The idea for comedy music group The Midnight Beast - comprised of Stefan Abingdon, Drew Wakely and Ashley Horne - first started life in a kebab shop. Beginning with their viral parody of Kesha's Tik Tok, the band now boast over 400,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel and a loyal army of Twitter and Facebook followers with a hungry appetite for their online offerings. Starting tonight, you can catch them on E4 for the second outing of their self-titled series. We sat down with the boys to hear all about it...
Give us an introduction to The Midnight Beast...
Stefan: When we set out to do something on TV, it was always the idea that it would be a bit of a dirty Glee. We wanted to make something about the three of us with stuff that had happened to us, stuff that we wish happened to us and stuff that we wish hadn’t happened to us. For the second series we’ve worked with a new director, Al Campbell, who was responsible for loads of Charlie Brooker’s stuff and just made a massive song and dancing show.
How did you guys first meet?
Stefan: Ash and I went to school together but before that we met doing nursery rhyme videos for Dave Benson Phillips called 'Wow, That’s What I Call Nursery Rhymes'. Ashley was very good at tap dancing...
Ashley: Don’t bring that up.
Stefan: And he was good at rocking the curtains hairstyle. I was responsible for the break dancing. So Ash and I met and stayed friends and then I met Drew outside doing some acting classes and we formed a few bands and Ash would come to some of the shows. We just started hanging out a lot and came up with the idea that we wanted to work together somehow. The first time we thought about doing something together was in a kebab shop.
Ashley: All good ideas should start with a kebab.
Stefan: So we did the parody of Kesha and it wasn’t the idea to start it as a project - Ashley was round and we put the video together. It became something that we didn’t think it would.
Drew: We did it for a bit of a laugh and showed it to a few friends, posted it on Facebook and it was one of those things – we literally witnessed it getting sent around and around.
So, do you feel more confident now you're coming into your second series?
Ashley: On the second series we learnt what didn’t feel right in the first series and we think it’s a lot funnier now, we’ve got better at acting.
Stefan: We were all a bit shell-shocked first time around. I don’t think any of us remember anything that happened and this time around it’s been a lot easier to step away and see it for what it is. It’s really exciting having the opportunity to do it again.
Have you incorporated any of the feedback you got last time around?
Ashley: From the first series we realised that we shouldn’t focus on us as a band as such – something that people can’t really relate to. So with the second series it’s a lot more about us as a friendship group and what we get up to as friends, how we bond and how we react to each other and all the fun stuff.
Stefan: It’s nice on the music side of things that we can get away with throwing in the odd thing that someone has said – like a slanderous term on the internet or something.
Ashley: Our album’s coming out alongside the show and the first track’s about where we stand on the idea of a second album and the idea of a second series - achievements and what to live up to - and it’s fun to be able to incorporate it directly into the lyrics and self-reference our own career.
So, what can we expect from series 2?
Drew: There’s lots more new songs and new videos – there are new characters who get involved in our crazy life. Some old ones as well and it’s just basically us trying to get on as friends.
Ashley had to eat dog food for the last series - can any of you top that?
Stefan: Without giving anything away, in the first episode I had to do something pretty extreme with a double-ended dildo. And the second day of shooting involved one of the make up girls who I’d just met writing words in a permanent marker on my bum.
You've been compared to Flight of the Concords and The Mighty Boosh - what do you make of those comparisons?
Ashley: It’s a big con because no one can get our name right. We’re either called The Mighty Beast or The Midnight Boosh. We’ve been called everything.
There are over 50 videos on your YouTube page - if you had to pick one favourite, what would it be?
Ashley: For me it’s Friends for Never. It’s just a timeless classic and I think that for me the lyrics in that song are some of the best we’ve done. I like how simple it was and it was set in my parents’ house in Reading.
Drew: Mine is probably Lez Be Friends because it captures a lot of stuff we were into at the time and it’s quite a fun video – we did a lot of dressing up and tried to think about the characters wearing different outfits. It was a fun video – we got a lot of friends down and it was just a good time.
Stefan: Mine is definitely When I’m Older which is from the new series. I think it's the fourth episode and it’s us as old guys. It certainly isn’t Ashley’s favourite video because we filmed it the first day of the new series and me and Ash went for chicken the night before and Ash had really bad food poisoning. I was the last one in to work for that first day of filming and Ashley was lying on the floor of the toilet, dressed as an old man in a full on onesie, throwing up. It was one of the most surreal experiences.
So, do you have plenty of ideas for series 3?
Stefan: We've always got ideas...
The Midnight Beast begins tonight at 10pm on E4