Naked Walrus like to keep things Simple. Taking cues from alt-rock bands like The Black Keys, they’re believers in rock without pretense, delivering it gritty, melodic, and radio-ready. Though they’ve been in Los Angeles for six years, the venerable band keeps ties with their home of Santa Barbara, whether it be rocking at Velvet Jones or earning the adoration of KJEE’s Phat J, who picked “Eyes” as a Pick Of The Week. I spoke with singer Dakota Gartner about their new E.P., life in L.A., and ‘anti-boyband marketing.’
You guys are in L.A. nowadays. How is it going? What are the biggest ups and biggest downs of being there vs. S.B.? Everything is going really well! We’ve been living in L.A. for the past six years and I like to say that it’s a necessary beast. It’s one of the main places that people go to become successful in entertainment fields. Being down here is a really great thing for us because were able to connect with creatives of all different backgrounds and collaborate to produce next level product. Throughout the entire time we’ve been in L.A., we’ve regularly returned to S.B. In fact, our drummer Taylor, still lives there right down the street from SBCC and has his entire life. Santa Barbara is home to us. It’s where we started, it’s our roots, it’s really what created the foundation of this band, and we hold it near and dear to our hearts.
Definitely hearing the Black Keys and Foo Fighters influences shining through — what would you say is your way of putting a spin on these alt-rock titans, what do you bring to the table? Thank you so much for comparing us to bands that we idolize. We really love making rock ‘n’ roll, it’s our favorite thing to do together as best friends and that’s how this band started. We’re really inspired by bands like the Black keys and Foo Fighters as well as projects like Them Crooked Vultures that created gritty sounding rock music that could be on the radio. Our spin is something that sonically combines our love for pop and heavy rock. As far as what we bring to the table in my opinion, it’s a next step. We’ve been calling our current approach to our releases “anti-boyband marketing” and what we mean by that is we want our fans to disconnect from our image as individuals in order to reconnect to the art this project creates. We are drawing from our influences to develop a new sound that’s hopefully refreshing for listeners of the bands you mentioned.
What is the band’s favorite song on the new EP? That’s a really tough question, but I think if any of us were to individually ask ourselves that we would say the song “Eyes,” which is the heavier track on Simple. This is because it’s really hard-hitting and fun to play. Along with this, the song has a lot personal meaning because the lyrics comment on our current journey as artists working to achieve our dreams. With that said, we really love each individual track and are so excited to share new music with the world!
What does 2017 look like for the band? 2017 looks amazing so far. We’re going to hitting the road for most of the year, exploring new markets and meeting new fans. We’ve got a ton of shows on the books with some really epic bands. We’re also going right back into the studio to track demos and do preproduction with our producer, Curtis Douglas. You can expect another release in the near future! In the mean time check out our new EP on all digital distributors (iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) and keep up with us on our socials or at nakedwalrus.com.