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For Walk The Moon lead singer Nick Petricca, the band’s new album and current tour have provided him with a New Year’s Resolution for 2018: letting go of fear.

“I feel like when I see my favorite artists on stage, I’m just like, ‘Wow, they just go out there and are hiding nothing,’” he explained to me over the weekend. “They seem fearless. And it’s interesting, ‘One Foot’ in front of the other has become this song that we’ve been kind of like forced to practice what we preach.

“You can’t really think twice,” Petricca continued. “You can’t be up (on stage) judging yourself the whole time or else the thing kind of crumbles.”

The aforementioned “One Foot” is a perfect example of this new era within’ the Cincinnati-based quartet: a catchy, infectious up-tempo sing-a-long that still contains some gravitas and vulnerability. Walk The Moon’s third LP, “What If Nothing,” is the group’s most vulnerable to date: so much so that another benefit arose as the band created the “Press Restart Tour.”

“We can put a little more of an emotional curve in to the set,” guitarist Eli Maiman noted. “I think prior to now, we had a disproportionate amount of songs that were kind of, ‘up.’ The set at this point is very contoured in terms of its emotional impact.”

A quick look back to Walk The Moon’s recent history reveals how this happened: following the worldwide hit “Shut Up And Dance” and the subsequent trek supporting the album “Talking Is Hard,” the band took a break… almost, for good. That changed at bassist Kevin Ray’s wedding; the first time since the hiatus that all four members were together. Shortly thereafter, the group re-entered the studio and began working on what would eventually be “What If Nothing.”

Petricca believes the band is hungrier than ever, and part of that may be attributed to what they learned about each other during their time off.

“We all are respecting our own humanity on a different level,” the front man admitted. “I think we’re seeing the ways that it serves the music as well; not just burning all of the candles at all of the ends and playing as many shows as possible but also just making sure that we are 100% for the listeners and for our fans.”

I caught up with three-fourths of Walk The Moon before soundcheck at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on Saturday; drummer Sean Waugaman was napping and understandably so. The guys just landed that morning from a red-eye flight after performing a radio show in Los Angeles the night prior. A full schedule of promo followed soundcheck; the band then took the stage around 9:10 pm.

And yet despite all of that, the quartet sounded fantastic Saturday night. It was if once on stage, they were fearless.

The buzz continues to build, the schedule continues to fill up and the guys that comprise Walk The Moon continue to find themselves in an album cycle that admittedly they want to see stretch out for as long as possible. When you look at what has happened in 2015 to the group, you really can’t blame them.

“Shut Up and Dance” is in serious contention for “Song of the Summer.” The band’s next single from its sophomore album Talking Is Hard will be “Different Colors,” an anthem of different gravitas but near-equal jubilation. And the Cincinnati-quartet is playing all types of stages: as headliners, as supporters for The Rolling Stones and as performers on “Good Morning America” and at MLB’s Home Run Derby in their home city. At this point (or at least the day after their date in Detroit with Mick, Keith and the boys), lead singer Nick Petricca credited “caffeine and adrenaline” with fueling the band, but downplayed any changes of seismic proportions in the group.

“We’ve always kept ourselves working around the clock, so in a way not much has changed,” he told me on “Ralphie Tonight.” “I think we’re going to see the results (of the single’s success) the next time we tour.”

Walk The Moon has already noticed a change in the crowd at shows, especially when those opening notes of “Shut Up” hit the speakers. But their last headlining tour sold out before the song became inescapable.

That’s not to say the single’s success hasn’t brought about other change.
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“I get a whole lot more texts now saying, ‘Hey, I heard “Shut Up and Dance” in X-Y-Z bizarre situation,” noted guitarist Eli Maiman. “So like – ‘I heard it at Cardinals Stadium in St. Louis, or I heard it in Victoria’s Secret this morning.’

“And I’m like, ‘Mom, why are you telling me this?’”

When the laughter subsided, WTM told me that they also want to collaborate with other artists they enjoy; Petricca said the band hasn’t “sold a song” to anyone yet but they have written with other musicians, and Maiman teased a possible Walk The Moon-feature for another singer could be released soon.

The lead singer also mentioned that there’s a chance fans could hear some new material from the group later this year. At the moment the focus is on “Different Colors,” a song that started as a rallying cry but with recent news events such as the Supreme Court’s lifting of same-sex marriage bans, has turned in to more of a “victory march.” The single celebrates diversity and aims to unite.

“It feels really relevant to be playing it right now, and really cool,” said Maiman.

“It’s incredible,” Petricca added. “We’re just all on the same team out here and it’s cool to feel a part of a movement.”

That idea of community is something that the band can easily be reminded of every night, as they perform in front of thousands of face-painted fans whose sole objective is to have fun. No wonder they don’t want this to end.