It may come as a surprise that Wallows has been making music together for nearly a decade now but it wasn’t until last year that the California based indie rock band started officially releasing music. The band had an almost instantaneous success after the release of their song “Pleaser” which has garnered over 9 million streams on Spotify to date and also generated a buzz with their sold-out shows at legendary LA nightclubs The Roxy and Troubadour. Substream had the opportunity to sit down with Braeden Lemasters, Dylan Minnette and Cole Preston in New Orleans for the 2018 edition of Voodoo Music + Arts Experience.
Substream: How did you guys meet and eventually start making music together as Wallows?
Braeden: We met when we were all young people, so Dylan and I were very young. We wrote our first song when we were nine, called “Mr. Big Ears and His Grandfather Clock” and “Margarita Taco,” it’s a combo pack. Then we met Cole two or three years later at a “Join the Band” program in LA where bands get put together and then you go and play at a famous rock club. And here we are today, in New Orleans nine years later
Substream: What kind of music did you guys grow up on or what artist changed your life the moment you heard them?
Braeden: I grew up listening to the classics: *NSYNC, blink-182, Green Day. That’s like the early stages and then I remember when I was like nine or ten years old my dad, who is like the biggest Beatles fan of all time, was like “Do you want to hear a Beatles album?” So then he played me Sgt. Pepper’s [Lonely Hearts Band] and it immediately changed my world. I heard that album and I was like, “What is this?” And then he showed me the Beatles 1 album and then I moved on to Led Zeppelin, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, St. Vincent and now I’m digging anything and everything.
Dylan: The Beatles and I think an album I heard that made me know that I wanted to be in a band for sure was when I heard Aha Shake Heartbreak by Kings of Leon. I think I first heard “Taper Jean Girl” when I was like 12 years old and then we started my first band when I was 13 years old and we covered a song by Kings of Leon.
Cole: Its hard to remember sadly. The first song I ever played on the drums was “Say It Aint So” by Weezer because it was in Rock Band.
Substream: Your Spring EP was released earlier this year, can you tell me a little about the recording and writing process for that?
Cole: That was our first time ever hopping into the studio with a producer we really admired so a lot of learning happened during that experience which was really good for us especially with going into doing our album recently. The songwriting was sort of all over the place. There were songs that had been around for a long time but then some other ones that were totally new. I feel like we kind of just threw what we had at it.
Braedyn: We put a lot together in Coles bedroom and also had some songs like “Pictures of Girls” which is technically an older song and songs like “Ground” and “These Days” were newer. We recorded it with John Congleton in like a week in Los Angeles.
Substream: Wallows has many singles and now a full-length album slated to release next year. With this era where we have new music constantly at our fingertips, do you prefer going the route of releasing singles often or creating an album for cohesiveness?
Dylan: Definitely both. An album is something, growing up as kids in bands, that has meant so much to us. An album is where you can express a vision as a whole. The Spring EP was definitely a taste tester in showing certain things that we can do. It’s nice to be able to express ourselves with more songs. Singles are really cool too. I would love to just drop the album next year and then later in the year drop singles.
Substream: Are there any songs that didn’t make the upcoming album from Wallows that will perhaps be released as singles?
Braeden: Yeah we basically recorded 14 songs and only a limited amount will make the album. I won’t spoil it.
Substream: Speaking of singles, Wallows just released “Drunk on Halloween” a couple of weeks ago. Can you tell me a little about that song?
Braeden: Funny story about that. I was procrastinating writing lyrics for a song that’s on the album and then somehow wrote that song. So I showed the guys and we went to Cole’s house and then we made it a thing. The song literally came out of nowhere.
Cole: It was 85% of Braeden singing a Melody and us being like “oh that’s cool.”
Substream: Wallows has had a couple of different name changes, one of them being The Feaver. During the Feaver era of the band, you guys played the Ventura County date of the 2011 Warped Tour. Was that your first big festival?
Dylan: I don’t know if you can count that [laughs].
Braeden: Yeah we played in the back of a truck.
Cole: I’m going to take it to the future. I’m in school and my teacher is the dude who started Warped Tour, Kevin Lyman, and I haven’t told him about that. He’s my professor. It’s like a music festivals class at USC. He’s really great and I love him but I haven’t told him “Hey when I was 13 years old we played the Ernie Ball Stage in the back of a truck.”
Substream: If there was a phrase that best sums up your approach to life, what would it be?
Braeden: “Deadlines!” [Laughs] No I think our approach to life is “Easy breezy lemon squeezy.”
Cole: My 7th-grade health teacher used to tell us every morning to come in and chant “Looking fresh and feeling and fine.” It’s a good way to start your day if your feeling low.