It’s flu night in Manhattan, but an easy crowd of neon-clad fans has gathered outside Midtown’s Terminal 5 dressed like they’re headed to a summer EDM festival. Bright face-paint complements their glow-in-the-dark accessories — it’s really a curious sight, because they’re here to find out a group that bills itself for an indie rockband.
Backstage, Walk the Moon’s Nick Petricca, Eli Maiman, Kevin Ray and Sean Waugaman — all dressed a lot more colorfully compared to the fans — are discussing the peculiarities of the newfound fame. Earlier within the month, their Cincinnati hometown named April 1st “Walk the Moon Day,” plus some weeks before that, they’d an unexpected encounter with one of the favorite actresses. “We’re huge fans of Emmy Rossum plus the show Shameless,” says Ray, the group’s bassist. “As fiction, we’ve had her on our green room rider for a while. Somehow our tour manager pulled some strings and wound up getting her to make a show and meet us backstage.”
“I’m sure she thought it was just a little creepy,” adds lead singer Petricca. “Which it truly is.”
When Walk the Moon debuted in 2012, they spray-painted the rock charts together with the upbeat, house-party sound of single “Anna Sun.” Not only did the song supply the burgeoning band its first hit, the accompanying video (depicting an underground jazzercise rave) gave them a different identity. “The ‘Anna Sun’ video was what set us over a course,” recalls Petricca. “We were an event band and college band, a bar band. We definitely always wanted to make people dance, but following your ‘Anna Sun’ video was launched at this big paint party that individuals had in Cincinnati — the 1st time we had face paint — we remarked that there’s this a sense childish wonder properly preserving the inner child that is certainly central to Walk the Moon, into the sort of Lost Boys in Peter Pan and Neverland face paint.”
The clip went viral, but could it received its 10 millionth view, the group began plotting tips on how to top it. “We were hungry to travel bigger and pay attention to how much further we might take this rock band for the next record,” says Maiman. “I know there have been a couple times each of us were penning this record where we had been like, ‘This is “Anna Sun,” part two! This is the one!’ None of them were.”
Three years later, Walk the Moon have recently outdone themselves: “Shut Up and Dance,” a Killers-style update on Eighties pop hits such as the Hooters’ almost-forgotten “And We Danced,” has become a radio staple. Their subsequent LP, Talking Is Hard, has become all the more popular than their debut, and also the lines outside their shows are growing both longer plus much more glittery.
To hone their new New Wave sound, this rock band took a long-anticipated break from touring and decompressed with a masonic lodge in northern Kentucky. There, the quartet found themselves encompassed by a small collective of creative types someplace Ray describes as “a super old building that sort of appears to be an elementary school from your Twenties.” Taxidermy and skeletons lined the walls, and a bunch of visual artists occupied the basement, creating graffiti and printing T-shirts. “We wasn’t secluded inside the Bon Iver, cabin-in-the-woods sort of way,” says Maiman.
After writing on the lodge, this guitar rock band flew to L.A. to record their radiant batch of latest songs. The result is an optimistic time capsule of pop-music quirkiness. “We pull from your lot of different eras but especially stuffs that has a hint of weird, artists which are unafraid to be kooky,” Petricca says, citing the Talking Heads, Prince and David Bowie. “We went to the record together with the intention for being ambitious and seeing how far we might take Walk the Moon’s sound. We wanted to visit in uncharted territory.”
That meant not only a sonic shift. This time, the group paid particularly consideration to their lyricism and aimed to empower fans feeling — to quote one of the song titles — “Down inside the Dumps.” “It’s getting pretty gnarly on the market,” says Petricca. “From that initial inner child, we’re getting a stand. It’s inside the song ‘Different Colors’: ‘We have in mind the kids are right.’ A kid doesn’t care should you be gay, black, white, green, whatever. It’s not just tolerating people’s differences — it’s celebrating them.”
“It’s similar to we reverse-engineered a thought album,” says Ray. “After the simple fact we looked back and saw it is so connected. It really became section of our everyday routine.”
What empowers Walk the Moon? “Pizza,” says Ray. Petricca, a bit more serious, points to artists who use their fame to transmit pleas for change into your world. “I think it’s cool when individuals recognize that they are using a platform,” says the singer. “We’re realizing that our platform is rising and our congregation is spreading and multiplying. We’re just seeking to be good achievable.”