Local band Where’s Walden? is an emerging force in the University of Massachusetts music scene, with three out of the four members being students.
The group categorizes itself as part of the post-punk genre, and has worked to get its music known through scattered performances in the Boston and Western Mass. areas. I sat down with the band to get a closer look into its development and overall style.
The group consists of sophomores Jack O’Brien, Alex Walsh and Corey Camara, along with family friend Cody Lemire. Where’s Walden? began as an idea by O’Brien and Camara, and after some shuffling of members, became the group it is today.
“I moved out here from Boston and I knew Corey, we had played together in high school briefly, and I had an idea for a new band I wanted to start,” began O’Brien, the band’s lead singer. “Then I sat down with Corey and said ‘Hey, let’s try this.’”
The post-punk band is influenced by numerous, varying artists whose sounds come together to help forge the group’s unique style. Though the band’s main influence is R.E.M., Where’s Walden? also finds inspiration from bands like Dinosaur Jr., The Smiths and the Smashing Pumpkins.
Walsh, the band’s lead guitarist, mentioned the unique influences that play into his own musical style. “I listen to a lot of different types of music. I’m really into folk and jazz, so I try to bring that influence into my lead guitar playing.”
The band then touched upon the origins of their name. “I was driving down the street with my mom and I was thinking of that TV show, ‘Oswald’, and I was like ‘What happened to Oswald?’ and then I thought of names that sounded like ‘Oswald,’” said O’Brien. “Also, ‘Walden’ is a metaphorical meaning for the darker side of human beings, so my ‘Walden’ comes out occasionally,” continued the lead singer.
The group works diligently to get its name known by performing shows across the state. From house shows and performances in downtown Amherst to venues in Boston and at radio stations, Where’s Walden? is a force that strives to be heard.
“When I moved out here, I was trying to play as many shows as possible,” O’Brien said.
“Coming from Boston, everyone who wants to play will get a chance to play regardless. Here in Western Mass it’s a smaller scene so they’re not very receptive to new musicians. That’s why we decided to just play shows in Bartlett.”
Where’s Walden? has played a few “secret shows” in classrooms inside of Bartlett Hall on the UMass campus.
The writing techniques of the band were described in depth by O’Brien, who said he usually starts the process and other members then do their own part to complete the piece.
“Generally I’ll write the songs and bring it to everyone, and then we’ll sit down and we’ll arrange them together. If you were to play the song acoustic, that’s what I’ve written, and then Corey will add his drum part and go over a bass line,” said O’Brien.
Currently, Where’s Walden?’s music can be found online through their site, and some of their earliest tracks can be found on Spotify. The group also expects the release of its debut album within the next few months. They will make a live session, recorded at a recent show for radio station WHUS in Connecticut, available for fans on the band’s Spotify account as well.
Where’s Walden?’s next show is in Bartlett Hall on Oct. 6, and the band has several more to follow throughout the year.
Lauren Crociati can be reached at [email protected]