By Myki Angeline
The female presence in rock and metal is steadily increasing by the numbers, particularly with music festivals who have been under fire for the blatant lack of women artists in past line ups. For years women artists have fought to be taken seriously as musicians, who are often mistaken as the musician’s girlfriend, or the “Merch Girl”. Legends like Memphis Minnie, Carol Kaye, and Fanny opened doors so that trailblazers such as Suzi Quatro, Bonnie Raitt, Joan Jett, Lita Ford, and Jennifer Batten could continue to carry the torch with many of these women still touring to this day. In today’s rock/metal scene audiences continue to engage in high-energy performances by women in bands like: Halestorm, New Year’s Day, Deap Vally, Sick Puppies, Evanescence, The Pretty Reckless, Militia Vox, and most recently Blue Midnight.
Blue Midnight is the dream come to fruition by 24 year old artist Justine, an accomplished composer and pianist from Los Angeles, California. She formed Blue Midnight in 2018, hand-selecting all six members of her band which include; Julian Garcia (lead guitar), Todd McCool (rhythm guitar), Jake Courlang (bass), David Allen (drums), Edgar Sandoval (violin/orchestration), and Seth Hansen (violin live). With the assistance of her PR Consulant Raquel Figlo, Blue Midnight has already gained momentum in various L.A. venues, on Good Morning La La Land, in the pages of LA Weekly – and earned an opening slot this past October at Northern California’s biggest music festival, Aftershock.
In it’s 8th season the Monster Energy metal festival expanded to a three day event boasting it’s biggest turn out to date with over 97,000 in attendance. The concert hosted nearly 50 artists with national acts like Korn, Marilyn Manson, Tool, Sick Puppies, Slipnot, Halestorm and Dead Posey, and international acts like Japan’s Baby Metal and Mongolian band The Hu. I was on hand to talk with Justine after Blue Midnight’s opening performance on Sunday. It was the band’s first ever festival and she shared with me what this experience was like for her in an exclusive interview with The WiMN.
WiMN: Congratulations on your performance at the Aftershock Festival! Your band kicked off Day 3 – how was that experience for you?
Justine: OMG, it was such a rush up there! The crowd was awesome; everyone there were just music lovers. I was feeding off of everyone’s energy. It was beautiful!
WiMN: You really worked the crowd during your set! Being this was your first outdoor show, how did you decide on your song set?
Justine: I wanted to make our performance more of a story, so that is what I did.
WiMN: How is performing in an intimate indoor venue different from being in front of such a large audience at an outdoor festival?
Justine: We started out performing on the club circuit, and in a club you are new to the scene, often fighting for the audience’s attention – working to get them to listen to your music. But for our first experience in front of such a large crowd and opening on the main stage – the vibe is so amazing! You can feel the love from the crowd; it is energizing and made this performance that more special.
WiMN: What is your inspiration behind the lyrics in your music?
Justine: I like to tell my personal truth. Take the song, “Beautiful Tragedy” which can be applied to any experience in your life; love, work, friendship. The meaning behind those lyrics is to see the beauty in the effort. That, even if something doesn’t work out the way you planned, it is still beautiful in the way it happened. You learned from it, you grew from that experience.
WiMN: How does your experience with playing piano and composing factor into your creative process for this project?
Justine: Oh, it factors in everywhere. Because every part is written out; everything that we play is very methodical.
WiMN: What as your experience been like so far as a woman in such an extreme genre of music?
Justine: I write music that I hope is relatable to everyone, but especially to other women because of my own personal experiences and perspective – women empowerment. It’s really humbling when I see dads bring their young daughters to our shows.
WiMN: Does Blue Midnight have anything in store for the remaining of 2019?
Justine: Yes, we do! Aftershock was our last live performance this year, as we are focusing our efforts towards the new album!