As part of our lead up coverage to the Firefly Music Festival taking place in Dover, Delaware from July 20th to the 22nd, SIMGE recently spoke with guitarist Eli Maiman of Walk the Moon. Catch their set Friday on The Porch stage from 6:45 to 7:45.
First off, congratulations on the release of your debut full length. How does it feel knowing that a wide, growing audience is discovering what Walk the Moon can do over the course of a fully fleshed album?
Thank you! It feels really, really good. I think we made a record that expresses who we are as a band right now, and reaction to it has been overwhelmingly positive so far.
What was the recording process like? How much of Walk the Moon was pre-written heading into the studio and what came out naturally?
Well I think, as is common with most bands’ first records, that we had pretty much all of the material written going into the studio. We went in with about twenty songs half of which were from our 2010 independent release I Want! I Want!, and from there we whittled it down to the ten songs that created the most cohesive album, the most complete thought. There are two songs, one called “Fixin’” which made the record and another called “Anyway I Can” which didn’t make the record that we assembled in the studio with the help of our producer Ben Allen. Those are the only two that were written largely during our time in Atlanta.
Walk the Moon is known for their love of paint whether it’s at your live shows or on the limited “Mockbee Editions” of your record. Where does this fusing of different art forms stem from?
The band feels very tied to our visual aesthetic; we want anything we do visually to really represent what we do musically. We feel like there can’t be any disconnect between the two. We really want to represent Walk the Moon as a complete thought whether it be aurally or visually. It just so happens that a lot of the time it ends up manifesting itself with paint.
A prevailing theme on your self-titled LP is the maintaining of a youthful spirit. Are there any specific experiences that led you towards this message?
A lot of the record was written late in our college career and the time immediately following so a lot of the material is drawn from experiences we had during that period of time where it’s sort of like this brackish water area between the fresh river stream of youth and the salty ocean of adulthood.
Your power pop-rock style has risen with some contemporaries such as Young The Giant and Fun. How do you see your sound evolving going forward?
It’s hard to know, we’re influenced by just about everything we hear and we all come from very different places. Kevin (Bass) has a very funk background, Sean (Drums) has a lot of metal influences, I was a jazz major in school and tend to like California art-rock sounding stuff. So we’re all exposing each other to really new sounds all the time, and we just try to incorporate everything. Nothing is out of bounds when we’re writing. So it’s hard to say exactly where it’s going to go, I’m just excited to see what happens. The thing that will never be lost is we always want Walk the Moon to be fun. As long as we keep that in our thoughts we’re always going to be on target.
You seemed to skyrocket upwards with the success of “Anna Sun”. How did you avoid the pratfalls other bands have succumbed to in comparable scenarios?
“Anna Sun” has been really interesting, it’s been really fun to watch. Sometime last year when it started to get viral internet attention, it took on a life of its own where we didn’t need to push it all that much. It’s kind of been like our baby, watching it grow up and head out into the world to see what it can do. So it’s been an interesting journey with “Anna Sun”. We’re just going to keep refining out craft and try to write some more songs that people will hopefully respond to in a similar way.
The name “Walk the Moon” comes from The Police song of the similar title does it not? How does a band like that influence yours?
The Police have this cool, kind of playful mysteriousness about them that we really draw from. I think that’s the lasting influence The Police have had on Walk the Moon.
There’s this sort of reggae/punk energy that seems like the next logical step forward from someone like The Clash.
And I think Walk The Moon has a punk feeling about it despite not having an obvious punk influence or sound. I think there is something punk about Walk the Moon.
Coming out of Cincinnati do you think that your progressive rise can be attributed to working out of a local scene or more the advent of a discerning Internet audience?
I think it can be attributed to both of those things. We were extremely lucky to come out of the scene in Cincinnati which is really supportive and is a musical petri dish for new bands and new sounds. Over the past few years the scene has evolved in such an amazing way, there’s a lot of DIY goodness going on in Cincinnati right now. So we’re really fortunate to come from a place with such fertile creative ground. But the way “Anna Sun” has spread is mostly thanks to the Internet and the importance of that to our career can’t be overstated.
With an appearance at the Firefly Festival coming up, what’s your view on the growing festival culture in this country as a means of breaking bands?
Festivals are a cool way to get exposed to an audience that maybe didn’t come just to see you. It’s a tremendous opportunity for newer bands, and it certainly played a large part in getting our name out there. We were lucky enough to play Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo last year, and this year we got to do South By Southwest and Sasquatch, which were all amazing. I think getting out on the festival circuit is an important part of breaking a band and playing on bills with bigger names.
What can we expect from Walk the Moon in the second half of 2012 and beyond?
We’re just going to tour hard. We’re doing a lot of festivals and one-offs jumping around for the next few weeks. Then we’re going out with Neon Trees, which I’m really excited about, and then we’re doing five weeks in Europe with Fun. in about sixteen or seventeen countries that we’ve never been to before. Then I think we’re going to do some more headlining stuff near the end of the year. We’re going to just get out there meeting as many people and playing as much music as we possibly can.
Listen to Walk the Moon here: