From its formation and early gigs at jam nights and open mics in 2012, to a residency at the Dirty Northern pub, to last year’s performances at the Dawson City and Blue Feather music festivals, to a sold out release concert for the debut album, Traction — the Midnight Sons Band is making a mark on the Whitehorse music scene.
The band is now looking to build a national fan base. Traction’s title track was recently featured on CBC Music’s Songs You Need to Hear, and they will be playing Canada Music Week, the premier showcase for Canadian musicians, in Toronto this May.
Mixing hard roots-rock with elements of folk, blues, and country, highlighting singer Alex Johnson’s playful, jangly guitar rhythms and rough vocals, Patrick Docherty’s wild drum rhythm, and Ian MacIntyre’s solid bass lines, the band creates a sound similar to the Black Keys, the Sheepdogs, or a stripped-down Pearl Jam.
The album was produced by Jordy Walker, who has brought out the best in many of the Yukon’s alt-folk community, including Kim Barlow, Old Cabin, and Brigs.
Recording at the Frostbite House, Walker made creative use of the studio’s small space to get a clear but not overly-polished sound; the excitement of the band’s live performance is captured.
“He did a great job. He set it all up,” says singer, Johnson. “Nothing was perfect in the way that he set it all up. But it all turned out better than perfect. “We had a bar across the ceiling and hung blankets as vocal booth. He just made it work. He knew how to make it work in such a small spot. He does a lot of his recording in his basement, I think, and his basement is a quarter of the size of the Frostbite House. It’s nothing new for him.”
The song, “Next Time Around” is a great example of Walker’s production. Adding some delay and an additional bass line, he allows the band’s music to expand as it crescendos in near chaos and drops again, making the emotional delivery of Johnson’s lyrics even more haunting.
Since recording the album, the band added second guitarist Daniel Stark. Docherty says of his new band mate, “It’s really cool, he’s influencing the sound in a different way. He’s awesome, very bluesy.”
The Midnight Sons Band is now writing songs for a new album and working with Walker on a live album, which will feature the full four-piece band. Docherty says of their new material, “Alex is a writing monster. And now with Dan, it’s really something else because it brings a new feel to the group.”
The band is currently competing in the Road to Sunfest competition for a chance to open for Keith Urban at the Sunfest Music Festival this summer in Cowichan Bay, BC, making it into the top three contenders. As well, it is a finalist in the Recording Festival. The prize is a two-weeks recording residence the Grouse Lodge Studios in Ireland.
In addition to Canada Music Week, the Midnight Sons Band is planning a summer tour through British Columbia.
Traction is available in stores around Whitehorse and on iTunes. Outstanding Tracks: “Traction”, “Juneau” and “Next Time Around”.