Hopscotch Interview: Lonnie Walker

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We invaded Lonnie Walker’s practice space this week to record two of their new songs and talk to them about Hopscotch, music and the evolution of the band. Watch the video for the full interview or read the partial transcript below. You can also watch them preform two of their songs below.

Note: This transcript has been edited for brevity and does not include the entire video conversation.

Video by Dave Reaves

WH: I’m Will Huntsberry for our Hopscotch interview series, and tonight we’re talking to Lonnie Walker, with Brian Corum, Raymond Finn, Eric Hill and Joshua Bridgers. Thanks for coming and talking to us tonight, or rather, letting us come to your practice space. You guys have four or five shows going at Hopscotch, right?

BC: Actually they’re not specifically Hopscotch shows. They are day parties of Hopscotch. So we’re not officially part of the actual Hopscotch festival, but we’ve got some really great shows on all the days.

WH: When it comes to Hopscotch, what do you feel like it brings to the city, music-wise? You guys have been playing together for a long time. You’ve probably seen a lot of festivals. How would you describe Hopscotch?

BC: Between the booking of Greg Lowenhagen and Grayson and their different tastes, it brings a variety of musical styles to the city, which is good, instead of just one genre. It touches on a bunch of different genres. it brings a a togetherness of the city too, which I really like.

RF: It makes you feel proud of Raleigh, real proud.

Lonnie Walker’s Hopscotch Schedule
CAMM Art Gallery Day Party; Friday, 12-5 p.m: The Love Language, Lonnie Walker, The American West, The Lollipops and DJ SPCLGST

Phuzz Fest’s Day Party at The Hive; Saturday, 3:30 p.m: Lonnie Walker

White Collar Crime; Friday, 9 p.m: Nests (featuring Brian Corum and Raymond Finn): Friday at 9 at White Collar Crime.

WH: Do you think it’s good visibility for local bands as well?

RF: Oh yeah. Definitely. It’s more than half of the bands playing I think that are local bands. Or maybe it’s like forty of the bands that are local bands. It’s definitely good exposure.

BC: They want to make sure to not keep it too awfully local, but still keep it sort of local. I know there have been other festivals that they’ve gotten kind of dissed on, because they are like, ‘oh yeah, it’s going to be this local festival. It’s awesome.’ Then they get all these big names and stuff but they don’t book barely any of the local bands. That’s why I like Hopscotch. That’s part of the reason I think we’re not playing this year. We played the last two years, so I kind of figured we wouldn’t be on the actual real bill this year.

WH: Tell me a little bit about how y’all got started. You’ve been playing together for seven or eight years right?

BC: I started playing solo around Greenville.

EH: I’d seen Brian play around Greenville a couple of times by himself.

BC: Eric and I had a photography class together. I listened to some of his music on Myspace and we had a kind of similar taste in music. We became friends and so we started jamming first. And then, Raymond had — what’d you have a set of fatty bongos, right?

RF: Yeah, I sold those and bought a drum set.

BC: He played drums on this track I recorded called “I Wish I Was Black.”

WH: What’s your process like in terms of how a song comes together?

EH: Brian would usually come up with the idea for basically the whole song. He’d come up with lyrics and chord changes. Then we’d get together and it’d be like a jam at first. He would show us the way a thing would work and then we would just play through it over and over again. So everybody’d get that part and then we’d kind of move on to the next thing.

JB: We’d just try to figure out what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.

BC: I try to think of it like I write songs and the band can arrange it.

EH: The way the songs will flow we’ll add bridges or change how many lines are in a section of music.

RF: Some songs have just come out of just us playing around, before practice. A part will really stand out and we’ll record it on somebody’s phone and come back to it later, try to write a song around that.

EH: We’re always into the idea of happy mistakes.

WH: Around here you guys are super well-known, but do you end up having to do a lot of your own promo essentially, and is that difficult as an artist?

JB: These guys [Brian and Raymond] do a lot. They do everything. They book shows. They do their stuff.

BC: We have friends too that help out, especially with booking. It just comes with the territory really. It’s not always the most fun part of being in a band, but it’s something that needs to be done. And it’s fun when you see results.

WH: With playing together so long, has there been an evolution to the sound of Lonnie Walker?

EH: When we first started we were only songs that [Brian] had been playing completely by himself. They were songs that he had been playing for two or three years by himself… It’s like a band now. When we first started out, we were just kind of sidemen. Once we got through working into becoming a group, we became a cohesive and creator.

BC: I never thought of you guys as sidemen.

EH: I’m not saying that in a bad way.

RF: For a while it was Lonnie Walker and the Baby Angels, but now we are Lonnie Walker.


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