In the same vein as Fallout Boy and the more recent fun., Walk the Moon look set to start small then take the world by storm with the debut, self-titled album from the Cleveland foursome already making huge strides for the group already.
Sporadic touring is set to soon turn to a full-length tour by the autumn, when they will be supporting fun. on a tour of Europe. Although only making the one stop over in the UK they are a band that are sure to be back soon and with much more to sing, shout and dance about.
We managed to collar lead singer/songwriter/keyboardist Nicholas Petricca for a brief chat over the phone to talk about the album, touring and face paint.
What can we expect from the album?
The record is a rock and roll record, but with synthesisers and a strong 70's-80's influence. We were listening to a lot of Bowie, The Police and Talking Heads when we made it so you might hear a little of that in there - I guess that's all there is to say, if you want to hear more then you'll have to listen to it.
The album consists of new and old material. Did you go into the studio knowing you were going to recycle material from the self-released album?
It was an interesting situation coming in because we already had a full record (2010's I want! I want!) that had already been around for a while before we got signed. We decided to use some of the older songs because we decided that this was going to be one of the first times many people would hear about it and given that Sony have such a far reach across the globe it would be ideal to use this resource to show off our stuff.
We went in, not with the intent just to do the old album overall, but to give the songs new life and to really capture what we do live on the record because it's that raw live energy that we think make a band.
How much do you think your style has progressed since you first wrote those songs?
I think that its progression along the same lines as how we've gotten to know ourselves and what we want to be as a band. We realised that what we wanted is to have that live output at the centre of what we do and we made our shows more rambunctious and bombastic and louder, a little rougher around the edges than what the independent labels would recommend. I think that's the thing that's progressed the most.
The things we love about our influences so much is the character and the fearlessness that they had. Your Bowies and your David Byrnes, they have this sense of stage persona and presence that we aspire to have in our shows.
What was it about the late 70's and 80's that made it such a good period for music?
I think a lot of it has to do with artists not being afraid to be a little weird. I think we're all a little weird at heart and some a little weirder than others. For an artist to let people see that about themselves makes them a little more human and I think that's especially important for a performer. Bowie went to the extremes of this, I'm sure people don't need me to elaborate, how he brought drama and a sort of schizophrenia to his performance; I think it's a very human thing.
What was it like working with Ben Allen; he's generally known for working with more alternative acts rather than your guitar, bass, drum acts, do you feel he drew this angular style out of you that you otherwise might not have managed?
Oh yeah definitely. One thing that Ben is particularly good at is finding really great sounds and when we were in the studio with him he'd be struggling to think of a sound and we might even reference an Animal Collective sound and tell him "we really want something odd and in this direction." To which he'd normally reply with something like "oh I have this perfect shaker her sitting in this desk that I've had for 20 years. Here you go!" [Laughs]
He has a wealth of ideas and more importantly the know-how to make the sound we're after.
What has the reception for the album been like so far?
Things have been great; honestly it's been a little surreal. There have been lots of mentions to us here and there, 'Artist to Watch', 'Song of the Summer', stuff like that. In the first couple of days we reached the top ten on iTunes and that just blew us away. We didn't stay there, but we were there for a little bit and it was great getting to feel like a baby artist in a crowd with a bunch of grown up artists.
Do you have a personal favourite song from the album?
Good question, I really like the song 'I Can Lift A Car.'
Can you lift a car?
[Laughs] I'll never tell.
Will your gig at the KOKO be your first in England?
No actually, we were here last year around May time, around the time of The Great Escape Festival and we played about 5-6 shows in a week here - a few shows in London and then came to The Loft in Brighton and a little cavernous club right on the water before going to Southampton.
When will we see you doing a full UK tour?
We'll be coming back briefly with fun. but that's mainly to focus on all of Europe as we'll be doing about 16-17 different countries on that tour. Right now we can't really say when we'd be back, but we'd love to be back as soon as we can.
What can people expect from the live shows?
The live show is, like I said, I don't think we pretend to be something that's never been seen before; it's lots shouting, it's all very loud and we like to bring a strong beat so hopefully people are willing to let loose and get weird with us. Hopefully there's lots of dancing and face paint.
When did you all become such eager face painters?
[laughs] It started with the 'In The Sun' video, where we had this sort of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys theme. There's a scene in the movie Hook where they're all getting ready for war and painting faces - it's playful danger - and that's just something we did for the one show we did for the video, but it was just so much fun we just kept doing it.
What do you consider as the most important aspect about your live show?
We like to say that Walk The Moon is not a spectator sport, we like to involve the audience as much as possible and I think that's the centre of what we do. I think the great part of coming to live music is that you can let go and sort of give yourself to the moment.
Do you like to consider yourself as being much more than just a band - is there much more to Walk The Moon than music?
Yeah, absolutely! I mean, that's our lives so we definitely don't want to be judged that way. I think Walk The Moon is a three-dimensional thing and I think we'll continue to find out more about it but I think the glimpse of it in the 'In The Sun' video which we actually did in America on Vevo. We released what we called seven-in-seven - we released seven videos in seven days on our own with no budget and one camera and hopefully we'll be able to release them in the UK as well. The visual aspect, whether it's the face-paint or the videos and the creative side, is important to us as well.
What do you want you fans and new listeners to take away after listening to you?
I think, mainly, we just want to be a bunch of fun! We just want people to have as much fun as they can possibly allow themselves listening to us so, if we bring that to them, then we've done our job. I think it's important to us to have a pop sensibility but be a little less descendent, be a little weird so I think that's what we're striving for.
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