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The Walk Off

The Walk Off photograph

The Walk Off have been burning things up in Oxford and beyond for a couple of years now; predating the current new rave vogue by some time, albeit with a messier, noisier and more downright bizarre take on such things. As a live band they’re something of a sensory assault, with Digital Hardcore-style beats smashing up against punk riffs, keyboard squawks and the relentlessly aggressive vocals of frontman Blake, almost a Sean Ryder in waiting in terms of drunkenness, confidence and groove. As they slowly strike out across the country – with a debut single recently released on Hungry Audio – they’re not letting up with the madness. That single Vader Fader comes with a snippet of fur from the (locally) legendary dancing bear who graced the stage at early shows, for no other reason more than spectacle. Blake responded to my questions…

Basic stuff – who is in the band, what do you do, did you used to be in other bands, when was The Walk Off formed and why?

There are three of us in the band – myself, Cotty and Josh. I shout, Cotty plays guitar and Josh adds the drums and synths. We’ve also got a dancing bear, but fuck knows who that is. We used to be in bands when we were younger and still looked beautiful, but the music was tired so we formed a new band. We started The Walk Off way back in the Summer of 2004, to produce something approaching dance music – we were all big into stuff like !!! and The Rapture at the time, and we wanted to get people dancing, cause it seemed cooler than making people stroke their chins.

What do you think you sound like, and how is that different from what other people have said or written about you?

I’m trying hard to think what I think we sound like, but all I can hear are silly press couplets. “Hammer horror glitch rock”? – someone said that, that one seems nice.

What do you do in your day-to-day lives?

Foie gras, crack and golf.

Well, we’re actually all at university, so we don’t have the time or money for that sort of decadence. I’m mainly gardening and enjoying the hot sun. Josh is also a hairdresser, which is a lesser-known fact.

Which is your favourite of your own tracks and why?

I like the current single. It’s one of the few tracks I don’t think needs fiddling with anymore.

How has myspace/the internet helped your band?

I’m not entirely sure. I know people can hear our stuff there, and find out about gigs which is great but – most things – like booking gigs, or releasing our single, have taken place by talking to people and meeting people at gigs, that sort of thing. real life.

What have you been listening to/reading lately that you’d recommend?

I’ve been reading that book Rip it up and start again about post-punk and I’ve been listening to the new !!! album for the last few weeks. Enjoying them both.

What’s so great about Oxford?

I live in South-east London at the moment, so I like coming back to Oxford safe in the knowledge I can get royally pissed and probably won’t get stabbed.

Do you feel an affiliation with any community, with regards to the music you make?

No, not especially. We’ve tried to find the right nights to play, electronica, metal, rock or whatever, but you never can tell. We just get on with good people and have a ball. Otherwise you’re stuck in cliques and hating on brothers, when you should just be stealing ideas from each other and gettin’ on.

How important are lyrics to your songs, and where do you tend to come up with lyrical content?

I come up with lyrics when I’m sitting in the studio listening to whatever track we’re recording and everyone is shouting at me to come up with words. Sometimes it works, and sometimes not. I think I need a new method, you know. I have one of those books full of words but I tend to get inspired in the heat of the moment. My current live favourite is a refrain of “90210.” It’s easy to remember.

What would you be willing to give up/sacrifice for success in your band? Are you DIY purists or major label aspirationists?

It’s a difficult call, and we’re not making that kind of choice. If we’re offered something in the future, we’ll consider it when the times comes. Theres no point harbouring some ignorant wishy-washy anti-major sentiment. They can do a lot of good for bands. The line seems to be blurring these days anyway. There seem to be more independent minded off-shoots from major labels that seem to be doing the right thing. Who knows. Our course is not set, we don’t care, we’re just happy making people dance like arseholes. We’d like to make more people dance like arseholes.

If diskant could buy you one thing for your band for Christmas, what would it be?

Sedative. Administered late August, that wears off around April.

Website: www.thewalkoff.co.uk