MIDNIGHT ETERNAL – Eternally Yours
May 18, 2016, 2 years ago
US symphonic metal band Midnight Eternal originated in 2014 when two members of Operatika, Richard Fischer and Boris Zaks, decided to take their brand of symphonic metal into a different realm. Vocalist Raine Hilai speaks to Brave Words writer Kelley Simms about the new album and more.
BraveWords: What was the writing process like for your debut album?
Raine Hilai: “I was approached by Boris, Rich and Dan in March of 2014 to record vocals for a two-song demo project. Those songs were "When Love and Faith Collide" and "Masquerade of Lies". Once those two songs were recorded (with Mike LePond on bass), we knew that we wanted to make Midnight Eternal a full-time band. That was when Greg Manning came on board. As soon as we released that first demo, we started getting offers to play live, and we needed more original songs! So the rest of the album was written in the period between April and November of 2014. Boris is the lead composer for the band, with Rich contributing to some of the songs as well. Both Boris and myself write the lyrics.”
BraveWords: The new album was mixed and mastered by Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Pretty Maids, Jorn), what were you going for as far as sound quality?
Raine Hilai: “We were hoping for the best, and we’re very happy to get the opportunity to work with Tommy Hansen. I think the results speak for themselves!”
BraveWords: The cover artwork was created by Jan Yrlund (Apocalyptica, Korpiklaani, Delain, Ravenia), did you instruct him with the design or concept?
Raine Hilai: “We did not give him many guidelines to follow, we really wanted to see what he would come up with, and the results as you can see are fantastic! All we did was send him the lyrics for the title track “Midnight Eternal” for inspiration. The rest was all him.”
BraveWords: For an US-based band you sound very European, who are your influences?
Raine Hilai: “Our influences range from AOR through extreme metal, with plenty of sub-genres in between. Growing up on bands like Iron Maiden, Helloween, King Diamond, Yngwie Malmsteen and later on Dream Theater, we naturally shifted our focus to bands that emerged more recently: Kamelot, Nightwish, Symphony X, Arch Enemy and Stratovarius.”
BraveWords: Your vocals are uniquely operatic, who are your influences and what was your musical upbringing or training?
Raine Hilai: “I come from a musical family and I've wanted to be a singer since the age of five. I started taking voice lessons when I was 10 and studied the Bel Canto singing method. I am a classically trained lyric soprano and natural belter. I also studied musical theatre and pop/rock. I don't have any "influences" per se, but there have been many artists that I've admired over the years, such as Freddie Mercury and Sarah Brightman. Growing up, Nightwish had a huge impact on me, and they are the reason that I wanted to sing symphonic metal.”
BraveWords: Mike LePond plays in a bazillion bands, including label mates Universal Mind Project. How did you get him to participate on the album?
Raine Hilai: “He does! Boris, Rich and Dan have worked with him on several different projects in the past and were very happy that he agreed to participate in this one as well.”
BraveWords: You’ve had some success with previous work in theater and your solo endeavors before joining the band. Can you give some details about both?
Raine Hilai: “I studied musical theatre at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC, and have had the opportunity to be a part of some amazing theatrical productions. Some of my favorite roles include Christine in "Phantom of the Opera", Belle in "Beauty and the Beast" and Mimi in "Rent". I also collaborated with an NYC producer and to write and record some of my original songs a few years back.”
BraveWords: Sharing the stage with Kamelot, Dragonforce, Sonata Arctica and other influential bands, how has that experience been and what have you gained from it?
Raine Hilai: “It's been amazing so far! We're so grateful to have had those opportunities, and we hope to continue to do so in the future. It's great to be able to share the stage with big names in our genre, to get our name out there and expand our fan base.”
BraveWords: What’s next, including touring plans and what do you hope to achieve or accomplish in the future?
Raine Hilai: “We're really looking forward to hearing some reactions to our debut and we hope to be able to announce some live dates very soon! We also have album No. 2 in the works already.”