The Midnight paint with vibrant sonic colors as they prepare their new LP, tour the world [Interview]

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The Midnight paint with vibrant sonic colors as they prepare their new LP, tour the world [Interview]Cover

Tim McEwan and Tyler Lyle are exhausted—the good kind of exhausted that comes from performing in countless venues around the world.

The Midnight paint with vibrant sonic colors as they prepare their new LP, tour the world [Interview]Edit 5 2
Photos by Zachary White/Dancing Astronaut

“We haven’t slept in six months,” Lyle says. “It’s all one
big blur.”

The duo, known to the music world as The Midnight, have been touring almost nonstop since the release of Kids, their third LP released last September. They’ve spent most of 2019 on the road, kicking off in Norway in February and hardly slowing down since then. On a stop in St. Louis in the midst of this heavy tour schedule, DA caught up with The Midnight to hear about their journey across the globe and the promise of new music on the horizon.

McEwan and Lyle jointly form one of the most celebrated acts in the modern synthwave scene, but they don’t like to put their music in a genre-confined box. They simply enjoy making music together and delivering the end result to their fan base and beyond.

There is a Japanese term: Mono no aware. It means basically, the sad beauty of seeing time pass – the aching awareness of impermanence. These are the days that we will return to one day in the future only in memories.

McEwan and Lyle first got together in 2012 when they were paired up in a studio session. They didn’t know each other prior. McEwan, who’s from Copenhagen, comes from a production and studio background, and Lyle grew up in Georgia and has a songwriting background. While their backgrounds were largely different, something happened the first day they got in the studio together: They wrote their first song as The Midnight, “WeMoveForward.”

“[Lyle] wrote the verses pretty quickly, but finding out
what the song was was a longer
process,” McEwan recalls. “We didn’t know we were going to make a band called
The Midnight. It was all about finding and figuring out where to point the
ship.”

Both artists agreed that the tricky thing about meeting someone you could do anything with is that it’s both freeing and overwhelming. They spent their first EP figuring out what The Midnight sounded like, and from there, it was a natural progression.

“It’s a palette of colors we’ve been working with,” Lyle notes. “We’re still going to use those palettes over time, but we’re going to grow.”

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Photos by Zachary White/Dancing Astronaut

Mono no aware fuels The Midnight’s music—whether it’s in the form of the dramatic “WeMoveForward” or the final Kids track, “Kids (Reprise),” from last September. They’ve grown tremendously as a band since those early days and are constantly seeking to evolve their sonic palette. Many fans were initially thrown off by the absence of saxophone riffs in the Kids album, but McEwan and Lyle insist that the recent album had a different story to tell than its predecessors. Kids is—as its title plainly reveals—about what it’s like being a kid.

“Sultry sax doesn’t go hand in hand with being 10 years old and riding around on bikes,” McEwan explains. “The people that connected [to Kids] connected in a very deep way. They really got it. There’s a pain and a sadness inherent in nostalgia that I think [Lyle] was really good at tapping into.”

Lyle expounds, noting that they’re “trying to broaden and deepen the palette” with their new material.

“We’re writing songs in different corners of the room,” he says. “Hopefully with the next record, we’ll bring a little more sunlight out.”

Where Kids was
about growing up, McEwan and Lyle see their next album as a natural progression
in life into the teenage phase. McEwan says they’ll look to capture “the angst
and the turmoil of being a teenager, the highs and lows, the hormones going
crazy” in their next body of work. The way their writing process is going, they
see this series as “maybe a trilogy,” telling an overarching story.

For those who can’t wait for their next dosage of The Midnight’s new material, the duo’s second remix EP landed on Silk Music on Sept. 27, featuring reinterpretations of tracks like “Arcade Dreams” from Timecop1983 and “Shadows” from Uppermost.

“I always love hearing a different take on our songs and my tracks and what elements are used and how they’re using [Lyle’s] voice,” McEwan says. “It’s so freeing to hear. I’m really excited about these songs being dressed up differently for people.”

For now, though, The Midnight are on a brief tour break after trekking across the States for much of the summer and early autumn. In late October, the duo take off again across the pond to play shows in Germany, the UK, France, and many more, wrapping up one of their heaviest tour years to date in the later days of 2019.

As a singer, Lyle thrives off the energy he gets from
crowds, noting that his favorite part of his job is the moments when he can
feel the connection in the room.

“I spent 10 years as a folk singer in much smaller rooms,” he remembers. “It felt like a heart-to-heart connection, but this feels like a spiritual energy with a whole room. There’s an energy there that’s hard to simulate any other way.”

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Photos by Zachary White/Dancing Astronaut

McEwan lives on the other end of the spectrum, calling
himself a “studio guy.”

“My real high comes when I’m working on a track and I crack the code,” he says. “You have the promise of something great, but you haven’t had to do the laborious work of executing it yet. You’re riding the high of all the possibilities, and you know where to take it.”

Combined, these two personalities and skill sets are unstoppable. With their music, The Midnight has touched countless lives with their ability to reach and comfort their fans—fans who “need to be told they’re OK, they’re loved and that and they’re not alone,” Lyle says. “We’re trying to build up the mythology, singing about monsters and vampires… But at the end of the day, the connection seems to happen when we just sort of recognize that human struggle is universal, and we’re all in it. Music is this magical thing that helps us feel a little less alone.”

McEwan agrees, saying that all of us “are the same when it comes down to it.”

“It sounds like such a cliché, but music is a way to unite people,” he says. “It’s the feeling of knowing that you’re meeting all these kindred spirits. You’re writing a song, and three years down the line you’re playing somewhere in Germany or St. Louis and someone comes up to you and says ‘you got me through a hard period of my life.’ That’s something that’s bigger than us.”

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Photos by Zachary White/Dancing Astronaut

Lunar Lunes: BIJOU remixes Sinden & LO’99, Andrew Rayel builds beautiful ‘Horizon,’ Sound Remedy takes us ‘Higher’ + more

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Lunar Lunes: BIJOU remixes Sinden & LO’99, Andrew Rayel builds beautiful ‘Horizon,’ Sound Remedy takes us ‘Higher’ + moreLunar Lunes E1540831560592

Each week, New Music Friday sweeps through with torrential force, showering streaming platforms with immeasurable amounts of new tunes. Just like Dancing Astronaut rounds up 25 of the biggest songs of the week for the Hot 25 Spotify playlist each New Music Friday, Lunar Lunes serves as a landing pad for SoundCloud users who want a whole new dose of tunes to kick off the work week.

Bass house heavyweight BIJOU has returned to AC Slater‘s Night Bass for a hefty remix of Sinden and LO’99‘s “Natural High.” Sound Remedy has delivered his first original tune since April, “Higher,” which is lush with gorgeous vocals and cascading melodies. In celebration of his birthday, Prince Fox has posted a few of his older remixes, including his take on Ariana Grande‘s “Side To Side.” blanke stuns with an impressive remix of Madeon‘s iconic “Imperium,” and Voliik takes on T.A.T.u’s seminal “All The Things She Said.” Tom Fall returns to Armada for an ethereal remix of Limelght’s “Don’t Leave Me Now,” and ECHOS tug at listeners’ heartstrings with the exquisite “Revival.”

The selection is updated every Lunes (Monday).

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 66

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Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 66Deters Beat Lab@0.

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.

Listen in playlist format here.


How many flips of ZHU‘s “Faded” is too many? The limit does not exist! I’m always intrigued to hear new takes on this monumental 2016 release. Tiny Elephant gathers momentum quickly in the introduction he’s built, leading up to a dramatic bass drop in the chorus. He’s filtered the original’s vocals in the chorus in a unique way, bolstering the song’s backbone with a pounding house beat. This sensational remix is perfect for those who can’t get enough of the original, as it maintain’s ZHU’s ever-present dark atmosphere.

In his most recent effort, josh pan teams up with AWAY for an eerily melancholy OWSLA release, “Mask.” This trapped-out bass collaboration is highlighted by pan’s sinister vocals, which are ushered in by a plinking piano introduction. The duo hold nothing back in this release, creating a jarring environment that yanks the listener back and forth between more traditional trap elements and stuttered, unpredictable vocal and beat chops.

After making his Monstercat debut earlier this summer, CloudNone has quickly proven himself to be a valuable asset to the Canadian label. His chilled-out take on modern electronic music is perfect for the winter months and is filled with lush soundscapes and subdued vocals. CloudNone has expertly captured the wistful sounds of the season with the union of instrumentals and minimalist percussion. The song is out now as a part of Monstercat’s latest Rocket League compilation.

A.M.R.’s Silver Lining EP kicks off with a gorgeous intro mix of the collection’s title track. This six-and-a-half-minute venture is built around a subtle house beat, but A.M.R.’s introduction of elements like piano and children singing tucks the bass into the background and allows for the melody to shine through. Strings, too, many an appearance, elevating the “Silver Lining” intro mix to a whole new level.

As we settle into colder months, songs like Steve Brian‘s latest are perfect for brightening up a dreary winter day. “Playa de Santiago,” out as part of Enhanced Chill Vol. 5, brings blissful beats and a cheery piano melody that’ll light up any room. Brian has painted a vivid soundscape of rich, resounding synths, layered to perfection. The breaks and variation in percussion keep this song alive throughout its seven-minute entirety.