An Interview With Wiley Griffin: The Talented Front Man of Teddy Midnight
Zachary Franck interviewing Wiley Griffin
1. A lot has changed since the last time I interviewed you, can you give us a brief summary of what you've been up to the past six months?
I’ve been grinding - when we last spoke I was doing a lot of Wiley Griffin & Friends shows, and starting a new band with members of FiKus and Green Stop Sign called Kodi.
However, things took a detour from that path.
I ended up joining up with my good friends Teddy Midnight, who I've know and gigged with for years now.
2. How long has Teddy Midnight been together and when did you join?
Teddy Midnight was started by bassist Sean Silva at SUNY Oneonta in 2010.
I joined in August of 2015.
3. How's the dynamic between you and the other three band members?
I’ve known every member of the band for about 2 years prior to joining and they are great! Very creative, very driven, and very fun to hang with.
4. What bands and artists have influenced Teddy Midnight the most?
I would say the big live electronic acts; STS9, the Disco Biscuits, Lotus, & the New Deal have all had their influence on Teddy Midnight. There’s so much more than that though. We all love early dubstep, liquid drum and bass, hardcore, metal, punk, Chicago house, classical, classic rock, pop, reggae, hip-hop, and gangster rap.
We’re constantly sharing new music with each other. Right now I've been listening to and sharing a lot of Phish’s 94 tour.
5. Do you think fans of STS9, the Disco Biscuits, Lotus, and the New Deal would enjoy a Teddy Midnight show? Is it fair to say that each of those bands have contributed to creating a lane in the music scene for young bands like Teddy Midnight?
Most people who enjoy those bands will like our sound. However, I don’t think it’s just because we have a similar sound. I feel that we are doing the work of creating our own style of music making.
At this early stage I think we’re doing a great job at creating quality music that has improvisation, memorable songs, and exploring a wide array of genres. This all makes for dynamic live shows. I’ve noticed that people are really liking what we are doing. There’s been some really great feedback from friends and people who’ve seen us.
6. I saw that Teddy Midnight is playing a pre-party in Philadelphia during the upcoming Disco Biscuits run, when and where is this taking place?
Saturday, Feb 6th at Bourbon & Branch, Fishtown Beats is opening. We’re gonna have drink specials and free fried chicken and Mac n cheese, first come first serve! $5 cover!
7. I also saw that Teddy Midnight got a residency at Lucille's in Times Square, what's the deal with those upcoming shows?
We just did a Midnight Bacon set yesterday that was a lot of fun. We love playing with the Space Bacon dudes. Next week we are bringing down our Albany homies Lord Electro. It’s been really great and I hope we get invited back to do again sometime!
8. I know a lot of people were disappointed when you decided to leave MUN, me included. But as a fan, I'm extremely excited to see where you take Teddy Midnight. You guys have a really fresh sound. How do you feel about the future?
Yea sorry about that, no one was as disappointed as I was.
After putting 4 years of my life into that band, it wasn’t the most welcoming sentiment to realize that it wasn’t going to work for me. That was a really hard decision to come to terms with at first.
As they say when one door closes and another one opens. MUN will always have a special place in my heart and I'm really happy to maintain friendships with my old band mates. It’s also really meaningful to see that we still have fans who believe in the music we made. If anything, that support gives me a lot of confidence moving forward with Teddy Midnight.
I’m beyond excited to see where Teddy Midnight goes. When we first started working together we realized that we had a lot of things in common musically. For example I’ve been producing in Ableton for an number of years. Adam and Silva also have the same love for Ableton production.
From the start it was easy to put together a bunch of new songs that were electronically based. Not to mention having McAuley on keys has been really great, he has a wealth of musical ideas, a really great ear, and a great voice!
People can expect our sound to develop in a lot of different directions. We have a variety of flavors and textures we are currently crafting.
9. Have you been writing new songs with the band? Are you guys going to record an album soon?
We’re about 2/3rd's done with the first Teddy Midnight full length! Everything has been tracked. We recorded 8 songs in three sessions and are taking our time with it in post production, making sure everything is mixed and mastered to perfection.
We also have a lot of material that we're writing, and working on. We’re hoping to get out a couple new tunes by next month. There’s somewhere around 14 song ideas that are in various stages of completion.
10. How would you describe your style of guitar playing with Teddy Midnight? As a musician, which guitarists influence this specific style of livetronica guitar the most?
With this band I've been able to open up a bit more and be creative. I’ve also been working at really honing certain stylistic playing. As far as influences in livetronica specifically- I would say the big three are Hunter Brown, Jon "Barber" Gutwillig, and Michael Rempel, with an obvious Honorable Mention to Tom Hamilton. I feel like they all set the bar in interestingly unique ways. However, I tend to listen to and shed things that probably influenced them.
A lot of my time is spent with David Gilmour, 90’s Trey Anastasio, and Charlie Parker.
There is so much out there though!
I try to pick up a little something from everything I hear daily. It’s important to realize that creating a style is marathon not sprint.
11. Which bands or artists would you like Teddy Midnight to open for in the near future?
I mean there is so many and I think the answers are obvious. Time will tell, I hope some of the more established acts are willing to give us a shot!
12. Where can fans listen to Teddy Midnight's music online?
13. As a band, what collective goals have you guys set?
We have set out to make the best music we can make with the hope that people really like it and enjoy it enough keep seeing us perform time and time again!
14. Since you joined the band, which shows do you remember as being especially good? What upcoming shows are you most excited for this year?
There’s been so many already! Catskill Chill was awesome, Lespectacle, New Years Phish After-Party w. Todd Stoops, Lucille’s Residency, The last Everything Under Sun Show in Albany was another great time! The Twiddle After Party at Stella Blues in New Haven was incredible.
I think the Mexicali Live show that we released really captured where we are at and where we are going.
As for upcoming shows- Feb 6th The Disco Biscuits pre-game Philly PA, Feb 13th Jrad after party w. Formula 5 Providence RI, Feb 20th The Historic Sherman Theater with Flux Capacitor & Feb 27th Irving Plaza with Twiddle,
February is going to be a big month!
15. What do you personally hope to accomplish with Teddy Midnight this year?
Simply to keep at it. I don’t want to set too many specific goals. I’m just really happy with what we are doing already and I have a lot of faith that we’re going to keep taking it to the next level!