I was born in the 80s, so I don’t have a real clue about that time, but I get the idea because all eras leave some mark to you, and we did have 80s equipment through the 90s. I was recording music from radio to compact cassettes as a kid, watched first Star Wars in VHS, had a walkman and so on. Nothing but good memories. Some may have forgotten or even hate those times, but I have always liked the feeling that 80s and 90s had.
If you have seen Drive by Nicolas Winding Refn you know, it was the probably this particular movie that started the electronic synth pop hype, later to be called Synthwave (also called as retrowave, futuresynth, dreamwave or outrun). Retro, Back to the Future, Outrun driving themed video game from 1986, all these topics are part of 80s synth music. When Kavinsky’s Nightcall started playing while Ryan Gosling was driving, I’m sure everyone got the feels. Like the 80s was back, but with a fresh twist.
Synthwave has been close to my heart for some time now. I got into synthwave and variants, and as a huge music geek that I am started to wade through different artists. The Midnight was perfect on the first try – every single song from them started something in me. Every single song from them moves me in some way.
But who are The Midnight and what is it all about? I got in touch with Tim, and here’s the interview. Start playing the cassette below, and continue reading.
Didn’t find much information about your collective, except you are American songwriter and producer. That indicates you have a long history with music. How different have your past projects been and why did you choose synthwave? How did it all start?
Tim: The Midnight consists of producer/songwriter/singer Tim McEwan and singer/songwriter Tyler Lyle. Tyler is our lead singer and comes from the world of Alt. Americana / Folk music. I (Tim) am the producer and we write all the songs together. We’ve both worked in the music industry for many years and written/produced for other artists in the pop sphere.
I hate that mentality of "the music was better back then". There was still just as much shit music made in the 80s. It's just that we remember all the great stuff. It will always be that way.
The Midnight is our passion project and a sort of musical playground for us to do things you typically can’t get away with in conventional pop music. Synthwave is really just my passion. I grew up in the 80s and have an innate love for the era, the music, and overall aesthetic.
What are your influences? Do you listen to the genre yourself?
Tim: I know that Tyler is up listening to artists like Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon & James Taylor. I listened to a ton of Toto, Michael McDonald, Phil Collins & Steve Winwood growing up. A lot of James Taylor and Pat Metheny too.
I love A-ha “Take on Me” and other classics from the 80s. What are your favorites and why?
Tim: Oh man, so many classics. Michael McDonald‘s “I Keep Forgettin'”, The Police “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”, Toto “A Thousand Years” just to name a few!
What was the best thing about the 80s? Does your love for the 80s show in your life today, except for the music?
Tim: The clothes, the colors, the hair. And in music, you were kinda allowed to do whatever you wanted. I feel like that is back these days. The new generation with a laptop and Apleton don’t give a fuck about the “rules” or what you’re “supposed” to do. They’re just doing what they like because it sounds good, which should always be the rule! I have a lot of 80’s movie posters in my apartment and wear some classic clothes from that time, but I’m not locked into that era in everything I do haha.
Many people say the future is going to the wrong direction because there are not many analog devices in use, cassette players or vinyl, and today’s kids don’t need to “go through the trouble,” in a sense, to do things, which was part of the fun. What do you think about this? Do you find the 80s spirit in today’s world?
Tim: I hate that mentality of “the music was better back then”. There was still just as much shit music made in the 80s. It’s just that we remember all the great stuff. It will always be that way. There is MUCH more creativity now than there ever was. The music industry is suffering, but music itself has never been better! Young kids can learn how to produce when they’re 8-10 years old now so, by the time they’re 20 years old, they’ve been making music for over 10 years! That’s incredible and was never possible before.
Sure, there’s more crap floating around but then we also get talents like Zedd, Porter Robinson, Flume etc. Young kids that are coming from a whole new perspective. That’s much more interesting to me than just clinging onto the old and trying to keep everything analog. I don’t use any analog equipment. I like the crispness of digital and the control I have. And plugins have gotten so good now that the sound quality is really next level.
Some of your songs contain stories about young love and summer nights. Are they based on real events?
Tim: No not really. They’re more ideas and feelings, embodying events or experiences we’ve had.
Do you play old games? If not, did you play games back then (every kid did, I guess)? What are your favorites?
Tim: I’m not a gamer but I know that Tyler is!
Is there going to be a new album? Can you tell me a bit about it?
Tim: Maaaaaybeeeee…… 🙂
— End of the interview —
The Midnight’s debut album is my all time favorite and can be purchased on their Bandcamp. Highly recommended.
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