Thursday, November 1, 2007

Midlake Come Home to Roost

This is an article that originally went into the NT Daily, but was butchered in order to fit into the small space it was given. Honestly, the less of it you see the better--yet, here I am posting the full thing for you good people. This was my first interview and I did it without a mic, so it's a bit of a mess. The focus of the interview was "Midlake's Guide to Denton", so there wasn't too much about the music here. I do get into what its like to come back after "getting head, getting paid", but that part is mostly brief. Anyway here is the full interview in text and audio:

Midlake Come Home to Roost(+)

In a town where its most famous musicians (Sly Stone, Don Henley, Norah Jones) were merely passing visitors, Midlake are a band that is here for the long haul. While the 5-piece group’s music belongs to a time long ago, their heart and spirit are connected with Denton’s emerging indie scene.

“If you want to be in a town where music is happening, Denton isn’t a bad place to be”, says Eric Nichelson, Midlake’s guitarist. “There are so many bands, known and unknown, who are amazing here.”

Between local indie-rock band (and Nichelson’s roommate), The Valentines, winning Dallas Oberserver’s Best New Act of 2006 award and Wall of Sound Festival moving from a modest stage at Hailey’s to a baseball stadium, Denton has seen a growing amount of indie acts. While many show promise, Midlake have continued to grow in popularity and talent.

In the same way that Neil Young interpreted Americana into his music, Tim Smith and company interprets Neil Young into their off-kilter brand of fuzzy pop. Forming in 1999, Midlake was the band name settled by five jazz majors of UNT: Tim Smith (vocals), Eric Nichelson (guitar), McKenzie Smith (drums), Paul Alexander (bass), and Eric Pulido (guitar/keyboards). While they got their first taste of success in England, they still find their home and inspiration amongst their fellow musicians in Denton.

“If anything, its cool that anywhere we go we can promote the town of Denton and the music scene we are a part of”, says Piludo.

Between the beginnings of Centro-Matic and up-and-coming artists, like Robert Gomez, Midlake bridged the gap between Denton’s struggling ‘90s scene and the revived ‘00s. While most bands in Denton have failed due to their lack of work ethic and imagination, Midlake were determined to offer something different and not give up until everyone interested has heard what they have to say.

“There’s a whole world trying to fit in, but I think that we’ve had enough of that”, says Smith with his heart on his sleeve.

While most bands carefully calculate their image and sound so much that their debut feels like plastic, Midlake have succeeded on their openness for experimentation and reinvention at an early stage. From embarrassing funk band beginnings to Midlake’s debut, Bamnan and Slivercork, that seemed more content in its miniature pop-symphonies than a etched-in-stone sound, Midlake apply their jazz backgrounds and always observe what works, what doesn’t work, what feels right, and what doesn’t feel right. The confidence in 2006’s The Trials of Van Occupanther is the result of hard work and not arrogance. It’s sure to last for another album or two.

As for the rest of the town that Midlake will be forever tied to, McKenzie offers his final words, “Good luck and if NT could give us honorary degrees, that would be great!”

Midlake will be recording new material in the Spring and will tour in the following Summer/Fall. For a sample of their music and current news on the band, visit

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