“Avenue” by Midnight High

Seattle-based indie pop band, Midnight High, released their first single, “Avenue,” off their upcoming debut album, Swimming Lessons, on March 10th. It utilizes lovely nostalgic synth tones and an ambient atmosphere to create a relaxing sound that is also easy to sway to. We had the pleasure of interviewing Midnight High, and here’s what they had to say:

Q: What effect are you hoping to have on listeners with “Avenue”?

MIDNIGHT HIGH (NIK): Avenue was written as our pandemic lament, a protest of the monotony of being cooped up during COVID. We wanted to write a song, and a record, that we could get people dancing to. A celebration of shows returning and communities coming back together in collaboration and appreciation. We wanted everyone to know that they aren’t alone. That it was a long and hard road, but we’ve come out on the other side, together.

Q: Can you describe what a typical recording session for this song was like?

MIDNIGHT HIGH (LUKE): Avenue, along with the rest of our upcoming full-length, was produced and recorded in our home-based studio. I run a small recording studio in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, WA, called Pinehill Studios where I work with local artists to produce and record music. However, a lot of that process changed over the pandemic and most of my creative work became remote, which freed up our recording space and meant that we could spend lots of time writing and recording for Midnight High.

Since the core of Midnight High was just the two of us during the writing and production phase, a typical recording/writing session started with me recording rough instrumental demos and song seeds (typically drums, bass, guitar, and synth), which I then added to a backlog of demos and ideas for Nik to sift through. When she came across a demo that inspired her, she began the process of writing lyrics, recording rough melodic ideas, and thinking about song structure. From there, we usually had a bit of back and forth, making any necessary tweaks to arrangements, lyrics, and adding/removing parts and instrumentation. Once we were happy with the rough demo, we sat on it for a bit until we had enough demos in the queue to begin recording final takes and overdubs for a group of songs. Sometimes all of the instrumentation and vocals got replaced from the demo stage, and other times we decided to hold onto certain performances from the demo if they felt like they were serving the vibe of the song and production. Nik performed and recorded all of the vocals for Avenue. Drums, bass, guitar, and synth were performed and composed by me, but we also had a couple of good friends of ours come into the studio to contribute a touch of collaborative magic to the production. Tim Van Buren performed the guitar solo line that comes in around 3:12 and Skyler Mehal overdubbed some tasty synth layers during that section and throughout the outro.

Q: I read that your debut album “Swimming Lessons” will be released this year. What’s your favorite song on the album?

MIDNIGHT HIGH (LUKE): My favorite song on the album is probably “Swoon.” It’s a love song that Nik wrote about me and even though I’ve probably heard it hundreds of times now, it still gives me all the feels.

(NIK): My favorite song is “Forever.” It’s the hardest thing to write a happy song. This song was born out of a night spent in the studio, helping a friend lay down songs for her record. Many laughs were had and we worked into the wee hours of the morning. I felt so inspired by the gratitude I was feeling for my friends and this musical community, that I couldn’t contain my joy, and had to write about it. I pray this won’t be my last happy song.

Q: What’s the story behind the forming of Midnight High?

MIDNIGHT HIGH (LUKE): Nik and I have worked together creatively in a number of musical projects in the past, though mostly as secondary members. Midnight High is the result of the two of us finally following through with an idea that we had been chasing for years, which was to form a new project that would allow the two of us to write and create together. Most of my experience with writing and performing in past projects was as a drummer, but I had been doing some writing on my own and decided to start demoing out some ideas for Nik to write to. She has primarily worked as a backup singer in the past, so this is her debut as a lead vocalist and songwriter. It took us a while to get into a good flow (and we wrote plenty of duds), but we really enjoyed the process of writing together and before we knew it, we had about 13 full songs fleshed out, which we then whittled down to 10 for the album. This year will mark our 10-year anniversary as a couple and I’m excited to see what this new chapter will bring.

Q: Which artist do you think has had a significant impact on your sound?

MIDNIGHT HIGH (NIK): When we were writing for this project, I found myself drawn to the vocal percussiveness and syncopation present in HAIM’s debut album, “Days Are Gone.” It’s an album that encapsulates the beginning of my romantic relationship with Luke and reminds me of the party days of our early 20s. “Days are Gone” is the perfect mix of fun, edgy, energetic pop/rock and we find ourselves consistently revisiting it.

(LUKE): Another artist that has had a big impact on our sound is Deep Sea Diver. We were fortunate enough to have Jessica Dobson from DSD help us with some of the pre-production for this album. She also wrote and performed the guitar on “Perfect Sun.” She was a joy to work with and their album “Secrets” had a big impact on us.

Q: What are 3 key aspects of the band’s roadmap for this year?

MIDNIGHT HIGH (LUKE): 2023 is an exciting year for us! We first started conceptualizing this project in 2020 and we’re stoked to finally start the process of releasing music and playing live shows. We’ve got a few more singles in the queue to be released before we drop the full album in late summer and we’ve put together an amazing group of humans to help us realize these songs in a live context. Our first full-band show is in April and we can’t wait to start playing these songs out in the world. This project is all about curating memorable experiences for us and our community, so we’re looking forward to seeing what that looks like this year.

Interviewed by Zoey King






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