Brian Walker, 25, grew up in Germantown, Philadelphia and moved away when he was 14. He has since returned, frequently treating local audiences to his very sad songs under his alternative rock project, A Day Without Love. With lyrics drawing from abuse, heartbreak, loneliness and a plethora of other cheery subjects, Walker’s songs attempt to embody the human condition.
A Day Without Love’s music is characterized by clever song structure, deep and powerful vocals and guitar melodies that resemble both alt rock and emo.
A Day Without Love came together as a full band in 2013, but it announced in September that it will continue as a solo project fronted by Walker. A Day Without Love recently released a split with Uncle/Father Oscar.
Outside music, Walker is a published author and is heavily involved with local scene promotion. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a focus in business at Penn State and a Master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York.
The Temple News: What came first, guitar or lyric writing?
Brian Walker: I’ve been writing poetry and lyrics since I was 11, but I didn’t put the two together till I was 19.
TNN: When did the idea for A Day Without Love begin to take shape?
BW: That started around my sophomore year of college. I witnessed an episode of spousal collegiate abuse and I stopped it. The whole incident was pretty much, the two individuals were cheating on each other and I wrote about it. The name of the poem was “A Day Without Love” and it was around the idea of losing yourself to a point that you lack respect for yourself and other people. So that’s what A Day Without Love is about. Telling those stories of human behavior.
TTN: When you first started A Day Without Love, what was your intention: band or solo project?
BW: When I first started playing music and calling it A Day Without Love, I did not think people would ever play with me. I did not think people liked me. I was just saying sad stories – they’re really bad – at open mics. And then my junior year going into my senior year, I got better at songwriting and I started having guitarists or fill-in drummers play with me at various sets here and there, but I knew that wasn’t going to last for a long time since it’s college. And then in New York, A Day Without Love was pretty much just a bedroom thing. I recorded in my bedroom but I never played publically. But I still networked with a lot of people, which was really cool.
When Hurricane Sandy happened, that’s when I say, I guess, A Day Without Love was “reborn.” Jake Detwiler [Fresh Produce Studios], who’s been a friend of mine for a really long time, just graduated recording school and I hit him up with a bunch of demos from my cell phone and poorly recorded laptop recordings and said, “Hey man, I want to record these full band.” In three days we recorded “Island” and I guess that’s where A Day Without Love as most people know it was born. Even though it’s been years in process, it’s really just a year old.
TTN: Recently you announced that ADWL would be returning to a solo project. What happened?
BW: It wasn’t anything bad. Jake was always the producer and guitarist of the project and he wasn’t able to play at the level that I wanted. And I don’t mean that in professional level; I mean like traveling, touring and things like that. He voiced that he didn’t think that this was the band that you need to travel places. I said, “Hey, I can definitely understand that.” He says he still wants to stay the producer. The other two dudes agreed. … So, maybe at a different point in our lives we may play again but for now it’s a solo project till I find another live band to play with.
TTN: Outside of music, you’re an author. You wrote two books, correct?
BW: Yeah. So I’m writing a book now call “Apathy.” That’s a much slower process when you’re older than I’ve anticipated. That book is just pretty much about [how] modern technology is numbing the human soul. It’s like sci-fi book. And I’ve written a book called “The Hurt the Horney: The High School Nerd,” and that was a very angry, terrible book I wrote when I was 16 and I got published at 18 and now I still get royalties off that which is pretty cool. And that’s pretty much like “Superbad” but a book.
TTN: As someone who writes stories, how does that play out in your song lyrics?
BW: It hasn’t yet, but one day I want to pull a Coheed and Cambria and write a book that’s also an album, cause that’d be cool.
TTN: What’s the value of a local scene to you?
BW: One, it gets people to get to know each other from a networking perspective about what people are writing songs like me, so it helps you help your craft. Two, it provides definition to the city you live in. You might talk to someone from Chicago and say I’m from Philly, and if they listen to punk music, they’ll be like, “Whoa, that’s the Mecca of punk,” and you’re just thinking, “This is my lifestyle.”
Jared Whalen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org