Thanks to Ralph for answering these questions:
What can we expect to see from This Flight Tonight over the next year?
In June 2012, I am relocating (bandless) to Europe. Hoping to give music a go over there, most fans who have bought TFT's debut record are from Europe. I'd like the opportunity to play to them live as thanks. I'd also like to travel so Europe seems like a fun place to be.
What advice would you like to give to other aspiring musicians?
Have a vision and work hard, have short term and long term goals in mind. Respect who you work with. Write the best songs you can possibly write, if you are not getting the response you want, you need to get better at writing. Collaborate as this inspires. Get training in improving your musicianship. Focus on substance and not the glitter.
Who are your favourite NZ musicians/bands, and why?
Kimbra and Ladyhawke. I have a thing for female singers haha. But I think they also work hard regardless of the obstacles they've come across. They seem to have a natural personality, no egos, and just really talented and down to earth.
What will This Flight Tonight’s next release be?
I have been writing the next release already. I think I'm up to about 20 songs I have shortlisted. It will be a short album too, probably around 7 songs again. I want it to be the best of the best. I'd like the next record to really keep the theme of "Dynamic Rock". Meaning some songs have a lot of energy but there are really intimate moments too. I'd like the next record to be a mix of fun songs and also real dark songs.
How do you come up with your lyrics?
I keep a notepad with me at all times. I leave notes on my computer and my phone, of words I like, conversations I listen into, I read books, watch documentaries, and draw from real experiences. If I have nothing to write about I try and do something in my life so I have something to write about. I am a method lyricist much like a method actor.
Who would you most like to support live?
How do you believe This Flight Tonight fits into the NZ music industry?
I like to see TFT as an individualist at times, and not a collectivist. Meaning if there is a trend I spot in the industry, I try and to do the complete opposite with TFT.
What can you never leave home without?
My guitar, my portable recorder, my songbook, and dreams close to heart.
How do you describe This Flight Tonight’s music?
Dynamic Rock. 'Dynamic', pertaining to the volume range of musical sound. TFT go from soft dynamics to loud with emotive contrast.
What is your favourite NZ venue?
I love Shadows Bar because the staff there really look after musicians. I also love UFO New Lynn, run by Andrew from Powertool Records. This man is so passionate about original music and I love people that are in it for the music.
What is the best part of being a musician?
The freedom to rebel from society. A platform to create a voice, to express and and inspire humanity to its next evolution.
What NZ musicians or bands would you like to see more of, and why?
I would like to see more alternative rock, and probably less Reggae/Metal/Techno in NZ. Not that I dislike these genres, I would just like to see more organic guitar bands. My taste changes all the time though. Ultimately, I'd like to see more bands that put emphasis on great lyrics and new musical ideas.
What is in your CD collection at home?
I write this list down on http://thisflighttonight.com/songbook
What is your most embarrassing on tour/gig moment?
Playing to a crowd, and getting feedback like "I love that song you just covered" when it was an original song.
What is your favourite place in NZ to be?
Places where there is live music and good food.
What inspired you to start This Flight Tonight?
I had a breakup from a longterm relationship, initially it was a way for me to have my therapy. When I started performing these personal and revealing songs, things naturally fell into place. Before that I wrote lots of music, mainly techno music to be honest. But I don't think it had substance, and definitely I've noticed TFT's music seem to be more popular. I think it's because these new songs came from really truthful moments in my life. I had to be hurt first. Then I had to be mad about things. Then I had to find happiness again. And TFT did that, it changed my outlook.
How did you come up with the name This Flight Tonight?
An indie label who wanted to sign us gave us a list of about 20 band names, mostly drawn from song names etc. This Flight Tonight is a tribute to artist Joni Mitchell. The name just drew me. When I heard the name it conjured up images of the emotional departures and arrivals at airports. I felt a sense of attachment to the name. It created urgency, a sense of freedom, the thought of flying to a new destination to escape the past.
What is the best gig you have ever performed at, and why?
Global Battle of the Bands, we came first in Auckland and 3rd in NZ. It was a moment of recognition that "okay this thing doesn't suck, I think I'll keep writing".
How do you keep in contact with your fans?
They can contact me through http://thisflighttonight.com/contact, I also use Facebook to interact with people.
What rumour would you like to start about This Flight Tonight?
That I am good friends with Thom Yorke.
The name "This Flight Tonight" conjures up images of the emotional departures and arrivals at airports. It's those moments of change and new beginnings. It's that spur of the moment decision to take that flight tonight, to escape and set for adventure.
The project begins and ends with one sole songwriter; Ralph Warren Engle. "I write songs as a form of therapy for my own loses and life changes, and I'm set on a musical journey with whoever is available at the time to help arrange and perform the songs." This Flight Tonight project has seen some great contributing talent come and go, just like life's arrivals and departures.
Influences are Radiohead, Coldplay, David Gray, Temper Trap, Pink Floyd and Jeff Buckley