Monday, January 12, 2009

Midlake feature for

--This is an article I did recently for
MDM took some time to chat with Eric Pulido of Midlake and pick his brain about the latest happenings with the band and the direction of their new album, tentatively titled "The Courage of Others." If you saw the "Hometown Heroes" feature Midlake did for MTV, you'll find the members of Midlake to be a really fun group of down to earth guys, with a story to tell through their music. At times, that story is of an ailing wife or the strange tale of a Balloon Maker that fails escape and is captured by men in robot suits wearing monocles. But all the kings horses and all the king's men (and a guy in a panther mask) can't seem to put a label on the band. So we asked Eric what kind of music he plays and he said "The softer side of rock." But that's not to say they play soft rock. With Midlake, labels become obsolete considering you can never know exactly what the band is, only where they are coming from according to what they have been listening to. Eric shared that the band's ears have been wrapped around Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Lazarus, America and a lot of music from the british folk era of the 70s. "The Courage of Others" promises lyrics and imagery in the same vein as Midlake's last album "The Trials of Van Occupanther" - but darker. Eric explains "it's kinda got that renaissancy like medieval type sound where it's not dark in like a death metal type of way but just in that [renaissance] type of way." The burning question for Midlake fans is, "when?" Or in the case of one perhaps geographically challenged fan, "where is Midlake?"

Creating and recording day in and day out at their own studio next to one of Denton's favorite studios, the Panhandle House, Midlake has cut the majority of their new record. Their plan is to be touring this summer and introducing their new music as the record prepares for launch before the end of 2009. After their last big tour, the band was enthusiastic and ready to record new songs. But the band has held out to create a better album, not just Van Occupanther Part II. It's an exciting but impatient time for the Midlake fan, but word is it's very much worth the wait. Now take a deep breath, put on their first album "Bamnan and Silvercork" and imagine the greatness that is soon coming to you.

But hey, what's up with that Jason Lee guy? The band has had a unique relationship with the former pro skateboarder and leading actor of My Name is Earl. When Midlake joined Bella Union Records, Simon Rymonde (heads up record label and bassist of the Cocteau Twins) would send recordings out to friends and promoters and Jason really liked the "Bamnan and Silvercork" album. Jason eventually met up with Midlake at the Bella Union Showase at the South by Southwest festival in 2003 and became good friends with the band. Jason also did their "Balloon Maker" video and has promoted the band in his own time. However, Midlake stopped using videos in their performances after a number of tours and as such, the work of Jon Collins as well as Terry Timely and the Fashionably Lates may not be seen for a while. But the lack of moving pictures is an excellent tradeoff to the band's hushed intensity and musicality.

To conclude the interview, MDM asked Eric Pulido a few quick questions about the Denton music scene. He told us his last show was at Dan's Silverleaf (a bar he loves), exposure to the city's music will only help bands and the music, and everyone should check out the North by 35 festival coming up in March. He also said everyone in the band had a beard except Mackenzie, the drummmer - but only because he can't grow one. As a last word, Eric told MDM about Denton: "It's my home. I love it here. Met my wife here, have a home here...hope to start a family. Band's all live here, so I love it."

Interview and photographs by Michal Garcia

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