Doom and Gloom: Q&A With Walking Bicycles

Chicago’s Walking Bicycles have a lot to say on their newly released LP, To Him That Wills The Way; from incarceration to seperation to the pains of trying to find hope in a dark place. They’ve been away for a while, but don’t let their absence fool you. This is probably one of the most poignant and authentic releases of 2014.

I had the chance to catch up with our summer 2014 Band To Buzz About on the new face of the music industry, what inspired their new album and what “doom-pop” really is.

You’ve been making music since 2004. What can you tell us about how the music industry has changed in the past 10 years? What changes, if any, would you want to make?

Social media has been the big change. The use of the internet as a marketing and promotional tool has really changed everything for developing artists. It had a presence in 2004, and as a small band it was important. Myspace was awesome in its heyday but it wasn’t an all-encompassing force like the combined power of the dozens of social media outlets are today. A lot of promotion was still done with paper… we used to go and pass out handbills all the time. We were on a west coast tour in 2005 and as a little vacation, went to Coachella. We made 1000 handbills with all of our tour dates and handed them out and put them on people’s windshields. We wouldn’t do that today – there are now far easier ways to reach 1000 people.

We are not expecting to change anything about how the industry works. We don’t sit around and discuss how we can be more successful or how we can change the industry to better our commercial value. We work hard at writing songs that we are proud of on a personal level. You can’t expect the world to come running when you have that approach. You can’t complain about anything you are given in regards to press, sales etc. when you are not considering your audience during the writing process. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You just have to be thankful when people get where you’re coming from.

It’s been 5 years since your last release. Describe the past 5 years in a nutshell and how it has influenced To Him That Wills The Way. How is it different from your previous material?

The last 5 years have been crazy. Julius, our guitar player was in prison for 3 years on a marijuana charge. When he was released, we immediately started writing what would be a concept album recounting that 3-year incarceration and Julius’ separation from his wife and Walking Bicycles’ vocalist Jocelyn Summers. The songs on the album represent the challenges faced from being separated, the stigma that’s attached to a loved one being in prison, and the thread of hope that we had to hold on to during that time. This experience didn’t influence To Him That Wills The Way, it became To Him That Wills The Way.

The new LP definitely makes sense, sonically, in our catalog. It is slightly darker and a bit heavier than our last two releases. But, if you go back and listen to our first record from 2005, it might be just as dark and aggressive.

What exactly is “doom-pop” and are you hoping it catches on?

We were just trying to describe our music as something that was dark and heavy but you could still dance to it. We also call it “Psych on 45.”

As far as catching on… Nope.

What do you hope people take away from this album?

This ↓

Give us 5 artists we should be listening to!

I have to give it up to my fellow Highwheel Records’ artists, Unicycle Loves You and My Gold Mask. Looking forward to the new Goat LP. And locally there’s Verma, Rabble Rabble and Unmanned Ship to name a few. We could go on for days!

To Him That Wills The Way is available now HERE.