The first time I talked to Michael Walker about his under-the-wraps project was in April. We've chatted once more since then to discuss his solo project. Walker faced many obstacles before reaching his announcement date, but alas it has arrived. We touched base on where he has been with this endeavor, where he is now, and where he will be going with it.
Walker was hoping to fill positions he otherwise couldn't in his preexisting band, Paradise Fears, where he is a pianist. "As we grew into our roles, there were certain things...that I couldn't really do within Paradise Fears without stepping on people's toes", he explains. This being a solo project, he was able to explore being a part of every aspect of a song. This also meant he had to go beyond the comfort zone that was created within his primary band. "I knew that in order to do something like this I had to step outside of my shell more instead of just being someone in the background playing piano", said Walker.
There was a fear that crept into Walker's mind when he knew he wanted to start his solo career. "I was afraid they [members of Paradise Fears] wouldn't understand where I was coming from". Yet, those concerns would quickly be dispelled by a sense of understanding from the group. He has since then relied on their opinions throughout this process leading up to the announcement.
Another fear Walker faced was involving the fans he would bring over from his other projects and if they would be worried he would be leaving all he was currently involved in. He expressed, "How I could do it in a way that wouldn't scare people and give off the impression that things weren't going well with Paradise Fears?". Walker realized the best way was to release a video explaining the reasoning behind this as soon as everything was announced. He also wanted to be active on social media to answer any questions people may have. "Hopefully, having that direct contact will dispel people's fears", said Walker. He also stated that, "this is just my own side thing I'm doing for fun. Paradise Fears still takes priority".
Next, I wanted to uncover how this project wouldn't be too similar to what he's already done. He admitted that, "We [Paradise Fears] collectively kind of resonate with the same sort of theme". Yet, he expressed that the songs themselves will be sounding different. "They [the songs] took my personal strengths and put them in the forefront", says Walker. Even though this project will have been in the works for several months, the track list has stayed the same throughout. This leaves him with additional songs that he had written and would like to release. "Maybe because I have all these extra songs I'll record something myself [without a producer]", said Walker.
The name of Walker's debut EP will be The Shift. You can expect its release later this season. He went on to say that the shift in life comes from,"starting from the standpoint of being a separate self – apart from the world – then discovering your true self, which is connected to everyone and everything."He states that the theme of the EP is centered around this concept.
Listeners may have the possibility to see Walker live in the future. "That's just on a whole other level too, because I'm a shy guy", confessed Walker. Yet, he believes being the center of attention could give him a lot of character development. He is already creating stage ideas. The touring would have to work during his primary band's off time.
Walker was anxious from the start to announce all this news with his supporters. A similar level of the anticipation was starting to grow on me, as well. He explains that he had to censor himself constantly in order to keep the element of surprise. After months, I'm so very excited that the time has come. I hope you'll be along for the ride with Michael Walker.
Following the recent successes of TomorrowWorld and Tomorrowland Brazil, Dim Mak will reprise its hallmark ‘Up All Night’ stage at Tomorrowland Belgium, the site of its conception and recurrence five years and counting. With label fixtures Steve Aoki, Deorro, Borgore, Keys N Krates, Ookay and Dirtyphonics headlining the stage, attendees of the largest electronic music festival in the world can expect nothing short of a mind-melting fairytale.
In anticipation of the festival, the hard and heavy Swedish duo Qulinez have curated an hour-long mix that effectively embodies the diversity and talent represented on the stage. Blending the trapped out sounds of Keys N Krates and Crookers' fidgety electro offerings with Ookay's stadium-smashing knockouts and serrated beats from SBCR (aka The Bloody Beetroots), Qulinez's mix showcases the most aurally thrilling releases from the Tomorrowland stage's lineup.
Qulinez Mix Tracklisting:
1. Steve Aoki & Rune RK - Bring You To Life (Transcend) [Qulinez Remix]
2. Crookers - I Just Can’t (feat. Jeremih) [Chris Lorenzo Remix]
3. Crookers - I Just Can't (feat. Jeremih) [TJR Remix]
4. Borgore & Jauz - Lindsay Lohan
5. Deorro vs MAKJ - READY! (Original Mix)
6. Keys N Krates - Save Me (feat. Katy B)
7. Ookay - ID
8. South Central & Qulinez - Tonight (Original Mix)
9. Uberjak'd, Ruby & Tony - Hit Me! (JaySounds Remix)
10. Dirtyphonics & ƱZ - Hustle Hard (feat. Trinidad Jame$) [Habstrakt Remix]
11. Steve Aoki & NERVO & Tony Junior - Lightning Strikes
12. Qulinez - Hookah (Original Mix)
13. Marnik - Hocus Pocus (Original Mix)
14. Autoerotique - ID
15. SBCR - SPIDER
16. Qulinez - Drop It w/ Daft Punk - Harder Better Faster Stronger (Acapella)
17. Steve Aoki & Rune RK- Bring You To Life (Transcend) [Dirtyphonics Remix]
18. Coone - Into The Madness
Tomorrowland ‘Up All Night’ Stage Set Times
Coone 00:15 - 01:00
Dirtyphonics 23:15 - 00:15
The Bloody Beetroots (SBCR DJ set) 22:15 - 23:15
Chris Lorenzo 21:30 - 22:15
Keys N Krates 20:45 - 21:30
Deorro 19:45 - 20:45
Steve Aoki 18:15 - 19:45
Borgore 17:15 - 18:15
Crookers 16:15 - 17:15
Ookay 15:30 - 16:15
Autoerotique 14:45 - 15:30
Uberjak'd 14:15 - 14:45
Qulinez 13:45 - 14:15
Marnik 13:00 - 13:45Dim Mak Records
Photos & Interview by Mike Wagner