From 2009 to 2015, The Big Time from Altoona, PA tore up the pop punk music scene. From small, hometown shows to opening for All Time Low and Mayday Parade, they made a name for themselves. They had a reputation for putting on high-energy shows and being extremely interactive with their crowds. If you ever saw them live, even if you weren’t necessarily there to see them, you probably left with an album and merchandise of theirs and spoke to frontman Derek Mrdjenovich (or maybe that’s just me…).
However, change has come to The Big Time. After rotating band members in and out, they decided to change their direction by giving up their name. Instead, they now go by Walkney. They, very eloquently, explained this change in a video they posted to their website (which you can watch below). Basically, they want to make a bigger impact on the music industry by being as inclusive as possible and exploring new outlets, while honoring Mrdjenovich’s mother’s legacy. His mother was Karen Walkney-Mrdjenovich, and she was deaf but never let it stop her. She was the University of Pittsburg’s first deaf graduate, and eventually became a professor there. Walkney-Mrdjenovich also led an organization called Beautiful Hands, where she taught students how to sign along to popular songs. She passed away in 2010, shortly after The Big Time had formed.
In her memory, Walkney is making strides to encourage the deaf and hearing impaired to participate in musical activities. In April, they performed in their hometown of Altoona with sign language interpreters who translated their words into American Sign Language. They're music has taken such a powerful turn since they've changed their name, and they are making amazing things happen to be as inclusive as possible for everyone.
This summer, Walkney is doing their very first tour with The Millenium, Time Atlas, and Royal Street. You can catch them on The Sleepless Summer Tour, which will be hitting 10 states and 11 cities from June 13 to the 26th. Go see them live, support the causes they stand for, and have a great time. If you can't make the tour, check out their music on iTunes. You won't regret it.