A Sold Out Show in Indy and a Successful New Album, Walk The Moon Reaches New Creative and Personal Heights
When each member of Walk the Moon stepped foot in the studio to create What If Nothing, little did they know just how transformative this album would be to the group’s internal existence. After a massive world tour for their 2014 release Talking Is Hard, they walked away uncertain the next steps.
It took time and personal reflection, but when they began talking of a new album, things were different. What resulted was four guys ready to push their creative license farther into a collective that includes some massive hits and other deeply experimental forays of fragility and perspective.
With a sold-out show scheduled at Old National Centre, January 27, the band returns to Indianapolis ready to show us just what it is they are capable of. If their New Year Eve performance is any indication of their current stature, the band will take the stage stronger and with a sense of humility and gratitude. Bassist Kevin Ray explains that What If Nothing may be the most “human” work of art from this band yet.
A Conversation with Kevin Ray
What was it like performing for the New Year’s Eve celebration in New Orleans? That is a good city to be in, especially with the way the weather was on the east coast. What are some of your more personal and memorable events you have performed? Anything stand out to you?
New Orleans was such a fun, unique experience! And considering the temperature was below freezing, it was probably my favorite time we’ve spent there. The performance helped keep us warm though, and that city knows how to throw a party. One of our most memorable performances was when we sang with the PS22 chorus in New York. Such great kids led by an amazing choir teacher with such a passion for teaching music. It was truly inspiring and we will never forget it.
Walk The Moon – Work This Body (Live at New Year’s Rockin Eve)
What If Nothing feels like a re-imagination of what the band is. What elements in your life led to pushing forward into this new chapter?
We were faced with a big period of unknown in 2016. We had been touring for so long and needed to take time off to be with family. It was the first time we had ever questioned the band’s future. Once we got back together and started to play music again, we realized that we are meant to be doing this. I think we came out the other side a stronger and more creative band than ever before. In that way, the album is definitely a re-imagination.
Is What If Nothing created as a more internal or external perspective?
On this album, we turned the lens around on ourselves and asked a lot of the burning questions that we have not been able to answer about the world and how it makes us feel. We had to allow ourselves to open up and become more vulnerable than ever before, and that process really helped us grow as musicians and as friends.
The band is not shy of exploring the idea of human nature along with perfectly capturing the core essence of youth. What If Nothing lyrically feels more human and mature while the music, through effect, builds a sense of futurism. How did you balance the two elements of music and songwriting?
I am more proud of this album than anything we’ve ever done. We’ve matured as songwriters and while many have questioned how the pressure of following Shut Up And Dance would change us, it has, in fact, made us more confident in what we do. We experimented a great deal musically while recording the record and allowed our personalities to show. The process really flowed smoothly once we were in the studio and there is a good mix of old song ideas and fresh inspiration that came in the moment.
What is your idea of a great song?
A great song transports you. It reaches out, grabs you, and pulls you into its world like it knows you.
Walk The Moon – One Foot Music Video
One Foot has been an amazing success, and what many define as one of Walk The Moon’s great songs. Did you plan for One Foot to have the reaction that it did? The song serves as a powerful statement to perseverance. Is this a defining element for you?
I don’t think we can ever plan for a song to be ‘successful.’ We knew early on that ‘One Foot’ had something special. It also was directly connected to what we were going through as a band at the time. We had emerged on the brighter side of an uncertain time for the band, and it had become somewhat autobiographical.
The band formed in Cincinnati. How did that Midwest mentality help shape the band?
I think being from the midwest just made us realize, early on, that we were going to have to just do our thing and not wait for anyone to come to us. We wanted to play our music all across the US, so we got in a van and started booking shows everywhere that would take us. Our local scene was super supportive, but we knew we had to stretch out beyond our borders in order to get the attention of the industry.
Did Walk The Moon have the same ideology then as it does now?
Nowadays, it’s even more apparent that if we want something, we have to just go get it done and not wait for someone to come to us. And now with such a supportive fan base, we have a great platform from which to try new things and really branch out.
Growing up in Indy, we had equal part urban culture with carefree countryside landscape. It was easy to escape in any direction. How do you channel that emotion of the Midwestern landscape into the music?
The best part about growing up along the crossroads of America, is that every day there are new artists stopping by on tour. I didn’t have to go far to catch any band, and my parents were very supportive, always encouraging me to go to shows.
What If Nothing feels universal, breaking down any walls that may be in your way. Were there walls? And is this, indeed a universal album for you?
Thank you. That’s a big compliment. The one (amazing) problem that we ran into with Shut Up And Dance, is that it got a bit bigger than the band, so this time around we get the chance to re-introduce ourselves to a lot of people who discovered us through that song. Whether or not it’s universal, we will have to see, but I can tell you that this album is much more personal. Maybe everyone can connect with that.
What can we expect from the now sold-out Indy show at Old National?
We are so excited to be back on the road. We have put a lot of time into making this show an experience. We’ve got a setlist full of old songs and new ones, and some lights that you’ve never seen at a WALK THE MOON show before.
What are your goals for 2018?
We can’t wait to get back to a lot of these cities we haven’t been to in years, and put on shows that reward everyone for waiting so patiently for us. We are feeling really good about the year ahead.