Walk The Moon had the mammoth task of warming up the Glasgow crowd last Thursday, ahead of double headliners, You Me At Six and All Time Low. I caught up with them backstage at The SSE Hydro for an exclusive chat about influences, reality TV, touring with You Me At Six and All Time Low, really weird (!) gigs and plans to be the next Coldplay . . .
How did Walk The Moon come together?
Nicholas Petricca (Vocals): “I started the band a long time ago, around 2008/2009 with some friends. We were all doing our own thing, then the band started some music but didn’t have any players. Over the course of a year or so, I went out and was booking gigs and that’s how I met these guys and we’ve been the real deal for the last four, almost five years.”
Did the band start off as a small thing that built up?
Petricca : “It really got going when we filmed a music video for our song, “Anna Sun”. We have an awesome buddy who’s a really great videographer who had this crazy idea, and we filmed it with a bunch of our friends and that’s really what got us noticed.”
How would you describe your music to someone that has never heard it before? Who inspires you?
Sean Waugaman (Drummer) :“A lot of stuff that’s been from the late 70’s through to the early 90’s, but mainly a lot of new wave 80’s stuff, a lot of the weird, groovy stuff”.
Petricca : “Influences would include David Bowie, Talking Heads, Prince, The Cars”
Eli Maiman (Guitartist) :“A lot of Phil Collins”
You released your debut LP independently, did you ever consider going down a reality television music route of The X Factor or American Idol?
Petricca (laughing) : “There was a time when I considered trying out for American Idol, but I don’t know. Fortunately, it happened for us before that was ever something we needed to go to. We just started booking our gigs, as many gigs as we possibly could! Some weird, terrible gigs! Just booking gigs throughout The Midwest and The East Coast of The United States, and slowly started creeping our way West. Eventually, with that and our “Anna Sun” video, we got our stride.
Did it ever phase playing gigs where nobody had heard any of your material?
Petricca : “Well, we’re about to go out and play The Hydro with hardly anyone knowing our material either (laughing) so that doesn’t really phase us. We like to use it as an opportunity to surprise someone and to get new people into our music, every gig is. Every single time you perform, there’s going to be somebody who doesn’t know you, hasn’t heard of you or actively doesn’t like you! And, so that’s what we fight for every night; to convert that person and give them a feeling that they want to have again, you know?”
Maiman : “It’s fun fighting for that. It’s what we’ve been doing for a long time; learning how to go out into a crowd that has no idea and trying to bring them in and bring them together. It’s fun when it works.”
Waugaman : “Our whole sole purpose it feels like is bringing people out of their shell and encouraging people to connect with the child inside, and to let go and live in the moment, and to discard whatever it is they were worried about to enjoy music and enjoy each other.”
What is your favourite song to play live?
Petricca : “We have this new song called “Shut Up And Dance”. When we first started playing that song there was this feeling that we had the audience singing along before they even knew the song! We barely even knew the song and we had people singing along at the very first show, so that’s a really special song for us.”
Have you noticed much difference between the crowds in the UK and the US?
Maiman : “Yes and no. In the end, I think it comes down to that human beings are human beings and every show is a wild card and it could go in any direction. I will say that a lot of cities in the UK and Europe have audiences that are up for anything.”
Petricca :“They’re really visibly excited to be there, and sometimes, in some US cities you sort of have to coax them a little bit, and massage them into being at a rock show. So it’s fun when we’re over here and the audience is already starting at 8, and we just have to bring them to 10″.
How is life on the road with You Me At Six and All Time Low?
Kevin Ray (Bass): “They’re definitely some of the nicest people we’ve ever been involved with in touring. They’re just awesome and so accommodating. The second we walked in the door, the bands were in our dressing room meeting us, eating our food, and making jokes with us.”
Petricca : “They have been really generous and it’s a great opportunity. We haven’t been to the since 2013 because we were in a cave making a record, so this is an amazing way for us to reintroduce ourselves to the UK and hopefully we’ll be back again very soon”.
What have you taken from the experience of supporting You Me At Six and All Time Low?
Petricca : “We’ve been incredibly fortunate to tour with such nice and amazing people over the past couple of years, so I kind of thought that we had it figured out, but these guys have kind of shown us that there’s always ways you can improve the operation and make the environment more inviting”.
What are your plans for the rest of 2015?
Petricca : “We have a big tour in The States when we return home, starting in March, which is the biggest tour we’ve ever done on our own. Its 45 shows, and it’s almost all sold out so it’s intense.”
Waugaman : “Beyond that, I don’t think we’re at liberty to say and give any specifics, but we are hoping to come back here and beyond our American shores.”
Where do you aim to be a little further down the line?
Petricca : “All we can do it take it day by day; we would love to be the next Coldplay and write anthems that 200 different countries can sing along to, that would be amazing! We really see our art as a way to spread positivity and help improve the world in some way, so we want to do good and reach out to as many people as possible! We want to empower people to be themselves and not be afraid to stand up for what they think is right”.
Walk The Moon’s “Talking Is Hard” is out on Monday 11th May 2015.