We are delighted to introduce one of our first prize winners from our Emerging Music Artist Contest, Fly By Midnight – a New York based retro pop duo made up of Justin and Slavo.
Justin entered our contest on behalf of the duo with their song XL.
We sent Justin and Slavo a few questions for them to answer so we could get to know them better…
Where did your love of music come from? How have you gone about following your music dream?
Justin: Our love for music definitely stems from our different backgrounds. I started off as a theater geek addicted to 80s pop. After uploading a few top 40 esque YouTube covers back in high school to some cool attention I decided I wanted to become more involved on the writing side. Fast forward a couple of years and we’ve become not only the creative minds behind Fly By Midnight, but also other projects as well.
Slavo: My love for music dates back to my older brother getting his first drum set. He began playing in a band back in Florida that I desperately wanted to be a part of so my parents got me my first guitar. Every day I practiced until my brother let me play with them. From there I really fell in love with the production side of music. It led me to New York and more importantly led me to Fly By Midnight.
Justin: We linked up for a co-writing session with no expectations really. Just two dudes who were introduced through mutual music peeps. We didn’t realize it at the time, but the first song we wrote would end up being our first Fly By Midnight single “Brooklyn”.
Slavo: I just remember Justin saying “It would be cool if we wrote something about this girl I met in Brooklyn College.” It was an exciting session for both of us because there really were no rules just that we wanted it to feel retro yet still modern in today’s industry.
Justin: After that it just made sense to start working together more as a writer/producer duo.. which turned into an artist duo.. which really has turned into a brand.
Please elaborate on why you chose the three words you did to describe your music…
Slavo: Well we label our music as retro-pop because it’s vague enough to leave the possibilities open for where we can draw inspiration from.
Justin: Retro can mean 80s synths… 90s groove.. 70s funk guitars.. it allows us to really explore anything we’re listening to at the time while also keeping it very commercial and relevant in today’s industry.
Slavo: Our singles have also really embodied an energetic party-esque feel to them which has really translated to our live show also. So really we like to call our music retro-party-energetic-harmony driven pop. *laughs*
Justin: Retro-pop for short *laughs*
Where do you find inspiration for your music?
Slavo: Sometimes our songs are a direct page from our lives with a bit of fun exaggerations. Other times we can be inspired by a feeling we may have felt at a certain time. And then sometimes Justin pulls out this diary he writes his memories in & we run with that. And yes.. Justin has a diary. *laughs*
Justin: It’s actually a private Tumblr account. *laughs* For our new single “Vibe” (which is coming out soon!) the inspiration really comes from a really relatable feeling Slavo and I have felt plenty of times being on the road. The song at the core is about seeing someone that intrigues you and hoping they feel the same. Sending the vibes and hoping they catch them.
Tell us about how the different personalities of the duo influence your musical output…
Slavo: Justin and I are actually pretty similar in a lot of ways. Our attention to detail and passion for the best possible product is why we’re able to stay so productive and on top of the projects musical output. We’re also equally goofy dudes so it makes the process enjoyable. *laughs*
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played (and why was it the best)?
Justin: We just headlined in NYC for our summer party / Slavo’s birthday bash and it was super epic. Absolute blast filled with energy, new songs and old songs alike.
Slavo: Best part was the crowd knew a lot of the lyrics from the previous singles, but also some new songs that aren’t out yet… which means we’re really bad at keeping secrets. We frequently post sneak peek clips from the studio and I guess fans have caught on to watching them. Oops *laughs*
What’s the worst gig you’ve ever played (and why it was the worst)?
Slavo: I wouldn’t say we’ve ever had a bad gig. I think there have been gigs earlier on that didn’t run amazingly smooth. Once I popped a guitar string at a college gig.. luckily it was the last song *laughs*
Where would be your dream venue to host a gig and why?
Justin: I think dreaming modestly we really want to take the idea of a Fly By hosted party to the next level. I’m picturing a rooftop. Night time. Inground pool with a plexiglass stage. Just a ton of people looking to enjoy themselves and get lost in the music.
Slavo: To us it shouldn’t feel like going to see a show, but really becoming immersed in the vibes. Creating a mutual energy filled experience. Whether it’s Madison Square Garden or a rooftop.
Who would you most like to do a collaboration with and why?
Slavo: Tom Misch is super up and coming. Like Justin said before we love writing/producing not only for Fly By Midnight, but also for other projects and he seems like the real deal. Very much a musician that would compliment our creating process.
Justin: For me it would probably be St. Lucia (Jean-Philip Groble). That dude has such great, feel good vibes with his music. No downers just pure fun.
What are your top tips for other musicians starting out?
Justin: Learn to do it all. We’ve learned to be the creative minds not only behind the music, but the videos, the photos, the marketing, the brand as a whole.
Slavo: We love collaborating with other people, but understanding and learning every aspect of what goes into being an artist has proved to be our real “secret weapon.” From the business side to the music side we’ve really invested time in growing our craft full 360.
What’s your life motto?
Justin: There’s 24 hours in a day so when you say you’ve worked on something all day mean it.
Slavo: No success without sacrifice.