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By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
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By Scott Reitz
The whole fuzzy, distorted, pedal-laden and ambient electronic music thing is hard to pull off. Fact is, it's really easy to get it wrong amidst the growing stacks of undulating effects. It's far too easy to be excruciatingly stripped-down and downright boring.
When a band can pull it off, though, it's because they've found that little bit of magic that combines emotion with simplicity, while adding just the right amount of irreverence. Denton's Midnite Society have struck this balance.
Consisting of Casey Oakes on bass and William Nalley on guitar, vocals, sampler and a host of other assorted electronic gear, the band is the result of years of collaboration between the two.
"We were in Red Faced Laughter for four of five years," Nalley says. "That's the reason we moved here in the first place."
Having worked together musically for the past seven or so years, the pair found that working as a duo came naturally, and with the use of a drum machine rather than a drummer, it finally became possible.
Says Nalley: "This is basically the same formula as before: Casey plays bass and I play guitar. Once we got a drum machine, we started focusing a lot more, venturing out a bit more."
The pair, who helped run the Majestic Dwelling of Doom DIY venue and who were initially responsible for the booking, have seen quite a few national acts come through Denton, and have picked up influences from both the rock and electronic realms to create a blend that is equal parts both, albeit with a basis in sampling.
"We're basically coming from a hip-hop aesthetic," Oakes says.
Although their music doesn't necessarily sound like hip-hop, it becomes a bit easier to believe them when they say they listen almost exclusively to rap music. So far, the two have played several shows at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios and one at the Phoenix Project in Dallas—a DIY space where they felt especially comfortable.
"That's where our heart lies," Nalley says. "The whole DIY scene. Phoenix Project was a good experience."
Currently, Midnite Society have five songs available for purchase or streaming on their BandCamp site. They also have five songs they plan to release on Denton's Paperstain label.
"We're still trying to decide how we're going to release it, exactly," Nalley says. "We'd like to do a split with Sudden Laughter. It would be our dream to release a split 12-inch."
The band's next show is scheduled for July 30 (although there are other tentative dates in the works) as part of the Denton Stray Prevention charity showcase at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios.