Interview with W.A.L.K.E.R. frontman Glen Walker and lead guitarist Kelan Hughes

INTERVIEW WITH W.A.L.K.E.R. FRONTMAN GLEN WALKER AND LEAD GUITARIST KELAN HUGHES
Date: December 11, 2019
Interviewer: Olivier

ALL KILLER, NO FILLER DESCRIBES VERY WELL THE FIVE SONGS ON W.A.L.K.E.R.’S DEBUT EP ‘BRINGING ROCK BACK.’ IF YOU’VE NEVER HEARD W.A.L.K.E.R’S DEBUT EP, DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND CHECK IT OUT. THESE GUYS ARE INDEED BRINGING ROCK BACK. SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH THE TWO MASTERMINDS BEHIND THE BAND — FRONTMAN GLEN WALKER AND LEAD GUITARIST KELAN HUGHES — TO FIND OUT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE ABOUT THE GROUP!

Sleaze Roxx: Let’s start off with the classic question. How did the band come about? 

Glen Walker: October 2016, myself and Kelan met at a KISS tribute show at a club in Dublin town. We struck up conversation and we had the same story pretty much. People we knew and played music with weren’t too serious about it. But we wanted to do it for real. So we started playing pretty much from the get go after that night. Doing acoustic sets here and there. One night, he called me with the idea of putting a band together. He sent me some songs he’d written. I pressed play on his “When It Rains” demo and it was an instant yes from me. We got Ali on drums, Pete on the bass and started rehearsing soon after.

Sleaze Roxx: Were there any prior members, and if so, who were they and what happened to them? 

Kelan Hughes: Well, W.A.L.K.E.R. is structured as Glen and myself as full members and Pete and Ali as session musicians. However, all four of us are the originals.

Sleaze Roxx: That’s an interesting set up, especially for a younger band. How and why did you come up with the idea of two full-time guys and two session musicians for the band?

Glen Walker: It’s just how it panned out. Myself and Kelan are the driving force, with the ideas and energy.

Kelan Hughes: It’s also a big positive when considering touring. It gives us the possibility of playing the US, which we really want to do. Hiring session musicians in the country you’re playing in is a lot more cost effective than work visas and travel.

Sleaze Roxx: How old are each of you?

Kelan Hughes: I’m 20. Glen is 23. We’re young and hungry.

Sleaze Roxx: I noticed that back in mid-October 2017, you guys announced that your debut EP had been completed but it wasn’t released until January 2019. What took so long?

Kelan Hughes: Well, it was a number of things. Mainly, we were caught up in signing a worldwide publishing contract with The Evolving Music Company but also after our initial announcement that the EP was done, we then ended up getting the EP mixed by Michael Wagener. So these things delayed the release somewhat.

Sleaze Roxx: Speaking of Michael Wagener, he ended up mixing W.A.L.K.E.R.’s debut EP ‘Bringing Rock Back’. How and why did you guys hook up with him, and how was it working with him?

Kelan Hughes: We knew we wanted to work with him. Just look at every other band he’s worked with. We asked Michael if he’d be interested in mixing our stuff and it went from there. It’s amazing working with such a legendary producer.

Sleaze Roxx: Did you ever end up meeting Michael [Wagener] in person or was it all long distance communications?

Kelan Hughes: We’re about 4,000 miles away from Michael so we were just in contact via the internet.

Glen Walker: Purely file sharing. It’s amazing in the world we live in what we can do today. We have several different mixes Michael did of each song and basically we chose the best for the EP.

Sleaze Roxx: There’s a great sense of maturity on your EP in that there seems to be a real emphasis on great melodies and really letting the songs breathe throughout. You can really feel every note and every lyric. Was this intentional and what has brought on this level of maturity?

Glen Walker: We just play, sing and write from the soul. You can feel it. We can feel it. There’s no fat in this music, its all meat.

Sleaze Roxx: Your EP title is very reflective of the times that we are in. How did you guys come up with the EP title ‘Bringing Rock Back’? 

Glen Walker: Well, it’s a statement. We’re not saying our music will revive rock music to skyrocketing sales. We’re saying, if you play our music, and bands of our generation, you can hear elements that rock is still very much alive in young blood. And it’s not stopping anytime soon.

Sleaze Roxx: I find that the single “Dreaming of You” has a real classic Tesla vibe in a great way. What are your thoughts in that regard?

Kelan Hughes: For that particular song, we used a lot of layering production techniques that would have been used by bands such as Tesla, so I can understand why that style may remind you of Tesla in that way.

W.A.L.K.E.R.‘s “Dreaming of You” video:

W.A.L.K.E.R. – Dreaming Of You [Official Video]

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Sleaze Roxx: All five songs on ‘Bringing Rock Back’ are killer songs? It really feels like there is no filler songs. Why did you decide to only release five songs and how many other tracks do you have in the can or vault so to speak?

Kelan Hughes: The EP was all killer, no filler, but we didn’t really have any songs that didn’t make the cut. We had five good songs ready to go so that’s what we recorded.

Glen Walker: We gave you a taste. Now you’re ready for the main course. If you like “Bringing Rock Back”, our upcoming album will blow you away.

Sleaze Roxx: Speaking of your upcoming album, a lot of bands like to put the songs from their debut EP on the debut full-length album with a few additional songs. Is that the route that you will be taking or will your new album have all brand new songs?

Glen Walker: All brand new. We’ve been given great support and people have shown interest enough that they deserve more. This will be a full-length album of new material.

Sleaze Roxx: That is great news! It appears that the band name W.A.L.K.E.R is derived from Glen’s last name. How did you come up with the group name and why the periods behind each letter, except the last one, which is very similar to how W.A.S.P. write their band name?

Kelan Hughes: The periods after each letter was more to differentiate the name. W.A.L.K.E.R. looks a lot cooler than “Walker.”

Glen Walker: Correct. It is my last name. However, it was Kelan and the guys that suggested it. I was of the opinion that it seemed too egotistical, or like a solo project. Now, I can’t imagine it any other way.

Sleaze Roxx: You seem to sign off quite a bit of your Facebook messages after gigs with the following expression: “Until then we’ve been W.A.L.K.E.R. and you’ve been killer.” What is the significance behind that?

Glen Walker: That’s our sign off at the end of all of our shows. We want to give the fans 100%. They come first. I remember saying the line in celebration one night after an acoustic show Kelan and I did. And it’s become the signature sign off for every single show since.

W.A.L.K.E.R.‘s ‘Bringing Rock Back” video:

W.A.L.K.E.R. – Bringing Rock Back [Official Video]

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Sleaze Roxx: Without wanting to date myself too much, it’s been almost a quarter century since I’ve been to Dublin, Ireland so no doubt the city has changed a lot [laughs]. When I was there, it didn’t feel like there was much of a rock n’ roll scene. What’s the rock n’ roll scene like in the city of Dublin and the country of Ireland?

Kelan Hughes: It doesn’t sound like much has changed then [laughs]. There is quite a small but loyal rock scene in Dublin. To put it in perspective, out of a city of two million, there is only one dedicated rock/metal venue.

Sleaze Roxx: Back in January, W.A.L.K.E.R. signed a worldwide publishing deal with The Evolving Music Company. How did this come about and how does that benefit W.A.L.K.E.R.?

Glen Walker: Simply, Denis Desmond of MCD Promotions listened to our debut EP and made the decision to take us on.

Kelan Hughes: As far as how it benefits us, a publishing deal is a way our music can get onto TV adverts or video games so maybe you’ll hear us there sometime.

Sleaze Roxx: That would be great. What would be something that the public would not know about each of you?

Glen Walker: I like all types of music — Alanis Morissette, The Beatles, ELO, The Beach Boys, etc. I can hear a lot of different influences when I write a song.

Kelan Hughes: I secretly like ’70s disco. Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

Sleaze Roxx: You had the chance to open two shows for the legendary former W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes last year. What was that experience like?

Glen Walker: He was great! We often look back on it and talk about it with a smile. He was a very polite, respectful guy and we had some great conversations with him about music and equipment. It was a great experience for all of us.

Sleaze Roxx: How did you guys wound up being part of Perris Records’ ‘Hollywood Hairspray Vol. 8’ compilation?

Kelan Hughes: Funny enough, I saw a Sleaze Roxx article about how they were looking for bands for the CD. I sent in “Time To Party” and they loved it. The rest is history.

Glen Walker: We can’t thank people enough for what they’ve said about our track on the compilation.

W.A.L.K.E.R.‘s “Time To Party” video:

W.A.L.K.E.R. – Time To Party (Official Video)

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Sleaze Roxx: What are the band’s plans for 2020?

Glen Walker: 2020 will be a good year for the band. We’re recording our follow-up album at the moment and it’s sounding great. We’ll put that out and be back out playing shows. Bring it on!

Sleaze Roxx: Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention?

Glen Walker: Thank you to the people who support us. It goes a long way. Our EP sold out in S.A. Music, Japan within a week of them stocking it. That speaks volumes.

Sleaze Roxx: Last question for each of you — what are your top three favourite albums of all-time and why?

Glen Walker: Wow. It’s a very difficult question, as it changes all the time. At the moment for me, I’d have to say Guns N’ Roses’ [‘The] Spaghetti Incident’, KISS’ ‘Rock And Roll Over’ and Mötley Crüe’s ‘Theatre of Pain’.

Kelan Hughes: That’s a tough one. Probably Def Leppard’s ‘Hysteria‘, Warrant’s ‘Cherry Pie’ and W.A.S.P.’s ‘Inside The Electric Circus’.

Sleaze Roxx: You’re going to have to say why you are picking those albums. You can’t just name them without giving the reasons why you chose them in the first place [laughs].

Glen Walker: Guns N’ Roses’ [‘The] Spaghetti Incident’ for me because of the rawness of the album. I feel that ‘Appetite {for Destruction’] is almost played out. But that this is as close to ‘Appetite’ Guns N’ Roses got in feel, without it being ‘Appetite’. Great album. Mötley’s ‘Theatre of Pain’ because I just feel it’s so underrated. I got into this album at the age of 13/14. The songs really hit home for me. I love the album tracks. “City Boy Blues” does it for me! KISS’ ‘Rock And Roll Over’ is the perfect album for me. I’m a colossal KISS fan and for me every song is awesome on this. ‘Love Gun’ is obviously a sister album, but for me this one hits it out of the park each track. “Mr. Speed” and “Take Me” are my favourites! With “Love Em And Leave Em” at number three!

Kelan Hughes:
I’ve always been a big fan of high production records and to me Def Leppard are just that. When you listen to ‘Hysteria’, you can hear the years of work put into it. I’d love to be able to do something like that in the future so that’s why ‘Hysteria’ is in my top three. When I was getting into this style of hard rock — I had been playing thrash in the years prior — Warrant were one of the first bands I found that I loved. “Cherry Pie” as a song is looked down upon but I really like it, and the album itself is amazing. Jani Lane’s songwriting is a massive inspiration to my own. My dad always played W.A.S.P. when I was a kid and one of my first memories of listening to music was hearing the surround sound of chains on “Tormentor.” I was probably four or five. I love nearly every W.A.S.P. album but I’d have to pick ‘Inside The Electric Circus’ as my favourite because of the production. As I’ve said, I really like high production and it doesn’t hurt that Michael Wagener was the producer for that album either.

W.A.L.K.E.R.‘s “She’s On Fire” video:

W.A.L.K.E.R. – She’s On Fire (Official Video)

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