Updated: Jul 8, 2020
By Hannah Fuchs ‘23
(Listen to the full interview below!)
Back in early December, fellow WVBR marketing team member Kiki Quintero and I got the chance to talk to LA-based band Wallows via phone at our station. Wallows seem to have the ability to produce songs evocative of the soundtrack of your favorite coming of age movie: cozy, perhaps emotional, and reminiscent of the young adult experience. The three piece band, comprised of Dylan Minnette (you may know him best from Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why), Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston was formally founded back in 2017 with the release of their punchy, garage-rock esque single “Pleaser,” one of my personal favorites. While Dylan was unavailable at the time of our interview, we spoke to Braeden and Cole about their first studio album Nothing Happens (released back in March), touring, upcoming projects, dream collaborations and more.
When asked about what we can expect in their post Nothing Happens era, Lemasters revealed, “I feel like in the last couple of months we’ve been inspired by really different kinds of 90s-early 2000s music. I feel like a lot of [new] songs we play are leading in that direction. So I feel like there’s some sort of something coming up!” Citing Aly and AJ’s 2007 hit Potential Breakup Song as a source of inspiration, Wallows laughed that maybe listeners can expect that “vibe” and style in future works.
Lemasters and Preston also reflected on their humble musical beginnings, making quick, funny and casual songs along with Minnette as kids on computer programs like GarageBand. Some of the songs, Lemasters laughed, are “still on his computer”, serving as a nice dose of nostalgia for the band.
Pivoting back to discussing their recent tour, we asked about their experiences touring not only as headliners, but as openers for Vampire Weekend. “That was great,” Preston recounted. “That’s a band, I think, that hit our demographic at the perfect time...they’re just one of those bands that changed my whole worldview on music. So to open for them now, twelve year old me would be mind blown.” Opening for Vampire Weekend was not only a great way to grow closer to a band they idolized, but also provided Wallows the opportunity to play bigger venues and crowds than they had ever before. “We were very nervous for the first one, and then it came easier the second and third time,” they joked. Lemasters and Preston also made it a point to emphasize the genuine kindness of Vampire Weekend, saying, “It’s rare that a band is just so nice...They’re just really cool.”
When asked about their creative process and what happens if they encounter writer’s block, Lemasters explained with a laugh, “We’re really good at writing joke songs when we’re not taking stuff seriously, which is really fun. We had a recent session, and it was technically a joke song, but it felt so good to write. I think we try to break it up whenever we can, break the monotony. That joke song might see the light of day!” There is an ease and camaraderie that becomes apparent when listening to Wallows that was further evidenced in our conversation; they’re truly having fun and enjoying the process.
Discussing more dream collaborations, Wallows mentioned artists like Sandy “Alex” G, Frank Ocean (their “obvious” pick), and the late John Lennon, but emphasized that many of their collaborations are honestly just with their friends. “It’s like, oh, we can just text them!” Lemasters elaborated. Concluding our interview by reciting the classic WVBR “image,” it was a great opportunity to speak with Braeden and Cole and discover new insight into one of my favorite bands who undoubtedly have much more success in their future.