WALLOWS – Interview

Foto-© Anthony Pham

Wallows, das in Los Angeles ansässige Trio, bestehend aus Braeden Lemasters, Dylan Minnette und Cole Preston, veröffentlichte mit Nothing Happens eines der am meisten gestreamten Debüts des Jahres 2019 und ließen dann 2020 die EP Remote folgen. Irgendwo mitten in der Neuerfindung ihres Sounds während der Pandemie kehrten Wallows zu einigen älteren Demos zurück, während sie neues Material für ihr zweites Album Tell Me That It’s Over schrieben.

Produziert von Ariel Rechtshaid, zu dessen Produktionen Grammy-Gewinner wie Adele und Vampire Weekend gehören, skizziert Tell Me That It’s Over Anfänge und Enden, den Beginn und das Ende von Beziehungen und die Auseinandersetzung mit dem Älterwerden. In unserem Interview sprachen wir mit dem Trio über das Erwachsenwerden, den neugefundenen Sound und ihre Zusammenarbeit mit Ariel Rechtshaid und Dave Fridman.

Hey Guys, how are you doing today?
Dylan: Hey! We’re doing good, preparing for the Tour, so we’re staying very busy these days.

Let’s take a quick dive into your musical career, for the people who don’t know you already – how did each of you start and how did you get together as a band?
Dylan: Braeden and I know each other since we were nine years old, through acting. Our moms met online and because of that we started to hang out. We both had a similar music taste, even at a young age, so we started writing little songs together, with the hopes and dreams of having a real band one day. We joined this little music program in LA, where kids can come and form bands and rehearse three songs together for a few weeks and then play those songs at a show, sort of like a recital. That’s how we met Cole and asked him if he wanted to be in an actual band with us. We ended up playing music together for more than ten years under various names and now here we are under the name of Wallows for over five years now. We’ve just been playing together forever, we stuck it out and it paid of!

Your second album Tell Me That It’s Over will be released soon – how do you feel you have changed as a band and as individual musicians since the last record?
Cole: I think we changed a lot as a band since putting out the first album. I mean we’ve all been knowing each other forever, but what we experienced together, like actually going on tour, even just the act of putting out an album, we’ve been building up all this new experience over the past years. I think this new record is sort of a reflection of our maturity. When this comes out it’ll be almost five years since we put out our first song, it’s so crazy to think about that, that’s a long time! We’re getting older (laughs).

That’s half a decade!
Cole: Yeah, it’s totally crazy! But we’re so wrapped up in each other’s lifes, we’re always talking and always hanging out, so I think none of us really sees how we changed. But if we could hang out with us from five years ago, we probably wouldn’t even recognize these people (laughs).

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This actually brings me to my next question! In an interview you did on your song I Don’t Want To Talk, you talked about losing confidence as you grow older. Do you feel like losing that adolescent recklessness influenced your way of making music?
Dylan: We’ve gone through a lot of different phases of influences and inspirations in our years of growing up and I feel like our songwriting changed as we gotten older. You’re super confident as kids, as you grow older you lose confidence in certain things and gain confidence in others. A place where we gained a lot of confidence is as songwriters and as musicians in general. The older we get, the smarter we get and we’re finding our voice more, as we put out more music. I think that we sound closer to how we envisioned us sounding in a lot of different ways on this album. The quality of this album, in a lot of ways, is what we wanted to sound like.

Foto-© Dillon Matthew
Foto-© Dillon Matthew

On this record you had to make the decision whether to go in a more commercial direction or to be even more individual, than you were on the last record – how did you make that decision?
Braeden: That’s a good question! I think we are always trying to balance commercial with creative and more out there ideas. Maybe there is a little bit more pop leaning music on this album, but I think it’s a good balance and it all feels right. We’re not trying to be anything. We didn’t cautiously try to write something commercial, but I think we like pop music and we like catchy songs, therefore that is what we wanted to make anyways. But we certainly don’t do it with the intention of it being commercial, it just happens as we write and if it happens to align that way, then that’s great! (laughs)
Dylan: At a certain point in the recording process, we made the decision to not chase after what the most commercial move is, because we’ve never done that before and it’s working out for us so far. We were just focusing on making the best songs we could. And even if Ariel brings a lot of wild and creative ideas to the table, he helped us with being more mindful which songs could be proper singles. He helped us figuring out where the album was going, and he had a good mindset of working out at least one song that sounded like it could make a good single. He made sure to keep focus on what the purpose of an album is and made sure it was kind of digestible for the listeners.

You already mentioned that you worked with Ariel Rechtshaid and Dave Fridmann, how did these collaborations come about and what impact did they have on the songs?
Braeden: We admired Ariels work for a long time, all of us were growing up with the music he was involved in. When he said that he wanted to help us with this record, we were super excited, to have the opportunity to really get to know one of our heroes. He’s so chill but so pro and he pushes you to be your best without being mean, he’s really funny and constantly telling stories, he is the best! For our song I Don’t Want To Talk, that came out in October, we had someone else to mix it, because it had to be finished fast in order to be a part of the end credit scenes of a movie. No offense to that mix, but we wanted to try something else, and we’ve also admired Daves work, so we wanted to get him to do it. He tried it and it was so good, so we wanted him to do the whole record. He is also just so nice and so willing to be patient and work with us. We’re so lucky, that they’re not crazy people (laughs).
Dylan: We really were so lucky that we got to do this record with two legends like Ariel and Dave, or actually three legends with Emily Lazar, who mastered. Three absolute legends! (laughs) We’re very fortunate!

What are your further plans for the year, after the record is released?
Dylan: Braeden, talk us off, why don’t you?
Braeden: (laughs) Our plans involve a lot of touring, we will be all over the world and maybe put out some new music, a few other songs that we started recording during the process. We’re excited to play in front of people, it’s been so long! So, we’re very stoked to go outside and experience that!

Wallows Tour:
27.01.23 München, Muffathalle
29.01.23 Berlin, Astra Kulturhaus
30.01.23 Köln, Live Music Hall
31.01.23 Hamburg, Fabrik

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Emely Triebwasser

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