If you're among the 127 million people who have seen Walk Off the Earth cover Gotye's mega-popular single with one shared guitar, you know that these five Canadians are all about innovation. So it's no surprise then that the band was able to leverage their YouTube popularity for an album that will be out in the fall. Though the album will comprise almost all original material (don't worry, the Gotye song will be on there), singer Sarah Nicole Blackwood says that the major label deal won't change their fun approach to music.
With the very notable exception of the "Somebody That I Used to Know" clip, there are so many different instruments in your videos. Do you bring all of them on tour?
Yeah, we totally do. Our crew hates us, actually. Not only do we bring them but we throw them at them throughout the show.
You're the only one who's playing regular guitar there, plucking strings and fretting, right?
Yeah. I mean Gianni [Luminati Nicassio] is doing the same thing, kind of soloing away, [Ryan] Marshall's got the bass line, Joel [Cassady] is playing drums and then Beard Guy's playing the clanky noise.
You really call him Beard Guy?
Yeah, we actually call him Beard Guy. Well, in the band. ... He's always had his beard. He just looked really cool when we were doing takes for the video. As we shoot a video it's really cool how each character will develop pretty much right away, so we were watching some of the takes that we had done and we were just like, "Dude, you look cool just staring off to the side like that, just do that." And that kind of became his character. But we actually do like - when we talk to him, instead of saying "[Mike] Taylor," we'll be like, "Hey Beard!"
How long does it typically take to do one of these videos?
A long time. Most of our videos are one take, which is -- it takes a long time to shoot but it takes a short period of time to edit, which is a lot nicer.
You've just signed a deal with Columbia, but you guys have done so well without label backing. Why did you need a label?
We're still figuring that out, actually. I totally see where you're coming from -- I'm a punk girl, I like going with indie labels. Basically we know what kind of audience we can reach with the power of our YouTube channel, and we know that we have the power to do a lot of things. The deal that we signed isn't the average deal. People think it's just gonna be like, "Oh, you guys probably got tons of money." We didn't do it for any kind of money. We basically need to build our team because the five of us can't take over the world, and although the record industry is dying out, there are things they can help us with. So if anything, we've basically hired them to help make us bigger.