We’re pleased to bring you the premiere of The Midnight Stroll’s new song “Beds Are Burning” (listen below). The track is taken from the band’s forthcoming album Western Static, which is scheduled to be released on September 22nd.
Jonas Wilson of The Midnight Stroll commented on the song:
“This song was an accidental cover. We stumbled on to it and we just had so much fun with it. We knew when the record was done it was kind of a fit sonically and lyrically with some of the other topics we had going on. We decided that it was going on the album, it just fits the turbulence of the moment socially and politically. It has such a strange arrangement, I had endless fun with the pedal board noise and the live drums against the KORG Volca Beats hi hat. It is one hell of a chorus and somehow just fit what ‘Western Static’ is about as record.”
“It’s a band now. It’s no longer my solo project,” says Aaron Behrens, describing the evolution of The Midnight Stroll, a creative mind-meld with multi-instrumentalist Jonas Wilson that performs live as a duo, backed by a massive analogue accompaniment of spinning tape reels and stacks of speakers.
“We had to start fresh so it could a real band and not a side project,” adds Wilson. “It’s something we whole-heartedly artistically believe in. And it’s the most creatively equal band I’ve ever been in.”
Well known for his work as the singer of Ghostland Observatory, Behrens’ dynamic vocals howl over a vastly different sonic landscape on Western Static, a sound based more on channeling auras than sparking dance parties.
“It’s primitive. The experimental technique we used is called trusting your guts,” says Behrens, describing The Midnight Stroll’s songwriting process. “I’ll start on an acoustic guitar or piano in a quiet, alone space and then I’ll hand it to Jonas. He’s the real mastermind behind the sound. He plays like I wish I could play, so I try to stay out of his way.”
Wilson plays almost every instrument on the album. “We would track any thing. I got very into using found objects and gear. Broken amps, outdated, crappy keyboards,” he says. “My wife brought home a barely working cassette deck from her office that I wound up using as a distortion pedal and delay. We worked with whatever instrument was close by and would just play.”
Live, Wilson plays the guitar over recordings of the backing tracks, relayed through analog tape decks to a tower of speakers, creating an incredibly full sound that blows away the normal laptop musician’s setup.
Despite the pre-recorded tracks, there’s still plenty of room for improvisation. “We’ve got totally different arrangements of all our songs on various reels that change nightly,” Wilson explains. “It lets me focus on what I do best, which is playing guitar. But we wanted do something less produced, something more punk that can cause more problems. It’s not supposed to be perfect. Comfort is the enemy.”
That theme is present through ‘Western Static,’ an ambiguous title that nonetheless carries a lot of meaning. “Once the songs were coming together, we kept seeing themes of modern western culture that lead to people feeling trapped and isolated,” says Wilson.
“It can mean a lot of things to different people depending on their position in life. All of these songs are about the times we exist in,” says Behrens. “Religion, technology, love and loss. It’s all western static.”
9/26 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
9/27 – Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5
9/29 – Nashville. TN @ The Basement
10/6 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
10/8 – Chicago, IL @ Chop Shop
10/10 – Madison, WI @ Frequency
10/12 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
10/13 – Tulsa, OK @ Yeti
10/14 – Houston, TX @ 8th Wonder Brewery
10/31 – El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace
11/1 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
11/5 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theatre
11/7 – Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
11/8 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
11/9 – Missoula, MT @ Monks
11/12 – McDade, TX @ Sound on Sound Fest