– Samantha Szilagyi, staff
If you haven’t heard the buzz surrounding local band Walk Off The Earth, then you clearly must be living under a rock. From Burlington, Ontario, this five piece band consisting of Gianni Nicassio, Ryan Marshall, Sarah Blackwood, Mike Taylor, and Joel Cassady have made an incredible impact not only online, but worldwide. Their cover of the song “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra was released on YouTube Jan. 5, which features all five members creating different sounds while only performing on one guitar. Since then the video has hit over 38 million views and has peaked at number 1 on iTunes. I may seem a little biased when saying how amazing Walk Off The Earth is since I’ve known band member Joel Cassady for almost nine years- starting back when we played in concert band in high school- but clearly the world is in agreement! Not only has the band been featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show where they performed their hit cover of “Somebody That I Used to Know”, but they have also been all over television news stations in Canada and Australia, and have even attracted interest from several major U.S. record labels.
The band originally started about five years ago as a three-piece band with Nicassio, Marshall and a different drummer. Blackwood has been working on projects with Nicassio for around two years now, while Cassady and Taylor joined about a year ago. Band member Nicassio has produced everything Walk Off The Earth has released thus far with the exception of their upcoming album.
“The new record that has been in the works for the past year or so is the first time that Gianni has opted out of engineering duties, which have been handled by Justin Koop at B-Town Sound studios here in Burlington,” Cassady explains.
Walk Off The Earth has released two full-length original records and the third is in the works, which many seem to be anxiously awaiting. Cassady explains that the band started releasing a mix of covers and original work on YouTube in the fall of 2010 with a goal of “the covered material being to leverage listeners into the original stuff.” Speaking to the widespread success of their newest cover, Cassady expresses “We knew that we had a good concept together for Somebody That I Used to Know, but I don’t think any of us expected it to get such a massive global response.”
With exciting proposals to play in countries such as Singapore, Turkey, and Dubai, and a widespread acceptance with offers from major US record labels, it is clear that we will be seeing some big and exciting things from Walk Off The Earth in the near future. If you haven’t already checked them out, do yourself a favour and drop the newspaper and get online to listen! Almost all of their music is available on iTunes, and their newest original single, “These Times”, is available for free download at walkofftheearth.bandcamp.com. As for how the band feels about their newfound fame, Cassady says, “I think I speak for the whole band when I say we couldn’t be happier about all this, and we can’t wait to get back to making music and videos with this new level of excitement in the mix.”