After some general chit chat about rainy Liverpool streets with nothing on them, and Nick’s stint at Goldsmith’s as a student, we got to the point. Namely:
Caitlin: Can you do an English accent?
[laughs] Nick: I can do a very bad English accent yes, see the problem [switches to English accent], the problem with Americans doing an English accent, is that we don’t have an understanding of English geography and whereabouts…
Eli: Where is he from right now?!
C: No it’s good! I’d say Southern.. London-ish?
N: Wow, that’s alright!
C: Who usually decides your gig setlists?
E: We usually do it democratically, which is obnoxious!
Sean: Pain in the ass.
N: So yeah we usually fall into a general setlist, and then do little tweaks…
E: Even doing these little tweaks every night is a big to-do.
N: Then we send it out to the crew, our girlfriends, there are delegates and super delegates…
C: Wow, so do you plan it like a sort of energy-arc? (N: Oh yes) So what’s your idea about that?
E: I think of it as a film: as exposition, conflict, dark night of the soul, resolution. Yeah like a film or a play.
C: You usually put your biggest hits at the end of the set.
Kevin: Well you don’t want people to leave!
N: Occasionally we’ve played the record back to front, we’ve done that a few times and that’s really fun.
E: Front to back…?
[nodding] N: Front to- front to back.
E: Mostly front to back.
[laughs, impression of rewind tape]
C: Do you have to do much adaptation when you take your tracks live?
E: For sure, because we don’t use any prerecorded material on stage, which is something we take a lot of pride in. So it’s necessary to change arrangements a little bit, there’s only four of us, and when we made the record we were just making the songs sound the best. The result is that some keyboard parts become guitar parts, and Sean is somehow playing the role of like 3 percussionists, but that’s what makes it exciting.
C: How do you guys go about stripping your songs back to acoustic?
N: That kind of comes out of necessity really, turning up at a radio station and being like, ‘Oh shit, we gotta figure how to do this with two guitars and-’
E: And a pizza box.
N: Yeah, but it is really fun to reimagine the song and see what energy remains, and see what makes it exist at all you know?
C: I wanna talk about your song ‘Anna Sun’ which has the line ‘We got no money but we got heart’ – how autobiographical is that?
N: Yeah that song came out of graduating college, or uni, and feeling like you’re on this abyss of adulthood and what the fuck, you know? [laughs] And for me, so many of my friends and people our age, you’ve got all these dreams and this new set of skills or knowledge that you’ve developed over the last four years. You’ve got this potential energy, and no money. [laughs]
C: Have you got any advice for young people in that same situation?
N: Don’t be afraid to live with your parents for a little while…. [laughs] I’m really glad I pushed myself to make money doing music. I was teaching piano lessons, or working with a producer or using music theory stuff and making arrangements for school choirs. There are so many unseen ways to use your talent, whatever it is, to get by.
C: Something everyone is talking about these days is cellphones and cameras in gigs, is that something you have a strong opinion about?
S: I prefer iPads
K: We come from the generation before all that so I guess we’re a little jaded. We were never, ever, breaking our concentration from a concert to take a picture. I remember taking my first digital camera to a concert and feeling terrible about taking a picture, like, ‘They might see me from the stage’.
N: At many shows we’ve encouraged the audience to participate and remember all their memories without a digital appendage, and people usually dig that actually; they cheer or something.
E: Well, everyone claps or whatever, but as soon as ‘Shut Up and Dance’ comes on they’re all like [gets phone out]. The entire song! I mean I kind of like get the whole ‘get your memory’ but…
C: Then put it down?
E: Yeah, put it down. I don’t get filming the entire song, it’s going to sound terrible anyway!
C: I guess ‘Shut Up and Dance’ is saying that isn’t it? Concentrate and live the moment? [laughs]
E: Yeah, I know right?
C: On stage obviously you all look like you’re totally into it, and living the moment-
K: Total façade.
C: I just wondered if your mind ever drifts?
N: Oh totally yeah. It is a job and it is something we have to do every night, so naturally sometimes we’re not always fully present… But yeah sometimes I’ll have a full on monologue in my head and then realise we’re done with the song.
N: I remember ending the song after the first chorus or something [laughs]
E: I remember thinking about what I want for dinner actually.
C: Do you have signals on stage- like if you’re ever going to change things up during the song?
K: [laughs] The only signal we have is [makes turning motion with index finger] ‘Oh my God, keep going, Nick doesn’t know the words’ [laughs]
C: You’ve just put out a song with The Knocks, ‘Best For Last’: what was that experience like, a collaboration?
N: So different. We’ve collaborated with others, to bring something different back to Walk The Moon world, but we’ve never written specifically for another artist’s album, and it was kind of liberating frankly. You’re not confined by your own expectations of yourself. Out of their bank of music loops and whatnot this one particular piece of music was just so moving for me and Eli that we were like, ‘Stop, we have to write with this’.
E: And it happened quickly, it was kind of a little magical moment you know? Whereas some songs you just have to labour on, waiting for the first little bit of inspiration.
C: Were your lyrics inspired by anything in particular?
N: The music. I know it sounds silly maybe. Basically we sat there with the music blaring and it was interesting because we were both simultaneously writing about reaching out into the void and saving your soul.. and coming back to life.
C: That’s amazing. Well thank you so much for talking to me [No, thank you!] and good luck for tonight, have a really great show.
Walk The Moon will release their first live album entitled ‘You Are Not Alone’ on Friday 26th February 2016 recorded from their recent sold out show at The Greek in LA.