Hailing from Noble and Norman, OK Walking Relic recently released the EP Sojourn (Official, BandCamp, Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby).
This interview was conducted via email January 7 – February 12, 2014.
For more information on Walking Relic check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, BandCamp, SoundCloud, PureVolume, ReverbNation, MySpace, and Last.fm pages.
Dave: How did the band get together?
Chris Schat: It started out in High School when one of my friends, Ben Lewis, and I (Chris, Walking Relic's guitarist) started doing some experimental electronic techno music, and we knew Jessie Jennings (Walking Relic's lead singer now) from school and knew she could sing really well. She sang a part of the chorus and bridge on a song called "Winter's Drive." Long story short, Ben Lewis and I sort of stopped experimenting with music, while Jessie and I, a year or so later, started dating.
Jessie and I would show each other our songs that we had written, and did some home recordings of the music. We both decided to take this a little further and started writing for song competitions. We didn't ever win one, but we dragged my brother-in-law in to drum for the songs we were sending to the competitions. In late 2008, we stopped writing for competitions and in early 2009 we became the band known today as Walking Relic, with Jessie Jennings at lead vocals, Derek Mehl playing drums, and I (Chris Schat) playing guitar.
Dave: What’s the story behind the name Walking Relic?
Chris: The name came about when Jessie Jennings was in English class at ECU, the professor wrote the word "Rhetoric" on the board then in a separate sentence wrote the word "Walking." Therefore Jessie thought it would be a cool band name to add the two together as "Walking Rhetoric." she came to my house with the name but accidently said "Walking Relic" I loved that name way more than "Walking Rhetoric" and we both agreed that it made more sense to us and had deeper meaning that applied to our lives.
The meaning of the name Walking Relic is simple. "Relic" means an item that has survived a time or era that is no more, we are simply "Walking Relics" each one of us in the band, and most other people as well, have lived through an era in their lives that they are not proud of and would like to move on from. We, the individuals in the band, had gone through certain eras like that but we have survived it and have decided to keep moving forward, not ignoring the past but also not allowing the past to drag us down.
Dave: For those who have never heard the band, how do you describe your music?
Chris: Our music is probably best described as, in the simplest terms, electronic rock. We all love many different bands and types of music, one being The Killers, so those influences are unavoidable, and usually subconscious. But at the same time I do not think that harper on trying to sound like a certain band. Our music is simply eclectic electronic rock.
Dave: You recently self-released the EP Sojourn. What’s the story behind the record? What made you decide to go the self-release route instead of working with a traditional record label?
Chris: The story behind Sojourn is that it is simply made up of the songs that we thought people would like most off of our upcoming album. The name of the EP though was going to be different. Derek was jogging one day and thought of it, I had already name the EP pretty much our album name with "EP" tagged at the end. He thought Sojourn was a better name for the EP, and I honestly agreed. The reason Sojourn is better is because it means "A temporary visit, or stay." That is perfect for a preview of an album that is essentially a concept work about three characters (us) going on a symbolic journey following a mysterious flash of light. It sounds kind of crazy I know, but when it is done it really is going to be cool!
Dave: Do you have any plans for a full-length release?
Chris: Yes we do as seen in the above answer. We are very excited. The album will also be preceded by short stories so to speak from the perspective of the characters as they go on the journey. These stories will line up with the songs on the album.
Dave: Do you have any specific type of songwriting process?
Chris: Yeah. the process is for the most part Jessie and I write separately and then bring the songs to each other and make tweaks and have suggestions before then taking the song to Derek for practice and having him give his opinion. With my songs I will tell Derek the general idea I am going for and have him create a beat during practice, we all have to like the drum beat in order to proceed. With Jessie's songs she will sometimes already have a beat planned and try to describe it to Derek, a lot of her songs pop in her head already complete. I will then try to match the feel that Jessie wants for guitar. With my songs I do all the music and have Jessie and Derek give me suggestions, usually for me I will teach Jessie the melody after working with Derek and having the music planned out.
Dave: What are your thoughts on the music scene in Oklahoma?
Chris: I think that the bands that have found their niche here have it made because once Oklahomans become fans of a band they will stick with them. We haven't found our home in the Oklahoma music scene quite yet, but I have noticed a lot of support for those bands who have which is great! I think that there is a certain bias here though (at least in the metro area) because great bands (such as The Flaming Lips) have forged a path and left remnants of their sound in the atmosphere and so a lot of bands form around this type of sound, -which is awesome because I love that kind of music- but it is not so cool when it comes to my band and our non-psychedelic synth rock. It would be nice to find a place in Oklahoma where our music is appreciated a little more.
Dave: This is a High Fidelity inspired question. What are your top five favorite bands, albums, movies, television programs, books/authors?
Jessie Jennings: Bands- 1) Arcade Fire 2) Enya 3) Florence and The Machine 4) Lana Del Rey 5) The National
TV Shows-Doctor Who, Sherlock, Downton Abbey, Firefly, Call The Midwife
Movies- Gladiator, Braveheart, Hook, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Life Aquatic
Books/Authors- 1) Harry Potter Series 2) 1984 3) Grendel 4) C.S. Lewis 5) The Book of Matthew
Chris: Bands- 1) The Beatles 2) The Killers 3) Arcade Fire 4) M83 5) Vampire Weekend
Albums 1) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 2) The Suburbs- Arcade Fire 3) Sam's Town- The Killers 4) Hurry Up, We're Dreaming-M83 5) Hello, Hurricane- Switchfoot
TV Shows- Doctor Who, Sherlock, Top Gear, Downton Abbey, Saturday Night Live
Movies- Inception, Eternal Sunshine on a Spotless Mind, The Life Aquatic,
Books/Authors- Ernest Hemingway, Homer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Beautiful Ruins By Jess Walter, Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Derek Mehl: Bands- Switchfoot, The Killers, Jimmy Eat World, Coldplay, Snow Patrol
Albums-Satellite- P.O.D, Battle Born- The Killers, The Beautiful Letdown- Switchfoot, Eyes Open- Snow Patrol, Mylo Xyloto- Coldplay
TV Shows- The Office, Community, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn 99,Cutthroat Kitchen
Movies- Lord Of The Rings, Anchorman, Zoolander, The Dark Knight, Hoosiers
Books/Authors- Dante's The Inferno, The Bible, Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, Jon Foreman
Dave: What’s next for the band?
Chris: We are promoting our E.P. in the UK with different radio stations and hopefully our single "Every Little Thing" will catch on, if it does we are looking at a UK tour very soon! As all of this is going on we are still working on our album and our music video for our single "Every Little Thing" is coming out soon! The album has a tentative release date for late summer/early fall 2014.
Dave: Any final thoughts?
Chris: We hope everyone reading will keep in contact with us, being this is probably our busiest year thus far as a band and it has only just begun! There will be many updates so if you would like to keep in contact, you can at facebook.com/walkingrelic or our twitter account, twitter.com/walkingrelic. Thank you!