Nocturnal – A Synthwave Sunday Interview with The Midnight

Anytime we get new music from The Midnight it sends ripples through the synthwave community. Through a consistent series of quality releases that date back years, they have established themselves as a legitimate name on the scene. What’s more, they’ve done so without letting things spiral out of control. They’ve kept their heads firmly on their shoulders, one foot in the 1980’s, the other in the here and now, and their hands on the steering wheel. Let me put it to you this way…when someone asks me what synthwave is, I tell them to listen to The Midnight.

Nocturnal is more than deserving of the attention it’s getting. This Billboard charting EP is bringing synthwave to a larger audience, and that’s not only good for The Midnight, it’s good for everyone. I’m not sure if it’s the pitch perfect saxophone, the echoing drumscapes, warm and accessible hooks, the soaring vocals, or all of these things combined, but Nocturnal is infectious. As a writer, especially one who writes about music, I’m constantly listening to music that I’ll be covering in the coming days and weeks. This means that I’m not always able to keep things on repeat like I would like to, but Nocturnal will not be denied time pumping through my headphones. It won’t allow it!

Not only are you getting brilliant new tracks from The Midnight, the collaborations with Timecop1983 and Nikki Flores are worth the purchase by themselves. Speaking of purchase, you can find Nocturnal wherever you enjoy buying music. I always mention Bandcamp here because their app makes it so easy to keep all of your favorite synthwave bands together in one place, but I’m sure The Midnight will be happy with the support matter where you make your purchase.

As promised, here is my conversation with The Midnight, easily two of the most humble guys in the business:

First of all, thanks for talking with us! Just in case someone has been living under a synthwave rock, could you tell us a little about The Midnight?

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. The Midnight consists of Danish producer Tim McEwan & American singer/songwriter Tyler Lyle.

What were your beginnings? What got you started?

Me and Tyler met in 2012 in a writing session and that was the beginning of The Midnight. We immediately clicked and wrote WeMoveForward that day.

Did you ever think you’d be as influential on the scene as you’ve become?

I didn’t know that we were influential – haha! I think there are so many talented and diverse names on the scene and I think we all keep inspiring each other to hopefully push the scene forward and keep evolving. We certainly don’t think of ourselves as influential in any way. We’re just trying to make music that we like and make it as good as we can. The way I see it, if one artist in the scene gets attention, it helps the whole scene grow and expand. And that’s only a good thing.

How do you record? What is your studio setup?

I use Logic Pro X. I don’t use outboard gear or any vintage synths. I like to keep it all in the box. I’m probably offending all the vintage heads out there right now LOL

You’ve got new music! What’s the story behind Nocturnal?

We wanted to do a slightly darker and more moody EP and release it around Halloween. It just happened that Friday the 13th fell right in October, which was perfect. I took inspiration from early John Carpenter movies and James Cameron’s The Terminator from 1984. ‘Nocturnal’ went straight to no. 1 on Bandcamp and stayed there for 10 days straight. The week after, ‘Nocturnal’ made it to no. 17 on the official Billboard dance/electronic album chart, which is insane! We’re blown away and humbled.

What is your writing process when you’re developing a new release?

Tyler lives in NYC and I live in LA so usually we like to be in the same room. I’ll play him some rough ideas or sometimes even just some chords on a synth and if Tyler is feeling it then he’ll just start writing. Other times I’ll send him rough ideas from LA and he’ll write in NYC and send me vocals. It really depends on whats logistically possible.

What albums have you really been enjoying so far this year?

No full albums really but more individuals songs with new artists I discover here and there.

We just passed Halloween! Favorite scary movie?

LOVE a good scary movie! The Conjuring 1 & 2 is definitely up there. Also love It Follows, Halloween and The Thing is a classic. Saw the new IT movie the other day and it was awesome!

You recently released a powerful statement about the alt-right. When did you decide that enough was enough?

We felt we had to make a statement and not stay silent. We realise that we can’t control who listens to our music, nor would we. But in a today’s climate, with so much hate and xenophobia happening in the media, we felt the need to make our feelings on the alt-right movement very clear. You might say it’s obvious to say you don’t agree with nazis or antisemitism etc. but we couldn’t just be passive about it. We don’t care if you’re liberal or conservative. It wasn’t a political statement. It was a human statement.

Any parting words before we go?

Thank you to everyone who keeps supporting what we do and for helping the genre grow and evolve! If you’re in LA on the 18th of November then you should come to our live show!

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