Saturday, 15 June 2013

Interview with Sean Walker of Movement

In a scene not so glam as Almost Famous, Sean is navigating a car to get the equipment to sound check while two-thirds of the band are waiting in Melbourne downpour. On the way to their second headline show, texts are flying in from the boys and Sean Walker from Movement says he’d never had to multitask this hard in his whole life.

But it’s not just the unlucky weather that is keeping these three boys busy. As the latest signing to Modular music (The Presets, Tame Impala, Cut Copy), they are on a headline tour, working off their single ‘Feel Real’ and writing more “night music”. We chatted to Sean about that time they opened for Thom Yorke, beachside writing trips and cool Christmas parties.

Movement began just under two years ago as high school mates Sean Walker and Jesse James Ward, who used to write music and go to festivals together. “We had been dreaming about what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it so we really didn’t want to feel any pressure to release anything. It’s unbelievable how much time we put into it, in terms of a lot of crap that came out of it, but it’s just good practice song writing.”

‘Feel Real’ is the first single and we’re still stunned that we wrote that two years ago, but Modular really wanted to release it. We’re getting all our material together, ready for future releases, so I’m really excited to get the new music out.”

Then, through a mutual friend, the pair met Lewis Wade who became their vocalist. “We heard his voice and it was exactly what we were after in terms of the sound and how we could write. It was amazing how we could turn the ideas in our head into something that people might want to listen to. That was a real help – it sped up the writing process hugely.”

Sean has just finished his degree in music production and film and Jesse has finished his degree in film as well. Lewis is a vocal major at the Institute of Music – so the boys all have their classical training in check. That said their music is often likened to more contemporary artists such as SBTRKT, which Sean is pretty stoked about.

“Something that has really quite stunned us big time is soul vocals – people really crave that stuff – which is amazing because our singer is trained in soul. We love to see that people enjoy the whole UK thing so it’s been really cool to have such a great reception. We get completely blown away when people make these references – I love SBTRKT.”

In terms of other artists they dig, Sean says that at the moment he is a huge fan of the new James Blake album Overgrown (“the production and the depth of the music on that is incredible”), as well as the leaked Jai Paul album (“big time influence for sure”).

At the moment, Movement are on the road for a headline launch tour in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart for the Dark Mofo festival. Last month they followed Flight Facilites, which gave them a taste of the motions of moving around and playing for a whole new crowd. Movement are still on single figures in terms of gigs together (“seven or eight”) but the reception so far has been impressive.

“We had a great show last night. It was our first show by ourselves, our first headline show, so that was really exciting.”

“We’re kind of finding our feet at the moment in terms of interacting with people, it’s definitely been a big learning curve. Our set that we decided to build took a lot of planning because we had to get steel cut and recruit a lot of family to help us make it but it was good.”

Recently the group took more team-bonding time in a week-long writing trip to Seal Rocks (North Coast NSW) which was “massively inspiring”.

“It was the first time we’ve been able to go away just the three of us in a room. The image in my head is amazing- looking out the window in the room where we set up our studio looking at the beach. It was beautiful, it really was.”

All of which might clash with their vision of “night music”: “We are so inspired at night-time. It sounds cheesy but we do the majority of our writing in the late afternoon into the night and we want our music to reflect that.”

Along with the splendour of being a part of the Modular family come the events and parties thrown by the label. Next month, Movement will be opening for The Klaxons at FBi radio’s 10th anniversary fundraiser gig. “We’re really excited about that – Jesse and I have been in love with The Klaxons for a long time, since high school. We’ve dreamed about being signed to Modular and now the fact that we’re going to be playing just before they come on is incredible.”

On that path, it’s not the first time that Movement are opening for an international name. Last year, they were invited to DJ for a mystery guest at Goodgod Club in Sydney. They accepted, and it turned out to be Thom Yorke of Radiohead.

“We got a call and for us it was unreal. I had seen Radiohead the night before. We weren’t expecting anything, we’re not usually DJs, so in the space of twenty hours I had to learn everything about it. It was really fun, we enjoyed that.”

Just following their signing onto the label, Movement were invited to end-of-year drinks where Sean says they were overwhelmed at meeting some of their role modes including fellow Sydneysiders The Presets and Bag Raiders. Not your average work Christmas party: “No way, no way. You’re extremely blown away just looking around the room. You go to the bar and the drummer of Tame Impala’s there and you just ask about the touring schedule and you get blown away by how much they’re moving around.”

“You’re sharing a couple of beers with them and just talking and it’s really, really nice to be a part of that. That was a big move for Jesse and I.”

The Modular vibe seems to extend out of their parties and into the office. When it came to putting together their remix bundle (out June 21), the label asked the boys who they’d like to see work on ‘Feel Real’ over dinner.

“It was a dream come true actually. We were kind of like, “What do you mean…anyone?” We had some amazing names of people approached and it didn’t fit with their timelines. But we’re really excited to have it all there and going. I couldn’t believe hearing our song remixed by a UK artist but also a really prominent Australian artist like Ta-ku.”

“They’ve all done such unique awesome jobs to it so it’s really exciting, that will be cool to get out.”

“We wanted to get different sounds from different artists so I think we’ve achieved that, which is exciting.”

But what does Sean envision as a parallel life if there was no Movement?

“We were talking about that the other day – I think we’d definitely be trying to run our own business. It would probably revolve around film or opening a bar. We love creating things, I’m not sure, but something hands on.”

Having already been signed, one of the group’s first dream plans, Movement are now starting to think big. “We want to go international. We want to play festivals overseas, we basically want to travel overseas, that’s the one goal we’ve had from the beginning we always set out to do.”

“If we can move our music around the world that would be really amazing, that really would be incredible.”

Published on Purple Sneakers.

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