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Interview: Midland on C2C, their upcoming headline UK tour and new music

We sat down with the trio during their recent trip to London.

Midland
Credit: Big Machine Records

Midland – Mark Wystrach, Jess Carson and Cameron Duddy – have been making plenty of waves following the release of their single Drinkin’ Problem.

The lead single from their debut album On the Rocks, the song shot up the charts and has been certified Gold. Earlier this month the trio came to the UK for the first time to perform at C2C: Country to Country 2018 and headline their first show here at Omeara in London.

I caught up with Midland to talk about their time in the UK, discuss their upcoming headline UK tour and to find out about their plans for new music.

Before you read the interview, to give a little context, I arrived very last minute wearing shiny new trainers so there were a lot of jokes about me running…

How was your C2C experience?

Mark: (in a sarcastic tone) It was shit… it’s been terrible. No, I’m kidding.

Cameron: I had diarrhoea every day…

(lots of laughter from the band)

I was going to carry on the joke and say I walked out of your show last night…

C: We had a great time and we’ve had a great time out here. We’ll have been gone for 18 days total when all is said and done. I think we all have a lot of anxiety when we left two weeks ago because we just didn’t know really what to expect and you know it’s going to be a lot of travel, early flights every day, drinking and playing, the expectation of performing and giving people a good show. The spirit of the people out here and the way that they’ve received their music at these shows, and people like yourself being genuinely interested, or at least you’re putting on a good show…

M: You ran so…

I did. If I wasn’t interested in you guys, I definitely would have walked and been like, ‘I can miss those guys, it’s fine’…

(laughter from the band)

C: This run out here has been fucking insane… really fun…

M: We’ve had a ball man!

I did stay for your whole show at The O2 last night and the atmosphere in there during your set was incredible. It looked like you were having a great time on stage. Did you feel the energy of the audience?

Jess: We did. We didn’t have a soundcheck or anything so we basically walked out on the stage not knowing what to expect and it was absolutely incredible. The response, people stood the whole time and that was the funnest show we’ve ever played probably. Really, really cool.

M: I remember looking at Jess and Cam, especially during Drinkin’ Problem. I said to everybody, ‘towards the end of the song, take your phones out…’ They lit that place up and the three of us have never seen anything like that, nor had our drummer Robbie Crowell and lead guitarist Luke Cutchen. It was a really special moment. We’re all looking at each other and I made eye contact with Cam and Cam looked like that 12-year old kid that dreams of being a rock star someday. I literally saw his dream come true. The same with Jess, he’s been dreaming about this whole life. I looked to Jess and the look in his eyes that’s what it said. OK you dreamed about this moment your whole life. You literally worked everything… all the dreaming, the heartache, the struggling of learning how to play an instrument… the incredible difficulties that go into where we started from… nobody ever makes it there. That doesn’t happen so when it’s happening you’re just trying to be in the moment and take it in. That high and that memory will stay with us for the rest of our lives. We’ll never forget that.

Cameron Duddy - Midland

Credit: Big Machine Records

I couldn’t actually pick fault with your performance at all. The moments you were acapella, you were all so in tune with one another. It was incredibly impressive and the band was so tight…

C: We played a really good show…

M: We played one of the best shows we’ve played…

J: It just happened to be a great show last night. You play good shows and sometimes you have some stinkers but last night was a great show.

M: It helps to be on an arena tour right now too with Little Big Town. We’re playing arenas right now every weekend…

C: We’re learning how to engage an audience that big. It’s different than playing in a bar.

You’re playing at Omeara tonight and that’s a much smaller venue…

J: It’s going to be so much fun though. One is the sheer amount of people, it’s a beautiful and incredible thing, and the smaller rooms are also really fun because that’s where we started. It’s a completely different experience because you can pretty much see every single person and read what’s going on. We’re playing a longer set too, which also makes it more fun for us because we get to play things that we don’t usually get to play.

M: We get to switch it up, play drums and we play a bunch of covers. It’s a completely different experience. Are you coming?

Yeah, I’m definitely coming…

M: Are you going to run there?

Of course. I’m going to make sure I’m as late as possible so I sprint across London…

(laughter)

When you come back for your headline tour in November and December, you’ll be playing venues that are between the size of arenas and Omeara. Given the reception you’ve had on this trip, are you excited to be coming back?

C: Hell yeah!

J: Fuck yeah! It’s going to be so much fun. Shepherd’s Bush… we’re not from here so we don’t know too much about the clubs but we were being educated on the history of some of these places we’ll be playing.

M: I missed that conversation, I didn’t hear about Shepherd’s Bush so you’ll have to tell me later.

J: I’m pretty sure I overheard someone telling you about it.

(laughter)

M: Really? Listen, it took me 20 minutes to realise where I was this morning when I woke up. I was massively confused. It’s going to be killer man.

Mark Wystrach - Midland

Credit: Big Machine Records

Mark, when we spoke last year you talked about how you’re always writing new music. Will we hear any of that before you come back?

M: Yeah, we will have new music. We’re working on follow-up to On The Rocks…

J: On The Rocks Part 2, this is an exclusive… just kidding!

(laughter)

J: It’s called On The Rocksssssss.

C: On More Rocks…

(the band breaks into laughter)

I like your thinking. You could follow the Adele school of thought where she just names her albums after her age so she doesn’t have to bother coming up with anything else…

M: She’s awesome. Can we talk about Adele for the rest of the interview?

(in a deadpan tone) No.

(laughter)

You guys are much more interesting…

M: We really do love Adele though. There’s something fantastic about her…

J: No really…

(laughter)

You’ve been sharing your time in the UK on Instagram and it looks like you’ve been sampling the local delights… a lot! Is there anything that has surprised you?

M: Yeah, how much the journalists don’t like Adele. That’s a surprise (laughs). I think generally the three of us don’t really have a lot of expectations and we very often, just for survival’s sake, we don’t even really kind of look too far ahead because it can become overwhelming. Cameron didn’t even want to know what the schedule was this whole week, just because he wanted to take it day by day…

C: No I can’t…

M: It’s so much! As Jess was just alluding to, we’re on the biggest tour of our lives back home and that’s already a lot. Looking to this, I think none of us had any expectations. We didn’t really ask many questions. We wanted to be surprised on a daily basis and that’s what it has been from the first show in Amsterdam. We were blown away that it was a sold-out show and it was incredible. Everybody was singing along to songs that hadn’t even been released like 14 Gears. Each night it’s gotten bigger and the crowds have gotten better. The whole thing has been a big surprise course.

Jess Carson - Midland

Credit: Big Machine Records

You started off your time in the UK at the Big Machine showcase on Wednesday night and Cameron, you almost didn’t make it onstage… (he tripped and fell on his way to the stage)

C: Yeah, that was pretty touch and go. We’d been on the lash and you never know what’s going to happen when Midland has been hitting the bottle for a couple hours.

M: It was unfortunate that, that happened.

The funny thing is a lot of people thought it was planned as a joke…

M: It was a big deal. We had a meeting with our label afterwards like, ‘Cameron… sit down’…

J: No it was very Chevy Chase. ‘You’ve got your truth. I’ve got mine’.

(laughter)

C: It was somewhere right in the middle so we’ll just leave it as that…

Once you get home you’ll be back out on the road with Little Big Town. Where does that take you up to?

M: I think it’s May 2nd or something as the last day but then we go into…

J: Like we said, we don’t look into our calendar any more!

M: We’re doing all festivals and fairs coming up so we’ve got you Stagecoach coming up in April, which is arguably our biggest country music festival. We’ll be playing Bonnaroo, which will be our first time there as well. We’ve got a lot of headlining dates in the summer and it’s going to be very, very busy. We do have our first holiday coming up, which I think all three of us are really looking forward. It’s really important to replenish and get some time to yourself with your loved ones…

C: …and your cat…

M: Well in my case I don’t have anybody. I have nothing (laughs) so I’m just going to continue to hang out with myself, which is my favorite person to be around.

Have you actually had time to reflect on the success you’ve had over the past 12 months or so?

M: When you have moments like last night, which was the biggest show of our lives… usually you’re just going a million miles an hour and going one day to the next and you don’t have the emotional capacity. You have to kind of put this suit on, like a protective barrier…

C: Like a body-sized condom for your mind…

(laughter)

C: What do you call condoms here?

We call them condoms…

C: (in an English accent) Condoms!

M: Mind rubber! Then last night when you’re experiencing one of the coolest things you can experience…

C: You’ve got to go in raw dog, no condom…

(the band breaks into laughter)

M: This was supposed to be like an eloquent, heartfelt response!

(even more laughter)

M: Last night we definitely went out drinking and talking, we were reflective. It really hits you after a show like last night.

J: We caught something from the audience…

Hopefully you won’t pass it on…

(laughter)

Midland’s album On the Rocks and their new single Burn Out are available now. Tickets for their November and December UK tour are on sale now from https://www.axs.com/artists/712969/midland-tickets.

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