May 20, 2004  
Volume 98, Issue 01  

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Turn Off The Stars out to “Please” themselves and fans

By Anna Coutts
Gazette Staff

Gazette File Photo
“I COULD TOTALLY EAT THAT WHOLE MICROPHONE.” Mike Walker from Turn Off The Stars rocks out. Not pictured: brother Andrew, but since they’re twins, just double the image in your mind, dude.

Is it double the trouble when you double the brothers? Not with Turn Off The Stars twins Mike and Andrew Walker.

With Andrew cranking out guitar riffs and Mike adding the vocals, this twin team is using their talents to create catchy tunes such as their current single “Please.”

“Being twins has its moments, because you’re close together all the time. For our music it’s worked out well chemistry-wise. We’re pretty much on the same wavelength,” says Mike.

Coming from a musical background (both their grandmother and mother played piano) Mike and Andrew started with music at a young age, but it wasn’t until their first few years of high school that they really started to put things together.

“My brother really wanted to start playing guitar, and I was like, we’re twins, I guess I’d better learn something too, and things just kinda came out of that,” notes Mike.

It wasn’t until a few years later, while attending Western, that the band truly came together. The twins met drummer Max Kennedy, and then added bassist John Dawson to form Turn Off The Stars.

“My brother and I were taking Visual Arts, and Max was in radio television broadcasting,” says Mike. He laughingly admits that while the band has no problem handling the arts, “put a math equation in front of us and we are screwed.”

Math is not the only thing Mike avoids. Politics, at least when it comes to lyrics, is just not his thing. “I’m not much of a political guy,” explains Mike. “I think if I tried to write about politics, I’d be someone I’m not. I try to write what I write and be who I am. Maybe that’s not always a good thing, maybe I should know more about politics... but I try not to force these things.”

The band also avoids forcing their musical ideas on each other. “We’re a band, and we make an effort to keep it a group project,” explains Mike. “We will just start playing and see what we can come up with... and sometimes it just comes together. Like our single ‘Please’ — we wrote that as a band.”

Yet while the band may not force their musical ideas upon one another, they are far from easy on themselves when writing. “We’re very picky about how we write our music,” says Mike, “We don’t just settle for something.”

Mike also looks to other musicians for encouragement. “[In high school] whenever I saw bands on TV, I would get really pumped up. I wanted to be on stage; I wanted to be like them. I saw how a band’s music would affect people and how it affected me and I wanted to do that too.”

It was this deep affection for the power of music that led Turn Off The Stars to create songs that reach out to listeners’ emotions. “We wanted to do something positive,” Mike asserts. “We want people to think and we definitely want to make people feel good. That’s what we’re all about.”

Though sometimes it is hard to stay positive, the band always manages to work through their problems. “The only people who ever really fight in the band are me and my brother, and that’s just because we’ve been around each other for so long,” says Mike, “The rest of the band will just break it up and let us cool down.”

And if that’s not enough, the band can just look to their name to help keep them upbeat. “It’s from an old jazz tune, and we thought it was a cool name,” explains Mike. “But we also like to think of Turn Off The Stars as a way of turning everything off, of remembering who we are and why we are doing this — that this is about the music.”



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