The Midnight

The Midnight performing live

The Midnight is an American synthwave band originating from Los Angeles, California, composed of producer Tim McEwan and vocalist/guitarist Tyler Lyle. Since forming in 2012, the band has released three extended plays (EPs), four albums, and two remix albums. 1)2)

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Prior to forming The Midnight, Tyler Lyle and Tim McEwan were both established musicians. Lyle was an indie-folk singer-songwriter based in the state of Georgia and gained initial notability with several self-released titles, becoming regionally and nationally known. McEwan was a drummer and producer based in Denmark, later becoming a member of the Danish production group Deekay who has written and produced songs for many popular artists.3)

The pair met for the first time in 2012 at a songwriter’s workshop in North Hollywood organized by Katie Donovan, Lyle’s A&R representative at the time.4) Before meeting, McEwan had listened to some of Lyle’s previous work and liked Lyle’s folk sound. Despite differing musical backgrounds, they bonded over a mutual love of 80s rock and began to write songs together. After initially struggling to define their sound, McEwan suggested that they compose songs in the synthwave style. McEwan had previous exposure to the burgeoning genre and was inspired by the movie Drive. The first song they wrote together was WeMoveForward,5)6) which was included on their debut EP Days of Thunder.

According to Lyle, the name “The Midnight” came from McEwan and himself throwing out random names until they found one that stuck.7) Other band names that they considered were “Lightyears”, “Temporary Tigers”, and “The Midnight Tigers.”

Days of Thunder

After the initial meeting in 2012, Lyle and McEwan continued writing together over the next two years and independently released their debut EP Days of Thunder on July 15, 2014.8) The EP contains six tracks and was entirely written, produced, and mastered by Lyle and McEwan, with additional instrumentation provided by Thomas Edinger (saxophone) and Oliver McEwan (synths).

The band's sound and philosophy were self-described as follows:9)


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. How do we capture them? How could we possibly be able to fully appreciate them in the present? This project is our attempt to put time under glass. The Midnight is a marriage between a songwriter from the Deep South and a producer from Denmark who both live in Los Angeles. The songs were written in North Hollywood and Santa Monica over two years and represent the first fruit of The Midnight. This is our love song to our city and a testament to the weight these years can hold.

No singles from the EP were released prior to its release, but in 2016 the label Silk Music issued singles for the songs WeMoveForward and Days of Thunder.10)11) The singles included the original songs and remixes that would later appear on the 2017 remix album The Midnight Remixed.12)

The instrumental version of Days of Thunder was released on March 20, 2016.13)

Endless Summer

On August 5, 2016, The Midnight independently released their first full-length album, Endless Summer.14) Containing twelve tracks, Endless Summer saw the band collaborating with Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Nikki Flores for the first time, with Flores co-writing and performing vocals on the song Jason. The album received positive reviews from critics.15)16)17)

Two singles were released from Endless Summer prior to the album's release: Sunset, which released on May 13, 2016 18) and Vampires, which released on June 10, 2016.19)

Silk Music also released two singles from Endless Summer containing remixes: Sunset, which released on August 7, 2017 20) and Synthetic, which released on December 18, 2017.21)

The instrumental version of Endless Summer was released on August 13, 2016.22) On June 24, 2021, a 5 Year Anniversary Edition of Endless Summer was released featuring two additional songs: Bend and Comet.23)

The Midnight Remixed

On August 14, 2017, The Midnight released their first remix album The Midnight Remixed through the label Silk Music.24)25) The album contains twelve remixed versions of previously released The Midnight songs, featuring remixes from several well-known names in electronic/progressive house including Mango, Talamanca, Johan Vilborg, and Michael Cassette.

Prior to the release of The Midnight Remixed, Silk Music issued new singles for the songs WeMoveForward, Sunset, and Days of Thunder.26)27)28) These single releases included the original songs as well as their corresponding remixes that would later be included on the album.

The album charted at number twenty-two on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums Chart.29)30) This was the first time a release by The Midnight charted on Billboard.31) After the album's release, a fourth and final single for the song Synthetic was released.32) This single does not include the original song but instead features five remixed versions.

Nocturnal

Nocturnal, The Midnight's second album, was independently released on October 13, 2017.33) The album contains seven tracks and features collaborations with Nikki Flores and Timecop1983. Nocturnal was noted for having a considerably darker sound compared to previous The Midnight releases and received mostly positive reviews from critics.34)35)36)37)38) The album charted at number seventeen on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums Chart after release and the following year it peaked at number seventeen on the Billboard Heatseekers Album chart.39)40)

Nocturnal was preceded by the release of its only single, Crystalline, which was issued on September 22, 2017.41)

The instrumental version of Nocturnal was released on December 15, 2017.42)

Kids

The Midnight's third album, Kids, was independently released on September 21, 2018.43) The album contains nine tracks. Featuring a more upbeat and lighter tone compared to Nocturnal, the album received more mixed reviews compared to previous The Midnight offerings44)45)46)47)48) but was still a successful release for the band, debuting at number one on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Album Sales chart, number twelve on the Dance/Electronic Albums chart, number two on the Heatseekers Albums chart, and number thirteen on the Independent Albums chart.49)50)

Kids was preceded by the release of three singles. Lost Boy was the first single and was released on July 13, 2018.51) The second single, America 2, was released on August 3, 2018.52) The third and final single was Arcade Dreams, releasing on September 7, 2018.53)

Kids is the first album of a planned trilogy.54) The next album in the trilogy is Monsters, and a third yet to be named album will conclude the trilogy.

The instrumental version of Kids was released on October 30, 2018.55)

The Midnight Remixed 02

On September 27, 2019, Silk Music released The Midnight's second remix album, The Midnight Remixed 02.56) The Midnight Remixed 02 features eleven new remixes of previously released The Midnight songs, with contributions from the likes of Timecop1983, Blood Grove & Kikis, and Claes Rosen.

To promote the album's release, Silk Music released three remix singles: Shadows (Uppermost Remix), which released on August 23, 2019,57) Arcade Dreams (Timecop1983 Remix), which released on September 13, 2019,58) and Kids (PROFF Dub Remix), which released on September 20, 2019.59)

The album peaked at number eight on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums Chart60) and number one on the USA iTunes Dance Top Albums Chart.61)

Monsters

The Midnight released their fourth album Monsters on July 10, 2020, through the label Counter Records.62) A continuation of Kids, the album contains fifteen tracks and is their largest release to date in terms of the number of songs. It features a collaboration with the Los Angeles based music duo Jupiter Winter on the title track.

Noted for moving the band's sound in a different direction and expanding its horizons, Monsters received mostly positive reviews from critics.63)64)65)66)67) Also obtaining commercial success, the album charted at number one-hundred-thirty-four on the Billboard 200,68) number twelve on the Dance/Electronic Albums chart,69)70) and number eighteen on the Independent Albums chart.71)

Monsters was preceded by the release of four singles. America Online was the first single and was released on May 3, 2019.72) The second single, Deep Blue, was released on May 6, 2020.73) The third single, Dance With Somebody, was released on June 10, 2020.74) The fourth and final single, Prom Night, was released on June 24, 2020.75)

The instrumental version of Monsters was released on October 8, 2020.76)

Horror Show

The Midnight's second EP, Horror Show, was released on October 16, 2020, through Counter Records.77)78)79) The EP will initially be able to stream only on Amazon Music, but is expected to eventually be available on other platforms as well. Physical copies of the EP were also available to pre-order from the band's official store on release day, with all orders including a digital download of the EP alongside its instrumentals.80)

Announced as a prize during the Fall 2020 alternate reality game (ARG), the EP contains six tracks. With a darker sound reminiscent of Nocturnal, Horror Show sees The Midnight collaborating with producer Essenger for the first time, with Essenger co-producing four tracks.81) The band also collaborated again with Nikki Flores on the song Because The Night, a cover of the original 1978 song by Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith.

The Rearview Mirror

The Midnight's third EP, The Rearview Mirror was released on July 23, 2021.82) Released to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the band's album Endless Summer, the EP features five songs that have been re-imagined with orchestral arrangements performed by the Magik*Magik Orchestra. Vampires was released as a single from the EP on July 9, 2021.

For most of their career, The Midnight has created a strong and distinct synthwave sound in their music - Tim McEwan once described the band's early albums “as if Miami Vice had a baby with a John Hughes movie.”83) However, McEwan has continuously expressed a desire to evolve the synthwave genre and not be confined by it.84)85)86)87) Tyler Lyle has stated several times that the band's philosophy when composing is “combine, not confine.”88)89)90) Influences of genres such as lo-fi, soft rock, trance, and vaporwave can be heard on Monsters,91)92) and Lyle's musical background has brought influences of indie folk and Americana to the band's sound as well.93) Regarding the merging of their individual talents and styles, Lyle has said:94)


It’s rock and roll with synthesizers. Tim has a keen ear for production, and I can write songs that fit comfortably within the tradition of 20th century classic pop songwriting. Somewhere in the middle things get interesting.

McEwan employs various digital synths in his production, including Serum, Diva, TAL-U-NO-LX, Spire, and Roland Cloud's Jupiter 8 and Juno 106.95)96) In mid-2020, he mentioned that his favorite synth to use at the time was U-He's emulation of Prophet-5, known as Repro 5.97) McEwan has stated that he commonly begins with presets and then tweaks them to his liking.98) KONTAKT is used for sampling.99)100) In 2020, both Lyle and McEwan started adding more analog equipment to their audio setups.101)102)103)104)105)106)107)108)109)110) In early 2021, McEwan shared that his current home studio consisted of the following equipment:111)

Both McEwan and Lyle use Logic Pro on macOS as their primary Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).112) Universal Audio interfaces are used to capture their sounds, which are then processed using UAD plugins.113)114) Using the same utilities makes it easier for them to share session files as a significant amount of their work is done remotely, due to living in different areas of the US.115) However, they will usually get together in the same room a few times during a release's production and will often write and record together while on tour.116) A release's sound and overall direction are generally created by the two bouncing ideas off each other - McEwan will send Lyle a rough track or beat, which Lyle will then think of lyrics and a title that would go good with the beat, after which McEwan will further build and produce the track.117) McEwan has stated that the production of a typical The Midnight album takes around three to six months, “from the early gestating part to finish.”118)

Synths, drums, and overall production are handled by McEwan, with Lyle providing guitar, lyrics, and vocals. Lyle has stated that he writes on a daily basis,119) and many lyrics come from a large number of fragments he keeps stored in Evernote.120) During a fan question-and-answer session on Twitter prior to the release of Monsters, he mentioned that he “wrote about 250 songs between 2016-2019” and “20 something of those songs got properly demoed/ realistically considered for Monsters.”121) Regarding his general writing process and how he writes for The Midnight, Lyle has said:122)123)


I write The Midnight lyrically (mostly) as the fantasy that I never experienced. I lean a bit utopian sometimes and let the images get grander than I experienced. I was on the debate team. I had a lisp. I was really into Syphon Filter. The fun is in the make believe.

I write everyday. Some of it goes in The Midnight folder. Some of it goes off into far far away places. It works best when Tim has a cool musical skeleton and I have a cool lyrical skeleton we can smush together and build together.

Most of the remaining instrumentation is digital,124) but on occasion songs (including most with saxophone and guitar solos) will at first have digital instruments that are then outsourced to other musicians to play live on the track. Thomas Edinger has been the primary saxophone player for The Midnight's releases, and McEwan's brother Oliver has frequently played bass for the band as well.

For live performances, various setups have been used by the band. Lyle stated that the Spring 2019 Tour utilized an Ableton rig, with McEwan using an SPD SX sampling pad and MIDI controller.125) Lyle ran his guitars through a Kemper profiling amp, and he also used an OP1 for certain synth moments and pads. Most shows will also feature live bass, acoustic, and electric guitars, as well as live saxophone. Since the Fall 2019 Tour, the band's touring lineup has consisted of McEwan on synths and drums, Lyle on guitar and synths, Lelia Broussard on guitar and synths, and Jesse Molloy on saxophone and synths. Lyle is the primary vocalist and the others perform backing vocals. Molloy has been with the band since their first live shows in 2017, though other saxophone players will occasionally fill in for him, particularly at shows outside of the US.126)127) Broussard joined the band prior to the start of the Fall 2019 Tour.128) Nikki Flores occasionally appears at some shows as a vocalist, performing her collaborations with the band in addition to singing vocals on Sunset.

  • Tim McEwan (producer, songwriter, percussion, synths, occasional vocals)
  • Tyler Lyle (songwriter, lead vocals, guitar, occasional synths)

Current tour members

Occasional/past tour members


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  • Last modified: 02/09/2021 00:45
  • by Timothy Collins