Ohio natives Walk the Moon are a quirky group, to say the least. Donning facepaint, the Cincinnati foursome takes the stage with Nicholas Petricca manning the keys/lead vocals/auxiliary percussion, Kevin Ray on bass/backing vocals, Eli Maiman on guitar/backing vocals, and Sean Waugaman on set.
What’s absolutely rad about Walk the Moon is that they’ve got an indie pop sound that is backed by a complete energy surge in their live performance that instigates a dance party from the crowd. We had the opportunity to chat with bassist Kevin Ray about the band’s sound, why the bass is the best instrument, and what the band would be up to if they weren’t making music. Check it out!
What kind of music did you grow up listening to?
As a band, we all share some similar influences, such as David Bowie, The Beatles, and The Police. My first love though, was old soul and funk music, and I would have to say that the first artists to have a real impact on my style were Aretha Franklin and Earth Wind and Fire. Later in life I discovered the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and my life was finally on track.
What drew you to the instrument you chose?
I chose the bass simply because it is the sexiest instrument in the business. I’ve always admired its ability to cause severe hip gyrations in young individuals. I experimented once during a show by not playing bass for one whole song, and the entire audience laid down on the floor and took a nap. I feel it’s a very important instrument.
Any quirky pre-show traditions?
I wont lie, we do have quite the quirky pre-show routine, but I am afraid I am not at liberty to divulge the details of said ritual. I will, however, tell you that it involves a small amount of light cardio, and few choice dance moves. All in all, it’s good, wholesome fun.
How’s it feel to come back to Ohio and play?
It feels amazing, honestly. We have such a strong support system back home, and we feel honored to represent Ohio as musicians. From our families, to our unmatched fans, I can’t imagine coming back home to anything else.
Your music is upbeat and definitely the kind that gets you moving. How would you describe your sound?
What comes to mind is the sound of the blood pumping through my eardrums at the end of a 24-hour dance party at David Bowie’s house with The Killers DJing. But, honestly, we like to write music that moves you both mentally and physically. From the Beatles to Animal Collective, we pull influence from a wide time span and give it all a dancy twist.
Is the writing process a group effort, or is it usually led by one member?
Nicholas has been doing an amazing job handling the majority of the writing for Walk the Moon since the project was born a few years ago. Since the current lineup was solidified, the process has become very collaborative, and we get most of the writing done in practice sessions. Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes of jamming together that sparks an idea, or maybe one of us will bring a melody or some lyrics to a rehearsal, and we put our heads together and try to make it work.
From which musicians do you draw inspiration?
Personally, I take a lot of influence from great performers. Artists like David Bowie, Prince, and Meatloaf all possess these electric personalities that draw an audience in and leave you standing there in awe after every show. One of my favorite performers is Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Not only is he a major influence on modern bass playing, he is also the most energetic person I have ever watched on a stage. He always seems to truly be having the time of his life, and I believe being genuine is one of our best assets as a band.
Which bands can’t you get enough of?
I can never get enough Empire of the Sun, that’s for sure! Lately, I’ve been really into Gotye and M83, and if you havent listened to either of them, I think that should be your next purchase. The newest thing on constant repeat in the band van is Portugal, the Man. And as I’m riding down the road right now answering these questions, we have the new Fleet Foxes cranked so loud that I can feel my insides melting into pure happiness.
How’s it feel to be playing with Fitz and the Tantrums?
It is the best feeling of all time. These wonderful people have taken us on the road with open arms, and we could not be happier. Not only are they all amazing musicians, they are all incredibly gracious individuals. It will be nothing but tears when this tour is over.
Which bands you have toured with have been the most fun?
We are very lucky, in that all the bands we have toured with have been a blast. Most notably Fitz and the Tantrums, and Grouplove! We miss Grouplove a lot, and we wish them the best. They should be taking over the world any minute now.
If you could play with any musician, living or dead, who would it be?
Most definitely, Michael McDonald. The man’s voice is magical, and his catalog is unmatched. If anyone knows him personally, please let him know we are interested. He’s more than welcome to crash at my parents’ house.
If you weren’t doing music, where could we find you guys?
Eli would be running an exotic bird sanctuary in a forest, specializing in cockatoos. Nicholas would be a professional poodle groomer and trainer. Sean would be the editor of the world’s most popular blog that never actually made a single blog entry… and I would definitely be the next James Bond. (I’m answering the questions here, so I get the cool fantasy, HA.)
If you didn’t get a chance to check out Walk the Moon this year on tour, you can catch them next year touring with Young the Giant. Don’t miss out on them! And don’t forget your face paint.