The Walters are a group of five self proclaimed hunks from Chicago, Illinois delivering what they describe as “cardigan rock”. I was lucky enough to catch them on their first major tour across the U.S. opening for The Orwells, another Chicago based group. After the stellar performance I got a chance to speak with lead singer Luke Olson and guitarist Michael J. Tirabassi.
What brought all of you guys together?
LO: MJ and I grew up together, and after high school I went off to New York City to attend an acting school while MJ went to DePaul where he met Walter, Charlie and Danny
MJ: Yea Walter, Charlie and I lived in the dorms together at DePaul. Danny and Charlie were already friends previously and had a little R&B duo making beats together. Luke moved to Chicago after finishing up in New York, and then him and Walter started making music in our apartment.
What’s the writing process like for you guys, I know that you both take leads on the vocals on different songs?
LO: It really varies from song to song, but a lot of the time it will usually be somebody with Walter. Either I’m hanging out with Walter or MJ with Walter, but for this new album that were working on it’s a lot more of me and MJ.
This has been your biggest tour to date, what kind of experiences have you gained from touring with The Orwells?
LO: It’s been incredible. We’ve had some really great shows, like kicking off the tour at The Met in Chicago to a sold out crowd was amazing. Getting to go to Los Angeles was an experience.
MJ: Yeah, finally getting to go places like Orange County and Phoenix was a great time too.
LO: It’s really cool getting to play some of these really premier venues on our first major tour.
What is it like getting to be a part of the bustling Chicago music scene?
MJ: I would have to say it’s the best music scene in the country at this time.
LO: It’s really crazy because all of the groups are really quality groups like The Orwells, The Symposium, Modern Vices, etc. All of them are great bands that it’s really easy to get behind, and you can tell are going to be making solid tunes for a long time.
Do you know what was the catalyst for all this, like more opportunities to play places or what?
MJ: What I had heard from The Orwells, because they came up before us, is they had made friends with the Smith Westerns and they helped them get shows and everyone just continued to pass on opportunities to other bands.
LO: Yeah it definitely feels more like a music community as opposed to a scene.
Earlier this year you guys got to play Riot Fest and just recently you were added to the Lollapalooza lineup, what does that feel like being from Chicago and all?
LO: Being from around that area definitely feels cool. I personally have never been able to go to Lolla so my first time their, and getting to play it is a really surreal feeling.
MJ: I use to sneak in every year I was in high school and run pass security, and being from the area I always thought it would be an amazing feeling to see my band’s name on the line up poster so it’s a real honor.
Chicago question for you guys, if one had to go which would it be; Deep Dish Pizza or the Chicago Style Hot Dog?
LO: …If I had to get rid of one, I’d have to get rid of… Deep Dish
MJ: WHOAAAAAA interesting
LO: Saying it stings and feels wrong like aghhhh. Honestly I take it back because right now I’m thinking about how good deep dish would taste right now.
Some of your fans know about your alter egos, The Cardigan Boys, who make some very smooth R&B. Where does all of that come from?
LO: That’s really mainly Charlie, Danny and I, but everyone else is definitely involved with it. We really just do it for fun and to make ourselves laugh.
MJ: Yeah it’s really just something to shake things up from time to time and it helps keep everything else really fresh.
Is there any potential that we could maybe see a Cardigan Boys EP in the future?
LO: We have it the works but for right now we’re keeping it YouTube exclusive. My vision is for one day the Cardigan Boys to make it to Spotify.
MJ: Yeah like maybe their greatest hits or something.
The Cardigan Boys aren’t you guys only persona, on social media you also refer to yourselves as Seltzer Boys and even sell Walters shirts with the La Croix logo. So with the Cardigan Boys making R&B, what kind of music would the Seltzer Boys make?
LO: Spoken word maybe.
MJ: Yeah that’d be a better question for Charlie.
LO: Or maybe even a podcast, like a Seltzer Boys Podcast.
You guys put out “She’s Gonna Leave You” earlier this year and played a new song tonight that hasn’t been released, so when may we see a new single release or an album?
MJ: This year for sure.
LO: Yeah now with the touring things have been kinda put on hold, so once we get back to Chicago come June we’ll probably take a little time off from each other and relax and then get right back at it.
Lastly what are you guys goals for 2017?
MJ: Oh easy, World Domination.
LO: That sounds about right. The Walters will be back in Austin, Texas on May 5 as a part of the “Lets Be Friends Tour” with Austin’s very own Summer Salt. In the meantime, be sure to follow The Walters and give their music a spin on any form of music streaming service.
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