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September 2018 - If Walls Could Talk

If Walls Could Talk, Here's What They Might Say...

Story by LCC Radio Reporter Sarah Spohn

If Walls Could Talk Group PhotoWhat do you get when you mix Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, The Killers, and Twenty One Pilots? If your answer was an excellent alt-pop rock mix tape, you’re not wrong. If you answered Metro Detroit’s quintet, If Walls Could Talk, you’re not wrong either.

The group is made up of five twenty-somethings: Tony Burke (vocals), Nick DiStefano (guitar, vocals), Anthony “Whitey” White (bass, vocals), Steve Fronrath (keys, sax, vocals) and Zac Spoutz (drums).

Guitarist Nick DiStefano spoke about how he fell in love with music, thanks to his grandpa’s harmonica playing. “That guy could play like no one else I’ve ever known,” DiStefano said. “It’s the only ‘musical blood’ I have. I started playing the trumpet through school, then I started to learn how to play the harmonica like he did, and I snowballed from there!”

Many of the band members met in high school, and have had years of playing their story-telling style of music for years. Three out of five members have Bachelor’s degrees in music. “All of us come from different walks of life, and we all came together with different musical tastes,” DiStefano said. “We’ve all preformed and practiced music for a long time, but in different ways -- through show choirs, symphonies, jazz big bands, or 70s rock bands.”

While the group is a part-time gig for now, with band members meeting 8 hours a week and playing shows on the weekend, their passion and drive is full-time. If Walls Could Talk presents an energetic live show, complete with theatrical choreography, special effects, and heavily involves the crowd with each concert. For the guys, If Walls Could Talk (IWCT) represent a creative, healthy, thriving outlet of self-expression. Where words can sometimes fail, music always delivers a message loud and clear.

Even if the message is loud and clear, the style of that musical message often varies. They’ve been compared to early Maroon 5, all the way to the Who’s “Tommy” and Broadway-esque vibes. According to the band, their sound is an experience. “We try to make our songs tell stories- they involve a character who’s venturing through some kind of journey who meets (or sometimes, doesn’t meet) their conclusion,” the group said. “You’ll notice that theme through much of our music, especially with literal songs like’ Specter of the Dead.’ We try to reflect this with our live shows, as we try to make our shows musical journeys.”

If Walls Could Talk in concertThese musical journeys have been quite popular with fans, as this past January, the group sold out their Loving Touch show in Ferndale. Though the group has a firsthand love for music theory, they’ve also got quite the dance legend on their side. A member of the group is a ballroom dancer, lending to the theatrical side of things in the live setup.

Its fans and the community behind IWCT that make the Michigan music scene so special for the group. “We could take a line from Thor Ragnorok; ‘Asgard isn’t a place- it’s a people,’” they said.

“I really believe the people in the Detroit scene make what it is,” DiStefano said. “Every show we go to, you see so many of the same people who are always supportive and kind to everyone. It’s a very special environment that I haven’t seen reflected in other cities.”

The line between fans and friends is often blurred, especially between fellow local Detroit bands. If Walls Could Talk drummer lives with members of M897 alumni, Stories Untold.

“Simply put, we’re best friends,” they said. “They live down the street from us … we hangout all the time and have long talks about music in the best ways. A lot of people thought our co-headline was a bit odd with our musical styles, but truth be told, we have a similar fan base and it was kind of a goal for both of us to have a headliner together.”

Other headlining gigs which have had a special impact on the independent band include playing Royal Oak Music Theatre with Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers.

“Just the year before a few of us were watching Post Modern Jukebox play at the same venue, and it was just unreal playing on that same stage a year later,” the group said. “Certainly the largest venue we played, it was honestly such an amazing experience. It was for a great cause, and we had so much fun with our friends at Rival Summers and Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers. Just looking out into a crowd of hundreds of people is an amazing experience.”

If Walls Could Talk liveThis past June, IWCT released a deluxe version of their debut EP, What Would They Say, putting a fresh new take on a two-year-old album.

“Since our first EP dropped two years ago, we have come a really long way,” DiStefano said. “We wanted to end this chapter that we are on and show the evolution of IWCT. The acoustic reduxes show not only a more versatile side of our songs, but it gave us the freedom to reinvent each song. And then we added ‘Static,’ which was a new sound for us that wanted to share with everyone.

The independent band handles everything except distribution and publicity, with mid-day phone calls, messaging, and late nights keeping them busy. Early mornings and daydreams of sharing a bill with Coldplay or Twenty One Pilots keep the group excited and driven to keep pushing the envelope.

Currently in the midst of writing a new album, IWCT has seemingly been a bit M.I.A., but the group promises it’s been productive behind the scenes.

“I know a lot of people are wondering where we’ve been,” the group said. “We have a lot of exciting things coming up within the next year, and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.”


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