Midas Whale is a duo – comprised of Ryan Hayes and former American Idol finalist Jon Peter Lewis. The two play a variety of instruments, including the guitar, trumpet, accordion, harp, drums and piano. In Monday night’s episode of The Voice, Midas Whale competed against Patrick Dodd, singing Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love”. Adam Levine named Midas Whale the winner(s) of that Battle Round, and we caught up with them via conference call to talk about Elvis, singing with Patrick… and to find out if there was a behind-the-scenes “duo competition” between them and fellow duo The Swon Brothers. Read the interview below, and follow Midas Whale on Twitter @midaswhale.
Obviously, doing battle with another singer or another act is not something that you would do on a regular basis. How has that experience made you better at what you do? How has it made you better performers?
Ryan Hayes: I would just say that – being in a duo – you’re constantly having to find a perfect balance and find a perfect blend and so it’s much different from the scenario in which you’re singing a lead part.
For me, at least as somebody who’s been a singer their whole life and in a more of a coral scenario, it’s natural for me and more comfortable to be in the position where all I have to do… well I’m just searching for the perfect blend and it’s awesome – I like it much better than singing solo.
Jon Peter Lewis: Yes, I would say that it’s easy to get caught up in a competition… to become competitive and to lose sight of creating a musical experience for the audience. I think the challenge of the battle round is to do that – create something that isn’t necessarily one person trying to defeat the other, but just creating something really beautiful for people to watch. And when Patrick and ourselves… when we went into the battle round, we wanted to make sure that we were working collectively to make each other look as good as possible.
I think it’s a challenge to do that psychologically and because I think you need… people have a tendency to be competitive and you’re into the competition and so you want to win, you know. But I think it has been nice to still just I think forcefully put that aside and try to just create something nice for the audience.
You guys have said that you want to start your own style of music and so far the judges have kind of referred to you as being different and unique. Do you think that’s necessary for your success?
Jon Peter Lewis: I don’t think it’s… I think it’s necessary to be unique to be successful but I enjoy personally being unique. I mean, I enjoy doing something or trying and experimenting with new things. That brings me a lot of personal satisfaction so, you know, whether or not it brings me success remains to be seen. But it’s what I… it’s kind of just what we do.
Jon Peter Lewis: Yes, it definitely helps you to kind of be mentally prepared for the things that are coming… but being in a duo is a completely different thing. It’s totally different than doing this type of thing as a solo act and it’s a whole new experience for me. So, there aren’t really too many preparations other than some emotional things that could be prepared for from my previous experience.
Speaking of American Idol, you got to do an Elvis song last night, Jon. Do you think that Elvis is your lucky charm?
Jon Peter Lewis: It seems to be – but unintentionally. I mean, we didn’t choose that song, that’s a song that Adam chose for us. So, I don’t know… I love Elvis, I love doing his songs, and it was fun for us – for me – to do it in a style that was different than the way Elvis had done it.
Jon Peter Lewis: I was incredibly intimidated, actually – going up against Patrick, and him having just that beautiful like… rasp and blues and soul [voice]. I mean, he could… if I had his voice, I would be singing every phrase that I spoke. I would stop speaking – I would just sing everything. I think – him having that voice and then him doing an Elvis song – was just kind of like one of the things where I felt like, “Well I’m just going to do my very best and then hope for the best.”
Most duos or groups don’t do very well in the battle competitions – how do you think you guys stood out as a duo?
Ryan Hayes: I think that, traditionally, the duos really don’t do well in battles just because they have a hard time finding the right niche. I think we found a really good habitat – first of all being on Adam’s Team, and secondly because of the type of music that we bring in. We’re unique enough in both of those fields that it makes us stand out – and maybe that’s a good thing or maybe eventually it will turn against us. But I think we just found ourselves a really good habitat.
You and the Swon Brothers are both duos – and as you’re both making it through all of these rounds, do you feel a kind of “duo competition” between you? Is that something you guys have talked about?
Jon Peter Lewis: Well, if there’s a competition it’s a very friendly competition between us. I mean it’s… they’re fun guys and we have a lot of fun talking to them. If there is – sometimes there’s some playful banter back and forth about that kind of thing, but I mean there’s nothing really serious.
What did it feel like to perform as a duo in addition to performing with Patrick during the battle round?
Jon Peter Lewis: I love being in a trio with Patrick and I wish we could be in a trio with Patrick all the time.