Let’s shut up and dance

Kap Maceda Aguila - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Cincinnati-based alt-rockers Walk The Moon were in town for the first time to stage a series of pocket concerts at selected Ayala Malls. Lead singer and keyboardist Nicholas Petricca, bassist Kevin Ray, drummer Sean Waugaman and guitarist Eli Maiman presented their brand of music that delves into the danceability and melody of the ’80s stylings and take these elements into the present.

“It just kind of pours out of us,” observed Petricca and added that the decade was “a special time… the first time that electronic and rock music hewed together in such a popular, widespread way.”

Walk The Moon (named after The Police’s Walking on the Moon track) had been blessed with a quick rise into prominence from 2008 when Petricca started the band while a student at Kenyon College. After some lineup changes, the current members got together as a unit in 2010. Regardless of how one classifies the band’s music (alternative or pop), Nick averred that the group has a “conscious decision to (continuously) evolve” its sound.

On heavy rotation these days is breakthrough single Shut Up and Dance, off the band’s latest album Talking is Hard. The song peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts, where it has stayed for 39 weeks now as we go to press.

An undeniably hardworking band in terms of road shows, Walk The Moon actually had to commit to slow down to write songs for its newest album. The hiatus from a four-year grind enabled its members to sit down and write an impressive portfolio of 50 new songs in total. “We wrote a lot of the album in Northern Kentucky,” shared Maiman, in response to a question from The STAR. This “amazing, old masonic lodge had such a vibe that really inspired us to write a lot of songs.” The band spent a month and a half there, churning out track after track.

After finishing songwriting duties, the band headed to Los Angeles to record the album. Ray shared that for this process, they took inspiration from the ’90s bands. “It seemed they always locked themselves away to record. In my mind, that’s how you make a rock record,” he said.

Does the band obsess about studio work, or do its members just wing it? Petricca averred: “Making the best record is finding the perfect balance between just doing something completely spontaneous and keeping that for its magic, and digging and digging and honing until you have intricately found the right moment.

“Our record is built of moments that go on both sides. There are a handful of moments that were mistakes we liked (so) we kept them because they felt right, and a lot of other things which we meticulously built piece by piece.”

In an exclusive interview with this writer, Ayala Land senior division manager for marketing of its Commercial Business Group, Ma. Cristina Bernardino, said that Ayala Malls continue to stage concerts of well-known international acts for a number of reasons. It’s about providing loyal patrons and mall goers with “rewarding experiences” through free quality entertainment, she reported. These events, Bernardino continued, also help give Ayala Malls “top of mind” placement in the general public’s psyche as the places to go.

However you perceive the business model, the public certainly wins out through these experiences that can easily cost a bundle really quick if Ayala Land doesn’t foot the bill. So, let’s just shut up and dance.

Walk The Moon performed at the UP Town Center last Aug. 19; and at TriNoma, Market! Market! and Glorietta Activity Center last Aug. 20. 












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