EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: WALK OFF THE EARTH Reflect on Sudden Viral Video Success & New Album
Published: February 8, 2012 - 9:08am
I recently caught up with Gianni Luminati and Sarah Blackwood from Canadian rock band Walk Off The Earth to discuss the overwhelming success of their viral video for the cover of Gotye's 'Somebody That I Used to Know'. Plus we talk about a new album by summer, internet piracy, unconventional instruments and more.
Walk Off The Earth's success has come quickly as their music video for 'Somebody That I Used to Know' which features all bandmembers playing one guitar has gained nearly 50 million views on YouTube in a little over a month's time. The band recently performed the track live on Ellen and have received universal praise from the various artists they've covered acoustically including Gotye and celebrities like Russell Crowe who shared his admiration on Twitter.
Blackwood (vocals, guitar) recently joined the fold but she also fronts another band The Creepshow. Luminati (vocals, guitar) and Blackwood took some time out of their busy schedule to answer a few of my questions. Check them out below:
Keven: What was it like performing "Somebody That I Used To Know” on Ellen? Is that studio audience strange – it seems like it might be a bit off from your usual demographic?
Sarah: It was pretty fun. We all love playing music live so no matter what being on a stage is a great time. It was also a little tense. But we did it!
Keven: Because of the massive attention "Somebody That I Used To Know” is getting, do you feel pressure to come up with even more unique videos and do you have any plans in store for the follow-up now that even more eyes are upon you?
Gianni: We have always made videos more intricate and challenging than the last. It's not a new thing for us that we would make a video that we would have to top next time after it was done. That's how we challenge ourselves. That's how we get creative and inventive. That's what makes this s*** so much f***ing fun!
Keven: You use a wide variety of strange objects for musical instruments in your videos – what’s been the weirdest yet and do you have any aspirations to utilize something even more ridiculous in the future?
Sarah: The other night we played a show and I forgot my shaker. Gianni turned to me and said "Sar, it's okay I know what to do…" He walked in to a convenient store and walked out. Came up to me and said "Here." And handed me a container of orange TicTacs. "Now you have a shaker."
Basically, when we walk around anything we see with our eyes is usable to make music with. It's just a matter of how to do it.
Keven: Sarah, how did you wind up with the band – is it from your time with Creepshow and what’s your relationship with Gianni exactly?
Sarah: Gianni recorded my second solo album and we have worked together a lot in the past. Over the past couple years our relationship developed into an intense work oriented base. Gianni taught me a bunch of stuff about YouTube and together we started to work really hard on making big things happen for all of the music we were making. Eventually, it worked and now we're in a position where we get to make videos and music for life! Gianni's my best friend.
Keven: Walk Off The Earth has a fairly definitive ska-influence, what are some of your personal musical influences?
Gianni: I don't listen to too much ska. I think unconsciously that happens because it's fun and quirky. Our influences come from all kinds of angles and aspects of what we like and what we listen to. There are not too many specific bands on that bill.
Keven: I think it’s safe to say that a ton of people may or may not assume that when a musician plays in a ska band, that they’re usually high on marijuana a decent percentage of the time – do you condone recreational drugs? What’s your opinion on the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana?
Sarah: I think experimenting is good. Being smart about it is good. I don't really spend any time worrying about that stuff. There's more important things going on.
Keven: Neil Young recently said that internet piracy is “the new radio” – what are your thoughts on people sharing music for ‘free’ online?
Sarah: I think free music is awesome. Not everyone can afford to buy music but they still love it just as much as the kid who can. It's not always possible to make music free, but when it can be, it should be.
Keven: With SOPA and recently Canada’s Bill C-11 threatening to involve what seems like an inevitable government take-over of the internet and technology, are you worried at all over the direction this is headed or should everyone just chill out?
Gianni: Yoga. Just do some f***ing yoga guy.
Keven: Walk Off The Earth hasn’t released a record since 2010, are there any plans in the near future to head back into the studio – or are you focused on the Gianni & Sarah project for 2012.
Gianni: Walk Off The Earth is everyone's priority right now….In fact, we are sitting down writing new songs right this second for the new album which will come our early summer.
Keven: Any final words for the readers?
Sarah: Don't drink chocolate milk before bed. It will give you nightmares.
Gianni: Don't worry be Happy.
Check out Walk Off The Earth on YouTube HERE.