
14. What does “popular” mean to you?
Justin: Meaning something to a group of people that mean something to you.
Slavo: Being a solid influence.
15. Do you have any future plans or upcoming projects?
Slavo: We’ve been really deep in writing for the next wave of Fly By while also working with some other awesome artists on their projects. J & I recently co-wrote + I produced the new song for Netflix’s Queer Eye Season 5 with the artist VINCINT.
Justin: We’re grateful to have such a cool release like that come out in the midst of all this craziness. We also have a few collaborations we’re locking in for our next record that we think fans will be stoked about.
- Photographer Tarina Doolittle @TarinaDoolittle