Contrary to the title of their debut album Nothing Happens, Wallows is booked and busy. The three-piece band, composed of Dylan Minnette, Cole Preston and Braeden Lemasters, has swiftly become an incandescent staple in the indie rock scene, playing sold-out shows in which the three revel in their sobering reflections on life and love.
Bound together by buoyant lyrics and boyish charm, the three 20-somethings use their musical prowess as a means of exploring the intensity of early adulthood, blending idyllic instrumentals with lugubrious lyrics.
“We are people in their twenties, and we are experiencing life from this point of view, and (we are) sort of trying to simmer it down into something,” Preston said in an interview with The Daily Californian.
Nothing Happens primarily points to the disintegration of youth, something the band meticulously considered as they left behind the free felicity of teenagehood for the tumult of their twenties.
“People say kind of in a cliche way that you have your entire life to write and work on your first album,” Preston remarked. “(We were) pulling ideas from when we were teenagers over the span of like ten years and using that for our first record.”
With upbeat backing tracks and contemplative lyrics regarding the retreat from adolescent ardor, Wallows quickly grew a zealous fanbase anxious for new music. Recently veering from their debut’s cacophonous angst, Wallows’ second album Tell Me That It’s Over trades youthful yearning for pensive postulations.
“We always heard how easy it is to overthink your sophomore album, so we decided to just go the opposite route and not overthink it and just let each individual song find itself in the process,” Minnette explained. “That’s why, ultimately, it ended up being a really eclectic batch of songs on the record because we were just sort of focusing on it one song at a time.”
The final track of their sanguine sophomore record “Guitar Romantic Search Adventure” embodies the group’s growth. The four-minute ballad balances Minnette’s yearning vocals with pensive lyrics eponymous of the album’s title. Though the three musicians originally felt the track should open Tell Me That It’s Over, their producer, Grammy Award-winning Ariel Rechtshaid had a different vision for the song.
“Ariel had some ideas of making (the song) grander and bigger than we had pictured, like we pictured it being more lush and sparse and this is more epic and dense,” Minnette said. “It’s my favorite closing track we have so far, so I’m happy we came to that decision.”
Despite ruminating on brooding expressions of grief, Wallows has not completely grown out of their enthralling earworms — the band maintains its effervescence, even as the world around them changes.
“There were definitely moments when we were writing ‘I Don’t Wanna Talk,’ we were able to look at it and be like, ‘This does kind of sound like old, classic Wallows,’ ” Preston explained. “Naturally where we end up sounds like us.”
Balancing the integrity of their roots with innovative transformations to their sound, Wallows’ emotional candor has only augmented. It’s no surprise, then, that fans have flocked in droves to venues across the world for Wallows’ Tell Me That It’s Over tour, anxiously anticipating the band’s return to live performances.
“It’s amazing to be able to play for fans again,” Minnette said. “We’re still getting used to it, but it feels really amazing.”
Selling out shows globally, the band has confidently defied their sophomore album title. Having grown up attending music festivals as fans, the band expressed how surreal it is to now perform at Coachella and Lollapalooza.
“We grew up going to (Coachella) and I think once we get that under our belt, we’ll feel really good about the rest of them because we’re really excited for the festivals,” Minnette noted.
When they’re not jamming, Minnette, Lemasters and Preston are traveling the world together, visiting historic landmarks across various cities and gaming to pass the time.
“This is gonna be a gaming tour,” Preston said. “We are gonna be playing Nintendo Switch, we’re playing FIFA, like I think that’s the vibe I’m catching so far.”
Touring further allots the group opportunities to write together on the road — a creative process for songwriting they haven’t attempted before. Although they just released their sophomore album last month, Wallows are already gearing up for their next work.
“We just want to keep ourselves in front of people and in people’s ears,” Minnette said. “I don’t know what the writing or theme of the next album will entail, but I just know that we’re inspired and want to keep putting music out most importantly.”