Walk Off the Earth is an indie band from Burlington, Ontario. Their biggest claim to fame is producing low budget viral videos of both their own music, and cover versions of popular songs. In January of 2012 they hit it big with a video of five band members playing Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" on one guitar. Within days of posting the video had over 4 million views. Current view count sits at over 150 million.
When not sharing a guitar, the group incorporates multiple instruments into their songs, ranging from the ordinary (guitars, drums, shakers, harmonica, trombone), to the quirky (theremin, ukelele, cigar box guitars, beat box vocals), to found objects (water jug, microwave, handgun). Many songs also feature heavy use of the loop pedal. How these instruments enter and exit the videos is often a draw for video watchers.
While many videos feature guest appearances from friends in the music business, the core band members are:
- Gianni Luminati – Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Banjo, Kazoo, Keys, Drums, Vocals, Theremin, Beatbox, Xylophone, Cigar Box Guitar, Cigar Box Ukulele;
- Sarah Blackwood – Guitar, Electric Guitar, Kazoo, Ukulele, Banjo, Bass, Vocals, Piano, Glockenspiel, Tamborine, Cigar Box Guitar, Xylophone;
- Joel Cassady – Drums, Cigar Box Guitar, Ukelele
Longtime member and Ensemble Dark Horse Mike "Beard Guy" Taylor passed away on December 29th, 2018.
On December 21st, 2019, Ryan Marshall left the band to start a solo career.
Tropes associated with Walk Off the Earth:
- Ascended Meme: Mike Taylor's Memetic Badass status apparently led to him being cast as the antagonist in the video for "Gang of Rhythm".
- Band Toon: A fan made puppet versions of Gianni and Sarah. The puppets have shown up in a couple of videos.
- Camera Abuse: Once or twice a tossed instrument hits the camera
- Christmas Songs: Fairytale of New York filmed in New York City as well.
- Concept Video: For their original songs.
- Cover Version: Most of their Youtube videos, although they do have many original songs
- The Cover Changes the Gender: Most. "Somebody that I Used to Know" is a notable exception.
- The Cover Changes the Meaning: Their version of "Whip My Hair" is not exactly the kind of song you'd let your 10 year old sing.
- Crossover: With Roomie for "Edge of Glory"
- Day in the Limelight: Marshall sings "I Gave You All". The only WOTE video he's in alone.
- Everything Is an Instrument: As mentioned earlier, "instruments" have included water jugs, sharpening knives, guns and cutlery. See a bunch of them here.
- Iconic Song Request: A few of their newer videos are made in answer to requests, Party Rock Anthem starts by highlighting a few of these requests.
- Impractical Musical Instrument Skills: Many videos feature ukeleles, drumsticks, and even regular sized guitars being tossed onto and off of the shot with no break in the music. Ukelele-tossing skills were lampshaded in this Superbowl parody video.
- Five people on one guitar anyone?
- Instrumental Weapon: The handgun mentioned earlier.
- In the Hood: The black and white hoodies from the Backin' Up Song by Auto-Tune the News are featured in Walk Off The Earth's version of the song here
- Least Rhymable Word: In the postscript for the Cheerleader video there is a brief discussion that nothing rhymes with "Spotify"
- Limited Wardrobe: Grey tops for everyone!
- Motor Mouth: Gianni in "Magic"
- Ode to Intoxication: More of "Odes to alcohol" are Cheers (Drink to that) and Sunny D and Rum
- One-Woman Song: "Polly"
- Pregnant Badass: Sarah is a possible example considering she has now been pregnant twice while continuing to tour and make videos. The kicker comes from the video for ''Can't Feel My Face'' during which she was in labour for the entire filming.
- The Oner: Many of their videos, though "Material Girl" has a couple of hidden cuts. Special attention to "Red Hands" as it was filmed as a oner, but every line of the song was filmed in the wrong order. The video speeds up, slows down, and reverses to sync the itself to the music. The music video therefore keeps the music as one straight track - to see the video unedited with the audio synced, click here.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: A symptom of heavy loop pedal use, but especially seen in "Yesterday" when Gianni sings with a total of five versions of himself.
- Self-Parody: Five Peeps One Guitar has evolved!
- Shout-Out: There are very obvious O Brother, Where Art Thou? vibes going on in "Gang of Rhythm".
- Street Musician: Referenced in "Corner of Queen"
- The Stoic: Beard guy aka Mike Taylor
- Stop and Go: When the band briefly disappears during "Backin' Up"
- Stop Motion: The video for Money Tree is made from a series of photos strung together in a stop motion story.
- Suicidal "Gotcha!": Towards the end of "Gang of Rhythm".
- Theremin: The Coolest Theremin Video Ever
- Tick Tock Tune: The clocks in Little Boxes and What Do You Mean
- Title Drop: The band comes close to title-dropping their name in the song "Gang of Rhythm": "There's no worries on the Earth tonight/We're all walking off the world tonight."
- Vocal Tag Team: Gianni, Sarah, and Ryan all sing lead vocals, some combination of two of them tend to sing lead each song, trading off verses.