Pierce McGarry of Walter TV explains the origin of Walter TV, songwriting on the road, and being able to return to the smaller and more intimate stages the group outgrew playing with Mac Demarco.
How did Walter TV come together? How did you guys meet?
We came together from a mutual yearning to feel connected to people. We wanted to express ourselves and we all had an affinity for music. Performing and bringing people together is a great feeling, kinda building a community or something for the night. Helping people mosh.
You guys also play in Mac Demarco's band. How has your time with Mac impacted your songwriting for Walter TV?
I got a lot better at playing bass. We kinda slowed down our song and album making due to touring forever. We've gotten to see a lot of the world which is pretty eye-opening and inspiring, for better or for worse.
What's your songwriting and recording process? Is your material created on the road or during down time from playing with Mac?
We had a hot period where we made up a shit ton of songs that we liked. We've spent the last few years recording them at home, or wherever, and making albums out of them. It's fun and cathartic and stressful and time consuming.
Essentially you're constantly traveling between your schedules for all of your bands. What ways do you maintain motivation to enjoy playing and touring?
It can get pretty dark sometimes. But seeing the world is great. We get to physically be in loads of strange places all the time - that's cool. Playing shows each night is icing on the cake. It gives us a place to be and something to do - some sense of purpose.
What parts of home do you miss most while you're traveling? What parts are a relief to be away from?
Waking up in the same room is a good feeling. Sometimes I'll wake up on tour and have no idea where I am and that can be a strange creepy feeling. It's also nice to know whats around you, where you can walk to, what time the stores are open, where the pool or ocean is at. Then that gets stale and its time to hit the road again.
With Mac you guys have played tons of the biggest festival stages and a massive number of the world's best venues. For Walter TV it seems you generally are playing smaller, more intimate settings. Is this change refreshing and do you enjoy being able to get back to some of the style shows you probably played in the early days of your career with Mac?
Ya its a lot more low key. I like being able to communicate with people (the crowd) directly, and a smaller venue helps make that easier. It's good to see peoples faces. It's also a bit more stressful then a massive crowd. At those huge festivals its easier to be anonymous on stage and just say and do whatever. In the smaller venues you kinda gotta answer to the crowd more. They're directly in front of you. You're inspiring them as much as they are inspiring you. The vibes are more tangible.
Walter TV has a visual component of the songs that really contribute to the identity of the band. What ways does the visual aspect play in songwriting? Is it something that is developed after the music is written?
Ya. We always make the art after or when the songs/album is coming together in a clearer way. I try and get the art to match the music as much as possible. I also trust my friends who I get to make videos/ art a lot. I'm lucky to know some very talented people.
What's next for Walter TV in 2017? Will there be some new music released?
We're pretty much done a new album. We just rocked a west coast tour and are heading to South America in a couple days. Gonna go do Europe in a bit here too. A bunch of music videos. The whole thang! See you around!