With just 3 singles made available online, midst have been raising a delicate storm with their exquisite offerings. Combining the chordal sensibilities of a baroque choral piece with the introspection of painfully self-aware indie artists, the 3-piece band are blessedly releasing their first body of work in an EP – arriving 23rd January 2016.
Their debut single, “Captivate” ,certainly captivated audiences (sorry, we couldn’t resist) here and abroad. Released just last September, the track has garnered over 5,000 plays on YouTube – a laudable feat for a fresh-faced local act. Across what we’ve heard so far, midst’s atmospheric, “yoga retreat soundtrack” vibe instantly puts you at ease: it’s music you’ll want to keep on loop to calm yourself down on your daily commute.
Before the EP drops (inevitably making them the hottest talk of the town), DANamic.ORG spoke with the young artistes in a quick email interview. From their very Tumblr-worthy lowercase name, their upcoming EP, find out more and why the pasta embodies the group’s persona:
1) Firstly, how did the name “midst” come about?
Kin: ‘midst’ was contrived from a couple of things. Firstly, the frequency range: we like mids, hahaha! I guess ambient music naturally fills up the spaces within that middle frequency.
Jeremy: Also, we were searching for a word that rests in a special place for all three of us. We like the idea that we are constantly in the midst of transition, be it as individuals or as a band; musically or otherwise.
Rachel: I was actually quite against the name initially because I thought people would find it hard to pronounce! However, I really agreed with the various meanings the word encapsulated for us as a band and it’s grown on me since. (‘midst’ is also a lot less embarrassing than our old name hahaha) (Ed: Now we really want to know what this name is…)
2) You guys have described yourselves as “instrumentally-driven electronic ambient heads”. Are there particular acts that serve as inspiration for your sound?
Kin: There are too many to list. On the tip of the iceberg, Hammock, London Grammar, M83, Oh Wonder, James Blake, Bon Iver, Evenings. If you need about 20 more, just let us know.
3) As a fresh local group who are releasing their first EP very soon, what has been the most challenging hurdle so far?
Jeremy: Learning to suppress and cancel out the noise, to find our sound and our genre.
Kin: We are fascinated by too many different styles. Essentially, we have to stop ourselves from experimenting too much. Because it usually ends up being an untasteful, weird kind of fusion.
Rachel: Time and tide wait for no man. I suppose it’s been a struggle coordinating our busy schedules to work together on the music and preparing for the release. I’m so glad everything’s finally complete and we’re ready to let everyone hear the full EP!
4) With 2 producers and a vocalist, what are your songwriting dynamics like? Does the track come first, or the lyrics?
Kin: The track always comes first. We’re especially intrigued by soundtracks, so we place a greater emphasis on instrumentation and ambient layerings of a track, with the vocals sitting further back.
Jeremy: Our songwriting process is also far from conventional, and a track can go through several complete revamps before it sits ok with us (“Captivate” has 30+ versions, lol). This is something we are working on as well; to have a more organic and structured process.
Rachel: There isn’t a fixed formula to how we come to the end product of our songs. There’s usually an instrumental melody first, then comes the lyrical melody, and then finally the lyrics. Changes are almost always made after each of us gives our input and opinions, hence the numerous revamps.
5) We’re very excited about the EP that’s arriving on 23 January! How many tracks will there be and do each of you have a personal favourite?
Rachel: There are 5 tracks in total on the EP. The two unreleased tracks will be instrumental. Hmm… I would have to say “Wake Up, O Sleeper” is my favourite because it’s a rather uplifting song that makes me feel hopeful whenever I listen to it. I think it’s a perfect end to the EP!
Jeremy: It would probably be “Ç”. For me it did the most in terms of pushing us to explore sounds and think bigger. It was inspired during a period of obsession with certain styles of cinema and I hope people will be able to hear that.
6) If midst were to be represented by a local hawker dish, what would it be?
Rachel: Either Bak Chor Mee or Hokkien Mee for sure – it’s what we eat after recording/jamming.
Kin: Pasta, cause there’s a lot of variation and types but ultimately you know it’s gonna be a solid meal (cheyyyy). And it’s also something we regularly attempt to make Gordon Ramsay-style in between jam seshes.
Jeremy: Hokkien mee because it is tasty.