Some bands crumble after the leading man, the lynchpin of the group, moves on. For the members of Denton-born Midlake, though, circumstance brought about a new type of togetherness. Initially formed in 1999 as the funk-inspired “Cornbread All-Stars,” the band began transcending into a new type of musical artistry.
Midlake has come a long way since their humble beginnings. Their musical stylings have caused their popularity in Europe to surge, giving them the super-star status they enjoy now. Sounds of synth-aged psychedelic in their 2004 debut LP “Bamnam and Silvercork” segued into folk-pop oscillations, delicate falsettos and acoustic intonations on their 2006 LP “The Trials of Van Occupanther.” Four years later the band released their third album, “The Courage of Others,” an omnipresent production embedded with infiltrating instrumentation and honest lyricism. But in their most recent album “Antiphon,” (2013) the most compelling sound heard within the distorted guitar riffs and lofty vocals is — change.
After finishing out their European tour, Midlake returned home in September for an acoustic set at Dan’s Silverleaf, and we got a little Q&A time with the band’s lead singer, Eric Pulido.
How is it being back in Denton? Pulido: We are very glad to be home. We had been touring for about a year or so - not without any breaks coming home, otherwise we’d probably all be divorced. So wherever we go, we seem to always just love to wave the Denton flag, because it’s a special place. Before I moved here, I thought of Denton as kind of magical, my own little portal to Narnia, as I call it. I had never before been exposed to such a community of like-minded people, to a place so saturated in art and music. So it’s something we love to share. Many artists came before us to pave the way, and now people thousands of miles away know about Denton.
How did you make the transition from jazz/funk to folk? Pulido: You know? What you listen to kind of comes out in your own music. You listen to a lot of different styles. And then there is this transition. Like what happened to what was first known as “rock.” It probably had too many chords in the progressions and may not have sounded a lot like rock as we think of it now. That’s because it was a time of transition, a desire to do something different, to grow, to create songs and melodies.
Tell us about Paschall Bar. Pulido: We love many of the establishments in town and wanted to do something just a little bit different. We decided on a low-key, warm, woody, kind of mid-century English-pub-type atmosphere. We put on our interior decorator hats and transformed the space into something we might want our living rooms to look like. Our studio is just a stone’s throw away. If it’s a good day or a bad day, either way, the bar is just a block away.
How did the band sign with Bella Union, a label located in the UK? Pulido: When Bella Union owner Simon Raymonde heard our demo, he got excited and gave us exposure in a whole new part of the world. After that, we started touring Europe. We’re not the only band from Denton that Bella Union has signed. Raymonde once said, “Something must be in the water in Denton.”
For more on Midlake and current tour dates, visit Midlake.net.