49 Til Midnight on Current Projects, Why the Phoenix Music Scene Sucks

Phoenix area band 49 Til Midnight is stepping up its game to open up for Sublime tribute band Badfish at the Marquee on February 12. With a sound that's somewhat similar to Pearl Jam with a Scottsdale twist, these guys will undoubtedly catch on quickly.

Up On The Sun caught up with 49 Til Midnight to discuss their upcoming album and future plans.

UOTS: The band's current roster has been together for about 12 months. What have you guys accomplished together so far?

FTM: So far we've gotten together about an hour's worth of original music. We've played all over Arizona... the Phoenix area; northern Arizona, like Prescott. We've played with several national acts for Lucky Man Productions. We've played with She Wants Revenge, Paper Tongues, and Soulfly.

UOTS: One of your guitarists, Braze, is in a wheelchair. Most people have never seen a band perform with one of their members in a wheelchair.

FTM: [He's] in a wheelchair as a result of a motorcycle accident. It's kind of unusual for a band, I guess. It has definitely been a part of us building up a fan base and setting us apart, [but] we don't rely on the fact that he's in a wheelchair to gain anything. [We] definitely don't exploit it. It's more of a hats off to him for blending in and dealing with his state and inspiring us.

UOTS: In February you're lined up to play with Badfish. What artist or band would be your ideal partner in a collaboration, whether it's live or in the studio?

FTM: Something along the lines of Three Days Grace. Something a little bit edgier, almost a bluesy, poppy sound.

UOTS: Phoenix isn't particularly known for a great indie music scene. In fact, a lot of people complain about how crappy the Phoenix music scene is and how the best acts always go to Tucson and avoid Phoenix. Why do you think that is, and what's your opinion of the local music scene?

FTM: I think it's because a lot of people are transplanted to Phoenix from other cities. There are people here from all over. No one really has roots here. When people don't have roots somewhere, it shows up in the art. First Fridays started, [and there have been] some bigger shows around here. But just the art scene in general is kind of lacking as far as culture goes.

UOTS: Are you guys looking to be the best in Phoenix, or are you looking to break out of the local circuit?

FTM: Definitely looking to break out. We're working on writing an album right now. We're going to record our first album so it's out [in] early 2011.

UOTS: You know the Valley pretty well since you guys are locals. From an artist's perspective, what's the best local venue to play and why? Some artists believe bigger venues are better, but some prefer more intimate shows.

FTM: The Marquee Theatre. It's still a pretty small venue, but you can pack a couple thousand people in there. Since [Levi] moved here five years ago, and the other guys have lived here all their lives, at some point we've seen all the bands we look up to [at the Marquee] as they were getting big. It just has that intimate feeling but it's still a venue that''s big-time when you play there.

UOTS: 49 Til Midnight has been in the studio a lot lately. Give me the complete rundown...are you guys recording a full album or an EP? What's the title? Describe the overall sound.

FTM: We don't have a title or a direction right now. We're working with a producer. Pretty much what we're doing is we're writing about 150 song ideas. When it comes time to actually record them, we're going to sit down with the producer, and he's going to listen to them.

There might be one song we think has a really good chorus but the producer might have a different idea for the verse that we wrote with it. We might turn that verse into a chorus once we actually get in the studio. We're going to cut and paste parts of songs and put them together like that.

Now we're just trying to write really, really good poppy songs that you can hear on the radio, just bluesy, poppy ideas. We'll put them together as songs as time goes along.

UOTS: So basically the goal for this album is hardcore marketing?

FTM: That's right.

UOTS: Besides the album, what's next for the band?

FTM: Just the February 12 show at the Marquee with Badfish.

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Lenni Rosenblum