Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down and having a conversation with musician and artist Greg Reynaud. He’s been in Daegu now for eight years writing and performing under the moniker of Midway in Wake, which began in 2006 in a tiny studio apartment in Masan where Greg first moved to in order to write a new chapter on life.
Midway in Wake has released two albums both of which completely envelop the listener on distinct yet equally fascinating aural journeys. The latest album entitled “Heirs to the Storm” is both foreboding and appropriate considering recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and José among other tropical storms and earthquakes. Greg is also an accomplished visual artist and in this interview he talks about the marriage between his love of art and music, as well as the sources of his inspiration and the creative process. (All artwork featured in this article is by Greg Reynaud and all music can be purchased at Midway in Wake.) Scroll down to stream his music on this page.
What has it been like creating music living overseas?
It hasn’t been easy. Daegu doesn’t quite have the music community that Busan or Seoul has. It takes a lot of self-discipline to stay productive. One of the reasons I’ve been able to stay in Korea is my passion for the things I do…if I stopped doing them, then I’d have to leave. While I enjoy making music and painting, I feel it’s something I need to do.
The new album features songs from ten different perspectives after an apocalyptic event, where did this idea of a multi-narrative start?
I think I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with a post apocalypse; what would cause it, how would human beings react to it. While writing lyrics I thought about trying to do something a little different from the mostly socio-political context I draw from. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be great to jump into the mind of fictional characters and bring out their lives or struggles? One painstaking song after another, a narrative concept album is what “Heirs to the Storm” became.
How does your artwork fit into the picture?
The music has always come first for me, but when I’m struggling with finishing songs, I try to fill in the cracks with something else. The art keeps me occupied and productive. As the album was near completion, my buddy from Lowatt Records came up with the idea of combining both my music and my art. While the songs share a common theme and overall mood, each song represents a different aspect of the human condition like feelings of love, loyalty, desire, loss, greed, revenge or desolation. Each song is complemented by a painting that illustrates those feelings adding yet another dimension to the music.
Where did the band and the album names originate?
I was painting while listening to the audio version of a novel entitled “Unbroken”. One of the characters is lost at sea in the Pacific during WWII. The narrator mentioned the Midway and Wake islands and right away it just clicked. Later on, the name evolved into something more, such as a perpetual state of sub-consciousness.
‘Heirs to the Storm’ refers to us as inheritors of the apocalypse. In the album, it’s not clearly stated what is causing this problem in the world. It could be war or environmental catastrophes. It’s not really important what causes it; how the people deal with these circumstances is what fuels these narratives.
If this album becomes more popular and you meet the right group of musicians, might you consider playing live?
If you listen to the songs, you realize that there’d need to be at least five (if not more) musicians. It’s layered and to fully realize it live, you would want all those pieces in there, with some improvisation, of course. Having been in bands in the past, it’s all about chemistry. If the chemistry isn’t there, it’s not worth it in the end. I’ve played live shows quite a bit and it’s not something I’m yearning to get back to. If it happens, fine, but it’s not the main focus. It’s building the songs, amassing the pieces and then putting them altogether.
Lastly, what does the future hold?
I want to continue writing songs, maybe explore this concept a bit further, in more of a positive light. In the near future, handwritten lyric sheets written by 10 different people will be available as PDF downloads. A few more videos will be released as well. Other than that, who knows?