WALK THE MOON guitarist Eli Maiman recently talked with Alternative Addiction about the band's new album TALKING IS HARD working with Tim Pagnotta, and the surprising place where they recorded their upcoming release.
With their debut self-titled record for RCA, WALK THE MOON became more than a popular band. They didn’t get a whole lot of love outside of alternative radio for “Tightrope” and “Anna Sun”, but what they accomplished was more viable and real. It’s something that’s usually only reserved for bands in a niche genre. It’s comparable to a group like Guster and what they did in the 90’s; WALK THE MOON became a band that music lovers admire. That’s huge. A record exec would rather have the masses, but a legitimate band would want what WALK THE MOON has.
Moving away from playing shows in support of their RCA debut, WALK THE MOON began exploring their options for making the follow-up. Instead of spending mass sums of money to go to California, New York, or London to work with a list of who’s who of songwriters and producers, the Cincinnati natives decided to work close to home… in a building that used to be a Masonic Lodge.
“That’s what was available close to Cincinnati”, said guitarist Eli Maiman talking with Alternative Addiction last month. “We wanted to do a lot of the work from home because Nick and I still live in Cincinnati. So we needed a place with a large room to rehearse and a place that could house Kevin and Sean too. For the money, it was the only place that made sense. We just got super lucky that it was this incredible environment to work in. It’s an old Masonic Lodge, but now it’s owned by artists. It’s a recording studio, there’s a screen printing press downstairs and there’s a lot of graffiti art that goes on. It’s a really unique atmosphere; there’s a lot of Masonic imagery there and all of this taxidermy too. It’s this odd, contrasting place that was really inspiring for us.”
As for the producer that WALK THE MOON opted to work with, they chose Tim Pagnotta. The Sugarcult frontman has worked on several notable projects over the years – including Neon Trees – but he’s not exactly the first producer you would choose for WALK THE MOON coming off of their last album. Everyone involved in that decision knew how well the pairing of the group and Pagnotta would work, and they proved to be right.
“He very quickly became part of our family. No one could have expected how natural a fit that it was, but there was a lot of chemistry and vision-sharing between us. It made the whole process easy and fun,” added Eli.
Working in an old moose lodge with Pagnotta and walking in the lodge by a mounted goat head on the wall that didn’t smell exactly right, WALK THE MOON put together a set of songs that they think is going to surprise the people that love their music. It’s something that’s inspiring the band on stage and off, and something they’re looking forward to sharing with the entire world.
“I don’t think people know what to expect with this record,” started Maiman when prompted about the direction of the new album. “They don’t know what’s coming. We weren’t afraid to explore different influences and different sounds. The result is that we’ve blown out the ends of the spectrum for ourselves. At times it’s heavier and more in your face and at times it’s more emotional than we’ve ever been before. We weren’t interested in making the last record again. We wanted to push ourselves and push our listeners. I think we did that and I can’t wait to share it with everybody.”
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