"It’s introspective and emotionally raw combined with the biggest, most epic songs we’ve ever written" A chat with Walk The Moon
With their latest album, What If Nothing, having just hit shelves and starting off on a US tour, we had a chat with Walk The Moon guitarist Eli Maiman to find out about their plans for 2018 - a UK tour is one thing on the list - and more about their new album.
Hey guys, how are you?
Good! Very happy to be back on the road, playing some shows.
What have you been up to today?
We’re playing Tulsa tonight, so a little preliminary self-care to get focused for the show. Yoga. Ramen.
What can you tell us about What If Nothing in two sentences?
What If Nothing is our new record. It’s our most introspective, emotionally raw album yet, combined with the biggest, most epic songs we’ve ever written.
One of my favourite tracks is ‘Kamikaze’; if people could only listen to one track from record, which would you suggest? And why?
I would suggest 'Surrender' because I think it really exemplifies what we were going for on this record. Nick is laying his cards on the table, here. The feelings are all out there. The song explores love lost, yet it still carries a note of hope.
The title of the record isn’t a track on the record, what’s that about?
We considered song titles… we considered lyrics… finally, we landed on this phrase from a very long, impassioned voice memo Nick sent around to the band in the middle of making the record. In the memo, he asks, “What if it was all for nothing?” And that, more or less, became the record title.
What’s your approach to songwriting?
It’s kind of chaos. Songs start from voice memos, soundcheck jams, screwing around on a computer… They come from anywhere and everywhere. There are two guiding principles, though. One, that the best idea wins. No egos. Two, that we don’t get overly caught up in the question “Does this sound like Walk The Moon?” We trust - and indulge - our artistic instincts, no matter where they may lead us.
How does that differ from when you started out?
There was definitely more jamming going on seven years ago, so back then the songs kind of naturally came from that. Now, we live across the country from each other, so the songwriting process often happens in the digital realm.
I’m a bit of a headphone geek, I can’t stop buying them, so the line “You know you could learn a lot from a good pair of headphones” got me. What’s your choice of headphone?
I like a nice over-the-ear headphones. I’m not big on earbuds.
And does how people listen to music these days matter? For example, Spotify not being near CD quality, or people using Apple earbuds which are just horrible. Or are you happy for people to just hear you guys?
There are really so few ‘ideal’ listening situations, we don’t get too caught up in it. Besides, that’s not really the point of the music. The point of the music is to make you feel your feelings more deeply, or to make you feel connected to something, or to feel understood… There are a lot of things I hope the music does, and being heard in a pristine environment is very very low on that list.
I know you shouldn’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia, but your page says Phil Collins is an influence. What song, in particular, is your favourite?
Oh man. I’m such a sucker for 'Take Me Home'. Gets me right in the feels every time.
And what acts today inspire you?
What If Nothing was drawing from all over the place… from sound-architect producers like Photay to Wyclef Jean and Johnny Clegg to Against Me. Our musical tastes are really diverse, and I think you can that on the record.
You’re based in Cincinnati, what can you tell us about the city?
Cincinnati’s the best. Famous for our chili, but we have incredible music, food, and fashion scenes, as well.
How’s your 2017 been so far?
2017 has been a great year for us. Finished up the album, got it out to the people, got back on tour. We’re very happy.
What’ve you got coming up in 2018?
Tour tour tour! We’re playing all over North America in January and February, then headed to the EU and UK.
If you could only listen to one song this week, what would it be?
“Super Far” by LANY.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
Finally, how do you take your coffee? (Or alcohol?)
I like my coffee black from a Kalita, and I like vodka cranberry on stage.
For more information on the band visit their website, follow them on Twitter, or like them on Facebook. Their new album, What If Nothing, is available from all music stores and your fave streaming service.