INTERVIEW: MGT's Mark Gemini Thwaite & Ashton Nyte Reflect on Creating Their New Album, "Gemini Nyte"
Gothic rock band MGT's new album, Gemini Nyte is the epitome of collaboration. After working together on guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite's solo project, it was only right that he and vocalist Ashton Nyte would team up once more for the epic full-length, which kicked off 2018 on the right foot for the band, and found them touring the U.S. throughout the month of March. Complete with with a wide range of sounds, from stadium-ready anthems to merging elements of electro-pop and grunge, Gemini Nyte covers a little bit of everything.
With the album out now, Mark and Ashton have their sights set on the future, which includes more tour dates, collaborations and hopefully even more new music before the year comes to an end. Read all about the creative process behind Gemini Nyte and listen to the album now below.
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
You just celebrated the release of your new album, Gemini Nyte. Now that it has been out for a few weeks and you’ve had some time to reflect on it, what are some of your favorite things about the album?
Mark: We are very proud of the album as a body of work, and the general feeling amongst fans and the critics so far as been that it’s a masterpiece of gothic rock – one reviewers words – we really tried to bring together all the elements we liked about gothic rock and bands from the era’s heyday, but also apply a modern twist to the sound.. the album is actually pretty varied and we manage to cover both electro pop pioneers Soft Cell and grunge/hard rock stalwarts Stone Temple Pilots on the same album, which pretty much sums up our range of influences.. really happy with the mix, and particularly love some of the mellower songs on the album such as ‘Atlanta’ and ‘Trading Faces’.
Ashton: Yes, I’m honestly relieved to finally have it out there. It was a very fluid and organic writing and recording experience and we actually got the album done pretty quickly. Then it was the mixing and re-mixing phase, followed by waiting for stars to align. It’s wonderful to finally see it out in the world.
When you first started working on Gemini Nyte, did you have any major goals in mind? What did you want to accomplish with this release?
Mark: Ashton and I first worked together on my album ‘Volumes’, first recording ‘The Reaping’ and then ‘Jesamine’ and onwards from there... in fact we just kept writing as my solo album was completed and we had two thirds of this new album demoed before ‘Volumes’ was even released! We both saw a definite sound and vibe to The Reaping and Jesamine and made it our intention to continue writing a whole album in that hard goth rock vein, which I think we have done. Once we had half a dozen songs down we then started to stretch the envelope with the ambitious covers ranging from electro to The Doors vibe, and feel we have created a real journey for the listener as they listen through the album.
Ashton: This album is very much a 50/50 partnership and I think we both wanted it to shine. With Mark essentially handling most of the music duties it freed me up to really focus on lyrics, vocals and melodies. We then arranged and produced it together. All in all the experiment worked.
What motivates you to keep trying new things and experimenting with new sounds and subjects with each release?
Mark: Not sure about experimenting with new sounds per se, but we do try to create a world in which the listener gets lost, so sometimes I will explore the soundscapes and noises I can create with my synthesizer and bring those elements into the mix..
Ashton: In this case for me it was responding to Mark’s music. With my own work (The Awakening, Ashton Nyte) I tend to write and play everything. Working with Mark gave me new freedoms and challenges, which I’d like to think brought out a new voice in me, so to speak.
Did you come across any challenges when working on the new album? If so, how did you overcome them?
Mark: Both Ashton and I found the album relatively easy to compose and record, my major hurdle and biggest challenge was mixing some of the more challenging songs, which had a ton of stuff going on, such as ‘Armageddon’s Sideshow’ and ‘Everything Undone’. Other mixes seemed relatively easy, such as ‘Trading Faces’ and ‘Atlanta’.
Ashton: Yeah, some of the mixes were evil beasts. I blame all of Mark’s hundreds of guitar tracks, hehe.
What was the most rewarding moment of working on the album?
Mark: There are many songs on the album that we are proud of, all of them I would say, but perhaps a standout moment was ‘Trading Faces’, which went from a guitar riff on an iphone and morphed into a stadium ready composition and mix, when I first played the initial mix back I was blown away.
Ashton: I agree. Trading Faces was the culmination of having already written most of an album together and things really just falling into place. We didn’t even have to haggle about the mix on that one ;-).
What would you like listeners to take away from the new music or even upcoming live performances?
Mark: I think we want them to experience the songs in their ideal environment, performed by the band live and the mix surrounding their ears… theres something communal and transcendental about hearing songs performed live, something that is hard to capture on a studio recording…
Ashton: Yes, I’ve always enjoyed the almost ritualistic aspect of live performance. We are there to commune and connect with the audience.
Do you have any other big plans coming up? What does the rest of 2018 hold for you?
Mark: We hope to take the show to Europe and beyond, perhaps release another single or two… we will see how the road unfolds for us..
Ashton: We’re also both involved in a few other projects. I’ve co-written 3 songs for Michael Ciravolo’s “Beauty In Chaos” project and have a new Awakening album I would dearly like to see the light of day before 2018 runs out on us.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Mark: Thanks to all of our friends and family for supporting us as we made the album, and to all the fans who have taken the time to get it and listen through! In todays disposable age it means a lot for someone to sit down and really listen through our record, its intended as a journey to the listener..
Ashton: Amen! Thank you for listening and caring, it is truly appreciated.