Nicholas Petricca of Walk the Moon Wants to Jam With Michael McDonald (Let's Make it Happen)

With one of the catchiest songs of the summertime, "Anna Sun" has launched Walk the Moon to the top spot on millions of playlists. Between a series of stops at music festivals, the band currently is making its way across the country on a headlining tour. Once they conquer the United States, they'll head off to Europe to open for national favorites fun. (Read about the fun. performance at Mesa Arts Center.)

We caught up with lead singer Nicholas Petricca to discuss the band's hit single, the face-painting ritual at their concerts, and Nick's number one pick for a dream gig. You'll never guess with who he'd choose to perform with.

Walk the Moon is scheduled to perform Wednesday, June 6 at the Rhythm Room.

Up On The Sun: Tell me about the progress and the success of "Anna Sun."

Nicholas Petricca: It first started to get a little notoriety with our local shows a couple of years ago. We have an acoustic video of it. That thing got 15,000 hits, and we were like, "Oh, my God! That's crazy!" The more we started playing it, the more we realized it might be sort of a gem. We made that music video with some friends, and soon after that, it all kind of started to blow up for us. The video started getting popular and getting passed around on blogs, and it spread the word about the band. We did a show in the beginning of New York at the beginning of last year, and suddenly there were all kinds of record labels and managers there, and all this crazy stuff. The rest is kind of history, I guess!

You guys have been winning all these Song of the Summer awards from so many publications. It seems very sudden.

Yeah, we can't believe this last one: Song of the Summer [from] Seventeen magazine and MTV. Totally crazy. Wasn't Rihanna on the list? What the hell? It's awesome.

Tell me about your performance at Sasquatch.

It was so cool. It was such an honor to be there with that huge lineup of bands. I don't think we've ever played in a place that's quite so gorgeous. It's like something out of Narnia or Lord of the Rings or something, just this gorgeous landscape, sort of Grand Canyon-esque, as far as the eye can see. It's like this giant village of music lovers, and the vibe is so great. It's all hot and sweaty, and it's perfect for us.

What's the story behind the tradition of fans wearing face paint at your shows?

It actually started with the "Anna Sun" music video. There was this sort of loose Neverland, lost boys, Peter Pan kind of thing going on in the video, and we had the war paint thing going on for that. It just kind of organically became this tradition. People started showing up in face paint. Then we started bringing it to shows. It became something that we do as kind of a ritual.

You guys have gone and will be going on tour with some great up-and-coming bands, like Young the Giant, fun., and Local Natives. What have you guys learned from your experiences with all of those other bands?

I think the biggest part is [that] these bands are playing these huge rooms -- well, to us they're huge -- and we played with some of them years ago, like Young the Giant, for instance. We've been able to watch their success. Knowing that they were where we are a year or two ago, it tells us that all we have to do is keep working hard, keep playing, and keep spreading the love, and that it's a matter of time and perseverance.

What would be the band's dream gig?

You know, it would be really awesome to play at the Hollywood Bowl with Michael McDonald. We would be into that.

You guys got to work with the PS22 Chorus. I've always thought those kids are so inspiring and really talented, amazingly so. What was your experience like working with the PS22 Chorus?

I think that was the coolest thing we've done thus far, period. From the moment we walked into their choir room, there was just overwhelming energy and noise. The sheer volume of their screaming little voices is...the positive energy was so overwhelming and uplifting. And of course, the music director, Mr. B., he's a hero of mine. I've been admiring him from afar for over a year now [through] watching [his] videos and stuff. I couldn't believe that we had gotten that opportunity. They're so gracious, and they're such smart kids. They're kind of mature beyond their years, and more talented than anything you'd expect. They're quick learners.

What's next for Walk the Moon?

We just started our headlining tour. We've been out on the road with these bands, as you said. We haven't had a whole lot of chances to do our own headlining shows, so this is the first time in a while that we'll be doing a whole month of headlining shows on our own. We're really excited about that. We're on tour with Neon Trees at the end of this summer, which is going to be awesome, and as you said, we're going on tour with fun. The record comes out in a couple weeks, and mostly everything is focused on that right now. June 19 is when the album comes out. We'll just have to see what happens. We're anxious to see what people think.

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Lenni Rosenblum