Student band Midnight Flora blooms with ambition


Photo by Mike Brown

Midnight Flora formed in February 2019, is a band made up of Iowa State students. The band has released a single and has a potential studio signing and an EP in the works.

Daniel Johnson

Midnight Flora, an indie rock band formed completely from Iowa State students, has been starting to make its mark in Ames. Officially forming in February, the band consists of six members who are pursuing their collective passion for music. 

Kyle Cravens, senior in journalism and mass communication from Joliet, Illinois, is the band’s lead vocalist. He and guitarist James Volpe, junior in software engineering, met at a club meeting a few years ago and banded together along with their drummer Tom Wilson, junior in English.

They formed an early version of the band, named Something Specific, and played in a show together in November. Cravens serves as the creative mind behind the lyrics of Midnight Flora’s songs, finding importance in catchiness, storytelling and substance in the words he pens.

Volpe picked up a guitar and began producing music his freshman year of college. Thanks to his music production background, he is one of the core musical minds in Midnight Flora. He serves as one of the guitarists in the band along with Dylan Miley, junior in electrical engineering.

Volpe has recently started to take up a background vocalist role along with his guitar and bass guitar playing.

Wilson is from Corning, Iowa, and is the drummer of the band. His first experience in percussion started in elementary school. By the time he was in high school he had taught himself to play a full drum set and played in his school’s pep band. Wilson now serves to keep his bandmates in time, allowing them to stay in sync with the music they all work together to create.

Lead bassist Chris Grussing, sophomore in journalism and mass communication, is from Armstrong, Iowa. He picked up the bass his junior year of high school. With a background of 14 years playing piano and a background of six years in music production, his expertise in the technical side of music has helped the band quite a bit since his joining in February. 

Miley is from Hampshire, Illinois, and joins Volpe as a guitarist. Joining the band his junior year to replace a previous member who graduated, Miley serves as another creative mind. Miley started guitar with his dad at the age of eight, learning basic open chords. For the first time at 17, he took lessons for nine months before going the self-taught route. He also began songwriting at 17, which he said he loves to do frequently for a creative outlet. 

Keyboardist Marjorie Hanneman, senior in agronomy and genetics from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the band’s newest member. Hanneman’s history with the band began with her being Midnight Flora’s self-proclaimed number one fan.

She got noticed by the others at a show because she was singing and dancing along with them more than they’d seen before. After talking for a bit and inviting her to play with them, she was inducted as an official member shortly after. She has a history of being in bands in the past, but none of them quite stuck. Hanneman said finally getting into a band that gives her space to scratch her creative itch has been a blessing.

“Releasing a single has made me hungry for more, more than anything,” Hanneman said.

The bland is planning for more, with additional performances, a potential studio signing and an EP in the works. The members of Midnight Flora said they hope to put everything they can into what they do, all for the love of creativity.

The Midnight Flora band members said they all agree the sound of the band itself can only be described as one thing. Cravens said Midnight Flora is all their interests in harmony together.

Miley described it as a bowl of popcorn.

“You can’t have popcorn without all of the essential pieces put together,” Miley said. “And they all can be in many different forms, [but] it’s still popcorn in the end.”