Walk the Moon on What Inspired the Record-Breaking "Shut Up and Dance"

Walk the Moon's "Shut Up and Dance" is harder to kill than the Terminator.
Walk the Moon's "Shut Up and Dance" is harder to kill than the Terminator.
Courtesy of RCA Records

Even if you think you don't know Walk the Moon's "Shut Up and Dance," you know it. It's as unavoidable as oxygen, flowing from every radio station, streaming service, and karaoke bar for much of 2015. It's a pop song even right-wing Republicans are shaking it to — 63-year-old presidential candidate John Kasich danced to it at a recent news conference. It broke a record previously held by Hozier's "Take Me to Church" when it surpassed that song's 24th week at the top of Billboard's Hot Rock Songs chart.

Now the 7-year-old Cincinnati-based band Walk the Moon, which takes its name from a song by the Police, is heading to Miami to spread some of that sugary pop-rock goodness all over South Beach. The group's lead singer, Nicholas Petricca, recently spoke with New Times about what inspired the band's meteoric single, why it's beloved by Fox News conservatives and NPR socialists alike, and what the band plans to bring to the Fillmore.

New Times: When did you fall in love with music?
Nicholas Petricca: I grew up in a household where music was always playing, and I never heard the same genre twice in a row. That gave me an extremely eclectic, open-minded appetite for music from a young age.

Your hometown of Cincinnati doesn't get much press about its music. Can you describe the scene and how it influenced you?
The Cincinnati art scene is supervibrant — lots of unique, eccentric bands often put together by kids from the city's universities, as well as great visual artists and dance and theater groups. They all sort of congregate in clusters around town and inspire each other. I was always inspired by Ohio bands' fearlessness to be weird.

Any thoughts on the footage of Republican presidential nominee John Kasich getting down to "Shut Up and Dance"?
I can't say we endorse him or any particular candidate, but we want our music to connect with all sorts of people. "When the people get to dancing, they forget about taking sides," is what we say in our new song, "Different Colors."

"Shut Up and Dance" just broke the record for most weeks atop Billboard's rock song chart. What inspired the song, and to what do you credit its huge success?
I know, are we dreaming? The song is inspired by a true story one fateful night while writing the album, and I think that's a big part of what people relate to. Everyone experiences that need to drop whatever they are worried about and live in the moment.

You wrote the last album, Talking Is Hard, in a Masonic lodge in Kentucky. Can you describe what that experience was like, and are there any exotic locales where you're considering working on the new album?
In that old, beautiful, mysterious lodge, we were driven to explore uncharted territory and try just about anything. That attitude allowed us to evolve and take the music and lyrics to a new level, whether that meant combining wildly different genres or talking about unconditional love and global warming. We haven't left the road since we released this album, but when we do lock ourselves away for the next one, I'm sure it will be on a desert island or in a mountain cave somewhere.

What can the audience expect at your show at the Fillmore October 13?
We like to create a unique experience every night, so every show is a little different. You can expect some sweating, shouting, dancing, crying, and lots of colors.

Walk the Moon With Holychild. 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 13, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7300; fillmoremb.com. Tickets cost $25 to $105 via livenation.com.

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The Fillmore Miami Beach

1700 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139



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