|Origin||Denton, Texas, United States|
|Past members||Evan Jacobs
Midlake is an American rock band from Denton, Texas. The band first gained popularity in Europe, signing to Bella Union Records and later playing at festivals such as Les Inrockuptibles, Wintercase, End of the Road and South by Southwest.
Midlake was formed in 1999 by a group of jazz students at the University of North Texas College of Music. The original lineup consisted of Tim Smith (vocals, guitars, keyboards), McKenzie Smith (drums), Paul Alexander (bass), Eric Nichelson (guitar), and Evan Jacobs (keyboards). Their initial work – under the name "The Cornbread All-Stars" — consisted of funk/jazz explorations heavily influenced by Herbie Hancock.
Later the band began to lean more toward an indie-rock sound. Tim Smith quit playing saxophone and began writing songs that were heavily influenced by bands such as Jethro Tull, Radiohead, Björk, and Grandaddy, artists who experiment, while still remaining accessible.
Speaking about the band's influences, Smith commented:
"We don't want to get called a Radiohead rip-off band. I think Radiohead is a lot closer to my natural tendencies as a songwriter than a band like, um, Jethro Tull. I listen to way more Jethro Tull than I do Radiohead these days, but I could write 10 Radiohead songs before I could write one Jethro Tull song. I want to sound more like Jethro Tull, but I just can't. That's a big struggle."—Tim Smith of Midlake
In an interview with Reverb Magazine's Nick Milligan, Smith said of the band's origins:
"We were jazz musicians, but right from the get go we'd never really play jazz music. We'd play some funk stuff and then jump right into playing Led Zeppelin. For jazz musicians, rock is sort of frowned upon for how easy it is. If we had friends that knew we were playing, the best thing we could play was Herbie Hancock or Stevie Wonder. A distortion pedal seemed like a no-no. It took us a while to get away from the jazz." -Tim Smith
Jacobs left the band and Eric Nichelson took over on keyboard. Jason Upshaw joined the band as a guitarist. Live recordings from this period, recorded at Denton's Panhandle House studio, were never released as the band felt they had moved beyond the material.
Not long before the band recorded their début EP, Milkmaid Grand Army, Upshaw was replaced on guitars by Eric Pulido, a longtime friend of drummer Smith, to form the current lineup. Their debut full-length album, 2004's Bamnan and Slivercork, was recorded at home in Denton, Texas and mastered at Abbey Road Studios. It showed a move in the direction of lo-fi psychedelic electronica, embracing influences such as Grandaddy and The Flaming Lips. The album even caught the ear of skateboarder-turned-actor Jason Lee, who produced and directed the music video for the song "Balloon Maker", and who continues to support and promote the band.
In 2006, after nearly a year-and-a-half of recording and re-recording, they completed their second release for Bella Union, The Trials of Van Occupanther. The album was a venture into classic-rock revivalism, with a sound reminiscent of Bob Welch-era Fleetwood Mac. The album was met with generally positive reviews.
In a 2010 interview with Reverb Magazine, Tim Smith told editor Nick Milligan:
I'm never satisfied with what we do, so when Occupanther came out I had changes I wanted to make. But what I disliked about the album is probably totally different than what other people might see as a problem. I might be totally focused on my voice. But I think we get a little better as we get older. We're listening to more music and getting more confident with who we are as musicians and as a band. It's a natural progression to get to The Courage Of Others. Although it did take a long time and that's due to my influences and falling in love with a different style of music to what we came from. -Tim Smith
Smith also said in the Reverb Magazine interview that his favourite song from The Courage Of Others was 'Small Mountain':
I think my favourite is 'Small Mountain'. Though it seems that when we've played it live, it's the weakest one – people seem to not connect with it. They'd probably rather talk to their friend than listen to it, but people don't really have the album yet. Maybe in time people will start to like that song more. It was written about when I was in college and my parents lived on the top of this hill. I'd spend time up there and wait tables at my dad's restaurant. It was just a good time for me, so it was nice to have a song that I can relate to it. I like the melody also, so that's probably my favourite. -Tim Smith 
Of The Courage Of Others, Tim Smith also said:
The title track was written as a B-side for Van Occupanther so that was really old, and we never used it. We wanted to hold on to it for the next album. 'Children Of The Grounds' we started playing towards the end of our touring for Van Occupanther, because I'd written that around that time and we thought we'd throw it in [the set] to see how it did. But the rest of the material was written while we were recording. There was also a lot of material that was thrown away, because I realised [the ideas] weren't good enough. -Tim Smith
Midlake also co-produced, engineered and played on an album for their friend John Grant, former singer with label mates The Czars. The album, Queen of Denmark, was released in April 2010. In an interview with the UK music website The Line of Best Fit, Bella Union boss Simon Raymonde said
"I still think the Czars’ singer John Grant has one of the greatest voices in music today which is why I am about to release his debut solo record, the Queen Of Denmark. In a weird coincidence, the Midlake guys all fell in love with John’s voice too and invited him down to Denton this year to let them work on his record. They play all the instruments and produce. It’s genius."
- Bamnan and Slivercork (2004)
- The Trials of Van Occupanther (2006)
- The Courage of Others (February 2010) No. 18 UK, No. 61 AUS, No. 94 US, No. 96 GER
Singles and EPs 
- Milkmaid Grand Army (EP) (2001)
- Balloon Maker (EP) (2005)
- Oak & Julian (iTunes-only EP) (2007)
- Acts Of Man (12" single) (Dec 2009)
- Fortune (EP) (2010)
- Late Night Tales: Midlake (2011) (compilation album compiled by Midlake featuring their cover of Black Sabbath's "Am I Going Insane").
- "Melody makers". The Guardian (London). February 23, 2007. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- Heller, Jason (2007-09-04). "Tim Smith of Midlake". The A. V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
- Milligan, Nick (January 30, 2010), "MIDLAKE: The Courage of Others Speak N Spell, 4.5/5", Reverb Magazine (43): 23
- "Artists: Midlake". Bella Union.
- Roco (January 28, 2009). "What’s That Song in Fringe? 'Bandits' by Midlake". Fringe Bloggers. Retrieved 2009-01-30.
- Alexander, Phil (19/03/2011). "John Grant Stuns SXSW". MOJO.
- Diver, Mike (2007-03-23). "Exit Planet Denton: Chemical Brothers team up with Midlake's Tim Smith". Drowned In Sound. Retrieved 2009-06-26.
- "Merry Christmas from Bella Union featuring My Latest Novel, Devics and Robert Gomez/Midlake". Blog. SixtyWatt. July 20, 2007.
- Jessica (November 14, 2008). "Progress Report: Midlake". Blog. Stereogum.
- "Bella Union Week :: The People vs. Simon Raymonde". The Line of Best Fit. 16 September 2009. Unknown parameter
- "Smoking Section: Jack Johnson on the beach, Midlake in the studio, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore on stage". Rolling Stone. 1/18/08.[dead link]
- "New Midlake Album". Bella Union.[dead link]
- "Midlake – The Courage Of Others – Music Charts". αCharts.
- "Midlake release limited edition single". Bella Union.[dead link]