Following the release of Wallows’ second album Tell Me That It’s Over on Atlantic last week, the band is hitting the road, with upcoming stops at festivals including Coachella and Lollapalooza. While they reveal a bucket list item is to headline a fest one day, for now they tease that fans can expect a “leveled up” set for their current billings.
Consisting of 13 Reasons Why and Scream 5 star Dylan Minnette, along with Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston, the trio tapped Grammy-winning producer Ariel Rechtshaid for its latest project. The result is an exploration of alt-rock in all its forms, from the searing slow-burn of opener “Hard to Believe” to the slinky, layered single “At the End of the Day.” There’s even the aptly titled “Guitar Romantic Search Adventure,” which incorporates the album title and closes on a melancholy note.
“Going into Tell Me That It’s Over … we were able to be together (safely) and in the room playing actual instruments,” says Preston. “That rawness and spontaneity I think really shines through.”
In the latest edition of Billboard’s 20 questions, Wallows discuss how working together in person influenced the new album, why teaming with Rechtshaid was a “dream come true,” and the song on the new album that they thought would surprise fans the most.
1. What’s the first piece of music you bought for yourself, and what was the medium?
Cole: I bought a copy of [The Strokes’] Is This It? on CD at a Barnes and Noble. I thought I was so cool because the back cover was upside down on this particular copy. I was like, “Wow yes, a misprint,” haha.
2. What was the first concert you saw?
Dylan: Realistically, the first “concert” that I saw was probably one of the bands that my Dad played in in Indiana where I’m from, but I think the first actual proper concert that I went to was an Aerosmith concert. I was 4 years old and I actually have a visual memory of me crawling all over the floor underneath and between people’s seats.
3. What did your parents do for a living when you were a kid?
Braeden: My mom worked as an eye doctor and my dad worked as a music teacher.
4. Who made you realize you could be an artist full-time?
Cole: I think that’s a decision that you have to make for yourself. You have to be willing to dedicate as much of your time to your art as you can afford. Nobody can tell you to do that.
5. What’s at the top of your professional bucket list?
Dylan: I would probably say that headlining a major music festival is at least one of the things at the top of my/our professional bucket list. It’s hard out here for bands to get to that position nowadays. You really have to earn that spot and demand/earn the attention of enough people to do so as a band. So I feel like overall that’s inherently why that’s up high, because we aim to do all of those things.
6. How did your hometown/city shape who you are?
Braeden: I grew up in Warren, Ohio — a small town outside of Cleveland. It instilled the value of family in me.
7. What’s the last song you listened to?
Cole: “Counting Worms” by Knocked Loose.
8. If you could see any artist in concert, dead or alive, who would it be?
Dylan: I mean, I’m pretty sure The Beatles would have put on one of the best shows of all time in their later career…
9. What’s the first show you saw once live music returned?
Braeden: Remi Wolf at the Fonda theater. Awesome show.
10. What albums or artists did you listen to most through the pandemic?
Cole: I think I burned through the Porches catalogue the most? Idk, it was sort of all over the map.
11. How has the pandemic affected your creative process?
Cole: I think for our Remote EP that came out in 2020, we obviously worked separate from each other. Luckily today’s music tech makes that totally possible. The music sounds sort of computer-y intentionally and also out of necessity. Going into Tell Me That It’s Over, we wanted to do the opposite thing. We were able to be together (safely) and in the room playing actual instruments. That rawness and spontaneity I think really shines through.
12. How did you link up with Ariel Rechtshaid for this album and why were you eager to work with him?
All: We’ve admired Ariel’s work for a long time. Our good friends Sachi DiSerafino and John Debold (both incredibly talented musicians/producers) were linked to Ariel for various reasons. We worked on one song from the Remote EP with Ariel, “Nobody Gets Me (Like You),” but it was entirely remote. We didn’t actually meet IRL until we started recording. After doing that one song we sort of just asked him and for some reason he was down. Truly a dream come true.
13. Your 2019 hit “Are You Bored Yet” featured Clairo, yet this album has no features. How did that decision come about?
All: We want to choose features when it feels right. This album we felt we still had to introduce ourselves. We wanted it to be very “Wallows-forward.” We certainly are not opposed to features and will definitely be doing them if they suit future songs.
14. What’s one song from the album that you thought would surprise fans?
Cole: “Especially You” is an adventurous song for us. Swampy/dance-y vibe that we haven’t had before.
15. The band is playing a handful of festivals this summer, including Coachella and Lollapalooza. What can fans expect?
All: We leveled up…
16. What’s your karaoke go-to?
Dylan: Fun fact about me, karaoke is my absolute least favorite past time… I will avoid any and all karaoke events/parties at all costs. It just cringes me out so much, especially the thought of me doing it. I don’t know, I just can’t!
17. What’s one thing your most devoted fans don’t know about the band?
All: We have no secrets. Our fans know everything about us haha.
18. What movie, or song, always makes you cry?
19. Which TV show do you recommend binge-watching?
Dylan: I personally believe that the most underrated show of the last decade, if not of all time, is Mr. Robot. I think that every single season gets better as it goes and it’s just such a magical viewing experience that I wish more people would dive into. I can’t recommend it enough. That and Atlanta. Also absolutely brilliant.
20. What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Cole: Be nice to yourself.