Ohio natives Walk The Moon (stylized WALK THE MOON) have just had their first Billboard hit with “Shut Up and Dance”, the first single off their 2014 sophomore major label release, Talking Is Hard (RCA Records). Although the foursome of Nicholas Petricca, Eli Maiman, Kevin Ray, and Sean Waugaman have had a large cult following since their independent release of I Want! I Want! in 2010, their first Billboard track has truly propelled them forward. The alt-pop band is taking advantage of their surge of success by updating their social media regularly with, you guessed it, cover songs.
Keeping a keen eye on their demographic—their fans range from 16-30 years old, generally—they keep their fifteen second, Instagram appropriate covers a clever mix of new jams and old favorites that their main fan base will recognize. Just take a look at their most recent covers and you’ll see what I mean:
The covers began in July of 2014, when Walk The Moon was on tour supporting Panic! At The Disco. Still going strong, Walk The Moon has posted over twenty covers to date and show no signs of stopping while on their own headlining tour. From A-ha’s iconic “Take On Me” to the somewhat less iconic, but still quite notable “Graduation (Friends Forever)” by Vitamin C, Walk The Moon has found a dynamic way to mix their musicality with their often hilarious and always energetic personalities to capitalize on what they do best: make the listener happy.
Their “note to listeners” in the album booklet of Talking Is Hard explains their philosophy best:
The songs on this album achieve what they set out to do, but perhaps even more impressive is that each of their cover songs do the same. The gents in Walk The Moon put as much energy, humor, and heart into their covers as they do anything else. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they’re covering some well-known songs, and using hashtags to identify them. Have a sudden desire to explore Kelly Clarkson’s greatest hits? If you look up her name on any of the social media sites Walk The Moon uses, their fifteen second cover of “Since You’ve Been Gone” will appear in the results, allowing for new fans to not only see the musical abilities of the band, but their carefree spirits that make them so fun to watch live. The personality of a band is often the biggest draw to a fan, aside from the music the band produces, of course. These videos combine both into easy to watch—but easy to keep watching—segments that are a perfect way to introduce a potential fan to a group.
Clever as it may seem marketing-wise, you get the feeling that many of the covers aren’t exactly planned out far ahead of time. Some involve empty rooms with good acoustics the band seems to have just stumbled upon. Others are inspired by wherever the guys may be at the moment. Is the venue near the woods? Why not cover Bon Iver’s “Woods”? Do you suddenly find yourself on a boat? Time to cover “Come Sail Away” by Styx! It really does seem as simple and authentic as that. And if that ain’t some Midwest charm, then I don’t know what is.