Los Angeles synthwave duo, The Midnight have been pushing the sonic and thematic boundaries of their genre since their inception, with impressive compositions encompassing synth-driven film scores, deep house, pop and rock, coupled with storytelling that immediately immerses you in the world. Following the release of their nostalgic, 80’s-tinged album, Kids in 2018, the duo, comprised of singer-songwriter Tyler Lyle and producer Tim McEwan, continued to expand on their sonic universe with their highly anticipated follow-up, Monsters this summer, but they weren’t planning on stopping there. Unbeknownst to their devoted fanbase, The Midnight have been hard at work on their new EP, Horror Show (out today exclusively on Amazon Music), which serves as an homage to the late night horror films and monster movies that impacted them as teens.
A contrast to the twinkly, dreamy instrumentals of Kids or the romantic, emotional songs found on Monsters, Horror Show finds The Midnight returning to their roots and drawing influence from the eerie romance of Hitchcock and The Twilight Zone. The haunting, seductive six-song EP, which took some inspiration from the shadowy figure in the television of the Monsters artwork, sits perfectly alongside the duo’s latest release and will surely serve as a bridge to the next chapter in their story.
Later this month, The Midnight will be celebrating the release of Monsters and Horror Show with an exciting full band livestream show. Tickets are available now HERE. Read what the band’s Tyler Lyle had to say about Horror Show, the upcoming performance and much more below. Stream Horror Show on Amazon Music HERE and purchase it on their web store HERE.
Prelude Press: This year, you’ve officially celebrated not one, but two releases with Monsters and now, Horror Show. Although it has obviously been a very challenging year in the music industry, what has been the highlight of your year so far?
The Midnight [Tyler Lyle]: Last year was so busy that we knew we needed a bit of space from the road. We never imagined this though. It’s such a heavy time and we’ve only been together as a team two days this year (for a show in Houston and a private event in SF in February). I can’t speak for Tim, but the “best” part for me is the return to the simplicity of sitting at my writing desk. In the old myths and fables, just before or just after the main action, there’s a period of sorting, of maintenance, of sweeping the floor. Cutting the grass, fixing the work space, maintaining the tools. The best part has been that shift in mentality from action to the integration and maintenance of ordinary life.
As the follow-up to Kids, did you have any major goals in mind when you began to work on Monsters?
We wanted to be able to convey the shifting mood from wonder at a distance (Kids) to the chaos and complexity of individuals in relationship with one another. We wanted to feel the raised stakes that the romance and aggression and danger inherent in adolescence brings, and the real sense that our narrator might be sucked forever into the tempest; that our hero might not make it out alright.
Now that you’ve had a little bit of time to reflect on the album, what are some of your favorite aspects of Monsters?
I like how it showcases both of us at our best, individually and together. There’s more latitude for Tim to take risks with production and for me to employ more traditional “singer-songwriter” style songs, and I think that ultimately allows us to paint with more colors in the future. We’re becoming more comfortable with our individual voices within The Midnight as something that adds to rather than detracts from the overall vision.
You’re releasing Horror Show, which is a bit of a story within a story, inspired by retro monster films and serving as a closer look at the shadowy figure within the TV on the Monsters artwork. Was this EP something that you were working on alongside Monsters? How did it come about?
Making worlds is what excites us. As we were finalizing artwork for Monsters, this opportunity fell into our laps. We started working on Horror Show in that weird window just before Monsters was released, and we finished it just after. We wanted the story to exist alongside the world of Monsters, but to give it a space that’s both outside and inside that world without it conflicting with our overarching project.
Like probably many of your readers, I was traumatized by the 80s horror films I saw too early as a kid. The ones that felt best were the late night monster movies from the decades before- the Creature From The Black Lagoon or The Invasion of The Body Snatchers- The Twilight Zone, reruns of Dark Shadows, Hitchcock. In those old films and tv shows, there was a hint of menace and psychological darkness that could be explored more safely, and it’s those stories of melodramas that we minded for this EP- stories about trauma, temptation, unresolved loss. Using deadly serious stories, but putting them behind that patina of celluloid that keeps them from being pinned down to time or place. These are the stories I saw on my old TV as a kid when I was supposed to be sleeping.
Did your writing process change at all when incorporating the eerie, haunting sounds of horror movies into your music?
I can only speak for the lyrics, but they were all fleshed out on acoustic guitar. It was important to me that the bones be solid first. Hitchcock’s “special effects” were tone, mood, lighting and good story telling. There’s a temptation when doing “Halloween songs” that you lean on sound effect gimmicks to make more of a theme park ride experience, but we wanted something different. We wanted smart and compelling first, and only then we let loose and had fun with the production.
The final song on Horror Show is a cover of Patti Smith’s “Because The Night.” What made you want to incorporate this song into this particular EP?
We’ve always loved this song. It’s seductive and full of a dark secretive energy that we try to capture on songs like Shadows or Crystalline. Even back to our first days in LA, I remember floating this song as a cover. Of course Bruce Springsteen gave this song to Patti Smith, and we tried to incorporate both of their lyrical changes to our version, and we were thrilled that Nikki Flores agreed to sing this one with us. This is a high watermark in good songcraft and it (shockingly) hasn’t been covered to death, and it’s so fun to sing. I hope it makes it into some live shows.
While Kids is told from a youthful perspective, Monsters takes on adolescence and impending adulthood. Where do you see yourselves going from here?
With each record of the Kids series, we wanted to balance individuation/coming of age through the lens of nostalgia, and the hope with a multi album project is that we can clarify our complex relationship to it. What’s after impending adulthood? The regret of paths not taken; finding our childhood illusions to be hostile to the grown up world; the resentment that life is suddenly behind us and not ahead of us anymore? Or maybe some time machines or portals to other dimensions or alien invasions or something. We’re making it up as we go along!
You guys also have a full band live stream show coming up on the 30th! What can fans expect from the event?
Full production! We’ll have our biggest band yet, all together with a massive lighting rig, a full camera team, special guests. It’s going to be such a joy to play and make 2020’s version of live music again with our touring family.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
LISTEN TO HORROR SHOW ON AMAZON MUSIC: http://amzn.to/TheMidnightHorrorShow