The Midnight do not seem like a band; more like a workforce. As a still relatively up-and-coming indie group straddling a couple of different genres, the American synth-rockers have made it clear they do not have time to rest on their laurels. Just after finishing their summer 2022 tour they released their fourth studio album, Heroes, before setting out on an expansive tour across the US. Now, they’re back on the road in Europe and the UK, selling out some of their biggest shows yet with their most energetic shows. It almost seems like they never stop – and I don’t think they want that to change.
“I think part of Tim’s genius is his restraint,” Tyler mused. “You hear that on the record, he’s making tough choices and making [the music] very tasteful. Live, my personality gets to come out a little more. I’m from the South, I’m raised on Blues and Country music, and I grew up in church where this room full of people is an event. Something you put a lot of energy into. So I enjoy making that an elevated experience and making an effortless experience. We’re going to make the live shows as fun and raw as possible.”
Tyler caught himself preaching a little, before adding: “Because, you know, parking your car is expensive,” he laughed. “It’s not a cheap night out for people, you want to give them your best [while] acknowledging what they are sacrificing to be there to see you. We have to meet them in the middle.”
After Tyler’s casual mention of his church upbringing, the idea of intrinsic community stuck with me. This roving band of musicians that makes up The Midnight is more than a band. And playing live is more than just getting on stage, to them. It’s extremely important (as well as, probably, financially stimulating) – but it isn’t a two-man show. While Tim and Tyler are the nuclei of the sunset-driven movement, it is their live band that really elucidates their ever-expanding vision.
When The Midnight hit the stage Tim is (modestly) placed at the back of the set on a drum kit, creating a powerful sound bed for their music, and Tyler is front and centre with his mahogany vocals and guitars – however, they need back up. Flanking them on three sides are husband-and-wife duo Lelia Broussard (vocals and guitars) and Royce Whittaker (lead guitar), while Justin Klunk rounds off the band with their silky saxophone tones. Lelia has been with The Midnight for a few years now, but Royce and Justin are relative newcomers, hitting stages with The Midnight around the world for the past 18+ months (or thereabouts).
It’s not groundbreaking for a band to work with the same touring musicians across multiple tours, but The Midnight don’t see these key members as mere performers for hire. Instead, they describe their band as The Midnight family. Tyler pointed out that (other than Justin) the rest of the band were even “involved in writing Heroes, and have writings credits on it”.
The care and thoughtfulness Tim and Tyler dedicate to their band do not stop there, either. They made it clear that they want to look after their behind-the-scenes crew, financially, as well. Again, the duo have been in the music industry long enough to have seen lots of people getting trodden on along the way.
Perhaps this is their way of giving back?
If so, there must be even more pressure on their shoulders when they start thinking about new albums. If they’re single-handedly looking after their band and their crew (and themselves), they literally cannot afford to miss. But… thankfully, they’ve only continued to grow since their inception in 2012.
And failure doesn’t seem like a concern for Tim and Tyler.
The Midnight’s fifth album has not even been announced just yet, but Tim confirmed they are “in the beginning process of playing around with new ideas of where we want to take it”, before describing their next project as having a “heavy, heavy electronic” sound.
Brimming with excitement once again, Tim smiled: “I think – without spoiling anything, or overpromising anything – the people that really love and connected with [their second EP] Nocturnal… I think they’re going to find a lot to love about the next thing – whatever it ends up being.”
He stressed that they are in “very early stages” but confirmed the work – whatever it may be – is “very much living in the universe that feels affiliated with Nocturnal”.
“Even, maybe, slightly darker,” he trailed off. “A little bit more sinister.”
Tyler was quick to cut in and talk out the release schedule of the next album in real time with me (“Maybe a single in September?” he playfully shrugged. “[A new album] probably late 2024?”), but they couldn’t commit to anything just yet.
However The Midnight’s fifth studio album turns out, surely it is a stress for them to continue switching up their sound on literally every album? Probably, but Tim and Tyler don’t seem concerned with things like that. They just want to do the work. And, honestly, you cannot argue with their success thus far. Heroes reached number three on Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic Albums Chart, while hitting number 22 on Billboard’s US Independent Albums chart. And with this continual growth, Tim believes they have more freedom than ever.
“If anything,” he said. “The success allows us to maintain creative freedom, to express ourselves. Heroes, for example, was informed by the big anthemic rock songs from the ’80s and ’90s … being able to vacillate between those worlds and have an album like Heroes and lean into that with the live tours, and then go, ‘okay, what’s the next thing? What feels fresh and exciting to us?’
“Having the freedom to do that, to be able to do this on our own terms and play in big rooms, have a great crew, and treat them right… that’s the dream right there.”
The Midnight – Heroes is out now.