Local Group Where’s Walden? is an emerging force on the University of Massachusetts music scene, with three of the four members being students.
The group falls into the post-punk genre and has worked to publicize their music through performances scattered throughout the Boston and Western Mass areas. I sat down with the group to take a closer look at their development and overall style.
The group consists of sophomores Jack O’Brien, Alex Walsh and Corey Camara, as well as family friend Cody Lemire. Where’s Walden? started as an idea with O’Brien and Camara, and after some membership shuffling, grew into the group it is today.
“I moved here from Boston and I knew Corey, we had performed together briefly in high school and had an idea for a new band that I wanted to form,” began O’Brien, the band’s lead vocalist. “Then I sat down with Corey and said ‘Hey let’s try this.'”
The post-punk band is influenced by many diverse artists whose sounds come together to help forge the band’s unique style. Although the main influence of the group is REM, Where’s Walden? Also draws inspiration from bands like Dinosaur Jr., The Smiths and the Smashing Pumpkins.
Walsh, the band’s lead guitarist, mentioned the unique influences that play in his own musical style. “I listen to a lot of different types of music. I’m a real fan of folk and jazz, so I try to bring that influence into my solo guitar playing.
The group then discussed the origins of their name. “I was driving down the street with my mom and I was thinking about that TV show, ‘Oswald’, and I was like ‘What happened to Oswald?’ and then I thought of names that sounded like ‘Oswald,’ O’Brien said. every now and then, “the lead singer continued.
The group is working diligently to make their name known by giving shows across the state. From shows and performances in downtown Amherst to Boston venues and radio stations, Where’s Walden? is a force that strives to be heard.
“When I moved here I was trying to do as many shows as possible,” said O’Brien.
“Coming from Boston, anyone who wants to play will have the chance to play anyway. Here at Western Mass, it’s a smaller stage so they’re not very receptive to new musicians. That’s why we decided to do Bartlett concerts.
Where’s Walden? performed a few “secret shows” in classrooms inside Bartlett Hall on the UMass campus.
The band’s writing techniques were described in great detail by O’Brien, who said he usually begins the process and the other members then do their own part to complete the piece.
“Usually I write the songs and bring them to everyone, and then we sit down and arrange them together. If you were to play the song acoustically, that’s what I wrote, then Corey will add his drums part and go through a bassline, ”O’Brien said.
Currently, the music for Where’s Walden? can be found online on their site, and some of their early tracks can be found on Spotify. The group is also awaiting the release of their debut album in the coming months. They will be making a live session, recorded on a recent show for the WHUS radio station in Connecticut, available to fans on the band’s Spotify account as well.
The next show of Where’s Walden? will be held at Bartlett Hall on October 6, and the group has several more to follow throughout the year.
Lauren Crociati can be contacted at [email protected]