Walking past the stage during set up, one wouldn’t assume the members of Midnight Mosaic to be performing together, let alone be able to guess what they’re performing. A combination of rock, funk and everything in between, Midnight Mosaic has been intricately crafted to offer a unique sound.
Midnight Mosaic is composed of six members — Lead vocalist and front man, A.t. Hunte, bassist, John Skylark, guitarist, Ant, drummer, AJ, keyboard and synth, Harrisyn Hartt and backing vocals, Dee M.
“We are all different. No one looks the same — no one likes the same music. We are a mosaic,” said A.t. Hunte, lead vocalist. “You see other bands where they all look and dress the same, we’re not like that.”
The other members voiced their agreement on the matter — their desire to stay true to their roots and their refusal to conform.
The Asbury Park-based band frequently performs throughout the tri-state area but felt right at home during their March 14th performance at New Brunswick’s Old Bay Restaurant, the lively New Orleans-inspired bar and restaurant.
That night, the band’s set list consisted of crowd-pleasing covers of pop-culture favorites, however no song was performed without its own unique twist and personal touch.
The energy was at a constant high under the multi-colored lights that illuminated the stage and members in hues of red, blue and green. While the crown-molded ceilings of the southern-inspired restaurant shook.
A performer at heart, A.t. Hunte, does not hold back — and the crowd didn’t want him to either. He provided non-stop entertainment for the audience with hip-swinging dance moves and knees-on-the-ground passion that can only be achieved by true talent.
At one point, A.t. Hunte leaped off the stage to sing along with crowd, resulting in a rush to the stage by bar-goers wanting to dance and sing along with the band’s leading vocalist.
Interestingly enough, the only way to describe A.t. Hunte’s voice is mosaic-like. It can be raspy, it can be deep and he can wail and hit piercing high notes while still interacting with the crowd.
Not to be overshadowed, Dee’s sultry voice, was not only powerful but had a soft, crooning sound that complemented A.t. Hunte’s varying style.
Dee’s talent really shined when she took over as lead vocalist during their cover of No Doubt’s, “I’m Just a Girl.”
Perched in the back, a masked AJ, pounded on drums and didn’t miss a single beat during his one-minute solo. He inherited his drumming skills from his father and explained the mystery behind the mask.
He told the story of Alenis Guerrero, a famous “luchador” who had a mask vs. mask fight during his career, but chose to lose the fight and put his legacy and honor on the line. AJ relates this to his father’s legacy as a drummer and his own.
“Sometimes people forget to pay a legacy forward.” he said, “I’m hoping that by wearing the mask it will make people think about their legacies.”
Another secret of the mosaic was finally revealed during a cover of “Psychokiller” by Talking Heads. It was at that exact moment that all of the members began to harmonize, and you could really feel their cohesiveness. It is this chemistry that allows a band composed of so many different styles to be able to play so many different genres seamlessly.
Their ability to adapt to different genres in less than seconds was extremely impressive. At one moment you were listening to funk, and in the blink of an eye it had smoothly transitioned into rock.
The drinks kept flowing on stage and after taking a few final requests from the audience, Midnight Mosaic began to play what they know best, a song from their own album, called “Outside the Lines.”
When they aren’t putting their own twist on pop culture classics, Midnight Mosaic is in the studio writing songs for future albums — when they can find a time that works for all six members.
A.t. Hunte said it can be difficult for them to get in the studio, especially with work, family and friends. When they do make it to the studio, the first thing they do is coordinate how long everyone can stay.
“First thing, what time does everyone have to leave? Whose girlfriend is making special lasagna tonight?” A.t. Hunte joked. “I don’t want the spirit f—-d up.”
He explained they have a very spontaneous writing process. Someone will volunteer to start, the drummer will come in, the bass will come in, and so on.
“It’s all made up on the spot,” he said.
Their latest album, Firework, came out in May 2014 and features 10 songs that offer a variety of rock, funk and dance tracks.
“If you listen to our latest album Firework, you won’t be able to figure out what we are,” A.t. Hunte said. “Are they pop? Are they rock? Are they funk?”
Their favorite song on the album is “Spotlight,” a feel good rock song with a catchy beat.
“Right to Die,” is a fun, get up on your feet and dance song, with great harmonies and a do-what-you-want, bad a– attitude.
The catchy lyrics and funky beat of “Bazooka Gumption,” will have you singing along and maybe even snapping along.
They were quick to agree that they all consider Lionel Richie a musical influence, and sang a quick group verse from “All Night Long,” to prove it. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Prince, Michael Jackson and Hall & Oats also influence them.
The band’s music has become popular in Australia, New Zealand and London, but they have yet to break out in the USA.
“Our goal is to have a song on the radio in the United States of America,” A.t. Hunte smiled.
You can listen to Midnight Mosaic’s album here.