The 21st Century has done away with A & R representatives and has replaced them with YouTube. While this statement might not become entirely true for a few more years, the music industry has frequently been relying on the video-sharing website to discover the rare talent that is overlooked. Thanks to Justin Bieber’s relentless Internet persistency, the music world has been infected with Bieber fever. Luckily, the high temperatures have subsided due to the latest YouTube breakout artist, Walk Off The Earth.
The Burlington, Ontario based band’s cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” has gone viral with over 40 million views on YouTube. The quintet, which consists of multi-instrumentals, Ryan Marshall, Gianni Luminati, Mike Taylor, Joel Cassady and Sarah Blackwood, performed the the cover live on “The Ellen Degeneres Show“. As with their YouTube video, the Canadian outfit plucked the strings on the same guitar in true Walk Off The Earth fashion.
Walk Off The Earth is undeniably an instrumentally impressive group, but if you pry the guitar away from their hands, the originality remains vocally. The blend of male and female vocals adds effortless folkloric range to the band’s sound that will catapult the group past cover song fame and into a celebrity of their own.
Check out our interview with Walk Off The Earth as they tell you, Shockya readers, about their guitar chops, their sudden rush to fame, their Ellen experience and their Walk Off The Earth future.
Your cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” is awesome. Did you guys shoot that in one take?
Sarah: No way! It took around 26 takes to get the video right!
Is it at all confusing to have five people on one guitar?
Sarah: Not once you learn your part. It’s actually a lot easier than playing the whole thing alone.
How was it coordinating everyone’s positioning on the guitar? Was the order specific for when they were going to sing or play certain chords?
Gianni: I have a brain that likes to figure out puzzles. Doing something like this came to me pretty naturally. It’s a part of the challenge and fun of making a video out of an idea. This video was very specific.
Are there any other instruments you guys can play all together?
Gianni: We could probably try out every instrument and will.
Did you play “Somebody That I Used To Know” frequently before this video was shot?
Sarah: I learned the song that night. We had never played it together until we started shooting the video.
What was your reaction when the YouTube video exploded with millions of views? Were you guys expecting that kind of viral success worldwide?
Marshall: We just started to pace around in Gianni’s living room saying “What the fuck is going on?” Then we just laughed a lot and got really happy and excited!
Did it feel like your lives had changed overnight?
Gianni: It felt like we had accomplished something huge. Our lives changed for sure, and in the best way.
You guys were great on The Ellen Degeneres Show. Did Ellen and her people reach out to you guys?
Sarah: Ellen is pretty well known for being current when it comes to YouTube. They got in touch with our publicist and a few days later we were flying out to LA.
What was it like chatting with Ellen and performing on such a well-known talk show?
Joel: It was pretty cool! She is very very nice. We had a really nice backstage room with great food and the stage was fancy. It was quite an experience.
Along with Ellen, your YouTube video has also caught the attention of other celebrities, like Russell Crowe, Troian Bellisario and Alyssa Milano. Was it awesome knowing that they supported Walk Off The Earth?
Marshall: I love Alyssa. Yes it is incredibly awesome!
You guys also covered Adele’s “Someone Like You” and LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem”. How do you guys choose which songs you want to cover? Do all five of you have to agree?
Sarah: We all put our heads together and come up with songs. Gianni is really great at hearing the potential of specific songs so a lot of the time we go with his gut.
What’s up next for Walk Off The Earth? Planning on posting anymore YouTube videos of cover songs? Recording a new album?
Sarah: A new album. A bunch of new videos coming up! New songs! A lot more touring and live shows! World domination!
by Lonnie Nemiroff