From their own tastes as indie rock connoisseurs to the classic rock sensibilities that their families bestowed upon them as youngsters, Wallows haven’t been shy about making the music that they want to make. So far, that seems to be working out for them.
The three lifelong friends — Braeden Lemasters, Cole Preston and Dylan Minnette — have been navigating the Southern California music scene for over a decade and proved on last year’s debut record, Nothing Happens, that they have the chops that pay proper tribute to their background.
“It makes sense that the songs we’re making now are because we have our finger much more on the pulse of what we listen to on a day-to-day basis and that’s still evolving every day,” vocalist and rhythm guitarist Dylan Minnette said. “There are demos that we have beyond what we’re putting out right now or in the near future that are even closer to what I listen to today. Our music tastes evolve constantly and we’ll always be a step behind in what we’re making because we’re still learning how to get there. But it’s kind of fun to chase what you love, want to create and what inspires you. That’s how I feel about ‘OK.’ It’s a good intro to what we want to do.”
If Minette’s name sounds familiar, it’s because there’s a fairly good chance that you’ve seen him in Goosebumps, Lost and most recently, as the lead in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. While his acting career could be a point of contention in some other bands (think Dogstar), he’s not the only one in his band. Lead guitarist and fellow vocalist Braeden Lemasters is an actor himself, appearing in titles like A Christmas Story 2 and T@gged. Their friendship, along with the band’s origin, is a story so L.A. that it could be a movie itself.
“When you’re 14 or 15, you have all the confidence in the world,” Lemasters said. “We started playing shows around L.A. because our former bass player’s dad [booked the venues], like The Roxy and all of these random places and all of our friends would come. You hope for touring one day. You hope that you can hit the road and play as many shows as you can and we were fortunate enough to do that. We started dropping songs as Wallows and making the connections we needed in order to do that. Luckily, we’ve met some amazing people and made friends with some of the artists that we love.”
Among those friends, Wallows’ first (and only) opening slot on a major tour was with Vampire Weekend. But while Ezra Koenig and friends may have introduced them to a wider audience, it’s the memorable tracks on the group’s first EP and album that have made Wallows a hit both locally and across the country. Of course, for a band with a relatively brief discography, they’ve already realized that some of their songs will hold up better than others over the years.
“There’s this weird thing where you think you’re going to play this song your whole life, and it just goes away,” Lemasters said. “But then it keeps happening, and then every song to this point is almost completely new. It’s a weird evolution and I’m sure every band goes through it. You shed songs left and right, and I think by the time you’re 19, 20 or 21, that’s when you realize ‘This is what it is.’ Everything before that was a little too premature. It wasn’t the right timing.”
Check out Wallows’ latest song, “OK,” below.