Earlier this month, superstar DJ/producer Alan Walker played two sold out nights at the world famous Hollywood Palladium; the penultimate shows on his Walkerverse world tour. The famous masked Walker performed a variety of his hits including “Alone”, “Spectre”, “Darkside”, his Hans Zimmer remix “Time” and of course “Faded”. However, we did get a chance to sit down and speak unmasked to Alan Walker before his show.
Although his identity is no longer a secret (you can see Alan without his mask and hoodie in his Unmasked vlogs on YouTube), our conversation was a very insightful glimpse into a genuinely thoughtful person who is doing a lot of good things for the world at large . In addition, it is also very clear that Alan is very comfortable in his own skin and proud of the progress he has made as an artist. Simply put, he knows what works for him and he plays to his strengths. We talked about his development as an artist, his vlogging, the tour and some other topics. Watch the full interview below.
Hey Alan! Thank you for speaking to us. Tell us how your year went? This has finally been the first year that people have been able to go out normally again and I feel like a lot of artists have benefited from that. How has the Walkerverse tour been so far?
“Yes, like you said, everyone is literally travelling, everyone is touring, so obviously it’s a big competition. But we see the Walkerverse tour as our own thing and it’s been pretty successful. We had great shows in South Korea, India and, to start with, also in Dubai. And then we moved it to Europe, had some crazy shows all over the place and now we’re on the North American side. Then we make a quick pit stop in Mexico at a festival. Well, it’s definitely been a busy three months, but it’s been really, really fun. And also doing our own headlining show was so unique and also building a show like we did for the tour and at that scale was definitely a fun experience.”
Like you said, what’s different about building your own tour versus showing up at EDC or something and just playing your set and boom you’re out?
“So, for example at a festival show, I would focus more on energy. Of course I would do that at my regular headlining shows too, but it’s different. I would really focus on, okay, this is going to be a party. Play hard remixes of my songs and also just play a fun dose of walker history chronicles. The focus was to just focus on the fans first and build this show around us wanting to please the fans and play like Alan Walker top 20 top 25 songs and bring out some guest singers.
I believe it’s been 7 years since Faded was released. Tell us how you’ve grown as a producer and artist over the years. How is the growth reflected in the Walkerverse album?
“So when I started Faded, I was kind of in fresh water at the time. I would say learn explore what would be the sound of Alan Walker. And over the years I’ve learned a lot of new techniques and I’ve learned so many things while working with other people and producers and songwriters. Well, it’s been such a fun and eventful seven years and it’s crazy to think it’s been seven years because time has literally flown so fast for me. I’ve done so many different songs and done so many different concerts and it’s always been incredible. But to take that signature Alan Walker sound and really evolve it and make it more pop, you’re trying to get to know a new audience and it’s definitely a learning curve. Everything is always a learning curve, you have to try to see if you succeed or not, and then it’s a lot of small steps. But with the Walkerverse album, I felt like I could just put together what I love doing the most. Like finding influence in movie soundtracks and whatnot. I just do things that I generally like.”
Your mask and hoodie have always been one of your trademarks. However, I noticed that recently you have been posting photos and videos showing your face and hair. What made you decide to take off the mask and show the world who you are?
“So we thought about it, because the idea has been around for a very long time, that we don’t want to show Walker’s identity at all, since I’m literally talking about myself in the third person (laughs). But, yeah, like the only intention was that we still wanted to build that mysterious image, like making people wonder, “who’s really the guy behind the mask and why?” And I would just pose from behind and let people ask why he only shows his back, for example. And just with the intention that people focus on the music and not on me as a person. And I think over the years more and more people became familiar with my face because I wasn’t that serious about keeping it off social media. If people wanted photos, I would be fine with taking them. But an idea that we could break it up or do it for the fans who would know, we did the unmasked vlogs, which the idea was that we take the viewers, the fans, the followers behind the scenes and give them the experience what it is like to be a traveling artist. What do we do? I kind of wanted to show people the pros but also the cons like little sleep, lots of travel, lots of hard work and everything in between and still trying to make the most of it.”
Have you always felt comfortable in front of the camera or is it something you grew into?
“When Faded exploded, I was being introduced to a whole new world of things. As if I had never been on a real stage before. And performing in front of crowds larger than a classroom was unheard of. So yeah, it was really, really scary, but it was like growing and learning. And the more I did, the more comfortable I became. I had a lot of stage fright at the very beginning, but the more I just went on stage, the more solace I found in it. Because sooner or later I just realized that people almost didn’t care who was on stage. And once I started getting that realization, I felt so much more comfortable just believing that people don’t really care. Certain people do, but as long as you don’t really screw it up.”
I think it’s really cool that you also campaigned for environmental protection in your vlog. Tell us what Alan Walker is most interested in outside of music and how you can use your platform to make a difference.
“Speaking of 2019, we launched the “A Different World” campaign. This was done with the sole intention of contributing to the betterment of our world, and the focus was on the climate. And I still believe in that today. So when MrBeast made the Team Trees donation, I was one of the first people to jump up and donate $100,000. And then when he started TeamSeas.org with Mark Rober, I donated $100,000 again. So I’ve supported them two, three years in a row because I think what they’re doing is really well meant. And over the years I have enjoyed supporting various charities. For example, I recently donated to mental health and childhood cancer charities in Norway. That’s why I like to give something back and support everyone who needs it.”
I always like to ask this question to people who aren’t from Los Angeles. But what makes this place special for you? What do you like best about the city and the people? Any special places you like to visit while you’re here?
“It’s always been the music capital of America for me, so it’s always interesting to come here because you always know someone who’s here. So that’s always fun. There are only a few people you know from here. So that’s what LA has become for me, it’s like a hot wire to meet people.”
Any favorite restaurants that you like to visit when you are here?
“In and out”
Is there an artist in the EDM world that you would like to work with that you don’t already know? Any pop singers or artists you would like to collaborate with?
“I think Martin Garrix would be great. Or it might be interesting to get in touch with Kygo again, we’ve worked on collabs before but never finished anything. And Lady Gaga all day!”
Can you tell us what to expect from you in 2023 and beyond?
“2023? Live, I have no idea, we’re still working on a plan for how we’re going to approach next year. But I think we will continue to build the Walkerverse tour for new markets. And then, musically, probably continue the same way. I also want to try to do a classic Alan Walker album, similar to what Martin Garrix did with his Sentio album. Just go back to basics, do more of these instrumental tracks, this could be pretty cool.”
Any words for the fans?
“As always, thank you for the love and support this year. There have been annual Spotify numbers released and just looking at these numbers makes it so hard to digest and understand how big and how much love and support I get from people around the world. I am eternally grateful, I wish I could express my gratitude to everyone.”
Lose yourself in Alan Walker’s Walkerverse, available now from Sony. Check out the video below for a clip from the Walkerverse Tour!