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Justin and Slavo of FLY BY MIDNIGHT: “I wish someone told me when I first started to think less about how the industry perceives you”

Justin: I wish someone told me when I first started to think less about how the industry perceives you. Slavo: I wish someone told me when I first started to trust the process of growing in your craft and be a bit more patient. As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had […]

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Justin: I wish someone told me when I first started to think less about how the industry perceives you.

Slavo: I wish someone told me when I first started to trust the process of growing in your craft and be a bit more patient.


As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing FLY BY MIDNIGHT.

New York based retro-pop duo Fly By Midnight is comprised of songwriter Justin Bryte & producer/songwriter Slavo. Following a sold out album show in NYC and performances at Firefly & Panorama festival, the duo has continued to generate strong independent buzz by releasing catchy original pop anthems and reimagined cover songs. With over 250,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel, Fly By Midnight’s consistently strong releases have been praised by tastemakers such as Billboard, Buzzfeed, NYLON, Huffington Post, and Ones To Watch, and have been placed on numerous Spotify New Music Fridays.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Justin: I grew up in the suburbs of Staten Island. Thankfully shook the accent as I got older though.

Slavo: I’m from Central Florida. A town called Deltona. We met about 6 years ago after I moved to NYC in a local studio near Justin’s house.

Justin: We wrote one song together and the rest was history. Feels so long ago. Pretty cool to reflect on.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Slavo: I fell in love with music from as early as I can remember, but when I was 10 my older brother Chris had started a band with his middle school friends and that pushed me to play the guitar I had just got from my parents every night until I was worthy of being in the band haha. That led to me producing more in high school/college and then making the move out to NYC.

Justin: My music background started more on the theater side. Plays in high school, concert choir *laughs* Towards the beginning of college I posted a couple of videos on YouTube that inspired me to write more.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Slavo: I don’t know if I’d call it the beginning of my career, but when I played in that band with my brother growing up we used to play the local bar scene a bunch. I remember being in a dungy Sanford bar as a middle schooler rocking out while my younger sister and her friends cheered us on like it was Madison Square Garden. Funny to reflect on how my parents (who were obviously there haha) allowed us to do those shows. Really cool.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Justin: Hm.. don’t think we’ve made any mistakes. More just learned some funny lessons along the way. First one to come to mind was on our first tour we both ate like sh*t and we realized very quickly that wasn’t the smartest choice.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Slavo: At the time of this going public we’ll have our new EP “Plus One” out. Super exciting for us.

Justin: Agreed. A long time in the making. All feature collaborations working with killer artists all over the globe. It was a concept we had on our last dinner in New York before moving to LA two Januarys ago. Cool to see it all come to life.

Slavo: We’re also currently writing for the next album. Right back into the grind.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Justin: Both being songwriters & Slavo being a producer for other projects, we’ve been grateful to work with some of the most diverse artists in the industry this past year.

Slavo: An amazing one being the artist VINCINT. He pulled us in to co-create the Queer Eye Season 5 Theme after working together on his single “Please Don’t Fall In Love” previously.

Justin: For two straight white dudes to be pulled into writing something so special for such a welcoming community was probably one of the biggest highlights of our career so far.

Slavo: Agreed. Justin and I are such eclectic fans of movies/music/television that we want to see that representation & inspiration from different cultures.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Justin: I wish someone told me when I first started that good music will always find a way to win.

Slavo: I wish someone told me when I first started that you can teach yourself everything these days.

Justin: I wish someone told me when I first started to think less about how the industry perceives you.

Slavo: I wish someone told me when I first started to trust the process of growing in your craft and be a bit more patient.

Justin: I wish someone told me when I first started to drink less coffee. My caffeine tolerance is way too high now.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Slavo: I think Justin and I have learned a lot about the importance of taking that Sunday off.

Justin: For sure. We’re all hustling to make this a reality, but enjoying the journey is a main part of why we do what we do.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Justin: My mind always goes to people who aren’t as fortunate as we are. I think if we all took one day a year to give back collectively that would be pretty sweet.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Slavo: For me (and I think Justin too) it began with our families. Supporting us from day one.

You are both people of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Justin: My mind always goes to people who aren’t as fortunate as we are. I think if we all took one day a year to give back collectively that would be pretty sweet.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Justin: One time I was asked how hard I had been working and I said “all day”. They replied “no you haven’t. There’s 24 hours in a day.” From that point on I only said I had worked all day, when I pulled an all nighter and really worked an entire day.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Slavo: I’d love to chat with Matt Healy of The 1975. He seems like such an interesting person to talk to about his perspectives on the industry and even just life in general.

Justin: I’d say Paul McCartney. I’ve always admired his fearlessness to experiment musically in his career. I feel like we’d relate to one another in a lot of ways both being part of a songwriting duo.

How can our readers follow you online?

@flybymidnight

www.flybymidnight.com

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!


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