EXCLUSIVE: Q&A with Midland
By: Lauren Hoffman
If you haven’t heard of them by now, you’re in for a treat. Rising country trio, Midland, is definitely a band you want to keep an eye on. The group formed in Dripping Springs, Texas with lead vocalist Mark Wystrach, bass player Cameron Duddy, and lead guitarist, Jess Carson. Their self-titled debut EP is now available and features five tracks. The sound of Midland strongly symbolizes the Wild West while reminiscing on 1970s and 80s country.
We chatted with Midland to bring you everything there is to know about the country trio.
How did you all meet and form Midland?
Mark Wystrach: “We all met in our early 20s out in Los Angeles in the music scene. Jess and Cameron played in various projects together as did Cameron and I, but the three of never played together...until Cameron asked Jess and I to be groomsmen in his wedding in Jackson Hole. We all came with our guitars and spent a week playing music together with the Rocky Mountains as our witness. We left Jackson with the crazy notion to start a band together. A few months later we scratched up enough change to go and cut ‘The Sonic Ranch’ Sessions which were 15 demos cut in 10 straight days of recording, writing, drinking, fighting, crying, hugging and laughing with not much sleep. That's how Midland was born.”
As a new trio, what do you want country music fans to know about you before checking out your songs?
Mark Wystrach: “That we have a large breadth of music influences between the three of us that have been filtered into our common obsession with soulful country music from the 70s, 80s and 90s. It's a modern, postmodern sound that is uniquely Midland.”
Your lead single is “Drinkin’ Problem”- What drink do you want to be holding when you hear it on the radio for the first time?
Cameron Duddy: “Boy. Well, I'd like to be drinkin' a Mezcal Mule. That’s the Midland go to drink on tour.”
I love country music because…
Jess Carson: “It's about the song. I love the history of country music songwriting, Nashville songwriting. The song is king and the songwriter is a inseparable piece of that. Country music is a feeling. It speaks to me like no other genre of music.”
The band has opened for two of your idols, Dwight Yoakam and Willie Nelson. How have they impacted your music?
Cameron Duddy: “If you think about what each of those artists have done to change the face of country music - the way they created their own lane despite what might have been considered "country" in their time - the way they were both contrarians with a great love and respect for their craft...that is part of the MIDLAND ‘DNA,’ which couldn't have existed without the ones that did it before us. Dwight's Bakersfield sound, his punk rock attitude and Willie's musical virtuosity and songwriting prolific-ness... this is the bar Midland holds itself too.”
You are currently in the studio with Shane McAnally working on your full length release. What was your mindset like going into the process of creating the new record?
Mark Wystrach: “Pure Excitement. Going into the studio is something we all love and truly enjoy especially when you're lucky enough to be working with incredible talents like Shane McAnally and Dann Huff who have also become great friends. When we're in the studio goal is to do the songs justice and realize their full potential sonically and performance wise while weaving a thread that connects the songs in the relative color and spirit of an album. Dann always says right before we record a take to everyone...’For the joy of it.’ I think sums up our objective and mindset in the recording process.”
Is there a specific country artist today that you would want to tour with?
Cameron Duddy: “We we're actually floored, STUNNED, when Tim McGraw and Faith Hill asked us to open four shows for them on the Soul2Soul Tour in Canada at the end of May. This is a dream come true for us to stand on that stage before such legendary (and highly respected) country artists.”
Besides music, what does each band member enjoy doing?
Jess Carson: “I enjoy exploring small towns, finding antique shops and coffee shops. As a band, we love going to vintage clothing stores whenever we’re in a new place. There are a lot of cool little towns here in Texas Hill Country. Comfort, TX is one of my favorites.”
Watch the music video for Midland’s current single, “Drinkin’ Problem,” below.