MIDLAKE HAVE KEPT THEIR secret well, but the cat’s out of the bag after a hint on the Denton, Texas group’s web site of singer and main songwriter Tim Smith’s departure “in November of last year”. Talking to MOJO’s Martin Aston about their pending fourth album – painstakingly recorded with Smith, and then, rather more quickly, without him – the rump of the band (Eric Pulido, McKenzie Smith, Paul Alexander and Eric Nichelson) give their side of the split.
“We understood this band couldn’t offer Tim what he wanted… that he needed to do his own thing,” says new frontman Pulido, suggesting that their frontman’s perfectionism had begun to get on top of the group. But there was a problem: how would Midlake manage without Smith’s songs?
“Of what we’d recorded,” says Pulido, “Tim had said, ‘You can have this…’ but what we couldn’t take with us turned out to be 75 per cent of the recording.”
The solution was to start again, and in six months they had finished the album they’re calling Antiphon, “because it means a response to an oratory or piece of music, and this album is a response to what’s gone on with Tim,” says Pulido.
“The original Antiphon was an orator in Ancient Greece who was part of an oligarchy that fought democracy. But we didn’t overthrow Tim! He’s not Antiphon.”
Listen to the title track here:
Antiphon is due on November 4 through Bella Union. Read more about its recording in the next issue of MOJO, out August 27.