Midnight Eternal: Interview With Raine Hilai

Midnight Eternal has been out on tour with Queensryche and Armored Saint and I had a chance to sit down with their vocalist, Raine Hilai, while they were in Seattle.  This is a great sounding symphonic metal band that you should really check out.  So let’s get to the interview.

YesterdazeNews: Midnight Eternal initially started out as a creation with help from Symphony X. What made Midnight Eternal go into symphonic metal?

Raine Hilai: The two guys, Operatika (Richard Fischer and Boris Zaks), were already doing symphonic metal. Boris put the band together with Rich and got Dan Prestup and then Michael Lepond of Symphony X to get involved. I think it’s just the kind of music they wanted to play. Boris is a very talented song writer, it’s really his forte and writing female vocals in this sort of style of symphonic element to it he’s very good at.

What were you doing before joining Midnight Eternal?

I was doing mostly musical theater. I went to musical theater school in New York City. I did off Broadway shows, some tours, played some really cool parts. I did straight theater, some film and I recorded a couple of other projects. I had my own project for a bit and was basically looking for the right group to join.

Do you miss theater or is that something you will pursue when the band is in between tours?

I do miss it and hope that I will be able to do more of it in between tours. We’ve been so busy, we’ve only been playing together two years, so we have been really busy since releasing our demo. We’ve been booking shows, we released the album and now the tour with Queensryche and Armored Saint. When we come off this tour we will be immediately recording our second album. So when we have some time I’d like to do more theater.

Are you looking at next years bookings yet? Any festival planning?

Possibly. Our booking agent is looking into that so we are hoping to be touring in Europe next year. We definitely want to go to Europe.

When you get done with this current tour and head back into the studio, are you ready to record or still working on material?

We have the entire second album written and ready to record. We already started recording the demos. I believe we have two done so when we get back we will complete the demos in a few months then hoping to hit the studio and release the new album next year. That’s the plan.

Will the new album go in a different direction that your current album?

It’s more symphonic. On this album we have a mix of sounds and elements, we were still trying to figure out our sound. We have songs that are a bit more power metal and songs that are more progressive like the song Like and Eternity. Then there is Signs of Fire which was more of a straight rock tune. So the new album will be more symphonic with more orchestral sounds to it.

Have you been to any of the places that are on your current tour before?

No. I mean I’ve traveled on my own before, but as a group we’ve never been to any of these markets before. We’ve really only played New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania before. This is brand new for us and it’s really exciting.

With Queensryche, you never know who will be opening their shows so they tend to keep it fresh and have space to introduce new groups and the fan base is pretty open to these new bands.

I hope people will be into it. Our sound is different than the other two bands. Being a female singer, it’s not always accepted in the metal scene so sometimes it takes the crowds a little while to warm up to us. Most of them don’t know who we are and we are hoping that will change after this tour.

Have you brushed up with issues of being a female singer in a metal band very often?

Somewhat. We’ve played with Kamelot, Sonata Arctica, with Delain that are in our genre where it’s more accepted. We’ve opened for Doro. I think when we played with Quiet Riot we had a bid of apprehension from the crowd, like what is this, but they came around.

I think symphonic metal has come a long way and has become more widely accepted along the way. I still here from other female artists from time to time that they’ve also run into a few issues where some people feel there is no place for females in the metal scene but it’s getting fewer and further between. It’s getting better and young women aspiring to join the metal genre now have a lot more role models to look up to and inspire them.

I think it causes a reaction to see a female fronting a metal band still today but it’s becoming more accepted. Right now I am also the only female on our tour so it’s interesting.

Do you have any advice for fans?

Keep doing it. I have been pursuing music for ten years and things have started in the last two years so you have to have persistence and keep trying. Be open to different possibilities. Meet as many people as you can, talk to as many people as you can. For example, I met Dan our drummer six years before I was asked to join the band. We weren’t even in touch, I had auditioned for a different project and that didn’t work out. Then six years later I get a call asking me to join this band, so you never know what is going to happen. Just keep at it.

Midnight Eternal released their self titled album in April 2016 and it is available to buy in most places you get your music.  Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this album if you haven’t already.

Thank you Raine Hilai for the awesome interview!

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