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In Conversation with: Walk The Moon

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‘Anna Sun’ was the song that introduced a lot of fans to your band. However, ‘Shut Up and Dance’ has been an even bigger hit. How has the experience of releasing your second album, Talking is Hard been different to releasing your previous album, Walk The Moon?

Nick: The scale just keeps getting bigger and if anything, it’s just allowed us to do more and to travel further. We’ve just played our first shows in Japan, Singapore and New Zealand, and that’s a cool feeling to go across the world and play music, so that’s really awesome. There hasn’t been a change in fans, our music tends to attract good vibe people, so that’s been the same.

Kevin: This time a lot more parents have told us “Oh my child sings, or screams, ‘Shut Up and Dance’ in the car.” That’s kinda fun, nobody was doing that with ‘Anna Sun’. I think kids like an excuse to say ‘shut up.’

Eli: There’s an interesting thing that happens during the show. ‘Shut Up and Dance’ has been such a cultural thing, it’s been everywhere, so when we play ‘Shut Up and Dance’ in the set there is a moment there. But when we play ‘Anna Sun’ there’s a different kind of moment, it’s more of a cathartic release.

Both songs get people going the same amount; we see people reacting to the songs similarly in the show. It’s cool to be able to represent both sides of that, because music should do that; it should it should be fun, but it should also provide this cathartic experience.

These are biggest shows we’ve gotten to play over here, it’s cool to see the thing growing. This is the way we’ve always worked, by touring, the live shows are at the heart of everything. They’re what we think about when we make records. So this is just more of what we’ve done, just building the fanbase through incessant touring.

While still maintaining your distinctive Walk the Moon sound, how has your sound evolved over the two albums?

Nick: This album is a bit more everything. We really set out to push the envelope in both directions, not just more tender and soft, but more rock and roll, and more singalong and more everything; we just wanted to challenge ourselves.

As a whole, it naturally evolves, but often when we went to write specific songs, we would have specific intentions. The overall intention that we went into our biggest writing session with one another, was to try anything, to be willing to experiment with anything.

Sometimes for a specific song we will be like ‘what is the prettiest thing we can do up next to the craziest, scariest, darkest thing we can do, and what do they sound like together. Or this awesome Tears for Fears song, what does that vibe sound like through the Walk the Moon filter. We would often play these sort of games or these experiments to get the wheels turning, and often it turned out a lot of our favourite songs.

The music of the 80s clearly inspires your songs musically, but do the 80s inspire your music thematically, too?

Nick: One really pervasive element of the 80s is that weird and camp were really celebrated and were at the forefront of popular culture, and that’s something that we love and respond to. Our music doesn’t hold much back, it gets pretty in your face, with bright poppyness or with some of the harder stuff , there’s not a lot of restraint.We love the celebration in the 80s of all sorts of different colours and walks of life.

‘Different Colours’ has been used as an anthem for equality, especially within the LGBTQ community. Was that the original intention behind the song?

Nick: Partly yes, the song initially was inspired by the frustration we had at the slow pace that our legal system was taking with recognizing the LGBTQ community with equality legally, with same sex marriage. Obviously it’s a message that doesn’t just relate to sexual orientation, it relates to race and religion and philosophy and you name it, so yeah, we did kind of write it as a fight song.

Your fanbase has a strong sense of community with traditions such as wearing face paint to your shows. Where did that tradition come from?

Nick: It came directly out of the ‘Anna Sun’ video, we threw a party in our home town before we were ever on the radio and before we had a manger, or any of that stuff, just to release the video and our independent record.

Before the party we had canvases on the wall and we had face paint and just made a huge mess, because there was that theme in the video of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, a forever child sort of vibe. Fans started coming as characters from the video and people continued to wear face paint and carry on that vibe and we took it and ran, it became this tradition and our way to establish our community.

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