As Walking On Cars prepared backstage for their debut performance at Nottingham’s Rock City last Monday, Impact was allowed access to their dressing room to meet the band. We caught up with lead singer Patrick, pianist Sorcha, bassist Paul, drummer Evan and lead guitarist Dan for a chat about Europe’s finest sights, awkward eye-contact and just how big America really is.
So you’ve just finished your European tour. How does playing in the UK compare to other countries?
Paul: Bumpier roads… [laughs]
Patrick: Actually yeah that’s a valid point. In Europe we’re on the tour bus going from city to city and the roads are seamless, there’s no potholes or anything in good ol’ Germany and then when you get to the UK you know you’re on the road, yeah it’s a different ball game. But in terms of crowds I think… They’re both kind of mad.
Paul: Definitely, some of the gigs so far have been wild, they’re like old-school club nights in Ireland.
“It makes it way weirder”
Well I was going to ask as my second question – do the gigs feel different when you’re on home territory in Ireland?
Sorcha: Yeah I think so.
[murmur of agreement]
Evan: It’s a different kind of energy.
Patrick: I suppose at this stage at home you know there’s going to be a certain amount of our family and friends there. I suppose that changes everything.
All: It does, yes.
Evan: It makes it way weirder.
Patrick: It’s way weirder, yeah! [All laugh]
Paul: Yeah I like it when there’s no-one you know there. You’re more at ease. I like the security in anon- anonymi- anonymi- I can’t do it!
Sorcha: I think that a lot of the people we’re playing to on this tour actually haven’t seen us live before so you can sort of sense that they’re enjoying it but they’re also taking it all in, whereas at home we’ve been gigging for years and years and years so a lot of people have come to a lot of our shows already so they’re all wild and talking in between songs and stuff.
So were there any places you played on the European tour which stood out in particular?
Paul: That’s a good question – I’m going to go with Hamburg, because Biffy Clyro played the night before us in the same slot. Then we played after, I was like guys…
You’ve made it?
Paul: Yeah, that was just in my own head though, I don’t know about the gig.
Dan: We played the Melkweg in Amsterdam as well which is really cool – it’s a big venue, I think it gets like 12 or 13 hundred and it’s just kind of awesome to go there and experience that whole thing, it’s great.
Do you prefer the big or smaller gigs then?
Patrick: I think capacity-wise I always prefer to have loads of people there, because you don’t have to get too intimate and awkward between songs; […] we might play in front of 20 people for like a radio or whatever, that can get super awkward.
[Loud agreement from everyone else]
Paul: Don’t look them in the eye, don’t look them in the… Ah dammit! [all laugh]
Okay so, you always have such beautiful cinematic music videos. How much say do you get in the direction of the videos?
Sorcha: A lot of them we’ve had a lot of input [in]. Like ‘Speeding Cars’ basically was us from the very beginning. We sat down, and we’d got a few kind of ideas from other production companies and we just weren’t happy, it didn’t portray the emotion of the song. So we sat down together and started brainstorming and basically came up with the foundations of the video and then got involved with Bold Puppy [production company] and they made it into this kind of masterpiece.
Dan: We always try to use Kerry and the sea, kind of, just to help people relate where we come from, you know.
“Don’t look them in the eye, don’t look them in the… Ah dammit!”
Yeah I can see what you mean, keep it local, reflect where you’ve come from…
Sorcha: Yeah exactly.
Patrick: Yeah a lot of our family and friends are actually in the video.
So which song is your favourite to perform, and which one is a fan favourite?
Paul: I’m going to go with ‘Speeding Cars’ at the moment – it’s just rock-out. Lots of craic.
Patrick: I’m going ‘Always Be With You’. Something about it these days, people are losing their shit.
Paul: It’s the class drums obviously.
Evan: Obviously [more laughs].
Sorcha: I think ‘cause ‘Always Be With You’ is quite different from the rest of the songs, there’s something [about] the minimal…
Evan: The modern…
Patrick: It’s got the chanty thing at the end.
Sorcha: [imitating Evan] Yeah modern, really edgy, yeah yeah.
So how much has changed since the beginning of 2016?
Patrick: We’ve been to a lot of places around Europe we’d never been to before, a lot of towns we’d never visited and suddenly we’re doing headline shows there. It’s all a bit… crazy. We’re going to America more often too, it’s mental – the thought of trying to break America and the size of it. Like Ireland is so small, and it’s like 52 Irelands.
Evan: It’s the perfect business model though.
Paul: I’d say it’s more like 5,000 Irelands, isn’t it?
So what’s been your favourite moment of the year?
Patrick: I’m going to say last week at the 3Arena. It was pretty spectacular. It had been on our to-do list for a while. We’ve always wanted it to happen.
Well that leads me on perfectly to my final question – what’s going to happen in the future, what are you looking forward to, what are you hoping to do?
All: Album two.
Sorcha: Yep. Start of next year, we’ve some time off so we kind of just want to get writing and we’re really excited about it and we have little bits and pieces we’ve been working on every now and then, like say during sound-checks or any free time that we’ve had. So to get in a room, hopefully we’ll have the time to actually get all those ideas down. Yeah, can’t wait.
Patrick: We spent five years doing album one, now we’ve got… nine months?
Sorcha: [laughs] Oh God!
Patrick: …We’ll be fine.