Procrastination conglomerate and soft porn hub YouTube has resulted in a lot of waited hours over our years. No matter what we are trying to get done, YouTube is always there to offer up a stale Harlem Shake video or a guy falling off a skateboard to dull the horridness of any mundane Wednesday afternoon. But what do you do when you run out of Gangnam style remixes and dramatic chipmunk parodies to watch? Not to Fear, Canadian indie rock group Walk Off of the Earth—or WOTE—is here to ensure that nothing gets done on this afternoon when you know you should be working.
The first thing to note about this group is that they are known for their wacky YouTube videos, excellent performances, and of course, great music. Like many video makers on YouTube, the band Walk Off the Earth uses the site as a marketing and advertising tool to get their music material—and name—out to the rest of the world. However contrary to many viral videos that are shallow and often die out, theses clips are actually good and showcases a talent which seeing is worth being an hour behind an any task you were supposed to be doing. “We have all been making music for a long time,” said Sarah Blackwood, musician, vocalist, and attractive blonde from WOTE. The group certainly has a lot of experience. This fact is evident from the first video you watch. The group is well experienced and defiantly knows how to make music. And when I say make music, I mean make music.
While the band has put out two albums before their newest release in on March 19th, the group has gotten most of its attention from song covers. The Walk Off the Earth YouTube page is littered with popular song covers accompanied by creative and original videos that are often as interesting as the cover arrangement. So what songs has the group taken a crack at? Maybe I should just say what the band hasn’t covered. Between covers done by the band as well as individual pieces preformed by its members, the group has covered material ranging from Rihanna’s “Cheers (I’ll Drink to that)” to Buju Banton’s “Love Sponge” to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” and the infamous “Somebody that I Used to Know” cover that featured the entire band on one guitar performed live on Ellen. Pretty much, search any song and they got it. “Usually we will make lists of songs we love and then pick from that list,” Sarah told TheCoope, “other times we will hear a song in a whim and decide to cover it.” So basically the wide range of music the band covers and writes is based on its member’s wide range of interests. But more impressive than the songs, is how they are preformed. Sarah told TheCoope that Gianni –the group’s front man—does most of the producing for the songs and is instrumental in picking apart the original recordings. After breaking down the track to its most basic elements, the band collectively reconstructs it layer by layer, starting with rhythmic elements, then instrumentation, then vocals. Needless to say, these songs don’t just have a “new twist” on them as Sarah put it, but sound entirely new, and are sometimes better than the originals.
While utilizing videos to promote music may seem like an interesting approach, using one of the most popular video websites in the world has its advantages. What you might ask? Well a worldwide following for one. WOTE has toured in Canada, Europe, and the U.S. And while the group’s popularity varies by where they travel, Sarah told TheCoope that she has noticed little difference between destinations. “We have an amazing fan base all around the world…we have never played a show that was not an awesome experience.” But as the band tours and gets its name out, moving from being recognized for their own material, rather than their covers, has been an interesting a difficult challenge.
The band’s third studio album R.E.V.O. (named after the band’s motto Realize Every Victory Outright) released on March 19th and followed the R.E.V.O EP released in October of 2012. Sara told TheCoope that the EP featured tracks that world appear on the full length LP such as “Speeches” and “Summer Vibe.” While other tracks such as “Gang of Rhythm” and “Red Hands” have gained popularity, the band is still very depended on their YouTube videos, composed mostly of popular covers. But as WOTE own music catalog grows, the band doesn’t hesitate to use the video site as a tool for marketing their own stuff. The band has posted many misc videos for their own material on YouTube and recently put out a promotion for their original track “Red Hands” called “5 Peeps and One Big Ass Guitar.” This video served as a parody from the “Somebody that I Used to Know” cover video that has guided such popularity.
Sarah stated that the band was grateful that their fans “discover that we [WOTE] are much more than a cover band.” And that “People have really taken a liking to our original music since all the craziness of the “Somebody” video.” And while the group is still seen as fairly small, increased radio play and playing at larger events such as SXSW in Austin Texas and a full European tour has quickly increased their popularity. Which, as Sarah expressed it, is just the way they want it.