In November 2015, while living more than 2,000 miles apart, cousins David and Chad Walsh sparked up a musical collaboration based on demos sent back-and-forth and song ideas shared over the phone. During a writing trip spent holed up in a basement studio in Chad’s hometown of Toronto, the two started experimenting with vintage synthesizers and throwback hip-hop drum loops, radically departing from the stripped-back folk of their earlier output. With drummer Frank Goerz later brought into the fold, the trio dubbed themselves The Man Who and soon made their breakthrough with “Bet On You”—a moody yet anthemic track that embodies their extravagantly detailed brand of alt-rock, and eventually paved the way for their signing to Virgin Records.
Produced mainly by Tawgs Salter and mixed by Mark “Spike” Stent (Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Chvrches), The Man Who’s forthcoming debut EP was mostly recorded at Salter’s cabin studio near Niagara Falls. With additional production from Stephen Kozmeniuk (Dua Lipa) and Gavin Slate, the EP further reveals the hypnotic contrast at the heart of their music—an infinite tension between bright and dark, raw vulnerability and quiet mystique. That tension also manifests in their endlessly inventive sound design, an element that often finds the band fusing Chad’s intricate guitar work and Goerz’s powerful drumming with fuzzed-out bass and booming 808s.
Growing up in Newfoundland, David picked up guitar as a kid, thanks to his father’s influence. Meanwhile, in Toronto, Chad performed in bands in high school and later played guitar for artists within the Toronto music scene, sometimes joining them on tour. When one such tour brought him to Newfoundland, Chad linked up with David, who’d begun writing folk songs on his own. As they built up their body of work, the two cousins eventually reached out to Frank, whom Chad had met on tour. Also from Toronto, Frank first took up drumming at age 10, and headed to Nashville after high school to work for a series of studios.
Now all based in Toronto, The Man Who took their name from a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “The world makes way for the man who knows where he’s going.” And as Chad points out, the band’s thoughtful self-assurance has much to do with their unbreakable bond as co-creators. “Even though David and I are cousins, I feel like we’re meant to be brothers—and that connection is the same between us and Frank,” he says. “Our three personalities are so different but in the best way possible, and we all balance each other extremely well. We can spend countless hours in some tiny rehearsal space or bedroom, just running ideas and trying things out and seeing what’s possible with the music, and it’s more fun than anything else in the world.”
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