Meet Matt, he’s the singer of Brisbane’s WALKEN; a punk rock three-piece akin to the likes of Violent Soho, PUP and Blink-182.
“Hey there, I’m Matt – the lead singer and songwriter for WALKEN. Let’s cut to the chase, I probably don’t know you, you probably don’t know me, but we both like music so let’s talk about that. I’ve been given the task of writing about some albums that have influenced our sound in the past and our new single ‘Fever Dreams’, so hopefully you dig on this little piece.”
Us again – That’s right, we asked Matt to let us in on five albums that shaped WALKEN’s sound. Because let’s face it, alt-pop, pop rock and punk-whatever can swing a number of ways, so we like to find out what fuels the fire when getting to grips with a new band. Back to you, Matt.
“I’m a bit of a music nerd and I find it hard to sit still (sonically, at least), so WALKEN has a history of genre-hopping and trying to blend elements from various sub-genre’s together. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but that’s the beauty of both music and life, I guess.”
1. Blink-182, ‘Untitled‘ I’ve been a staunch Blink fan for as long as I can remember, and they were one of the first bands that made me realise I loved music. They are the epitome of pop punk and were The Beatles of that sub-genre in my opinion. At their peak, the songwriting duo of Mark and Tom resembled that of Lennon and McCartney, while Travis’ experimental nature and musicianship made it feel like George Harrison was behind the kit instead of Ringo (sorry Ringo).
With all of that being said, ‘Untitled’ is easily my favourite album of theirs and has influenced my writing a lot. It’s filled with a sense of adolescent rage, but still feels mature and well thought out at the same time, which is something I personally try to aim for (whether I succeed or not is a different story). The production is some of Jerry Finn’s best work as well, he’s one of my all-time favourite producers and his production style has influenced me greatly when it comes to how I layer guitars, effects, synths, vocals, etc. RIP Jerry, thanks for contributing to so many amazing albums and inspiring Punk musicians worldwide.
2. WHY?, Alopecia‘ WHY? are a more recent discovery for me. Our guitarist Pat’s brother Heathclif actually introduced me to WHY? in 2014 while we were both working in a call centre. I remember he sent me ‘Alopecia’ and it blew my mind; it still does to this day. ‘Fatalist Palmistry’ might be one of my favourite songs, ever.
Their albums ‘Elephant Eyelash’ and ‘Eskimo Snow’ are my favourite records of theirs these days, but ‘Alopecia’ influenced me a butt-tonne. Yoni Wolf (singer/songwriter) introduced me to a new way of writing lyrics – he has this perfect blend of incredible imagery, cryptic poetry and extremely honest storytelling. Alongside that, the layering and production on this record is insane.
You can really hear how WHY?’s use of mallets and tuned percussion has influenced our tracks like ‘Unomi’ and ‘Fever Dreams’; lots of subtle layering that just adds a beautiful twinkle to certain melodies and hooks.
3. Violent Soho, ‘Hungry Ghost’ If you play rock music in Australia and were a teenager any time from 2010 ’til now, there’s a great chance that Violent Soho influence you in some way. I had gotten into their [self-titled] first album thanks to the recommendation of a friend when I was in Grade 12 (2011) and they quickly became one of my favourite bands. I remember thinking ‘Wow these guys somehow blended Nirvana, The Pixies, Blink-182, Sonic Youth and Smashing Pumpkins together??? AND THEY LIVE 20 MINUTES FROM ME???’ I was in awe, to say the least.
When this album came out in 2013, I was blown away. I was already hooked thanks to the first album and their live shows. But when a band progresses exactly how you wanted them to, and they nail it, it’s really something special. At the time, it felt like I was witnessing the Australian alt-rock equivalent of Radiohead going from The Bends into OK Computer; a lot more spacious, cohesive and luscious but still raw.
We were lucky enough to work with the Bryce Moorhead, the Engineer/Producer of ‘Hungry Ghost’ and ‘WACO’ on our ‘What’s Your Environment?’ EP and it was an awesome experience. He’s a very interesting dude with a crazy amount of engineering knowledge, so I learnt a lot just by being in the same room as him.
4. Jeff Rosenstock, ‘Worry’ ‘Worry’ is easily one of my favourite punk albums. The way Jeff manages to churn through alternative rock, pop punk, hardcore and ska (sometimes within a single song) is insane, let alone the seamless song transitions throughout the entire second half of this album.
I had genuinely never even heard of this legend until I saw theneedledrop’s review of this album. It still confuses me so much as to how this guy wasn’t even on my radar. Since then however, he’s become one of my favourite artists and he genuinely seems like the loveliest dude. I’d highly recommend watching the documentary ‘Never Get Tired’, it’s super inspirational.
If you listen our second most recent single ‘Regular Human Person’ you’ll probably be able to hear his influence shine in the group vocals sprinkled throughout the song and the ska section in verse two.
5. The Killers, ‘Hot Fuss’ It’s hard for me to choose between ‘Hot Fuss’ and ‘Sam’s Town’ because I really love both of those albums but I think ‘Hot Fuss’ has to win because it’s such a specific influence on our new single ‘Fever Dreams’. I’ve loved this album since I was a kid and heard all the timeless singles off this now-legendary indie rock / indietronica / pop rock record. But I still find myself revisiting ‘Hot Fuss’ at least once a year and my love for it is forever growing.
The album is specifically a huge inspiration for ‘Fever Dreams’, as it’s a synth-driven pop rock track and I really wanted the synth lines to channel ‘Smile Like You Mean It’. Thankfully, Pat owns the same synth that has the preset which The Killers used on that song. So I watched some videos, found what preset it was, altered the settings a tiny bit and recorded the ‘Fever Dreams’ synth part in my room then sent it to our Producer/Engineer Keelan Sanders. I’m really happy with how it turned out and I love that synth hook a lot.