Canadian indie band Walk off the Earth—responsible for the five musicians, one-guitar video that exploded on YouTube nine months ago, is coming to Western for a show at the Wave tonight.
The band is preparing for the release of their new EP, R.E.V.O., on October 30, which marks the first album for the band with their current members.
“We’ve really come together collectively as a band, because some of the members weren’t in the band when the other albums were written,” Sarah Blackwood, vocalist and musician from Canadian band Walk Off the Earth, comments. “[The previous albums] were a lot of Gianni Luminati and Ryan Marshall when they started the band six years ago.”
The band united this past January, and also started the new phase for Walk Off the Earth as their five-person, one guitar video went viral. Blackwood is excited for the release of the EP, as it marks a new stage in Walk Off the Earth’s evolution.
“The EP is the first record that we have written collectively as we who are now,” she says.
The new album also represents a transition from style for the band, whose previous two albums, Smooth Like a Stone on a Beach and My Rock have distinctive reggae influences, while R.E.V.O. reflects the new angle the band has adopted since becoming Internet celebrities.
Walk off the Earth’s popularity exploded with the release of a cover version of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” which featured all of the current members of the band performing the song using only one guitar between the five of them. Since then, they have performed equally successful covers of Adele and LMFAO.
“It was one of the ideas that Gianni had brewing in his head for a while. All of our videos are very creative and we put a lot of time into making them unique, special and not just your average performance video,” Blackwood reflects on the first video. “It was just one of those ideas. [Luminati] wanted to have a bunch of people on one instrument. The “Somebody that I Used to Know” was just hitting North American radio at the time and he thought this song is wicked and wanted to use that idea for this song so we did it. It was really just another day for us and then it just exploded.”
Walk Off the Earth’s popularity is part of a larger change in the music industry, as the band has been distinctly formed through the use of viral video. The use of the Internet, and performance videos are central to Walk Off the Earth’s vision for performing.
“Times are changing. You don’t need to have certain things to get your music out there,” Blackwood says. “We have the Internet so we can put our songs out on YouTube and if its good and you have a wicked video—then hundreds of thousands of people can see it if they want.”
For their upcoming show at The Wave, Walk Off the Earth is eager to translate their distinctive and unique videos into a format for live audiences—incorporating instrument switches and putting a greater focus on getting the crowd involved.
“We toss a lot of instruments around,” Blackwood says. “We try to incorporate as much as we can from the videos in the live show just because people have been watching us on the Internet for so long that if we just go up on stage and play the songs, it is not going to be as exciting.”
Blackwood also reinforces the need for crowd involvement and making the music an experience for listeners.
“We really like getting the crowd involved. If you are shy, don’t stand at the very front. We will probably grab you and start dancing with you or make you dance with the person beside you,” Blackwood jokes. “We really like involving the crowd because that’s such an important part of a live show. If you want to get the record, you can go to buy it and sit in your room and listen to it—but if you want to experience the music, you should have a really great show for the people.”
From here, Blackwood and the band are looking forward to a U.S. tour that will start in less than a couple weeks, and preparing material for a full-length album release planned for next February. The band also intends to continue building on their Internet presence.
“We have a lot of stuff coming up. We have a ton of videos coming out—we have one for our first single “Red Hands” on the 29th,” Blackwood concludes.
“More music, more videos, we want to make a video for every single song on the album. In the meantime, we will be on tour with some blog videos. This is what we do.”