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Road to Boston Calling: Words with Walk the Moon

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From left: Eli Maiman, Nicholas Petricca, Kevin Ray and Sean Waugaman. Courtesy of loudlad.com.

Since the release of their third album, Talking Is Hard, Walk The Moon’s career has been on a steady uprising. With their hit single “Shut Up and Dance” dominating airplay for the whole summer and landing the fourth spot on Billboards Hot 100, it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t had that infectious chorus stuck in their head for days on end. Luckily for the city of Boston and the students of Suffolk, Walk The Moon plays at City Hall Plaza for the Fall 2015 edition of Boston Calling this Saturday. I recently got the chance to talk with bassist/vocalist Kevin Ray about hearing “Shut Up and Dance” on the radio for the first time, his favorite spot in Boston, their new single, “Different Colors”, and so much more.

The Suffolk Voice: If you could go back to when the band first started, what advice would you give yourselves?

Kevin Ray: I would tell ourselves, first, that we are doing the right thing. The road ahead is going to be very long, but well worth the time and effort. We are going to make so many people happy and our eyes will be opened wide by so many different cultures. Secondly, I would tell ourselves to invest in Selfie Sticks….

SV: If you could create your own dream tour, what three bands would you choose to tour with?

K: The first back I would choose is The Griswolds. They were on the last leg of our “Talking Is Hard,” tour and we fell in love with those guys. We would definitely bring The Killers with us because who can deny their iconic stamp on modern rock and roll. Without their influence, Walk The Moon would still be a daydream. Thirdly, I would have to say Prince. His persona and stage presence are so legendary that we would give anything for a chance to study his shows in person every night.

SV: Where were you when you heard “Shut Up and Dance” on the radio for the first time, and what was your reaction?

K: I believe I was in my car back home. I remember feeling a giant weight lifting off my shoulders. It was such a good feeling, and it has been an equally good feeling hearing our new single, “Different Colors”, coming over the airwaves now. “Different Colors” is a victory march for equality and love, and it is so exciting to be pushing a song that has such a positive message.

SV: What was the thought process behind releasing Talking Is Hard on Spotify before the official release?

K: Streaming is such an amazing tool that fans have to access music instantly, and we are not strangers to this. I don’t think we could wait any longer ourselves, so it felt great to just get it out there in the world.

SV: What would you say has been the highest point of your career so far?

K: Wow, the high points really just keep coming and coming. We’ve recently opened for the Rolling Stones, been nominated for a VMA, and went to Japan for the first time. All these things are such huge milestones, yet they are just as important to us as the tiny, sweaty shows in random cities in the US. Some of those smaller moments will stick with us long past the others because they remind us how far we have come. I will never forget our show at Lollapalooza, though. It was such a special moment for me.

SV: And to add to that, what do you have yet to achieve that you would like to?

K: Now that we have this amazing platform from which to speak and create art, I hope that, in the future, we can make a positive impact on a global scale.

SV: If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life (by any artist), what album would it be?

K: I am sure we would all have varying answers for this, but I would have to say “One Hot Minute,” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I can listen to that album front-to-back a million times and it will never get old. They are my favorite band and that album meant a lot to me growing up. When an album makes you feel nostalgic, it will be with you forever.

SV: Does your live show influence how you write songs? How important would you say live shows are to your band?

K: We like to think that our live show is at the center of what we do. We cut our teeth playing live before anyone really knew who we were, and that energy that we create is what keeps things fresh and new every time we step on stage. In the studio, we will often think about how a certain part or arrangement may play out in a live setting. If it can help the song translate for a real audience, then we may just keep it.

SV: If you had to describe your music to someone, what three words would you use?

K: Empowering, energetic, rock.

SV: Lastly, obviously you guys are playing Boston Calling. You have been to Boston multiple times over the years, do you have any favorite spots you like to visit while you’re in the city?

K: We seem to end up in the same areas of Boston whenever we are in town, but one of my favorite things to do is get as close to the water as possible and grab some chowder. Couldn’t be happier!


Walk the Moon will perform Saturday, Sept. 26 alongside Father John Misty, CHVRCHES and alt-J at City Hall Plaza in Boston. Visit bostoncalling.com for more information. Cover photo courtesy of rcarecordspress.com.

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