When two people alone use their musical prowess to play layered, neo-classical inspired goth soundtracks like Ohio's Midnight Syndicate (MS) do, it can be quite hard to pull off live. That is one reason why the duo didn't perform live at all for roughly 17 years. Due to the fact that it's impossible for two people to play all the instruments at the same time, keyboards and drums are tracked in a studio.

Bringing the monster alive

With that fact in mind, I braved the crowd at Sandusky's Jack Aldrich theater to speak with the performers and to discover how it all happens.

MS have an opera singer who is not normally in the Cleveland based band. I asked where they found a vocalist of such caliber and the answer was shocking.

"Her name is Ginina Bradshaw," said co-keyboardist, Edward Douglas. "and she actually came to us through Cedar Point Live Entertainment." She had been part of last summer's "Luminosity" party in the park.

At one point in the show, she sings "Nightstalker" in what the observant ear will hear is Latin. This is a change from what is heard on the CD, so I asked about it, too.

"She took it and ran with it," Douglas said, beaming.

As for what she's singing and what the words mean, fellow symphonic master Gavin Goszka admitted, "It's nothing, sort of bits and pieces like 'night eternal.'"

Then the two say almost in unison that the words are "nothing really thought out."

Her voice carries the mood more than the lyrics and she lifted the whole performance with her magical voice.

"There's a little bit of that 'Dead Can Dance' type of thing where- she's saying words, phases, or stringing syllables together," the two men also convey to Blasting News.

Like the machines of Dr. Frankenstien

So is there a method to the madness when it comes to what key a song is in that makes things more ominous? The short answer to this question is, "no," though they both know music theory.

"I just go in, wherever the music seems to be leading once I pick the key and where the song is going, it just happens," said Douglas. "I don't intentionally set out to write in say, Mixolydian mode, or Phrygian, or anything like that."

The song goes from his head, he says, " line by line" as it is composed and then is put to the paper or the computer.

Using theory to compose Douglas said is "a different way of writing."

As for the machines that breathe life into their creation, Goszka said that they run into the same issue as all synth players do. Sounds often die with the keyboard, though he has found that the newer sounds are richer, and are better fitting than the originals since technology has progressed so much since the band began.

"That is always the challenge, to get as close as you can," he said.

Douglas mentioned that they aim for a more orchestral sound than anything else. This topic led Goszka to talk about how the addition of the Roland sampling drum pad, Spdsx has enriched the band.

Live triggers are sent from that machine which also handles his impeccable drumming, whispers, sound FX, and more.

When asked how they choose which parts are to be triggered or played live, they confessed that it can be a challenge and that some songs can't be done. Since just tracking everything "has no point" according to Douglas, they just choose which songs work best live when needed. Those chosen are often older selections so that longtime fans can hear them on stage.

MS may release a live show someday, but they seem in no hurry whatsoever to get it done. Goska feels that what they do works best in settings such as that which Cedar Point offers.

So if one of the most spellbinding goth performances to ever hit the live stage its to be seen, it must be done by October 29. After that, Cedar Point closes and with it, the Midnight Syndicate crypt.