Midlake | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, May 29th, 2024  


Starting A New Era

Dec 20, 2013 Issue #48 - November/December 2013 - HAIM Bookmark and Share

Two years into recording their follow-up to 2010’s The Courage of Others, Tim Smith, Midlake‘s lead singer and songwriter since their formation, announced he was leaving the band.

“The reality was that we all had different opinions of where things were going and what the future looked like,” explains guitarist Eric Pulido. “One day, [Tim] just sort of said he didn’t want to keep going. We’d been working on this thing for two years. Even though it wasn’t the shock of the century, that wasn’t what I wanted. What anybody wanted.”

It was resolved the rest of the band would be allowed to continue as Midlake without Smith, while the former frontman would start a solo venture called Harp.

“It wasn’t some big fight,” says Pulido. “It was more like a breakup or divorce, where you’re like, ‘Who gets the dog? Who gets the house?’ Obviously, the name was something we all created together, and the name encompasses all of our past. We felt we could do something that was worthy and honest as Midlake and would have some commonality with what we’ve done in the past. We felt it would be difficult and unnecessary to throw that all away. It was ours, as well.”

Following Smith’s sudden departure, the othersPulido, bassist Paul Alexander, drummer McKenzie Smith, guitarist Eric Nichelson, and newcoming guitarist Joey McClellan and keyboardist Jesse Chandlerwere forced to adapt to expanded roles within Midlake. Pulido, who sang lead melodies along with Smith in the past, became the group’s full-time lead vocalist.

“We lost a huge element in how we write and record, and now we’re going to have to fill that,” he says. “Where do we go? We were not only trying to find that out, but find it quickly, because for all intents and purposes we’d just wasted two years of our lives recording a record that would never see the light of day.”

Midlake threw out most of the material they’d developed over the last two years and spent the next six months writing and recording an all-new record. Titled Antiphon, it’s much harder-rocking than the band’s previous recordings, toning down their folksy side and dialing up the psychedelic and progressive influences from bands such as Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Led Zeppelin.

“Everybody in the band kind of felt like they had a little bit more of a voice than they’d had in the past,” Pulido says.

“[Antiphon] was a culmination of all the things we loved and the things that influenced our past in Midlake that we might have shied away from. We embraced the whole body of stuff we really dig and that influenced our band from the very beginning. Even the stuff we might have listened to on Casey Kasem when we were teenagers.”

Antiphon will surprise many listeners, but it feels like a natural progression from the band’s earlier work. It’s unlikely fans will be disappointed that they soldiered on without one of their principal members. This is the beginning of a second era for Midlake.

“When your back’s up against the wall, you’re forced to do something,” Pulido says. “The onus is on all of us now.”


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