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“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.” – Tyler Lyle
Student Pages caught up with The Midnight, fronted by Tyler Lyle (a songwriter from the Deep South) and Tim McEwan (a producer from Denmark), ahead of the release of their highly antipated new single ‘Deep Blue ’ from album ‘Monster’ on May 6th.
Finding their Calling
As a child Tyler highlights he had no interest in playing music, with a musically talented father who subsequently was the choir director and involved with a bar band. Growing up, Tyler explains how he was surrounded by music genres including the blues; country; bluegrass; classic rock and gospel music. His dad was a key musical inspiration. So when his curiosity peaked as a freshman in high school, picking up a guitar and learning four chords just clicked. Referencing John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, Randy Newman & Lucinda Williams. Tyler wanted to inhabit his world the way they inhabited theirs, through the lens of song. Keen to live in an ever expanding self and enjoy the process the way it seemed like they enjoyed theirs. I never had some big ambition. I just wanted to tell my story.
Pointing to his hundreds of songs he wrote prior to finding lyrics he was happy with, and having won a major songwriting competition at 24. Tyler moved to LA the following year, and this was the beginning..
When it comes to their new release, Deep Blue, the duo explain the inspiration behind the single was from the falling feather through the air at the beginning and end of Forrest Gump. The idea that something life changing can come out of the blue. It was always on its way, but you didn’t know it. You couldn’t have known it. Tyler expands further to highlight there is an element of that’s wonderful and serendipitous, but there’s also an element that suggests that we are fated to follow unknown and unknowable forces wherever they lead us. For the talented duo, what is key to relay to their fans, is leaving enough space in their songwriting for their fans to be transported to a world of their own creation. Something only their minds can identify with, but equally a feeling of emotive inspiration.
Tackling the Naysayers
Tyler explains his motivation has been driven by digging into the song as a creative pursuit. Something which he highlights has always stood him apart…
“It had to to survive. I was bullied in junior high. I had a lisp. I was also intensely self-righteous. Some bullying is harmful. Some is helpful, because sometimes you are the jerk and how else are you going to know that? The skills to gain are self knowledge first. Then you need to learn self awareness and self love. Then you must find a way to turn that self love into empathy.”
Confronting depression and anxiety, Tyler opens up to having dealt with both. For the frontman, depression is the enemy of the creative life. It’s not secretly sexy and it doesn’t inspire better art. It destroys. It’s so hard to find balance in an age that’s always vying for your attention.
When it comes to utilizing social media, the duo describe it as a vice. Highlighting that it totally distracts from the real creative work which is self knowledge and self discovery. For the artists, whilst their following is extensive, the hard truth is you can’t discover yourself when you’re worried about an avatar you’ve created surviving in a sea of other avatars. For the band, none of it edifies; none of it gives life. Tyler admits to having cut his social media presence down to just Twitter, humbly acknowledging how grateful they are to have people support the artist in running their social media platforms.
Finding the right mix
When it comes to finding the right team, the duo take the view that everyone comes from their own point of view, but the fun of being in a creative hub like Los Angeles or Nashville is that you realize how possible everything is. Your angle is not the “right” one. Production is just window dressing. The bones are still the most important. Good songs and solid musical production.
Music aside, Tyler highlights his core strength lies in family. Tyler explains how going for walks with his wife and son are the core to defining who he is. Following horology and whiskey blogs. Working in his yard, and reading books about creativity and mythology.
For those seeking the same musical path, Tyler explains you need purify the source. Do your creative work without expecting anything to happen for ten years. Let simplicity and audacity characterize your pursuits and do not look outward. Do not compare. Further expanding on the point that your initial job is to ingest and distill inspiration knowing that your journey is singular and unlike anyone else’s. Read. Write. Meditate. You have to become yourself before you’re any worth to the music industry.
With work on a solo record, The Midnight record, a book for his son and a DJ set, the band has plenty to look forward to. Ultimately, it boils down to being able to run music as long as possible.