We love checking out new bands we’ve never heard of, especially when their roots lie somewhere within the 519 area. The Midnight Echo have roots at the University of Guelph and have since grown to a full touring act out of Whitby.
Their latest EP, Dichotomy, was released in mid-April and the band is excited to have new music out for their fans.
We spoke with Joel Lalonde from the band to see what they’re all about.
How have you been making out during the pandemic both personally and as a band?
For me, it probably bothered me a lot when it first started in March and April where we really couldn’t do anything. But as the weather’s improved, I’ve felt a lot better with it. And I feel like there’s a reason to be optimistic because so many things are just opening up now. Today, here in Durham, where I’m from, they just opened the patios and stuff. So I’m feeling a lot better about it now than I was a couple of months ago. But as for the band, it sucks because we can’t play any shows. We have a bunch of tours that got cancelled, but we were lucky because we had finished our EP in February and were able to release that during this whole pandemic, whereas I’m sure a lot of bands had tours cancelled and stuff and they had no music ready to go. So we kind of got lucky that way.
The new EP came out right in the middle of the peak of COVID. Was there thoughts of delaying the release?
I think we were going to actually push it later originally, but then we changed. We were going to release it in June because we were going to be touring the EP, but since the tours got cancelled, we said, “You know what, there’s no point in having us sitting here with this in our back pocket. We might as well release it, get it out to the world, get it to as many ears as possible” because I’m sure by the time we start touring again, we’ll probably have new music anyways. So the pandemic kind of changed our plans, but I think it worked out.
The pandemic has given many musicians more time to write songs. Have you written any during the pandemic?
We have written a bit, but we had just been writing for a year straight trying to get this EP done. We’re big fans of going really hard at writing and then kind of taking a break to let it simmer, I guess. And I also think it’s important to have new experiences, as opposed to just constantly writing. I think it’s easier if you take some time off and then look back, it’s easier to figure out how you can grow and mature your song writing process, as opposed to just consistently writing every day.
Why did you choose the title you did for the EP?
Dichotomy’s basically it just means a contrast between two things that are totally different from each other. So the EP as a whole just examines the concept of going through difficult experiences in your life with a sense of optimism. So the title reflects life in general and the importance of experiencing both sides of the spectrum. So if you didn’t have the lows of the low times or the bad times in your life, then the highs wouldn’t feel as good. That’s kind of where that dichotomy thing comes from. And then also we felt that once we had picked our songs that we were going to use, actually we left some demos that we didn’t record for the EP, but we picked these five salons and we were like, you know what, all these songs can sound completely different from each other. So the whole dichotomy concepts really like fit in with that as well.
Was there something you wanted to accomplish with the new EP?
With our song writing, we hadn’t recorded anything in the studio in 2016 and that was our first crack at it, I guess. Since it was four years later, we really wanted to expand on what we had done. So we went to different studios, different producers and I think we just had a clearer vision of what we were doing. The first stuff we did, we just sat down and thought, okay let’s see if we can write an album. We had absolutely no idea if we could and luckily it worked out. I think we just wanted to change it up this time.
For you, how does the new release differ from Voyager?
I just think that we really honed in on our own sound now and not to say that we’re stealing anyone else’s sound, but I think like every musician has their idols and people that they look up to and you kind of go, well, I want to sound like this and this and this. That’s what we did with the first album, even though it was really personal to us. We really hit our stride and it’s not like, Oh, this band sounds like this band. It’s more saying, oh that band, that’s midnight echo. Does that make sense?
Let’s talk about the songs on the EP. What they’re about and what they might mean to you:
Paris In 39: That one, it just explores the dynamics of human relationships and like trying to find a balance between putting too little or too much into one side. Everyone’s experienced it where there becomes an imbalance in the relationship and that’s what the song is commenting on.
Carbon Copy: That’s like a classic breakup song basically that every band has on their releases and it discusses the emotions that everybody goes through at some point in their life. It’s something that I had gone through in the prior year.
Victim’s Mentality: That song just was really based off the title. It can be really detrimental to people to go through a situation or it can be easy for people to go through a situation and have a victim’s mentality about it or use excuses. I found a lot of times if I’ve ever found myself doing that, it’s actually more detrimental than good. You got to try and get through the hard times because those are what makes the good times so good when they come. Right.
How To Escape Reality: This one was written at the same time as Fever dreams. The other three we just talked about were written later on, but so this song looks at focusing on the art medium itself and how essentially we use it to escape reality. And whether it’s books, movies, TV, music, whatever, it maybe, just how important it is for everybody where we are right now with everything that’s going on especially when we’re in the heat of the pandemic and everybody was cooped up in their house, every single person was using art to escape from reality. And I think that it’s just super important. I, I read a quote a month ago and it said, after this pandemics over, just remember what you used to get through it, which is Netflix, music, books, everything I was saying, and then tell me that art’s not important.
Fever Dreams: That one, I was just kind of commenting on the journey that we’ve gone through as a band up to this point, the midnight echo started in 2015, 2016, but we’ve been playing in bands together prior to that. So really it’s just from day one, which was 2012 or 2011. Out of the struggles and the ups and downs that you go through and just how sometimes it feels like a fever dream feels like, what the hell am I doing sometimes? And then other times you’re on top of the world. It’s just commenting on our full experience so far as an indie band.
Your songs are short and to the point. Sometimes that’s all you need to make a point. Do you like writing shorter songs?
Going back to the first album, we were just writing songs to see if we could write songs. So it didn’t really matter how long the song was or anything like that. We just wrote it and it ended up being four and a half minutes. And that’s how long it was. If it was two and a half minutes then that’s how long it was, but on this one we really focused on trying to like get these tracks on the radio, like commercial radio. So unfortunately just the way it is the song, you could have the best song in the world, but if it’s seven minutes long, there’s no way in hell it’s getting on the radio. We do try to get to the point, but I think at the same time, I don’t think people really listen to songs and say that was way too short.
When looking online, there are three places listed as the band’s home: Toronto, Whitby and Guelph. Where does Guelph fit in?
When we started the Midnight Echo, we were at school in Guelph, so we were living in Guelph. We were there, I think like at least in the start of Midnight, so 2016 to 2018. I’m not sure where you’re seeing that one, but I have heard that it’s still up, but we’re from Whitby, so that’s where we grew up, went to high school and everything like that. If you’re from Australia, you probably have no idea where Whitby, Ontario is, but everybody knows where Toronto is. Even if we go on our last tour, or get up to Sault Ste. Marie, they have no idea where Whitby is so I usually just say Toronto.
What’s ahead for you guys?
So right now we just sent our first single off the EP Paris in 39 to radio. So we’ve been getting a couple of spins at West End Kamloops in the Nanaimo. So we’re just trying to get across Canada as many stations as possible. And then we’re also working on a new lyric video for the same song. And I believe that should be in July, hopefully early July.