Posted on October 3, 2005 by Flames
Who is Midnight Syndicate?
Ed and I do all the writing and producing for Midnight Syndicate. Over the years we’ve also worked with other artists to accent our compositions like Dan Owens and his sound effects on Born of Night, engineer Tim Blue (who wrote Among the Ruins on Realm of Shadows), voiceover artists Christopher Robichaud, Ted Neroda, and Joseph Vargo, and most recently singer Lily Lane, from the band Lazy Lane. They all bring something unique to the CDs. Lily for example was integral to the feel of The 13th Hour. Her voice and delivery were a perfect match to the mood we were trying to set.
How did Midnight Syndicate get started?
Ed began Midnight Syndicate in 1997 with the idea of creating soundtracks for movies that didn’t exist. The first (self-titled) Midnight Syndicate release was very diverse musically, with tracks that ranged from rock to rap, but it also featured several darker pieces that are very much in the vein of what we do now. I met Ed as a customer in the music store where I was working at the time. After seeing the multimedia show that he had assembled in support of that first CD, I felt that there was a lot of common ground between us, both musically and with our mutual interest in horror, and approached him about possibly working together in the future. We began discussing the idea for Born of the Night shortly afterward.
Who were some your musical influences that inspired Midnight Syndicate?
As far as soundtrack composers go, Danny Elfman and John Carpenter have been two big influences on us. I think Carpenter’s influence is especially evident on our new disc, The 13th Hour – it has a very 80’s horror feel. We also draw inspiration from dark metal bands like King Diamond, Black Sabbath and Nightwish, as well as some of the more moody rock/alternative acts like Cranes and Dead Can Dance.
What type of instrumentation goes into the production of a Midnight Syndicate composition?
Although a lot of what we do involves synthesizers and samplers, we try to incorporate as many live elements as we can for each release. Both Dungeons & Dragons and The 13th Hour feature live vocal performances, and almost all of the sound effects for The 13th Hour were recorded in the restored Victorian house where our studio is now located. A lot of the instrumentation depends on the particular theme of a given album or track as well. For example: Dungeons & Dragons relied more upon bigger, Conan-esque orchestrations with brass and heavy percussion in order to create an atmosphere of epic fantasy. The 13th Hour is a bit more subtle, involving quiet piano passages, whispered vocals, ambient sound effects and more sparse arrangements in general.
What do you wish to convey to your listeners musically?
Our goal has always been to create soundtracks for the imagination – to basically establish a mood and suggest images based on a particular setting or story, but to allow the individual listener to fill in the details and customize the experience as they like. It’s always interesting to hear back from our fans about what they got out of a particular track or album – what images it provoked or stories it suggested. The imagination can be a powerful tool, and it’s great to able to help people tap into that.
What can you tell us about the Dungeons & Dragons Soundtrack?
We were approached by game manufacturers Wizards of the Coast at a trade show about the idea of doing an “official” soundtrack for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. They were familiar with our music and felt that it would be a good match – being long-time fans of D&D ourselves, we were thrilled at the opportunity. It was a slight departure for us musically, as it allowed us to explore elements of epic heroic fantasy, but I think that there are enough of our more familiar darker stylings there as well to keep it firmly rooted in the Midnight Syndicate catalog.
How did you get involved with the Sin-Jin Smyth Movie?
Director Ethan Dettenmaier was a fan of our work and felt that we would be a perfect match for the mood and nature of this film he had written. After reading the script, we were hooked. Before founding Midnight Syndicate, Ed scored several films including one he directed called The Dead Matter, which gave him the experience needed to switch over to movie scoring. Undoubtedly, Sin-Jin Smyth will raise the bar for us and provide an exciting challenge, but it is one that we are looking forward to.
What new musical directions are expected on the next Midnight Syndicate release?
Our next CD is slated to be based on a twisted carnival theme. We’ve actually been considering this idea for a little while now, and have had a number of fan-based requests for it as well. We probably won’t begin writing for that until early next year, but have already been discussing some ideas for the overall concept. We plan on incorporating some Eastern European elements this time out and look forward to being able to push the boundaries of our trademark sound a little further in a different direction.
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