Our member and writer Rachel Goldsmith caught up with Walk Off The Earth’s Ryan Marshall before their gig at Rock City. Read the full interview here and let us know what you think in the comments below!
Rachel Goldsmith: How’s the tour been so far?
Ryan Marshall: Good, it started really well. The first two shows have been off the charts. Last night Manchester was crazy.
Excited for tonight’s show?
Yeah, we last played here in 2013, it’s good to be back.
You guys did a poll online for fans to vote on songs they want you to play on this tour. Which ones have been the most popular?
We got a lot of requests for Rude and Can’t Feel My Face, and there was a lot for the Taylor Swift cover as well, so we squeezed a couple of them into the set.
Which are your favourites to play live?
The stuff on the new album is really fun- Rule The World is super fun to play, there’s a lot of crowd involvement, and the same with Sing It All Away. The crowd gets really involved in that song. And I think it translates a bit better over here. In America it doesn’t get stuck in their heads, but there’s that Irish flow to it that the UK seems to like.
Do you find there’s a difference in the reactions to the covers and your original songs?
Not really, I think the only difference is if we’re playing to a crowd that isn’t a Walk Off The Earth crowd. When we’re playing our own show, if we’re headlining, typically everyone knows most of our songs. If we’re playing a festival or something where people haven’t really heard of us before, they might know Rule The World or they might know Red Hands but they won’t know the rest of our songs. But then they hear a cover song and it’s like “oh wow, that’s a new version of that, I’ve never heard that before” so sometimes it’s a way to get them to listen to our originals because they heard us play that.
What’s your favourite song from the new album?
I don’t know, I don’t have a favourite right now- as we were making the album my favourite became whatever the next one was going to be on the album. The last song we put on was California Trees, so I like that song. Boomerang is really fun to play, it’s a good tune.
You guys are known for your crazy creative videos- what inspired you to start doing those?
Gianni and I started the band in 2006, and then we got into Youtube around 2008. Youtube really started in 2006 but there wasn’t a lot of people involved – if you got 10,000 views in 2006 that was like a million now. So we got into it in 2008 mainly because we just didn’t want to have to drive a shitty white van across Canada to play eight shows- In Canada you kind of max out, it’s a really spread out country. Vancouver is five days drive away, it’s not like in Europe or in the States or here, you can’t just jog a couple of hours to get to another big city. We just didn’t want to tour like that anymore, we didn’t have any money and you only play for a hundred people a night. So we put a video up-an Eleanor Rigby cover- and in the first week we had 15,000 views- like, shit, we hadn’t played to 15,000 people in our lives and now 15000 people had watched this video, so we thought maybe there was something to it. So we started doing the videos from then on, so when the Goteye one broke we had 30 videos there already that people could get in to.
How did you feel when that went viral? Was it a bit of a shock to suddenly have millions of views?
Yeah, shocking as hell. But then “yeah! We fucking did it!”
Do you ever get online stage-fright before you put something up?
Nah, I don’t think so. Obviously we really enjoy what we do, and we’re probably our biggest critics. So if we think it’s good, it’s probably a lot better than we think it is, because we always see where we fucked up and the little things that went wrong. People watching it once won’t notice those things, but we watch it 50 times before anyone else even sees it.
How would you want me to describe your music to someone who had never heard of you?
We don’t even know. It gets classified as pop on iTunes charts and things like that. I guess it is pop music, but it’s different. Pop music is such a wide range- Taylor Swift is pop, but it’s also kind of country, Pearl Jam at one point was pop but now they’re alternate rock. So it’s tough. I kind of look at us in the same round as – and I’m not saying that we’re anywhere close to say The Police or War- but at that time The Police had a sound that was pop music, but it wasn’t pop, and it didn’t sound like anyone else. They had reggae influence, and roots rock, and a lot of different influences that all mashed up and created this really cool original sound that nobody else was doing. Part of this band is that there’s five of us who really all have drastically different influences when it comes to music so we mash it all up and create this really cool sound. There’s definitely a roots, organic feel to the Walk Off sound, but I don’t know what genre it is. I have no idea.
Would you say there’s a message that you’re trying to give out?
It’s not a preconceived message, it’s not saying “we want these people to think this about us”. I think we just kind of relay the type of life we live. This is what we do. We have a great family in this band, everyone gets along. Our crew is part of our team, it’s not like a typical band where the crew just has to stand around and they’re not allowed to talk to the people in the band. We just have fun. So that’s part of the sound and part of the influence, so I guess that’s the massage. But we don’t feel it’s a message. We just write songs that we like.
By Rachel Goldsmith