Nicholas Petricca's inner child is a tiny, Technicolor bird-person. At least that’s how the WALK THE MOON frontman, 32, describes it within our moon meditation circle on a mid-January evening. “I see a brightly feathered avian creature with yellows and reds and big shiny black alien eyes,” he says excitedly. Petricca is famous for getting arenas of fans dancing to his band’s pulse-pounding synth-rock, but he’s equally comfortable channeling lunar vibes under the guidance of Los Angeles-based psychological astrologer Danielle Beinstein. She’s leading our ceremony not because of some connection to WALK THE MOON’s name, but because this sort of thing is an important part of Petricca’s life when he isn’t touring. In fact, we’re sitting in the Santa Monica, Calif., studio he co-owns: Kundalini Yoga by the Sea.
If growing up in a churchgoing Ohio family taught the musician about faith, and a 2012 shaman-led ayahuasca trip was the “slap in the face” that opened Petricca up to mysticism, it was his father’s death in 2017 that moved him to find a union of the two in Kundalini, a deeply spiritual form of yoga. “It was a dark time,” says Petricca, who was working on the band’s fourth album, What If Nothing (WALK THE MOON has earned a combined 1.7 million equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music). “The strength I found in Kundalini enabled me to find not only peace but also creative expression to transform those painful experiences into something awesome: an album.”