MIDAS WHALE | Courtesy Photo

Midas Whale returns to Rexburg Roots

MIDAS WHALE | Courtesy Photo

MIDAS WHALE | Courtesy Photo

In 2009, musicians Jon Peter Lewis and Ryan Hayes met in Rexburg during an open mic event, and immediately began to collaborate as they realized their taste in music was similar.

“We formed the band specifically to audition for ‘The Voice,’” Hayes said. “We chose Adam Levine because after having heard them all talk — it went on much longer than what was shown on TV — he seemed to be the one that really understood who we were, and it just felt like we couldn’t go wrong on   his team.”

Hayes said that even though Midas Whale made it onto “The Voice,” they did not get the opportunity to sign a record label with their mentor, Adam Levine.

“We didn’t let this experience hold us back,” Hayes said.

Feb. 11, 2014, the band released its first album, Sugar House.

The band received inspiration for the name, Midas Whale, while planning a trip to Los Angeles.

“Supposedly, Jon asked me to go to Los Angeles, and my response was ‘might as well,’” Hayes said.

Hayes said that like most bands, their biggest challenge was establishing who they were as a band.

“You can’t just make a band and decide what you will sound like,” Hayes said. “It is a journey that leads you to self-discovery. Honestly, I have always wondered what my sound would be — I’ve never made a record before — and now that it’s been almost two years, I feel like I know myself much better than before.”

Hayes said he and Lewis have differing musical influences, but when they formed Midas Whale, they brought those influences together.

“When we formed Midas Whale, we weren’t really sure what genre we would be, but I have always been a writer of folk music, and Jon’s music is very Americana,” Hayes said. “Now that we’ve put together an album of our own, we usually say that our music is folk Western. I am highly influenced by old time singers like Jim Reeves, and Jon is very influenced by songwriters like Jackson Browne.”

Hayes said he and Lewis both contribute to the songwriting process, but they discuss their songs individually to see what works and does not work instead of writing each song together in one go.

Hayes said the band members do not have any plans to release a second CD at the moment, but are working on individual projects.

Hayes said he and Lewis plan on promoting and selling their album, Sugar House, more before working on new projects to release.

“We have a couple of shows booked for the end of the summer, but our biggest project is the rock opera that we produce called Deep Love,” Hayes said. “It is something we do together every fall.”

Hayes said his most memorable moment of being a part of Midas Whale was the blind audition for “The Voice.”

“‘The Voice’ is a great show because you can be a winner from the very beginning,” Hayes said. “We turned four chairs and walked away kind of dazed — like, ‘Did that really just happen?’ It was surreal and a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.” 

Midas Whale will perform May 30 in the Kirkham Auditorium. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale through the Center Stage Web page.

For more information about upcoming events, albums or anything else about the band, visit midaswhale.com.

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