There’s something really welcoming about the four guys of the indie rock outfit, Walk The Moon. It doesn’t revolve around their ever-inclusive radio hits or their free-spirited stage presence, but those things do help. It seems as though the band radiates a positive energy that simply engulfs everyone in their path. At the helm of the “Shut Up and Dance” rockers is Nicholas Petricca, but it’s clear that this is a group, not a one-man show. “There are four of us who are very different. Finding that center point is part of the artistic process. It’s part of the journey to making the art,” guitarist Eli Maiman tells me of creating music together.
Walk The Moon’s third studio album, Talking Is Hard, offered the band massive commercial success with bangers like “Shut Up and Dance” and “Different Colors,” both of which became anthems among audiences looking for an escape–for at least a moment–from the chaos the world can sometimes bring. Following Talking Is Hard, Maiman says the group switched gears creatively when approaching their fourth album, What If Nothing. “We wanted to make to make the record first, then bring it to the live show later. It was fun shedding some concerns and being totally focused on what we were doing in the studio,” he says.
For fans of Walk The Moon, their live shows are when the music truly comes alive, complete with energy, colors and heart. The live performances are known to involve vibrant face paint and wild dancing. With the release of What If Nothing, it was clear that the spirit of Walk The Moon wasn’t going anywhere, even if their process had evolved. Petricca spoke of the pressure to follow “Shut Up and Dance” saying, “It kind of didn’t matter. Whatever comes out of the four of us is “Walk The Moon.” Just de facto.” He adds with a smile, “I think we just continue to get more and more eclectic. The range of sounds keeps getting wider and further away from “Shut Up and Dance.””
Though their sound may be evolving, the foundation of Walk The Moon is rooted in their message and what they stand for. “We have a theme of empowerment and self-acceptance in our music. We’re writing about our own struggles and trying to make sense of this world and all the crazy things that are going on,” Petricca tells me. “If we can all find some solace together, that’s nice,” he adds.
There’s a very specific moment during a Walk The Moon performance when every concertgoer instinctually stands a little taller and prepares for a massive emotional release. “Anna Sun” was one of Walk The Moon’s earliest songs, released in 2010, and serves as the band’s final song in their set list to this day.
“To get the reaction from the crowd is so satisfying. One of our first songs still being such a good way to cap off a set; it’s so rewarding,” bassist Kevin Ray says of “Anna Sun.” The song encapsulates the desire to embrace your eternal inner youth, represented by the band’s face paint in the song’s video, inspired by Petricca’s favorite Lost Boy from Peter Pan, Rufio. “It’s wild to me that [the song] still feels relevant. I still feel really emotionally connected to the words I’m singing and I wrote them in a very specific time in my life,” Petricca adds.
While the face paint trend has crept across the globe as a way of embracing a child-like innocence and spark, Walk The Moon has inspired a community of creative outlaws ready to dance together. Their album What If Nothing is out now.