Photo: Jimmy Fontaine
Wallows is a band that has been a decade in the making. Comprised of Braeden Lemasters, Dylan Minnette, and Cole Preston, the Los Angeles-based trio has been playing in bands together since they were 11, and maybe that begins to explain why Wallows’ sound comes off as remarkably concise and striking only one EP in. It can be heard throughout their succinct debut EP, Spring, which only left us clamoring for the band’s highly-anticipated full-length follow-up. An EP, mind you, that Wallows somehow found time to release and tour with, despite both Lemasters and Minnette being quite busy acting – the latter you may recognize as the star of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why.
Following a slew of sold out shows, a remarkable debut EP, an appearance at Tyler the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, 2019 is looking to be even bigger for Wallows. Don’t believe us? Well, feel free to dispute our claims while we’re busy moshing at the band’s upcoming Coachella set. Ahead of what is bound to be Wallows’ breakout year, we caught up with the band to talk about how they got where they are today, what is to come, and an extreme fear of condiments.
OTW: So the three of you have been friends for awhile, going through band names, sounds, etc – can you walk us through that?
Braeden: Yes. So we’ve been playing together for almost ten years now, and me and Dylan met through an acting thing.
OTW: How old are you?
Braeden: I’m 22.
OTW: So literally half your life!
Braeden: So, half my life, yeah. I was like 10 when we met and then 12, 13, when we started playing together. Me and Dylan knew each other for awhile and then we met Cole, and then we started a band, and then we did classic rock covers and started writing classic rock originals, and then we just kind of progressed. Then, overnight…. just kidding [laughs]
We started playing under another name, and Wallows formed like a year ago and then overnight… [laughs] So sorry, but yeah, then we started playing and now we’re at Camp Flognaw! We’re stoked.
OTW: Okay, other than the overnight success, to what would you attribute your success?
Dylan: I think when we first dropped “Pleaser” and changed our name on all Instagram accounts – that was the first, “We’re doing this, we’re doing something.”
Cole: It was a band name that we were actually proud of for once. We had extremely tragic names growing up.
OTW: Can we go through those?
Cole: Oh yes.
Breaden: Name number one: The Fever.
Dylan: With an ‘A’.
Dylan: Feaver like beaver. Next was the Narwalls, so that’s hilarious. So yeah, then Wallows happened one day.
Braedan: So, the story behind the name is, I grew up playing Tony’s Hawk’s Underground, and there’s a spot in the game called “Wallows,” and that’s actually a spot in Hawaii, and it’s a skating spot. So, I grew up loving that name, told the guys about it, we wanted to call an album Wallows one day, and then we were talking about band names. And there it was.
OTW: How do each of your individual tastes in music contribute to the sound?
Cole: I feel like since we grew up playing in the band and like sharing music with each other, our tastes kind of just like met somewhere when we were really young, and it’s just kind of the same. You know what I mean? I feel like we all have a very similar taste in music now, but it’s very broad-ranging.
Braeden: I think what really helps, is if one of us comes up with an idea, we all kind of play everything like we can – drums, guitar, like we can make a song on our own if we wanted too. I think that’s where it comes to the table, like if Cole has an idea or I have an idea, we just go, “Oh can you make this idea how you think it should be?” And then he just made a whole version of it, so I can hear a different perspective on a song that I came up with. So that kind of helps broaden the creative process; there’s not like one main songwriter just doing it. That’s how we help each other because we all bring something different to the table, in terms of what we’ll come up with.
OTW: Name one thing about another band member that no one knows.
Braeden: Oh, I think I had one of these. Cole’s worst nightmare is eating condiments on their own. Like a spoonful of mayo [laughs].
OTW: So you actively think about this?
Cole: Yeah, yeah. It freaks me out. Like I’ll go to In N Out and get the ketchup things. I do enjoy like ketchup and mayo and things like that, but like just the idea that Costco-size condiments exists just makes me.. ugh, it’s so bad! [laughs]
Braeden: I love it!
Cole: You guys could both drink honey mustard.
Dylan: Oh yeah, forsure.
Braeden: I’d say the fun fact about Dylan is… I know so many of them.
**OTW: Name all of them. **
Braeden: He loves Gang Beats, a game on PS4.
Dylan: You love it just as much.
Braeden: I do love it just as much.
Cole: I think we all do.
Braeden: Dylan also loves movies. His favorite movie is Pulp Fiction, I think.
Dylan: One of them. Or The Iron Giant.
Braeden: Pulp Giant.
Dylan: The Iron Pulp [laughs].
Cole: I feel like Braeden is very candid. I don’t know if anyone doesn’t know anything.
Braeden: I’ll say something about myself [laughs]. Every night I go to bed eating Cheerios with a scoop of peanut butter on the spoon, so you eat the Cheerios with the peanut butter on the spoon.
OTW: Oh! Honey Nut or regular?
Braeden: Regular. And then I put almond coconut whipped cream on it, and then I put cinnamon all over it topped with almond milk. Every night for the last two months I’ve been eating that.
OTW: Can we get a picture for the interview?
Cole: That’s our album cover, actually [laughs].
OTW: Great, great. So, let’s talk about music. Spring was your debut, right?
Dylan: Debut EP, yes! But there’s an album that’s coming.
Braeden: It’s going to exist soon. Yes, which is crazy.
OTW: What can we know?
Dylan: It’s a 2019 release.
Cole: It’s technically complete.
Braeden: It was produced by John Congleton, who’s the dude who did the Spring EP.
Braeden: Yes, St. Vincent, Alvvays, a bunch of amazing artists.
Dylan: Yeah, he’s great, I love John. I don’t know what else to say about it. I don’t want to give away too much.
Braeden: There’s a feature… we won’t say who.
Dylan: There may or may not be a feature.
OTW: Any hints?
Dylan: No, we can’t give any hints. [laughs]
OTW: Okay, so 2019, no date. Is there a name?
Braeden: There is a title, but we can’t say.
Cole: All will be revealed, all will make sense later.
OTW: Fine! So, who are your Ones To Watch?
Dylan: Rex. He’s not really up and coming but Rex Orange County.
Cole: This band called Joy Again, super amazing. Slow Hollows; they’re really amazing. There’s this band called Moma, that I really like. They’re a good band.
Braeden: Post Malone [laughs].
OTW: As a band do you have an ultimate idea of success?
Braeden: My main thing – I would just love to have a stack of albums one day, that I’m just really proud of. Like I could just flip through them and just be like, “I love all of these, and hopefully people did as well.” That’s my personal goal. I think just working with as many artists as we can. Try to collab and make music with other people would be a fun goal. I don’t know, start dressing cooler. [laughs]
Dylan: Honestly, I would love to work with Post Malone. That’d be insane.
Dylan: That would be way too next level.
Braeden: And Frank Ocean.
OTW: Last question – as a band, is there any message you would send to the youth culture of today?
Braeden: Yeah, my advice as a lot of crazy things are happening with social media in this day and age, is just be yourself and try not to get in your head because so many people can just give you so much information about yourself, and they don’t like you on Instagram. Be yourself and try your best, and just stay positive and have a good time because everyone is so unique. You know what I mean? We’re all so different.
Cole: Yeah, just don’t be afraid to be yourself because what’s the worst that could happen? Surround yourself with people that allow you to be comfortable and that make you feel better about yourself. You know what I mean?
Dylan: Just be happy. If you’re happy, that’s all that matters.
Braeden: And if you’re unhappy, that’s cool too, you can always get happy.
OTW: Anything else you guys want to talk about that’s coming up?
Dylan: There will be a tour. Another big tour, bigger than before. After the album.
Cole: You should come out to the next tour because it will be very different from the last one, for sure.
Braeden: We’re going to be the first band in space.
Cole: First and last band in space.