By: Audrie Kuntz
If anyone knows what it’s like to start from the bottom, it’s two incredible and talented musicians who play in a band known as ‘Walkney.’ Derek Mrdjenovich and Aaron Porta are the faces behind a long and dedicated path that they have created while showing who they have become today through their music.
Formally known as ‘The Big Time,’ the story behind the name change is an inspiring and moving one. After mutually deciding as a band on its original name in 2009, other signs from lead singer, Mrdjenovich’s life, began to speak to him.
After losing his mother in 2012, Mrdjenovich’s world was crushed. Although he says from the outside you couldn’t tell, he said music is what was his true “coping mechanism” became.
“It’s been a morale boost, it’s been totally refreshing,” Derek says about the bands new name.
The band that began as four best friends, playing and writing their own music in Derek’s basement, grew into a music group who soon saw themselves opening for well-known bands like pop punk band, All Time Low.
“It was a dream come true because I grew up listening to them,” he said.
Some other bands Derek has gotten to work with is Derek Sanders, the lead vocalist from Mayday Parade when the two did songwriting back in December.
Originally from Altoona, PA, ‘The Big Time’ found themselves all over the country and mostly by bus. The group invested in their first tour bus in 2011 and put it to use shortly after as they toured the country traveling as far as Seattle.
A humbling experience happened while they were on the road when the tour bus broke down on Sunset Boulevard. “I was 18 and broke. We had $300 collectively,” he said. “I called my Dad, told him what happened and he said, “you better sell some CDs.” The lead vocalist admits, this was the first time he realized how hard they would have to work for what they truly wanted.
Clearly, trying moments like this haven’t stopped them. Their latest official music video, “Sparrow,” will be released in May while “Change” dropped just last month.
They have done everything they have been passionate about from traveling all over America by bus to doing shows at fans homes in a more intimate setting because of the fan base they have established.
“I began to realize I was becoming more and more inspired by my mothers legacy and the name she left me to carry on.”
The band will be performing at Black Bear Burrito in Morgantown this summer and can’t wait to begin venturing out to Morgantown to play their music for a college town. “When we were just getting started, we wanted to take over our hometown, but now we’re excited to break into this scene.”
Each performance at the music joint and food venue are free and begin at 6:30 pm.