Walk Off The Earth, the headliners of Tuesday’s SGA spring concert, sent Mike Taylor and Ryan Marshall Lumination’s way after the show to talk about their new album R.E.V.O. (out March 19), the process of recording a cover song and where the YouTube celebrities might be found next.
While both are known for their versatile roles in the group (not limited to trumpet), Taylor can be seen behind the keyboard, and Marshall is usually up front on vocals and guitar.
The band’s big break came when their cover of Gotye’s chart-topping hit “Somebody That I Used To Know” (featuring the huge guitar) received over a hundred million views on YouTube.
The group has been performing with the ‘multiple people – one guitar’ angle for around six years, and the novel technique helps give the band a unique identity.
“Multiple people on one instrument has always been a part of this band, and so, every time we do a video, we want to try and bring our live show into the video, and same thing with the live show. We try and bring YouTube to the stage,” Marshall said.
The style and inspiration to cover the Gotye hit sent the band skyrocketing to internet fame.
“So, all of those together gave us this idea of ‘let’s get as many people on one guitar as we can’, and the timing with the Gotye song was just a fluke,” Marshall said. “It was a great tune, and not too many people had heard it in North America, and we loved it.”
“It was a perfect storm,” Taylor added.
Cover songs are one of the band’s other trademarks, having also recorded versions of many big pop songs, including Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” and Adele’s “Someone Like You.” To Taylor, the band’s selection of what to cover comes down to a simple factor – the range of the melody.
“I think the one common thread that runs between any of the covers we do is that they’re all very strong melodically, and any song that’s strong melodically you can do in any type of different genre or arrangement,” Taylor said. “So, we take, we think, really wonderfully written songs, and then we ‘Walkify’ them and put them into own kind of sound.
“We love [covering songs], and so far, it’s working out alright.”
For a band known for their covers, requests are always going to be a big factor.
While Taylor would like for the band to cover a plethora of show tunes (including Les Misérables), Marshall says that one song in particular has the fans clamoring for a ‘Walkified’ version.
“We’ve had a lot of requests recently to cover “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and it kind of seems like the puzzle of all puzzles,” Marshall said. “When we get time, we might tackle it.”
“It’s a doosey,” Taylor said.
After Tuesday’s show (the first stop on the tour), the band will play a few more U.S. dates before setting off on a month-long tour of Europe. A hometown concert and a show in New York also lie over the horizon for the busy band, whose first album bows next week.
The new album is called R.E.V.O. (which stands for Realized Every Victory Outright), the same name of their EP that was released last fall. Their single “Red Hands” will be featured on the new effort.