MEB Editor Maria Gironas and staffer Heather Allen got a chance to chat with So-Cal natives Naked Walrus at the Pomona, CA Warped Tour date. The biggest draw to interview this band? Their name for sure, but we heard their Black Keys meets Portugal. the Man sound, it was imperative that this interview take place.
Maria: Being LA natives, what is it like basically playing in your own backyard this summer?
Andy: It feels great. I’m from San Diego, I live in LA now, and I spend time in Santa Barbara because of the band, and so I literally have three hometown shows to play. It’s the best.
M: Have your families been able to come out and support or anything?
A: They’ll be in San Diego.
Taylor: Yeah, we have the two members that aren’t with us, they have some family that are coming here, they’ll be here today for our set. Also, I’m from Santa Barbara, so we have, you know, everybody coming to Warped Tour from Santa Barbara. It’ll be pretty cool.
M: I have to know – where did you come up with this band name?
T: Do you want the short and sweet version? *laughs*
M: You know what, give me any version because I need to settle my soul. I could not think of any reason.
Heather: We want the detailed version! We were wracking our brains because we could not figure it out!
M: Yeah, you can give us a novel!
T: You know, basically, we all played in different bands, we were just buddies that lived together, and we would jam when we weren’t busy. And it just became a side project that escalated to the point where we actually put out a record, and we realized that the bands that we were playing in just hadn’t come close to even doing that. So we were like, “this isn’t a joke.” Those bands were more of a joke to us, I guess. So we started putting our time into this. As far as the name goes, since we were just treating it like a “whatever” thing, we jut came up with the most ridiculous thing that we could think of, and it’s blossomed into this whole feeling of being comfortable. So you can look at it in a metaphorical sense, where we’re “physically naked”, but it’s about what’s in a name – it’s who you are and how you represent that. And that’s kind of where we’re coming from, it’s just people who let it hang out. Everybody’s got a freak flag.
A: Everybody needs to be comfortable and needs to be themselves. That’s what we try to represent.
T: Sorry that was anticlimactic. *laughs*
M: No! I love it! I’m so happy about the answer now!
H: We can sleep tonight now that we know this answer!
T: You guys need sleep like we do!
M: And kind of going along with the ‘naked walrus,’ would you consider to be the walrus to be your spirit animals?
A: the collective band’s spirit animal!
T: Sure sure!
A: Or we have our own individual spirit animals, but we’re not going to get into that right now.
T: Unless you wanted to know, we can tell you.
M: Now I’m curious. Go for it!
A: Well, mine’s a sugar glider because I’m small and nervous. I guess that’s how I landed with that.
T: He tends to glide more than he walks so that’s appropriate. I’m an otter because I’m a total water baby and just always want to swim. Apparently I’m ridiculously hairy so I look like an otter when I swim. And then we got Hayden who plays lead guitar for us, he’s a meerkat. And then we’ve got our singer Dakota who is actually a warthog and that dates back to like an old high school joke of Timon and Pumbaa. *Andy laughs in background* So he’s not too happy about that, but we all don’t get to pick our spirit animals. We’re like deemed them by someone else.
A: He keeps trying to get us to change it.
T: Yeah, it’s not going anywhere.
A: Until he stops acting like that it’s going to stay. *laughs*
M: That’s amazing! And so All In was funded by a kickstarted project that you guys created.
M: And you released the album a year later correct?
M: What took so long with the process and how was it like getting started with all this money for the album?
T: We had the biggest grins on our faces when the kickstarted actually finished its campaign. Again, we were humble and we didn’t realize how many people were out there to help us out and it was such a great feeling, you know? We hope that we can pay them back somehow by rocking out or whatever we have to do.We give great hugs by the way, but I don’t know. What do you think Andy?
A: I think that it got pushed back a little bit because we played so many shows that year. We just went and played shows and they cost money too. We wanted to do the record but we wanted to release it the right way. We wanted to cover all the bases and it sound well and to look presentable, somewhat legit. So it just takes awhile. It was a huge decision and a long process and it was awesome! And it was all diplomatic, we all had our say.
T: Well for the first record that we put out, we weren’t really expecting to put out the record. There was some growing pains and mistakes made as far as being a rookie. So with this record and this mindset of we’re not going through anymore lineup changes, everybody has confirmed that they’re really in this for the long haul. That’s where the whole All In thing comes from too, it’s the dedication and the commitment to what this band is now. There was a lot of things that we learned from that first record and that whole process so we really wanted to take our time. Of course there’s technicalities that come into play and everybody has a day job so it takes time.
M: Absolutely. As far as your most recent single “Alien,” tell me about the track. What kind of process was put into it?
T: Just as far as how recording went?
M: Recording and songwriting.
T: Our singer would probably have the best representation of where that comes from, but it’s more along the lines of like at first we were thinking ‘let’s just do some wacky shit!’ and ‘let’s just write a song about aliens. Then it started to take on more and more meaning and as it starts growing legs lyrically it starts to wander in its own direction. By the time we finished the song, we found all these other meanings in it so now it’s kind of stemming back to comfortability. What it’s talking about is like you see someone that’s completely foreign to you and you don’t understand it at all, but have you ever though that that person is thinking the same thing when they look at you? Maybe you’re the alien. So there’s a lot of hidden meaning in there, and what we like to hear when we talk to our fans is what you think it means and what you want it to be. Art is open to interpretation right?
H: If you could have a pet walrus what would you name it? And what would your other band members name their own personal walrus?
M: Maybe walri?
H: Walri if that’s the correct term.
T: I think it is actually! *laughs*
A: I don’t know! What’s the one doctor from Mythbusters? *both guys laugh* No, I wouldn’t name him that! I just thought of it because it was cool.
T: Let’s see. Dakota would probably name his walrus like ‘Larry’ or ‘Reginald,’ he tends to throw out those names a lot. *Andy laughs in background* I would name my walrus ‘Fievel’ because I like Fievel Goes West. Kid flicks are good stuff. It’s family fun.
A: I would probably name mine ‘Richard’ because it would bum one of my buddies out. If I had a pet walrus named ‘Richard’ he would just be bummed so that’s what I’m going with.
M: Last question, being on Warped Tour have you seen any bands that you guys have gotten to know or really admire?
A: I’ve been following some of the bands that I heard that were playing on the same stage but I haven’t met them yet. But some of the bands like Heart to Heart and Beartooth, those are my bands to watch this year.
T: We’re definitely out to make some friends. Actually there are some bands here that have some of our old members and we did not know that they were playing Warped Tour as well. We met over here in busland and we were like ‘Whoa, what are you guys doing here!’ So we manages to reconnect with people, which is awesome. On top of that we have some bands that we’ve taken a liking to, we really follow their social media and all that. There are some other bands that we’ve met before that I hope we can try to meet up with and talk to them. It’s always an educational experience talking to bands that have done this before, so I think there’s a lot that we can learn from just making friends with any band that’s on the tour. We don’t discriminate, we love everybody!
A: We’re making all the friends! We want to be everybody’s friend!
*Taylor takes off sunglasses and winks*