Moon Walker are the Denver, Colorado duo of Harry Springer (front man and lead guitarist) and Sean McCarthy (drums). To date, they’ve released four singles and videos on YouTube and Spotify. These tracks appear on Moon Walker’s new record, Truth to Power, dropping September 24 as an independent release.
For the uninitiated, the band plays an eclectic style of rock ‘n’ roll straddling different musical genres ranging from classic rock and ’70s pop, to modern day alternative. Moon Walker’s music is tight, catchy, and above all, has a purity to it which gives it an old soul genuineness capturing the spirit of T-Rex and Argent as well as the modern day vibe of Radiohead or Beck.
You and Sean have known each other since high school. Tell me about the other bands you both have been in and their respective styles of music prior to forming Moon Walker.
We met when both of our metalcore bands played a show together. We both talked about our mutual love of melody and arrangement, something which had not been of much value in the bands we were currently in! A few months later, we started a band called The Midnight Club. The Midnight Club started out as a theatrical pop-rock outfit, though as the years went on, we morphed into more of a glam/retro rock band. Discovering T Rex really changed everything!
What was the spark or the moment in time when you and Sean had the idea to form Moon Walker and play this very eclectic yet super catchy style of rock? Was it listening to a certain band, watching a particular movie, etc.?
When the lockdown started, The Midnight Club was no longer able to play live. Needing a way to fill my time (and make some money), I started writing music for song libraries. The songs started as sound-alikes of other artists, but as I got more comfortable as a singer, they started to take on a unique sound. I ended up writing a few songs that I wasn’t comfortable parting with but weren’t quite right for The Midnight Club. Me and Sean decided that we may as well turn it into a second project.
In terms of bands who inspired it, discovering T Rex, Supergrass, and The White Stripes were all key for me. T Rex was huge for me as an artist and as a person. Literally even down to seeing someone with hair like mine, wearing it so unapologetically. Also, seeing that someone could play guitar and sing, while still being an unbelievable performer really opened my eyes. I pretty much learned how to sing by singing along with Supergrass and White Stripes records. I can’t believe I went 20 years on earth without listening to either of them.
When you describe Moon Walker to your friends or peers in the local music scene, how do you describe your sound?
I always just say that we’re rock. We have a multitude of different influences that extend into all genres but at the end of the day, we’re just two people raised on rock music, trying to make as much noise as possible with a guitar and a drum set!
I love the idea that the core of Moon Walker’s music is the most classic of classic rock, specifically Pink Floyd, The Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin, etc. How did this appreciation for classic rock come about?
That’s a good question! When I saw the Beatles Love show in Las Vegas at age 10, everything changed for me. I grew up listening to Top 40 radio, so that was my first time hearing music like that at all. I started playing guitar a few weeks later and obsessively started learning/studying Hendrix, Zeppelin, Kiss, etc.
As I got older, I started to gravitate more specifically to theatrical music like Roxy Music, T Rex, and Bowie. I was also dangerously obsessed with Pink Floyd in high school (and still am). Single-handedly, it was Pink Floyd that made me fall in love with the album format. I still think that no one has ever made albums as good as theirs.
I realized it was guitar-based ’60s and ’70s music that I liked the best. I dove into as much of that as I possibly could. Then Sean got me into The Talking Heads and my world was, once again, turned upside down. I gained a deep appreciation for more rhythmic music, such as Kraut rock, post-punk and worldbeat. After that, I also became more open to ’80s and ’90s music, which I had previously not been interested in. That was also an important factor in determining what type of music Moon Walker would make.
In an email conversation we had, you mentioned you were influenced by Stevie Wonder, specifically his song, “I Wish” regarding your song “Disturbed Suburbia.” Not enough people cite Stevie as an influence, and they should! What other ’70s artists aside from the bands I mentioned previously were you thinking about from a creative standpoint when it came to Moon Walker’s music?
I could not agree with you more! There’s several ’70s artists whose influence has seeped into my DNA at this point. Zeppelin, Bowie, Black Sabbath, T Rex, Todd Rundgren, Pink Floyd, Elton John, ELO, Queen, Iggy Pop, etc. But there are plenty that I totally missed out on until very recently. Music that you are just discovering inspires you differently than music you have lived with and dissected.
Stevie Wonder, Modern Lovers, Can, Talking Heads, Leon Russell, and Curtis Mayfield are some artists I only discovered in the past few years who have all played a humongous influence on Moon Walker’s music. Specifically, “Disturbed Suburbia” was our version of “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder and “Light Burns Out” was our version of “Tight Rope” by Leon Russell.
Listening to your forthcoming record, Truth To Power, sonically, it’s a mix of modern, alternative rock with a nod to classic rock. I can definitely hear a little bit of say, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard in there. Which alternative bands, past or present, have influenced Moon Walker creatively, whether it’s from a lyrical or musical perspective?
You know what, I’ve gotten that before! I’m ashamed to say I’ve never listened to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. They just have such a huge discography; I don’t know where to start! Sonically and lyrically, although he isn’t necessarily alternative, Kendrick Lamar is huge. His records, production, lyrics, vocals, and instrumental performances are top notch. I think To Pimp A Butterfly is probably the best album made after the year 2000.
Supergrass is another one of my favorites. Their arrangements, production, and vocals, especially. And their singer, Gaz Coombes, has released two amazing records since Supergrass’s disbandment. Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories is a huge influence on us, sonically, as are Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails. I also love Cage the Elephant, My Chemical Romance, Squid, Sunglasses for Jaws, and Foxygen. Lyrically, Kendrick, Jack White Run The Jewels, and Rage Against the Machine hit a nerve for me.
The other intriguing aspect with Moon Walker’s sound is that I can hear influences from ’70s, “far out” pop culture in your music. “Light Burns Out” feels like it could’ve been a track on the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack. Are you and Sean both fans of ’70s, free-form pop culture in terms of the kitsch of KISS, or Ken Russell movies, maybe The Wall, or the aforementioned Rocky Horror Picture Show?
I’m so so happy that influence comes through! Me and Sean always talk about how there is a such a shortage of musical mixed-media projects. In my opinion, Pink Floyd’s The Wall is the absolute apex of it, but Rocky Horror Picture Show is massive as well. I listen to that soundtrack all the time. “Science Fiction/Double Feature” is one of my favorite songs. In addition to that, so much of our music is super inspired by movies and soundtracks. It’s a bucket-list item for us to do some type of long-form musical video project at some point. I wish way more people did it.
There’s going to be comparisons between Moon Walker and The White Stripes. Although its good company to be mentioned in, does it bother you when music fans mention it or does it just not phase you?
It doesn’t bother me. Maybe if it was a band I didn’t love, it would though haha! In the Midnight Club, we were CONSTANTLY compared to Panic at the Disco. So much so that one time, someone uploaded our song on YouTube and called it a leaked Panic at the Disco song. The video got, like, a million views before getting taken down. So, those comparisons started to drive me crazy. But I get it. We’re a two-piece, loud rock duo. It’s probably inevitable.
I think one thing that makes us incredibly different is, the White Stripes sound was a result of them being a two-piece band. They used two instruments per song and minimal overdubs. We just so happen to only be two guys. We play with other musicians live and use a lot of layers/instruments in the studio. In that sense, we’re more of a Steely Dan-type duo than a White Stripes/Royal Blood type duo. Our music is more like The Dead Weather or Jack White’s solo project than it is like the White Stripes, in my opinion.
Long term, what are the plans for Moon Walker, is this a full time band or a side project?
This is a full-time band! We are almost done with our second record and have a bunch cooler stuff planned with this one. We are still releasing music monthly in The Midnight Club, and we all still hang out and work together creatively, but our full attention is on our own projects right now.
Is Truth To Power going to be an indie release or has there been any label interest so far? What’s the release date for it?
We’re releasing it independently, and it comes out on September 24! I have a massive control problem when it comes to my bands, and I think I’ve determined that I would rather be stressed from the workload and be able to account for everything than be stressed over whether we’re being properly managed/compensated haha.
There has been label interest but no deals, and it’s not something we’re chasing as of now. I’m not ruling it out, and it’s not a matter of pride. I would be happy to sign with a label, big or small, who would be a good home for us. But we make all our own music and videos. It doesn’t take very much money to keep our machine running and we’re managing well by ourselves for now.
Have you looked ahead at the future of Moon Walker, do you have a creative vision as to how the band might sound and look with future releases?
Absolutely! I don’t want to give too much away, as it’s probably not very long before we’ll be talking about the release of record number two. But I will say, for Truth to Power, our goal was to distill our sound to just guitar, bass, drums, and vocals (with the exception of “Light Burns Out”) and focus on the energy of the music.
We were trying not to overthink anything, just play to our instincts and strengths. Energy is still our priority, but synths, production, and big arrangements play a much bigger role in the upcoming record. I think it takes everything we did on Truth to Power and takes it 100 miles further in every direction, if that makes sense.
What’s your general feeling about playing live during a pandemic, especially with the numbers being as high as they are? Any concerns?
It makes me nervous. I watched some of the Lollapalooza stream on Hulu and just about had an anxiety attack, seeing crowds like that haha. Then, of course, a bunch of bands who played end up canceling their tours due to a member contracting COVID … But we’re both fully vaccinated and venues here are requiring proof of vaccination, so I think the excitement for our upcoming show outweighs my nervousness.
I noticed you’re doing Spotify but not Bandcamp, right now. Through what digital platforms will you be offering your new album, where can fans find it?
Honestly, I’ve just never used Bandcamp. I’ve heard from a lot of people that I need to check it out. I’ll look into it and will most likely use it for the upcoming record as well. So, thank you for the suggestion! We will definitely be on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon, Tidal, and all the other streamers though.
I can’t stress this enough, thank you so much to EVERYONE who has listened to us. Launching this band and releasing this music, we had no expectations at all. We just did it because we wanted an excuse to make an album and some music videos. It blows me away that people are already responding to it.
Presave Truth To Power here.
Visit Moon Walker’s official website here.
Read New Noise Magazine’s review of Moon Walker’s Truth To Power record here.