Spring Across Borders: Walrus Goes To America
On March 21st, at Gus’s Pub in Halifax, the hometown psych-pop heroes Walrus kicked off their spring tour which picks up again tonight (March 25th) to roll forward with twelve consecutive shows, eight of which break the border into our sisterland to the south.
After a stationery, stir-crazy winter, Walrus are pausing work on their up and coming LP and preparing to hit the road equipped with new songs, a fresh face, and a mini-van to call home.
Walrus‘s fervent marathon of activity doesn’t show any sign of slowing own, but that shouldn’t be of a surprise to anyone familiar with the consistency and hard work they’ve established through a plentiful three-year crop of shows and releases.
After a brief post-tour breather, Walrus will be appearing at the Lawnya Vawnya Festival in St. John’s, NL which runs from April 22nd-26th, and is set to be followed by more Canadian and US dates in the late spring, and a presence at Toronto’s NXNE Festival in June – all while wrapping their studio album in any spare hour in between.
Scroll to the bottom for a complete rundown of Walrus’ Spring tour dates, or check out their tour schedule on Facebook.
We caught up with Walrus drummer and co-founder Jordan Murphy who was kind enough to engage a few words about their current outings, past and present outputs and the evolution of their live outfit.
After taking a full listen through the Walrus discography, one thing that stands out is the sheer slew of EP’s and singles released over the last three years. From Onetwotree in 2012, to the most recent Glam Returns in 2014 – how do you feel the band has changed and progressed?
When we first started we really wanted to put out music frequently, so we’d do EP’s and singles instead of saving the songs up for a full album. We haven’t put anything out in a little while since we’ve been working away at our new record, but that will be out soon enough.
The sound has definitely changed since the first few releases as well. For one the first few were recorded at home. Our split 7″ was our first recording done in the studio. That was also the first recording we did full band, before that my brother Justin and I were a two-piece. He’d record all the instruments except the drums/percussion and then I’d put those on after.
Eventually we wanted the live show to reflect the recordings a little more so we asked some friends to join the fold and help fill out the sound. Since then we’ve had between 3-6 members and are currently a 5 piece band.
It seems like nothing has slowed down as you’re about to take a little breather from work on your upcoming debut LP to embark on this March/April tour. What can you tell us about the album thus far?
Well, we’ve been recording the album over the better part of a year and it’s nearly finished. Just trying to make sure everything is exactly the way we want it before we say it’s done.
We had been planning on taking it easy for a while and just working to finish up the record, but then things kept popping up so we’ve just been working away at it when time allows.
Our buddy Charles Austin has been recording it at his studio, The Echo Chamber, here in Halifax. We’re really looking forward to sharing it with everybody, hopefully pretty soon.
This is a big stint coming up as you guys head into the USA and back for thirteen dates, and that’s followed within weeks by an appearance at Lawnya Vawnya in St. John’s, NL.
Tell us how the planning process was different for you guys when taking on such a dense border-crossing tour?
We’ve done quite a few tours around Eastern Canada over the last few years and they’re usually around the same length. We’ve made lots of great friends in different cities who have made these trips much easier each time we go, helping us book shows, letting us stay at their places, etc. But for the most part we didn’t have that with this trip because it’s our first time heading to the US. So we had to go through the process of getting our work visas and trying to line up dates in places we’ve never played, with people we’ve never met. That was definitely different. It went surprisingly well though and people really helped us out with the shows. Looking forward to actually meeting them all now.
For Lawnya Vawnya, we’d been wanting to make our way over to Newfoundland for a while, and this is the perfect chance to do it. Very excited about getting to hang out there for a few days and check out the festival. They have another great lineup this year, lots of cool bands.
What can folks expect from Walrus on the road?
We are all gonna cram into our mini-van somehow, and hopefully this new van is nice to us and the weather cooperates. We have a bunch of new songs that we’ll be playing and this will also be our first tour with our new guitar player Keith. We haven’t really toured all winter so we are excited to get back out on the road together.
And what can folks expect from Walrus after the tour marathon settles down?
Well hopefully it doesn’t settle down too much. We’ll definitely finish up the work on our record once we get home. After this tour and LV, we have a pretty busy few months planned though. We have some more tour dates lined up in the US and Canada between May-July. We’ll also be heading up to Toronto to play NXNE in June and we have some more festival dates lined up for the summer that will probably be announced soon.
March 25 – Saint John, NB @ Callahan’s Pub
March 26 – Portsmouth, NH – The Red Door
March 27 – Portland, ME – Shows at Poland St
March 28 – Middletown, CT – Wesleyan University
March 29 – Hadley, MA – The Asbestos Farm
March 30 – Flemington, NJ – Outer Art Space
March 31 – Washington, DC – The commune at 1605
April 1 – Philadelphia, PA – Bourbon & Branch
April 2 – Brooklyn, NY – Shea Stadium
April 3 – Quebec City, QC – Pantoum/Le Phoque
April 4 – Montreal, QC – Divan Orange
April 5 – Fredericton, NB – The Capital Complex