Many people only know them as the band who penned the viral hit “Shut Up And Dance”, which peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2015. Maybe if you listened to a lil’ bit more American pop than your peers, you might even be familiar with their next biggest hit, “Anna Sun”.
Walk The Moon hails from Cincinnati, Ohio, and stopped in Singapore as part of their current world tour as they prepare to launch a new album full of more dance anthems and catchy lyrics after the huge success of their recent single.
There are bands who manage to capture the essence of performance, and it doesn’t matter whether you know the song or not, you just feel like one with the music right there and then, and this is what Walk The Moon does best with their incredible stage presence. All about having fun together at a concert, Walk The Moon is determined to impact the youths one song at a time.
We caught up with Walk The Moon when they were in town to talk about their recent success and what it entails from here on as their fears of being a one-hit wonder become more apparent.
The lads all slowly trickle into the interview room, high from lack of sleep as a result of their jet-setting all over the world. They goof around, sitting on each other and splaying all over the couches. Kevin, the bassist, face-palmed the couch and mimicked a broken record as he muttered standard answers, “Yes we had a great year, our new record is coming out, we are excited to be here…”
Hard enough as it is, we got the introductions out of the way and finally got down to closer look at what the boys have been up to.
Q: Since you guys are currently in the middle of your world tour, what is the best thing about going on tour?
Kevin: I would have to say meeting new people and experiencing all these different cultures. Like we come from opposite sides of the world, and its interesting to see how different life is here. Of course we are still jet lagged and we are still waking up at 2am in the morning. But we do get to explore a little in each country. Its all quite clichéd but its really how we feel.
Q: What’s up with the face paint? Did you guys intend to have its as your defining motif?
Nicholas: Not really. This all came from our first video, Anna Sun. We were all just splashing paint on each other because we thought that it would make a good video. Then fans watched it and started painting their faces when they came to our concerts.
We liked having paint on all our concertgoers faces. Like its just part off having fun, and you are showing everyone that you are a part of the community together. When you are on your way home, and people asks why you have paint on your face, and you can say that you were at a Walk The Moon concert. It can even be a way to start a conversation!
Q: Moving on, what are your thoughts on “Shut Up And Dance” going viral? It was that one song that really put you guys in everyone’s playlists.
Nicholas: Shut Up And Dance became much bigger than we really anticipated and I think it’s at a point right now where people maybe know the song and don’t necessarily know who we are but it certainly isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good problem to have.
We have a new single coming out, and there is a huge shadow cast from our previous hit, Shut Up And Dance, and we hope to be able to best that, but obviously only time can tell. It’s just going to push us harder. It’s just a fear in the back of my mind but I know that as long as we keep persevering, (similar success) will happen eventually.
Q: Tell us a little more about your inspiration and concept as a band.
Nicholas: For us, it’s the way that the music makes you feel. We want to feel like a community at one of our gigs. It makes you feel good, and we want people to enjoy themselves. We want people to just lose themselves in the music and get inspired.
It’s also about redefining yourself and persevering and rising up. It’s about chasing your dreams, and its very heartening when fans tell us about the impact we’ve made in their lives. We do hear a lot of stories and I always like it when we receive fan art and letters telling us how they’ve gone how many months without self harming and how we have inspired them in life.
Q: You guys are all about making songs that capture the college spirit and the youth years. Are there any struggles to stay relevant to the youth through your music?
Kevin: What because we are getting old? (grins jokingly)
Eli: Hahah, no but I get where you are coming from. You cannot write music with the intentions of getting a big hit. You’re not going to get very far because kids these days can smell phoney-ness. If you try too hard, its going to come off as being very obvious. You gotta just do it for the music and for yourself.
Its about just making music that we want to. But on the other hand, its kind of weird because I’m like a guy in my mid twenties, and I pour all my feelings and emotions into this record, and a fourteen year old girl goes and listens to it and can relate to it. Like there are so much differences in our situations, but we can relate to each other through music.
Q: What is one thing you’ve learned from performing onstage that you wouldn’t have known otherwise?
Eli: The thing about music is the process of making music itself. You start out playing in a basement with your friends at first and its all fun and good times. Then you gradually move to a bar and gradually onto bigger stages. The best thing about these shows are that you are literally this close away from your fans (brings his face literally half a meter from mine) and people at your show. You get to see all their emotions, their reactions in their faces, and its great. It’s this whole atmosphere of energy.
But when you’re in the big stadiums with twenty thousand people there is a gap, a barrier between you and your fans. You are literally on stage; you can’t see anything with the light shining in your eyes. You would think that you would be able to se each face individually but no you are back to being a band, and you need to be on stage having fun with each other.
It was completely different to what I expected it to be. You need to learn how to be comfortable playing together as a band again because you cant really feel the presence of the fans. Its all about enjoying ourselves on stage by ourselves because you can’t feel the presence of the fans as much as compared to a bar. Which is why we are always looking for ways to bridge this gap between the and the people, but it’s hard.
Special thanks to Sony Music Singapore and LAMC Productions for helping organize this interview.