Five things we learned from our In Conversation video chat with Wallows
Despite being near the end of a tiring UK and European tour, Wallows are still lively and animated company when NME sits down with the LA trio in London. Cole Preston (guitarist/drummer), Braeden Lemasters and Dylan Minnette (vocalists/guitarists) have mostly been on road since the release of their second album ‘Tell Me That It’s Over’ back in March, but the benefits of touring have far outweighed any negatives.
For instance, without touring they may never have had the chance to visit Liverpool and walk the same streets as one of their biggest musical influences, The Beatles. This tour has also provided Wallows with their biggest UK crowd to date after the three-piece performed at Reading & Leeds for the first time, which, Minnette says, was an “incredible” experience.
‘Tell Me That It’s Over’ followed on from Wallows’ 2019 debut album ‘Nothing Happens’, which mixed lofty indie-folk with equally grimy and glossy overtones, and featured their double-platinum-selling Clairo collaboration ‘Are You Bored Yet?’. With ‘Tell Me That It’s Over’, Wallows are looking to further the momentum gathered by their first album, leaning more into the influence of electronic music this time round and taking cues from their in-demand producer Ariel Rechtshaid.
For the latest instalment of NME’s In Conversation series, Wallows discuss their long-standing relationship, their love of British music and their very early plans for their next album.
Wallows loved making their Reading & Leeds debut
“We grew up watching so many [Reading & Leeds] performances from bands that changed our lives,” Minette reflects now about the band’s debut appearance at the twin festivals back in August. “It always looks unreal, like [in terms of] the energy and the size of the crowd, and how passionate all of the music fans are.
“It definitely felt the same for us on stage: the turnout was great, and the energy was better than any energy we feel like we’ve seen in a crowd. It felt like our young dreams coming true.”
They’re big fans of British guitar music
Wallows have been vocal in the past about how they count Vampire Weekend and The Beatles as two of their key influences, but their love for British guitar music goes further than the latter. Lemasters in particular is a big fan of The Libertines and Pete Doherty, who he counts as one of his “idols”. “[Doherty’s] work is so genuine and so real,” he explains. “There’s such a passion to his music: it’s so authentic, and he’s an amazing lyricist and writer. It [comes] from a real place.”
The band would like to model their career on the likes of Arctic Monkeys, who they were sad to miss headlining Reading & Leeds. “We look at bands like [Arctic Monkeys] who started so strong, but their progression [since] makes complete sense,” Minette says. “They’ve only got bigger and better in a lot of ways. You can look at every era of this band, and every bit of this is so impressive – they never really repeat it.”
Wallows’ unwavering bond has become more important than ever
Unsurprisingly, Preston notes, “touring can be kind of exhausting and boring sometimes,” citing the mundanity of waiting at airports and sitting around in dressing rooms waiting for their shows to start. But, equally, touring can also feel otherworldly: “We’re on [tour]buses now, so you’re quite literally teleporting every night. You go to sleep and you wake up, and you’re somewhere new: [you feel like] you’re floating aimlessly around,” Minnette observes.
What keeps Wallows engaged, though, is their strong inter-band bond. “I can’t imagine being a solo artist on the road,” Minnette adds. “We’re very lucky that we have such a great rapport… it helps us stay grounded and tethered to reality.”
Working with Ariel Rechtshaid was a game-changer
“It was a very fruitful collaboration with Ariel,” Minette says of working with the producer on ‘Tell Me That It’s Over’. The experience opened Wallows’ eyes to new ways of working, changed how they saw themselves as a band, and deepened their trust in one another creatively.
“The three of us and [Rechtshaid] ended up getting on really well as friends, which certainly made the collaboration a lot easier,” Preston adds. “He definitely opened up our minds and helped us let go of the preciousness of [our] demos… he challenged us, but also really navigated the ship forward.”
Tour life is influencing the next Wallows album
While they’re still very much in touring mode (“we still have a lot of it left, and we love playing this album live,” says Minnette), Wallows are gathering creative inspiration from life on the road, and talk has already turned to album number three.
“From a creative standpoint, we are thinking about the next album,” Minnette confirms, though they’re also keen that their fanbase doesn’t read too much into this news. “I feel like our fans will be excited about our ideas – but we might change our minds!”
Wallows will tour in the UK and Ireland in January – tickets are available here.