The following interview is done with Gavin....

Let's begin with a short history of Midnight Syndicate taking us up to the present.
G: Midnight Syndicate was originally formed by Edward Douglas in 1997. Initially more of a solo project, the first (self-titled) Midnight Syndicate CD was a rather eclectic collection of musical styles, ranging from rock to rap. It did, however, feature some of the darker elements that define our later work, and set the foundation for our goal of creating soundtracks to stimulate the imagination of the listener. After seeing the multimedia concert that Ed produced in support of the first CD, I approached him about working together in the future. Shortly afterward, he told me about the concept for "Born of the Night" and we began writing. "Born" was released in October of 1998, and met with immediate success. "Realm of Shadows" was released in early 2000, and our latest effort, "Gates of Delirium", was unleashed earlier this year.

Midnight Syndicate isn't yet very well-known in the genres of music we usually cover. While your CDs are available in more mainstream outlets, like novelty and Halloween shops, I don't see distribution of your work in underground outlets/distros I know of. Do you plan on expanding your distribution to these other areas? I think there is a large untapped fan-base still out there.
G: Halloween is the time of year when the general public finds an interest in things dark and mysterious - naturally our music appeals to a broader audience at this time as well. Our CDs are carried by indie music stores and goth shops both nationally and internationally, but we are currently working to expand our representation within these markets. There are a lot of potential fans that we simply haven't been able to reach yet, especially overseas. Here in the US, you can find us at the local Spencer Gifts store, or at a Hot Topic that sells music, but in other countries we must rely solely on the smaller, independent stores that lack this kind of widespread distribution.

Gavin Compliments aside, you create some of the most darkly atmospheric/orchestrated music around. It's a gem to find previous unknown music like this, of such high quality and caliber. Your CD's are based on rather 'horror' oriented themes, each track extremely mood-setting and soundtrack-like. Let's speak of what motivation you possess to create such works. You're obviously interested in the darker side of mankind. Tell us when this attraction first emerged and what motivated you to dedicate your artistic energies to it?
G: Both Ed and myself have been interested in the darker, mysterious side of life for as long as we can remember. I think this became a true passion for me back in high school, when I was introduced to horror movies and literature. I found myself fascinated by the shadowy realms that they depicted, and I think it just grew from there. As soon as Ed told me about the concept for "Born of the Night", I knew that it was something I could relate to and wanted to be a part of. Being able to create and explore our own shadowy realms, and to invite listeners in to partake of the experience has been immensely rewarding. It's amazing to hear what other people have envisioned while listening to our music. We try to provide enough detail to establish a particular mood or atmosphere, but allow the listener to fill in the gaps and customize the world to their own liking.

What music did you derive inspiration from in the formative years of Midnight Syndicate? Where do you find your inspiration now?
G: Two of our biggest influences composer-wise have been Danny Elfman and John Carpenter, but we also draw upon metal bands like King Diamond, Black Sabbath and Nightwish for inspiration. Strangely enough, we discovered last year that Andy LaRocque, King Diamond's long-time guitarist, was also a fan! After hearing "Born of the Night" and "Realm of Shadows" in a west-coast store, he chose them to set the mood as the preshow music for the band's recent "House of God" tour. That was definitely a highlight among our experiences to date.

Ed is also the co-founder of Entity Productions. Could you tell us a bit about that venture?
G: Ed co-founded Entity Productions in 1996 as a multimedia venture, with divisions in film, animation and photography, as well as music. In 1997, Entity Pictures produced "The Dead Matter", a B-horror movie that is currently available through Sub Rosa Studios (www.b-movie.com). Since the success of "Born of the Night", however, Entity's resources have primarily been focused on promoting and distributing the music of Midnight Syndicate.

I've read various quotes of your music being described as 'dark gothic' etc., personally I don't think the label fits. How would you describe it to someone who hadn't heard it? As limiting as labels can be, they are unfortunately often necessary.
G: I would describe our music as 'darkly orchestrated'. It has elements in common with dark ambient, although that genre usually focuses more on texture and atmosphere, rather than on orchestration and melody. It could also be considered gothic, as the bands that fall under this category can be very diverse musically.

I presume you possess a love of theater and movies? Could you speak of your favorites and what makes them so?
G: My favorite horror movie is the original, black-and-white "The Haunting". I love the subtlety of movies like this one, or more recently "What Lies Beneath" and "The Others". It's all about what you THINK you saw or heard, or what MIGHT be happening. These films leave a lot up to the imagination, and tend to linger in the darkest recesses of my psyche for quite some time.

Venturing now into the more philosophical end of our discussion... Tell me, in your opinion, what makes someone write and record 'dark' music? Would you say it is a reflection of the individual? While he/she could just as easily write 'happy' music, what pulls one to the conclusion? External influences or something deeper?
G: Regarding the composition of darker music, I think that it stems from feeling a deep personal connection to the hidden, mysterious aspects of life, and a desire to explore and express these things creatively. I believe that a person gravitates toward the things, people or ideas they can most closely identify with. Whatever the result, it's probably a combination of internal and external forces - our world experiences as well as our values, ideas and passions.

Ed Much of your music is based around 'supernatural' themes. Let's brush upon the topic of religion and the occult, could you tell us your thoughts thus far?
G: The term 'occult' usually conjures up images of black candles and unholy altars in the popular imagination, but in actuality it refers to nothing more than 'hidden' knowledge, or that which is not ordinarily apparent. True, there are some belief systems contained under this heading that are of a very dark nature, but there are many others, like Rosicrucianism, that certainly are not. Whatever the case, I look at any religion or belief system as simply a set of guidelines for understanding and interacting with the world; merit and wisdom can be found among many different teachings and ways of thought.

When you contemplate death, what do you envision? Do you see a possibility of a part of us living on? A 'soul' perhaps?
G: Although I don't believe in the traditional concepts of a heaven or hell, there seems to be a convincing amount of evidence to indicate that a person's life energy can linger on in some form after death, whether by choice or by force. It is believed that this energy can manifest itself in the form of a ghost. Some of the books I've read on the subject speak of another plane of existence beyond, or co-existing with our own, that these spirits can pass freely to and from. The descriptions of what this plane is like vary, and seem to be based largely on speculation rather than experience.

If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
G: Abraham Lincoln. To gain insight from a true model of excellence in leadership.

If you could learn the answer to any one question, what would the question be?
G: What happens after death. If we knew the answer to that, people would be able to start focusing more of their energy on living instead of wasting it by worrying about dying and by trying to avoid something that is inevitable anyway.

Give us your thoughts on world-society. Things seem to deteriorate little by little as time passes. Do you believe a dark future awaits mankind?
G: Our future is completely in our own hands. I don't believe in fate or in any kind of divine intervention. WE as a people affect life here on this planet, either directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, and until we realize that and take responsibility for it, things will progress the way they have been progressing. I think that most of the stubborn world problems that we've been wrestling with are due to a lack of understanding of the greater situation surrounding the problem. For instance, we've spent considerable time, money and effort waging a war on illegal drugs, which has resulted in very little progress. Instead of focusing on arresting drug dealers and keeping the substances out of our country, our efforts would probably be better directed toward addressing the issue of value. As long as people value and desire drugs, they will never fail to find a way to obtain them, no matter what obstacles stand in the way. By removing this sense of value, you remove the demand, which automatically takes care of the rest.

What you hope to accomplish personally before your end here on Earth? If there was a goal, what could you see it as being?
G: I hope to clearly illustrate how critically important it is that we take responsibility for ourselves and the world around us, and temper our actions with wisdom and foresight. Without a true appreciation for and understanding of these things, we will continue to lack the tools necessary for further development as a race and for regaining the balance that our planet sorely needs.

What things do you find most important to life, are there things that you would lay down your life for?
G: A sense of connection, meaning and purpose are absolutely essential. Without these, people tend to wander aimlessly (and unhappily) through life. I would lay down my life for the freedom of thought and expression. I couldn't conceive of a tolerable world without them.

What are your thoughts on censorship? Political correctness? Do you also feel that these things limit the human spirit and can stand in the way of creativity? For example: While your works are enjoyed by a segment of the population, there are others who would say it is wrong in some way. Thoughts?
G: I don't agree with limiting creativity or forcing people to express themselves in predetermined 'non-offensive' ways. Everyone has their own way of expressing themselves, and there will always be differences of opinion. Rather than trying to sterilize our means of communication, we should instead foster a greater respect for other people and an appreciation for their differences.

How important is money and success to you? What is the driving factor for you to 'wake up every morning?' What keeps you going?
G: I look at money as a means to an end - it's simply a device that allows us to buy or experience the things that we desire. I don't think of success in the stereotypical sense of being rich and famous and having six vacation homes, but rather knowing that you are doing what you are truly meant to do in life. If a person is on that path and making progress toward achieving their goals, then I think that they could be considered successful. That's something that I feel is very important. The chance to take another step down my own path is what gets me up and keeps me going.

Is there a specific point in history which interests you most and why? If you could go back to any period in the timeline of man, for one day, where would you go and what would you do?
G: 10,500 B.C.E. An advanced civilization is believed to have existed around this time that possessed knowledge and wisdom now lost to us. The historical record doesn't go back far enough to tell us who these people were, how they lived or what they knew. I would go back to observe this civilization first-hand, bringing what I gathered back to the present-day so that we could learn and benefit from it.

Much of man's history on Earth is yet unknown. Do you believe in evolution? How do you suppose we got here?
G: I believe that man has been around a lot longer on this planet than we had previously thought. More and more evidence is being discovered to prove that intelligent, highly advanced civilizations were around as far back as 12,000 years ago. Given the fact that civilizations like these would require time to develop, we might have to revise our views of history (or pre-history) a bit. Evolution offers a sound and provable model for the development of species, although I'd put more faith in the idea of a split lineage between us and the apes, rather than a direct descendance. How did we get here? Retrace the steps of evolution back to the very beginning.

Your thoughts on the cosmos and the possibilities? Life elsewhere? Do you believe there is a possibility for man to cross the great expanse of space? What about the creation of the universe, what 'existed' before its creation?
G: I definitely think there's other life out there. When you look at the conditions necessary for a planet to develop and sustain life, and then the sheer number of planets in the universe, the chances seem extraordinarily high. As far as our ability to travel the expanse of space goes, I think it will take some time but will eventually happen. Humankind has proven many times in the past that given a vision, anything is possible. Regarding the creation of the universe, I still think we have some more learning to do before we can make a truly educated stab at understanding that. Many people have offered speculations, but until we know more about how the universe operates, we are left with just that - mere speculation.

To end with music... any plans for the next release yet? Foresee any changes in direction?
G: We'll start writing for the next album this coming January. We've been tossing around a couple of ideas already, but haven't decided on anything yet. We've also been discussing the possibility of exploring the realms of dark fantasy at some point in the future. If this happens, it would probably be under a different name than Midnight Syndicate, as it would represent a bit of a departure from what our fans are accustomed to.

Lastly, we thank you for your time and thoughts. Your final comments and words of wisdom to the world?
G: What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

The views and opinions expressed are strictly my own and do not reflect Ed's in any way. While we do agree on most things, there are several questions that we would have very different answers for and I would not want the readers to mistakenly assume that I am speaking for both of us on these issues."-Gavin

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