Congrats on the release of “Caffeine,” bring us back to when you recorded this one.
Slavo: “Caffeine” we wrote with a writer, who wrote another song “Lovely.” This is a really cool writer, cool friend of ours. He’s from Nashville, he happened to be in LA before the whole pandemic hit. We got together, he brought the idea of “Caffeine.” We’re big coffee-drinkers in general so we always wanted something that had to do with caffeine.
Justin: That’s one of those titles we floated for a while. We discussed where we could take that emotion and what that means to us. The song feels nostalgic. There’s nothing more nostalgic than being up all night over someone you’re more infatuated with, even more than you’re in love with them. A very hyper-aggressive crush that keeps you up and you can’t sleep because you wonder what it’d be like to be with this person.That’s how I feel sometimes when I drink coffee after 10pm.
What’s your relationship with Shoffy?
Justin: Shoffy was a stranger to us before this whole process, which is funny. I was thinking before how ironic it is that now more than ever, we can’t be with people and be creative in the same space, we’re being more collaborative than ever. Shoffy was someone we admired, we reached out to him and he resonated with the song. We’re friends now, we’re homies. We’re able to get together to shoot the video. A really cool dude, really down-to-earth. Someone we resonated with right away, that’s important for us.
Slavo: We’re fans of a handful of his songs. What we’re trying to do with this collaboration project, it’s sending off feelers to artists we admire. We admire their craft. It’s always a good thing because honestly between Shoffy and Clara Mae before, they’re fans of what we do as well. That mutual respect for each other’s artistry goes a long way when you’re creating.
I love the visual and how it pays homage to the 90’s, what was your creative vision?
Slavo: Since day one, we started our project on the premise of being retro pop. We’ve went with something a little more mature. This was a cool mindset of getting super nostalgic and super-retro feeling. We wanted this to feel like a 90’s moment with the references. Rocket Power is in there,you have the 3 girls who are all 90’s rooted.
Justin: I’m such a sucker for Saved by the Bell so for me to bring Kelly Kapowski into a video of ours, it’s a dream to have the flexibility to do that. We’re co-directing these videos as well. When you’re on the set, a lot of times you’re stressed out and you don’t realize how special something is until the editing process. This is one of the first videos that on set, wow this is hands down going to be something really special for us.
How was it releasing it on International Coffee Day and teaming up with Grounds & Hounds.
Slavo: It’s funny, it fell into our laps. We were on a call and somebody brought it up. It was fun, we went to a couple different coffee spots and bought coffee for people, doing some ground-running thing.
Justin: Very grassroots, took us back to when we first started telling people about our project. The Grounds & Hounds thing was really cool. One of these last second things that International Coffee Day lined up with it. Their brand really resonates with ours outside of being a coffee brand, but Slavo’s pup, Elon, is a rescue pup.
Slavo: He’s 2 years old, he’s a little rescue out of Mississippi. He’s really special to me. It was cool to be able to do something that felt very genuine for us.
Justin: What’s cool about releasing a song called “Caffeine” is it’s an emotion in the song, but it’s something we love. Staying up all night and working on music very much resonates with our brand so being able to partner with a coffee company was a lot of fun.
Justin, do you have a dog?
Slavo: Justin’s actually allergic, it’s hell for him. We kick him out of the studio sometimes.
Justin: I love him too, it’s the most tortuous thing being allergic to dogs while you love them.
3 things you guys need in the studio?
Slavo: Coffee for sure. It’s funny because I want to think musically too, but some guitar is super important.
Justin: We need snacks at some point, right?
Slavo: Yeah, snacks or cool lighting. I know we try to get the lighting pretty vibey in here at night. We have a little flamingo and neon light. What do we call him again?
How much sleep do you guys get?
Slavo: We’re both different because you like to get up early still. I try to sleep in and get the most that I can, but I go to bed probably on average 3am or 4am.
Justin: Probably 2am-ish. I don’t know why I wake up early. Since moving to LA, it’s done something where I want to jump out of bed. The simple answer is we don’t get a lot of sleep.
Slavo: We try to get our day started every day anywhere between 12 and 1 in the afternoon. That’s our go-to.
What would you guys be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Slavo: Good question. My story goes, I went to a college in Florida and I was doing football there. I was a D1 NCAA so nothing too crazy, but something I was super passionate about even before music. I like to think I’d still be pursuing football, but who knows where I’d be right now.
Justin: That’s crazy to think about. [laughs] I’ve always loved writing in general so if not songwriting, some other form of writing. Before we started Fly By Midnight, I was very heavily in the theater world. I wonder if I would’ve turned towards that.
Talk about the campaigns you did for Urban Outfitters and Superdry. What’s your love for fashion?
Slavo: The clothing collabs we’re always super passionate about. We like to get all dressed up. Urban was super cool. We had a partnership with a company called YesStyle, where every Youtube video we wear their stuff.
Justin: What was cool about Superdry around our first album Rerunning was that a guy there was a fan of ours. That’s how a lot of the collaborations came together. We touch base with these clothing brands and it turns out someone knew about the project already. Fly By Midnight to us has always been about more than us singing. We love stepping out of the studio and putting on that artsy model hat for a day. It’s a fun thing for us.
Goals for yourself as an artist at this point in your career?
Slavo: We’re like what, 6 years in now?
Justin: Yeah, close. In the next couple of years, be able to release a song that connects to every part of the world. We’re close, we’ve really touched these different countries. To be able to have a song that we can tour on internationally, is mind-blowing.
Slavo: A radio single would be cool. We’ve had radio stations give us love. Something that really opens up that market and that world for us, because radio can still be such a powerful thing. That’d be cool to have something where it’s not streaming-based, that really clicks on radio.
Justin: An immediate goal for both of us when the world goes back to normal, there’s some tours we’re excited on about being an opener. Hopefully a headlining tour as well.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Justin: “Caffeine” and “Lost Without You” obviously are collaborations, the plan’s to release a couple more. In this time of people being disconnected, we’re excited to release music that’s about connecting different artists, so that’s our immediate goal. We love to tease that to people and get them excited about what’s coming up.