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WALKEN: Art, life and unrequited love

If you rocked up early to a show back in the days when we had them, the name WALKEN should be recognisable to you.

The beloved Brissy outfit made their bones as a staple support act, progressing to even earning a shout-out from Anthony Fantano. This year, they’re using their downtime to take on the genre of experimental pop punk, sharing dreamy single ‘Fever Dreams’ a few weeks back. We caught up with Matt Cochran to shoot the breeze on where the band are at.

You released this single, ‘Fever Dreams’ a few weeks ago. How did that go for you?

It’s been good so far. It’s definitely a bit of a stylistic change. It’s a lot poppier than the majority of songs we’ve released in the past aside from maybe ‘Unomi’. People seem to like it and it’s one of our favourite songs out of the new batch we’ve been working on. So yeah, it’s good to have it out.

This virus…has that affected your plan at all? Obviously, you can’t tour, and a lot of bands rely on that to grow their audience.

Yeah, even this single, we were going to originally try and do it for late April and then we lost a bunch of revenue just from gigs that we had lined up that we couldn’t do anymore. That couldn’t pay for certain distribution stuff we wanted to do. So, that sucks. We’ll probably have to do it later in the year.

I did want to ask you about ‘Unomi’. Anthony Fantano shouted it out, which was obviously cool. Is ‘Unomi’ a name or is it supposed to represent a “you know me” phrase?

‘Unomi’ is the title, the character. Originally it was about a girl that I had a long-term relationship with as a friend and so there’s things like always sitting on the fence of if we’re going to do this thing or not. And her name ended with the syllable or the sound of E. So it was like a similar syllable, but I didn’t really want to just put her name in there. So it’s kind of like using that as a title for a character through that different name, but then also it stems from the Japanese word ‘unomi’. I was reading about it once and it’s just the term of being swallowed or the process of swallowing. And that’s the whole song, is being devoured by love to the point where it feels like this situation is eating me whole.

“I think the anxiety is more in ‘what’s the aftermath going to be?’ But the feeling right in that one millisecond of a moment, it’s pretty cool.”

So nothing ever happened with you and Unomi?

No, not really. It was just one of those things, things happened, but weren’t right. But it’s still one of those songs, I really like it because it is a pretty vague song in terms of it’s like this weird half storytelling, half not, lots of random metaphors and analogies…it’s pretty easy for people to derive their own meaning. So I don’t usually like really talking about it because there’s a lot of people who I know really like the song for that sort of nature. And I’ve had people ask me like, “Are you still with the girl?”. I’m like, “Nup. Never really was,”. But it’s that feeling, like when you start falling in love with someone, you can just get fully head over heels and just get swept by that and just be like, “Oh yeah, this is the person”. And even if it isn’t, it’s a beautiful feeling in the moment. Even if shit falls apart.

Is it a beautiful feeling? Because there’s a lot of anxiety attached to it, right?

I think the anxiety is more in ‘what’s the aftermath going to be?’ But the feeling right in that one millisecond of a moment, it’s pretty cool.

That’s a nice way to describe it. So tell me then, what is ‘Fever Dreams’ about?

It’s one of those things about just someone showing you the ropes of, “Okay, cool. You have your bullshit hookups and stuff, but here’s how you can show someone you care about them and be a good partner.” Even if you’re not necessarily in a proper relationship that’s going to last forever. It’s just kind of learning the ropes of that vulnerability.

When I love an artist, I love finding out exactly what happened about that song. I’ll be like, “Yeah, this is so cool. This guy lost this friend at this specific age due to this, and then this happened…”. And then when I have to tell it myself, I’m just like, “Uh. I liked someone and this thing happened”.

All the great songs are about that.

Love is just such a simple, relatable topic. That’s why some of the best songs ever written are love songs. Because everyone has feelings for someone at some point in time. And if you don’t, then you’re probably a robot.