Walk The Moon are on the NASA launch pad, just waiting to take off. The Ohio pop-rock merchants had a massive hit with their song Anna Sun online and have capitalised on that with their brilliant brand new album
We spoke with Eli, Shaun and Kevin from the group about the new album, playing famous festivals and their love of face paint.
So, for people who haven't heard the record yet, how would you describe it?
We like to think that it's an upbeat, good time. we do have some heavier, deeper tracks, but for the most part we like to keep it really fun and focus on party time. Our aim was basically to try and capture all the energy of our live show. There's a lot of fun and dancing around the auditorium there.
You guys have become famous for using face paint at your live shows. When did that start?
The face paint thing started pretty organically. We did the music video for the song Anna Sun, that was a couple of years ago now, and that was the first look the world got of Walk The Moon. In the video we were going for this sort of Lost Boys theme and someone just brought up the idea of using face paint and we worked it in.
When we released the video we kind of had a face paint station and a paint vibe, with murals where people could get creative and throw paint at the walls and that kind of stuck and people started showing up at the shows with paint. We found it was a great way to get involved with the audience before the show and it kind of stuck. It's something that we like to keep to the live show experience.
Is it important to you to have the live show's feel different to simply listening to the record?
We definitely want the live experience to be something special. Something that's important to us to connect with the fans and the audience and not just be two separate entities. We want to break down the wall that Roger Walters sang about 40 years ago. That's a big part of the face paint, we get out in the crowd and face paint the audience before we play.
Especially for a young band that isn't that well known, it gives people a chance to meet us and talk to us a little bit before we even get on stage. We find it tends to be this uniting experience that we all have this community vibe at the show.
So the video of Anna Sun has just become enormous, it's on just over 5 million views right now. What's that been like, seeing that number go up?
As a musician trying to make it in the rock world, you kind of crawl along for a long time and make tiny little baby steps. Then in November 2010 when we put out the video it was almost like all of a sudden our speed began exponentially growing. It's a really amazing thing to see. It takes you by surprise, we started getting calls from record labels and managers all at once. We had to make sure to keep our feet on the ground and not let it get away from us.
How do you think you guys as a band have progressed since the release of I Want I Want a few years ago?
Well, the band definitely has grown tighter together. Before I Want I Want we had done some weekend tours and some light touring but it was really that and the release of the Anna Sun video which made us do some serious touring and going out for months at a time.
The experience you get from doing that and being in a band with three other dudes and playing with them every single day is something you can't replicate in any other way. You just have to get out there and do it. You become closer as people and tighter as musicians and I think we're a better band for it.
So, how long did it take you guys to break out of Ohio?
It was cool. When we put out the Anna Sun video and a few months later a blog in New York called Neon Gold (which is also record label) tweeted about the video a few days before we had a show there. It just worked out really well.
They tweeted and people were paying attention to them and sure enough , the show in New York, which should have had 15 or 20 people at it was suddenly full of suits. That was really the beginning of things and it hasn't really slowed down since then.
You're over here in the UK, so how have we been treating you?
We love the UK. We've been here a couple of times before and it's always been great. The first time we came over we played three shows in London, a couple in Brighton and one in Southampton. Last time we played Coco in London, which was pretty crazy and now that we're going out with FUN, we're playing all over the country, and Ireland too. So we're going to be able to get a real impression of what the crowds are like all over the country.
What was it like playing at such as massive festival as South By Southwest?
South By Southwest is a really crazy one. Last time we were there we played seven shows in 30 hours, so that's an experience you don't get anywhere else. A lot of the festivals have been dreams come true for all of us. Doing Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, it's getting to play festivals you watched on TV growing up. It's really humbling and exciting.
With a name taken off a Police song, it clear to see you've got a real for 80's pop. Where did that come from?
I think that was the university experience for all of us. We went off to college and started digging deeper and searching for our identities in music, as musicians tend to do. We all grew fond of Talking Heads and Bowie, Prince, Phil Collins, all the great 80s pop synth rock stuff.
Why do you think that that era of music has had such a resurgence?
I've started to believe that there's this 25 year period that recycles. Now we're in the late 80s and early 90s, eventually we'll see teal Nike swish jackets coming back. I think people have felt disconnected from that type of music long enough that we need it back.
It was such a creative time in music and it's almost as if people have forgotten about it for a bit. I don't think we can be away from that kind of music for too long.
We think another big part is that a lot of that music was really ahead of its time. You listen to a Kate Bush record from 1985 and it sounds very similar to a lot of stuff today. We like to think that people are tired of feeling angry and are ready to smile and have a good time again.
So, a lot of people are tipping you for really big things next year. Does that help you out in any way?
I don't think that we have a specific goal, we're just trying to do the best we can and not let a lot of external interference get in our way. We're pretty happy what we're doing right now. We're trying to be as humble as we can be.
We're just four guys from Ohio that even if all this success hadn't happened would still be in a rock band back in Cincinnati doing the same thing. Every piece of news seems to be good news, and we wouldn't trade that for the world.
What's next for Walk The Moon then?
World domination. So we're setting our sights low. We're going out with Fun for about a month and then we're heading back out to the States to do a headline tour with a great band from LA called Family Of The Year. Then we're gonna take some time off for Christmas and Hanukkah and start back up next year. Actually, we just shot a video for our new song tight rope, which we're really excited to unleash upon the world.
Can you give us any details before you go?
It's crazy, really crazy. It was a feat. It's kind of like going to see Cats on acid. We seem to have these interesting sets of limitations when we go to do video content. We had the Seven In Seven videos where we shot seven videos in seven days on our own with no budget and one camera.
When we shot Anna Sun we had very little money and a couple of days and everyone was volunteers. This time with Tightrope we had one day in Los Angeles with an entire film crew and extras and wardrobe, the works.
We had one day to pull it off and we did, and we're really excited about it. Additionally, we had a week to come up with the ideas. We seem to be at our best when we're freaking out and trying to put something together at the last minute.
Walk The Moon's new, self titled album is out right now.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith