Sean Brennan from London After Midnight
The US-Dark Rock legend LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT is coming back on stage and return for two gigs in June 2019 to mainland Europe - performing 7th June in Athens, Greece and headlining the Agra stage at Wave Gotik Treffen on Sunday 9th June. Along with this, there are many news coming up. Reason enough for us to ask Sean a few questions…
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Hello Sean, thank you for taking time to answer some questions. Your last visit in Germany was last year headlining M’era Luna with LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT on Saturday, 11th August. How did you experience that festival last year?
Sean: M’era Luna was great. We are always very happy to play these festivals in Germany. We have not played M’era Luna since about 2002.
RoD: Do you think the scene in the US and in Europe changed significantly in the last decade and if so what are the main changes? In addition, what kind of differences have you observed between USA and Germany regarding the Goth scene?
Sean: It has continued in the same direction it’s been heading for years now, towards a fashion scene and less a music scene, which is unfortunate. “Status” and image are things that have infected the scene on a large scale, as well, with social media personalities and YouTubers becoming “celebrities” and music and art becoming less important to some. But thankfully there are still many people out there who support the bands and who understand that it all started with the music.
RoD: You have mentioned new releases coming up via social media. First of all, ‘Selected Scenes from the End of the World’ from 1995 is planned as re-release. There has been already a release in 2003. What is your motivation to make a re-mastered version of this album? What will be the differences compared to the releases in 1995 and 2003?
Sean: This isn’t just a re-mastered version. It’s a complete remix. The re-release of ‘Selected Scenes…’ came about because I was finally able to digitize the audio from the original multi-track master tapes (‘Scenes’ was recorded on reel-to-reel tapes). By “multi-track” I mean each individual instrument had its own track or channel on the tape - the snare drum track, a vocal track, a guitar track, bass track, etc. Therefore, the album has been completely remixed from the ground up from the original multi-track tapes. This is far more involved than a simple re-master (mastering is an audio process to optimize the sound after an album has been mixed).
I was never satisfied with the original mix of the album. In 1991, when the album was recorded, I just ran out of time and money to finish it properly due to a several obstacles during the recording sessions. In addition, the sound engineer I hired really had no clue what he was doing and didn’t understand what I wanted. Now I am able to fix the problems that have plagued the album all these years. The songs sound so much better than the original mix, the difference is night and day. The 2003 Trisol (and 2008 Metropolis Records) re-releases were simple re-masters with some extra songs. Those extra songs will also be included on the new version but have also been remixed and improved. But there is more- a new recording of ‘Claire’s Horrors’ recorded in the same studio the original album was recorded using the same equipment, plus a recording of the song ‘Trick or Treat’ from the 1991 sessions that was never released. The liner notes in the album will detail the process and challenges of the original sessions and feature rare photos. It will be pressed to CD and vinyl and available digitally as well.
RoD: Talking about new releases... You have also mentioned a release of ‘Oddities Too’ as the continuation of the ‘Oddities’ which has been an exciting collection of rare songs and live versions as well as a special music video version. Can you reveal something on the songs and versions that fans will find on ‘Oddities Too’?
Sean: ‘Oddities Too’ (or ‘Oddities 2’) follows the theme of the 1998 album ‘Oddities’, which included rare and reimagined songs, plus a few new ones. But ‘Oddities Too’ is all new recordings and songs, but might also feature some old demos. There will be unreleased LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT songs, reimagined songs, maybe a cover song that was always intended but never released, and more. There will also be studio versions of three of the live reimagined songs from the original ‘Oddities’.
RoD: Are there any other releases of previous albums planned?
Sean: A total remix of ‘Psycho Magnet’ and some songs from ‘Oddities’ are likely as well. I only have access to certain songs from ‘Oddities’ because the master tapes for the live songs were stolen years ago. So I can’t fully reconstruct that album and remix it like I’m able to do with ‘Psycho Magnet’, ‘Selected Scenes…’ and ‘Violent Acts of Beauty’.
RoD: Along with the releases of rare and re-mastered versions, we heard that also completely new material is coming up. Will it be a concept album, a specific story behind?
Sean: There is an entirely new album partly recorded already, with all new songs. Some of these new songs have been played live at concerts in recent years. But it’s undoubtedly the strongest LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT material I’ve ever written. There is no specific theme to the new album but I think it is a little bit of a throwback to ‘Selected Scenes…’ and ‘Psycho Magnet’ era in terms of style and subject matter.
RoD: When can we hope to be able to buy any of the releases? Is there anything scheduled for 2019 or early 2020?
Sean: ‘Selected Scenes from the End of the World: 9119’ will be out this year. The title refers to the year of recording, 1991, and year of re-release 2019. ‘Oddities Too’ will be out in 2020 and the new album following that. Somewhere in there, the new version of ‘Psycho Magnet’ will reappear too, hopefully.
RoD: Will you use the traditional way of releasing albums or are you also considering using a self-release via crowd funding etc.? Or if signing with a label, what are the main characteristics that are important for you to decide on who to sign with?
Sean: I’m starting my own label for the release of these albums, at least for here in the USA. In today’s environment, it does not make sense to use someone else’s label. But I will need help from the fans in terms of promotion and publicity, so for that I’m asking for everyone’s help. Please help spread LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT videos, social media posts, tell your friends about LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT, and most important- buy the music. That’s the only way your favourite artists can continue to make music.
RoD: It is not a secret that you are politically and ethically very active. Do you also follow the European politics? And what is your advice about what we all, who care about environmental issues and human rights, can and should do to fight injustice and destroying behaviour?
Sean: The “School Strike 4 Climate” movement started in Europe; it is a great thing and has really helped pressure action on the climate crisis. While much still needs to be done those protests have started to shame politicians into acting (so while not much has been accomplished I think the momentum has begun) - imagine if more people got involved, imagine if more people started voting for politicians who make progressive issues like Climate Change, income inequality, opposition to war, immigration rights, a priority. We need to learn from that. We people have the numbers, we have the power, if only we realized that just by acting that we can change the world we’d be able to solve many problems we’re facing today in terms of wealth inequality, the environmental crisis, racism and bigotry, equal rights, women’s rights, and more.
RoD: LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT is now confirmed to play at WGT on 9th June as well as playing in Athens two days before. Are there other gigs or even a tour planned in the near future or what are the factors that need to be fulfilled to make it happen?
Sean: LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT just headlined the Convergence 25 festival in the USA in May and as you say will perform in Greece and at WGT. There are no other shows scheduled now but some may come up later in the year. The priority after WGT is to get ‘Selected Scenes… 9119’ out and finish up the mixing on ‘Oddities Too’. But fans can help by requesting LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT from their local clubs and promoters who bring bands to their cities. Also most festivals have polls each year, these have a large impact on who the festivals book. Fans can make so much happen if they tried.
RoD: What does the current line-up of LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT look like and what are your goals and visions as a band?
Sean: I am happy to have LAM’s original bass player back in the live band, Michael Areklett. Pete Pace and Matthew Setzer are still on drums and guitar. The goals are to get music out more quickly and do more concerts.
RoD: Are we going to hear new, unreleased songs at WGT?
Sean: Being that set times are limited at big festivals like WGT, even for headlining bands, we will likely only play one new song. But we are resurrecting a couple of old songs not played since the early 1990s. There’s a lot of nostalgia going on in LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT at the moment with the release of ‘Selected Scenes… 9119’, ‘Oddities Too’, and the new music.
RoD: Is there anything else you would like to let your fans know?
Sean: I’d just like to sincerely thank everyone for their continued support. Please follow LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT on all social media - all links at londonaftermidnight.com.
RoD: Thank you for your time and answers. Exciting times ahead. First, we are looking forward to see LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT at WGT in just couple of days! Best of luck for the upcoming live shows and the planned releases!
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)