It’s easy to fake a smile, but when it comes to Alan Walker‘s new single with ‘Mad At Disney‘ hitmaker Salem Ilese, the smile is authentically true. The diamond-selling DJ, yet again, captivated us with an emotionally-sought production.
Feel your heart sink as Ilese’s honest and vulnerable voice executes the first verse. As we move through the song, we shed light on inner demons that we all face at some point―trust us, we all have been there. After laying in the closet floor listening and resonating with this song for about twelve hours, we fully absorbed the message that no matter what we go through or pains we endure, we can still stay true to ourselves.
Alongside the repeat-worthy release we go the exclusive interview with the man himself, Alan Walker.
Hey! How are you?
I’m good, how are you?
I’m good! It’s been about two years since I interviewed you in Tucson. I dyed my hair and look a bit different now.
That was a long time ago.
It has been a crazy year with COVID and everything. What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced as a person and an artist?
As an artist, the biggest challenge was that there were not festivals or concerts. Everything just stopped. There was nothing going on. When there’s no festivals or concerts, you know, you stop traveling and that is a big part of the career. That took some getting adjusted to and used to. That is one of the biggest changes of 2020. I’ve been really focusing on content, getting things out there, and ready for 2021. We’re just getting started.
So I saw that you started a Tik Tok during the pandemic. How has that helped you musically?
Tik Tok is an interesting social platform. It is going up and up. It opens the doors for another audience. It’s nice to stay in with those platforms even if you’re the new guy for a bit.
What other strategies or tactics have you used to stay connected with your audience?
We started doing more livestreams. I join a lot of “Walkers” on Zoom calls. I tried to keep up with a lot of Q&As. It’s really important for me to keep my connection with them. I also try continue with projects on social media and more. Overall 2020 was a pretty quiet year though for Walker as an artist.
Although Alan Walker as an artist was more quiet this past year, you still managed to work on music that allowed you to start 2021 stronger than ever. With that, how has quarantine changed the way production and studio time worked?
It didn’t change much. Instead of recording on the road, now I just walk down the stairs and record at home. I just work on the computer here instead of wherever. That’s the biggest change with it, but it hasn’t impacted it too much. I just work with people more on Skype, Zoom, or whatever.
I feel like it can be stressful depending on virtual chats for work.
It’s possible, but I wouldn’t say it’s stressful. With my work, I look at a computer all of the time and listen to music over, over, and over again. I think the pandemic suited my situation alright, but yes you can definitely get bored sometimes.
Going back to ‘Fake A Smile’, can you share the story behind that, your vision, and how you executed it?
‘Fake A Smile’ is a song that was roughly started about a year ago, maybe less. They had the topline and the chords then they asked me if I wanted to do the production on it and have it out as a single. I listened to it and thought it was pretty cool. We made it, demoed it, and sent it out for vocalists. We found Salem and she became the vocalist on the song.
Being a Tik Tok user, were you able to connect with her through there? Her song went viral on there.
It went through management, but before that, no we didn’t really have any connection. Now with the song, yes, but we didn’t go through there, but with the collaboration we do get a lot of listeners through there.
I saw that you performed your first live show in January! How was that? How was the set up? How did it feel?
Yes, that show was in Dubai. We were able to make it work. The capacity was supposed to be at 16,000, but it was reduced to eight then four then two. It was supposed to be two days, but one was cancelled. I think a lot of people were still really hesitant with concerts and everything. It was really different. Everyone had to provide negative test results and be seated.
Were you nervous since this was your first show in a few months?
Yea, I was nervous. The last show was in March and this one was in January, but I was nervous before going on. Everyone wanted to get up and show their enjoyment, but everyone had to stay seated. It was kind of complicated, but it was nice seeing that people were enjoying it.
With that, what can fans hopefully expect? More shows or maybe a tour soon? More virtual events?
It’s a difficult question to be fair because nobody knows for certain. It depends on the vaccine. If it works and everyone is able to get vaccinated then yes hopefully more concerts and shows. More virtual shows, yes. That’s always possible to set up and do. All you need is a green screen or place to stream from. Anything is possible.
To conclude, what is one message to your fans?
I wish each and every one of you are healthy and safe. Same goes with your friends and family. It’s been a long run, but hopefully we can get through it sooner rather than later.