Interview with Eli Maiman from WALK THE MOON; Playing S.U. Schine Underground TOMORROW, 12/5!!! @walkthemoonband @walkthemoonfans
I caught Walk The Moon for the first time at Piano’s, a very small club in the Lower East Side of New York City, with a group of friends who were maniacally excited to encounter the group. Sensing their enthusiasm, I thought it a good idea to tag along, praying I wouldn’t be inundated by yet another barrage of worthless indie crap that only Pantera could take care of. Luckily for me, the band tore through a delightful set of friendly, energetic pop jams that got the crowd moving.
Neon colors and face paint are the chosen aesthetic for this Ohio quartet, formed just a few years ago in 2008. Since that time, the group has exploded onto the music circuit with consistent touring, superb guest appearances on TV shows like David Letterman and Carson Daly, and a host of festival and opening slots for a barrage of high profile acts.
True to form, Walk The Moon has a busy year ahead of them, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be slowing down anytime soon. I managed to speak with guitar/vocalist Eli Maiman to discuss the group’s formation, their meteoric rise into the mainstream eye, life on the road, and what the deal is with the face paint.
G- Hey what’s going on, guys, and thank you for taking the time to speak with Live High Five. If you would, please introduce the members in the group… Who is everyone and what do they play?
E- Launched in Ohio in 2008 by lead singer, songwriter and keyboard player Nicholas Petricca, WALK THE MOON includes Kevin Ray (bass, vocals), Eli Maiman (guitar, vocals) and Sean Waugaman (drums, vocals).
G- Walk The Moon first got started in 2008 and are based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. How did you all meet and when did you first get started playing shows? Is the Poison Room still up and running in Cinci?!
E-A lot of us have a lot of history. Kevin and Nicholas were friends as four-year-olds, then were out of touch for a long time before reconnecting to play music in 2010. Sean and Kevin were high school buds, playing in their first bands together. Eli was just a guy hanging around in the Cincinnati scene.
The Poison Room is still there, though it was called Mainstay last I checked.
G- Right on! How is the music scene in your hometown? Do you get a chance to go back there often with your schedule, and how are the responses at your shows since you’ve moved to the mainstream?
E- We’re really lucky to have come from a vibrant, supportive music scene that involves a lot of intensely creative artists and passionate listeners. We would love to have the opportunity to return more than we do, which is currently every five or six months. The love we receive at hometown shows is truly overwhelming.
G- Can you tell us about the current release you are touring. Are you working on any new releases right now or do you have any plans to enter the studio in the near future??
E- We’re currently supporting a record called “WALK THE MOON” that we put out in June. We’re very, very proud of the record, and I think we’ll continue to tour behind it for a while. However, we have been writing a lot of new music, and we’re always looking for an opportunity to hit the studio for a few days to get it on tape.
G- Who in the band typically comes up new music? Do you find yourselves writing on your own, or is it more of an organic, jamming style of composition?
E- The musical portions come from a jamming style of composition. Very intuitive, very collaborative. The lyrics and melodies, however, come almost exclusively out of Nick’s brain, often when we’re away from our instruments.
G- Your songs are very catchy and fun… Can you tell us a bit about the tunes and the inspiration behind them when you are writing new material?
E- The songs often start from an autobiographical place, but usually take on a life of their own once we start writing it
G- Do you have any bands in particular that influence your style? Who do you personally like to listen to, and are there any other artists you dig that you think our readers should check out?
E- We’re influenced by a lot of music from the 70’s and 80’s – Talking Heads, Prince, ELO, David Bowie… Though Little Dragon, Miike Snow, and Milo Greene are played often in the bus. Your readers HAVE to check out Bad Veins, Why?, On An On, and Family of the Year!
G- So, Walk The Moon has accomplished quite a lot this past year. You’ve opened for Panic! At The Disco and Weezer already, and toured with fun. in Europe a short while back, and those must’ve been huge gigs! Are there any other bands that you hope to share a bill with in the future, or if you could pick 3 artists to go on tour or share a stage with, who would you pick and why?
E- It would certainly be a huge honor to share the stage with any of our influences. Talking Heads, in particular. We would love to do a massive tour with someone like Coldplay someday.
G- Can you tell us a bit about the craziest or most memorable show that Walk The Moon has played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
E- It’s hard to pick one definitive “most memorable show,” but a great one was definitely in Helsinki, Finland, with FUN. We were just so far from home… We actually take to take a ferry to get to the gig… And the fans were just going totally nuts, singing louder than we could. It was very surreal.
G- Lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands out here and everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
E- There’s no substitute for just getting out there and doing it. Share your music. Connect with fans. Social media makes it so easy to stay in touch with people who dig what you do. The worst thing you can do is wait for someone to tell you what to do. Now’s the time. Take action.