The hopefully obvious reason for this post is the release *ahem* last week of Walk the Moon's new self-titled album. (A little late on the uptake, Lauren? A little distracted by that new husband?) This event has caused some interesting thoughts to surface from the depths of my brain, so sit back with me as I open a bottle of Green Apple Smirnoff and reminisce a bit.
I first heard Nick sing a song he wrote in 2005-ish - 12th grade. It was called F# Train, and at the time, I thought it was stellar - I had no idea what was to come. :) Sometime in 2006, I think, is when I got invited to a concert for: "it's our new band! We called it Wicked in the Mix! We're in this battle of the bands at The Underground, you HAVE TO COME VOTE FOR US OMG!!!" So, I got to see Nick, Adam, Ricky, Rob and Sam all rock their 17-to-20-year-old skinny butts off, and it was awesome. And it was pretty neat that I was the "artist friend" who got to design the covers of their first few album/EPs - I remember for the Wicked in the Mix album WM, Nick had drawn this thumbnail sketch of what he wanted; it involved the blank corner of a room. I took a photo of one of the high, white ceiling corners in my life drawing classroom at SCAD's Anderson Hall, and it went on the cover. SWEET. Happy freelance memories.
My memories are kind of mixed up for the following couple years - transferring colleges from Missouri to Georgia, etc. Somewhere in here, Nick asked if I would make an animation of a character I'd put on the cover of their EP for a concert DVD; that was pretty nerve-wracking but good experience. Some sucky things happened with WTM in these couple years too, but I only know some of it because I was down in Georgia most of the time. It was as though Nick and co. were climbing a huge staircase - they'd get up a few steps and then some setback would happen, punting them back a few. Bad things happen, and are still happening. Life, basically.
But even with all this crap going on, Nick kept writing, and damn if he didn't keep getting BETTER. I've been reading a book lately called Imagine by Jonah Lehrer (AWESOME book), and a common thread throughout the research presented is that general uncomfortableness, strife and frustration spits out some of the best art. I remember sometime in 2010, I went to a WTM show down at Newport on the levee. Mr. Founder Nick was the only original band member left - my younger brother Jamie was playing bass, a guy named Martin Diller was on drums and some new dude named Eli Maiman was on guitar. Nick's mom was there and told me he was switching out musicians for every show because he couldn't find anyone who would stick with him. She sounded offended; how could anyone NOT want to be in Walk the Moon?! But, some of the songs that I first heard played at that sidewalk performance with borrowed musicians are now polished up and on that new self-titled album. Had to wait two years to hear them that way, but the wait was totally, totally worth it when I finally got to hear those songs last week. :)
In summer 2009, I drove down to Anderson for a living room concert. Classy. :) Adam was the only other original band member left, and the concert was at his house. I brought my camera, as had become my habit - I didn't know if anyone would actually watch them, but I hoped if I posted some videos of these guys on Youtube maybe it would help to get the word out? You never can tell with the internet. And they DESERVED TO GET NOTICED, DAMMIT. At least, that was my (incredibly biased) opinion. In Adam's living room, I think, is when I first heard the song Anna Sun. I'm certainly glad I brought my camera.
So anyway, 2010 - with just Nick, the video for Anna Sun was made. Then the current lineup got nailed down, and it seems like it's been all up-up-up since, and I am so, SO glad. If I sound sentimental and you don't like it, well, BEAT IT. Do not dare bash Walk the Moon in my presence, or I will END you. Me AND my husband, who wants to buy several copies of the new album so he can give them to people. These guys totally deserve every awesome thing that is happening to them now, and it's just that much more amazing (for me anyway) after everything it took to get here. It's really, truly inspiring, and keeps me plugging along with my art and stories, to say the very least.
Soooo where next? The moon? :) My literal-minded 21-year-old self came up with this design for The Anthem EP in 2008:
It's still one of my favorite album design projects. And, favorite music in general. So, I raise my now-empty bottle to you, Nick-Eli-Sean-Kevin!! Enjoy success. I am glad I could be your artist friend. <3