With Ghostland Observatory on hiatus, Aaron Behrens has been preparing his solo musical adventure since 2013. Writing, recording and rehearsing with a crack team of Austin musicians, the sessions resulted in Behrens crafting material that blended elements of soulful rock and heartfelt blues into a refreshing sound.
Joining Behrens in The Midnight Stroll is Jonas Wilson (previously from Lomita and White White Lights) on guitar and production. Over the past few months, The Midnight Stroll have played a handful of shows, including at SXSW Interactive with Aloe Blacc and The Hold Steady, as well as festival sets at Austin City Limits, Neon Desert, Wakarusa and Fort Worth Music Festival. In support of the self-titled release, Aaron Behrens and The Midnight Stroll will kick off a massive coast-to-coast tour of North America (dates below).
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Behrens to discuss and album that has been highly influential for him, Radioheads Kid A.
What is your favorite album?
Well, I don’t have one favorite album. I have a lot of favorite albums. But one that comes mind right now is Kid A, by Radiohead.
Do you remember when your received or purchased the album?
My man Thomas Turner, who is my partner in Ghostland Observatory, actually showed me that record when we were hanging out around Music Lab in Austin. We were rehearsing so much back then and playing so much so I can imagine it was in the industrial district, sitting in some parking lot just listening to tunes with the smell of American Spirits in the air.
What is your favorite song on the album?
I like ‘em all, but “The National Anthem” sticks out.
What is it about the song that resonates with you?
Well what resonates with me is the mix of instrumentation and the sounds that they’re using. That bass line is so sick and driving, but when his vocals come in, they’ve got this harmonic, weird, keyboard, vocoder-type sound to them. It’s just such a great blend of tone and that song rocks. That Theremin sound coming in the background makes it super-eerie, super-moody. Those are my favorite kind of tracks and albums. That’s what really blows my mind about that kind of stuff, and that song especially was really cool.
Have you ever covered a song from the album?
No I have not, but maybe it’s about time I should.
What is it about the album that makes it stand out against the band’s other output?
It was a huge shift in their career going from Ok Computer. I’m just repeating known information, but this completely shifted them into digital music. This album changed the landscape of music (period). It was a huge breakthrough for them coming from rock and then going into that, and mixing electronics and rock music like they did. That inspired me. That inspired me to do Ghostland, you know. A lot of my leaning was on this album. This album was a freakin’ gamechanger and not just for them.
Have you ever given a copy of this record to anyone, and what were the circumstances?
I imagine unknowingly I gave this album to people because I’d leave it in their cars from road tripping. We’d drive all these old dirt roads around Texas all afternoon, evening and into the night time relaxing our minds, stimulating our minds and just soaking in these records. Yeah, I guarantee you I ran through a couple of copies just leaving them in people’s CD players.
Which of the records that you performed on is your favorite?
All of the records that I perform on are my favorite. That’s my answer. I can’t imagine answering this any other way.
(Dates for Aaron Behrens and The Midnight Stroll’s North American tour can be seen here:
09/13 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
09/14 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom
09/17 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
09/18 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock
09/19 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern
10/01 – El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace
10/02 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
10/03 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah 1
0/04 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite
10/05 – Pomona, CA @ Glass House
10/06 – Los Angeles, CA @ School Night at Bardot
10/08 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
10/10 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
10/12 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile 1
0/15 – Missoula, MT @ Stage 112
10/16 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
10/17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
10/18 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
10/25 – Austin, TX @ Scoot Inn
11/05 – Birmingham, AL @ The Bottletree
11/06 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
11/07 – Athens, GA @ Georgia Theatre
11/08 – Nashville, TN @ High Watt
11/09 – Asheville, NC @ The Millroom
11/11 – Charleston, SC @ The Pour House
11/12 – Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre
11/13 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
11/14 – Philadelphia, PA @ MilkBoy
11/15 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
11/19 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott
11/20 – Pittsburgh, PA @ The Altar Bar
11/21 – Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlie’s)