Indie pop duo Fly By Midnight know a thing or two about quick changes. Last year, the New York-bred pairing traded the hectic pace and shimmering lights of the city for the coolness of Los Angeles –– and it took a minute for Justin Bryte and Slavo to find their footing. Trusting in their decision and embracing the creative, collaborative environment of their new home bled into the creation of their new album Silver Crane, out today.
The 12-track project has been released in single song increments over the past year and a half with all but one remaining unheard from the tracklist until today. “North” concludes the album as a sort of opus. Over a synth-filled mix, the pair explore an encounter that completely flips their expectations upside down and turns a new leaf in their outlook on life.
“I was supposed to fall apart / I was supposed to grab the keys and take my car / But there you were / There you are,” they sing. “I thought this had to leave my body / I thought I had to let it run its course / Whatever I’ve been through / The moment I see you / Things start looking north.”
“'North' in itself is a message that we never touched on another song, you know, meeting someone that completely shifts your perspective in a second of meeting them,” Bryte explained over Zoom.
Most of Silver Crane was created this way –– shooting ideas back and forth and bouncing concepts off of collaborators with a screen separating them, but never hindering that connection. “North” was written with James Sunderland, one half of pop duo Frenship who Fly By Midnight say have assumed something of an older brother role for them since connecting. The session was cathartic, opening each artist up to the emotional flow that led to the song’s creation.
For the music video, they followed this feeling. It led them to the mountains of Los Angeles –– no phone service, no worries, no distractions. It was the perfect encapsulation of the airy tone of the song’s message. “We kind of randomly came up with these whole symbolic reasons to have this little journey in a music video where the compass ends up becoming a silver crane,” Slavo shared.
“In the video, we're essentially following a floating compass in the air, it’s just bringing us on this journey. We don't really know where we're going and it ends up bringing us to the end of the album, which is a silver crane,” Bryte added. “It kind of pays homage to some of these narrative-based videos that we’ve done before. We haven’t done that in a minute.”
“You could tell from the demo status to where it ended up, it just had like the message that was really unique that we really liked –– the feeling of it, like right when you play the demo, it felt really good compared to other stuff we were listening to,” Slavo explained. “Personally, I could picture where I wanted the production to end up. I know the ending is super dramatic and big, which is exciting for an album to end [that way].”
Slavo put the finishing touches on the song’s production in a hotel lobby in New Jersey while on tour, continuing on the album’s unconventional creation. Apart from introducing another complete body of work into their catalog, Silver Cranes unlocked an entirely new mode of creation for Fly By Midnight as a pair of artists.
“Slavo and I rarely get challenged, to the point where we're like, we may not be able to make this happen,” Bryte said. “But I do think this album kind of pushed us to that point because there were just so many different wrenches thrown at us in beautiful ways. It was an album that stretched us as writers, [Slavo as] producer, artists, and multitaskers.”