Follow The Midnight:
THE MIDNIGHT Biography:
“We stick to the archetypes. A literal world isn’t interesting. We’re trying to put a skin
around the symbols and myths that civilization has told itself for 10,000 years. The
better the symbol and the more universal the myth, the more people can create a world
for themselves from their memories and desires. That’s the goal: Give the audience
enough raw material to make the world their own.”
— Tyler Lyle of The Midnight
The Midnight, the duo of producer Tim McEwan and singer-songwriter Tyler Lyle,
are masters of flipping the disparate archetypes of yearning American youth — think
everything from John Hughes films and the Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” music video
to Snapchats of ravers losing it to a big bass drop and the lonesome sway of the “lofi
hip hop radio - beats to study / relax to” YouTube channel — into their own modern
collage that finds a throughline between generations of teenage ennui.
Their music fuses this Americana with an evocative electronic palette that
incorporates synth-driven film scores, dance music, synth-pop, and rock, creating
an enveloping harmony of richly textured sonics and poignant lyrical imagery. Each
song cultivates a story written on a bedrock of universal themes and eternal hooks,
coming together to create a body of work that unifies an enthusiastic global fan
This movement McEwan and Lyle have been building since 2014 began online with
their debut album DAYS OF THUNDER, and over the past six years has become an
encompassing, multi-sensory opportunity to find community wherever someone
goes. Fans come together online on every platform imaginable, streaming and
downloading their previous releases - Endless Summer (2016), Nocturnal (2017) and
Kids (2018) millions of times, and jumping over to spaces like social media and
Reddit to hermeneutically dissect The Midnight’s body of work with a loving passion.
They come together, 15,000 at once, to experience a livestream benefit the band
puts together. They make fan videos. They blast the records at parties and crank up
the volume on their car stereos. They show up by the thousands to sold-out shows
on multiple continents. Fans see themselves in the movement and want to bring in
more people. With The Midnight, you’re never alone.
Since their beginning McEwan and Lyle have been building progressively more
complex yet eminently relatable worlds — their most-recent effort earning the top
spot on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic charts and getting songs placed in shows like
13 Reasons Why. These architects use meticulously crafted music, a stunning visual
aesthetic, and engaging live shows to tap into our quietest and most wistful
tendencies, the unbridled sense of joy we have within us, and our infinite desire to
surrender ourselves to the collective charisma of togetherness.
The ingredients of this come from a blend of markedly different experiences.
McEwan grew up in Denmark and got his start in pop-music production working
with acts like Sean “Diddy” Combs, New Kids on the Block, and The Wanted before
he and Lyle met in 2014 in Los Angeles. Lyle hails from the Alabama-Georgia line,
forging an indie-folk music career, releasing albums such as THE GOLDEN AGE &
THE SILVER GIRL and co-writing music with Court Yard Hounds, among other acts.
Their fateful pairing in Los Angeles yielded DAYS OF THUNDER, which features
concert staples “Gloria” and “Los Angeles” and laid the foundation for The Midnight’s
seamless blend of stirring narratives and magnetic electronic music. With each
release, Tim’s interest in musicians like Toto, Phil Collins, and Thomas Newman, and
Tyler’s attraction to the songs of people like Springsteen, Dylan, and John Prine,
have blended together more immaculately, creating richer work for listeners to
A key element of The Midnight’s work is the visual art that accompanies their music.
The cover art for their albums and singles, and the still images and videos on their
social media accounts, all complement the themes and motivations involved in their
“I love the visual side of the music,” McEwan says. “Adding that dimension and
building that world is so fun. You’re able to be much more precise with what you
want the listener to feel.”
The imagery shifts considerably on the cover for forthcoming album MONSTERS. In
it, we see a dark bedroom with an old PC monitor and snowy TV offering the primary
source of dim light. On the floor is an original Playstation next to a pizza box. A
backpack and skateboard are close by. On the walls are film posters with the titles
of each of the album’s songs. This is a snapshot of a late night spent vacillating
between playing around on the internet and the pull of a super fun console video
game system — it’s a teen’s lair and in it we see ourselves.
That cover shows a pronounced preview into the world of MONSTERS. The 15-track
album, a sequel to 2018’s KIDS and second record in an intended trilogy, finds
McEwan and Lyle embracing new sounds while retaining the DNA of what has
made them so compelling. There is a balance of the familiar with a drive to elevate
the songwriting and the sonic palette into new, exciting areas. This mirrors the
transition from being “just a kid” to being a complicated, heart-afire teenager.
“I wanted the wonder of coming of age to shine through and combine that with the
inherent darkness and complexity of being a teenager,” McEwan says. “I wanted it to
feel a lot more adult and emo than KIDS. Adolescence is messy, tragic, brutal,
wistful and beautiful. MONSTERS is all of that.”
The teenage years can be marked with isolation. For every homecoming dance,
prom, or surreptitious party at a friend’s parent-free house, there are hours spent
online deep into the night — with merely the blue light of a monitor guiding the way.
This is as true for the kids now as it was for their parents. Isolation and connection
are key themes on MONSTERS.
Lyle says the album tackles some big questions that arise during adolescence and
might not necessarily find a resolution into the adult years: “How vulnerable can I
be? How do you learn that? What sort of boundaries can and should be placed
around the human heart? What is lost if I reach out and have my heart broken, but
what is lost if I don’t?” Along those lines, MONSTERS — like its predecessors in The
Midnight’s catalogue — isn’t stuck in the past. It’s not about wanting to go back, so
much as it is a story of how we manage our own monsters to build a suitably
Ultimately, when that last note hits, The Midnight have us prepared for the next
album, the third in the KIDS trilogy. We started out finding universal themes and
common ground in our childhoods, then we shifted to the beautiful brutality of
adolescence, and now we’re ready to contemplate the stakes of adulthood. We
may find ourselves in the songs of MONSTERS — we may come up with our own
interpretations of the symbols — but we’ve had Lyle and McEwan guiding us with
love and respect throughout the journey.
“As we become aware of where our sounds are and why people stick with us,” Lyle
says, “we want to do two things: make sure there are enough comfortable moments,
and we also want to push the sonics and the songwriting into new worlds as we
create a bridge for listeners to come along — rather than just dropping them into it
without a map.”