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It has been a difficult year for American rock band Walk The Moon.

Just when they were about to headline their own summer tour, the Alzheimer’s disease of frontman Nicolas Petricca’s father had worsened and prompted the cancellation of the band’s scheduled concerts. Petricca also ended a longtime relationship while bassist Kevin Ray suffered a potentially career-ending shoulder injury.

With the cancelled tour and personal struggles, they found themselves shutting up and dancing farther away from each other.

The drive for music and a special musical connection, however, would bring back together Petricca and Ray, alongside guitarist Eli Maiman and drummer Sean Waugaman, after a brief hiatus to produce their most “real and raw” album yet, “What If Nothing”.

With their signature catchy, pop-tinged rock and gurgling ’80s-influenced synth, the quartet released a 13-track album on Friday, November 10 and revealed more of what the band has felt from their recent ordeals in an interview with Billboard.

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The ninth track off the album, Sound of Awakening, reflected the band members bridging the gaps they had created as a result of doing shows abroad and across the country. Petricca tackled it with the line, “… the distance and the difference between us is illusion.”

“A big part of what we went through was navigating the chasm that we’d created between each other, the space and the distance, and finding common ground and remembering that we share something really magical with one another,” he explained.

Talking about All I Want, the band said they are “owning the question and not having the answer”. The lyrics featured a string of questions mirroring an introspection of one’s self and limits without arriving at any answer. This, according to Maiman, became the driving push for the whole record.

“In Talking Is Hard, we felt like we had an edge on the world. We had a bit of the answer. We’re all one. This one is so much more about owning that space of vulnerability because that’s where some of our favorite music lives. And there’s a lot of power in that,” Petricca added.

By embodying vulnerability and writing about “what we know and who we truly are”, the band hopes to inspire their listeners to push through in any hardship.

The band also compared the making of this third record to shedding a snake skin. The band’s identity became wrapped up in their globally successful breakout single Shut Up And Dance With Me that it confused the members themselves.

Petricca said the album became the band’s opportunity redefine and reestablish who Walk The Moon is while shedding the fear of being boxed in one track. This is written as a love story in their seventh track, Kamikaze. 

“The two sides of that song come up for me: one is being in love with someone and having to leave them behind. On the other side, there’s this full ownership of self, being all-in,” he explained.

Photo from Walk The Moon

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