How I Play: Wallows on Musical Beginnings the Road Ahead
Watch the young band talk about their long history together and the organic way they approach songwriting.
By Mike Duffy
Braeden Lemasters, Cole Preston and Dylan Minnette have been playing music together for at least a decade, but it took a while for the three longtime friends to officially adopt the band name Wallows.
It didn't take long for that moniker to catch on, however, as Wallows garnered a ton of buzz in 2017 almost as soon as they dropped their first single, "Pleaser," a surf-tinged tune that recalled early 2000s alt heroes like the Strokes or Vampire Weekend.
"Pleaser" racked up more than 6 million streams, and coupled with several strong follow-up singles, Wallows found themselves selling out storied West Coast venues like the Roxy and Troubadour in Los Angeles and Slim's in San Francisco, drawing rave reviews.
Wallows' heady rise might have come quickly, but the many years toiling away on their instruments together helped prepare them for it.
"I think what's great about us playing together for so many years as we have is that we have literally playing together for so many years, like playing music physically," said Minette, who plays guitar and takes the lead on vocals. "That's why I think when we first getting on stage as Wallows that just sort of started last year, we felt comfortable with one another on stage. It just comes from practice and taking time and patience
"We've been doing so many small, nothing things for years as kids. It has definitely helped us with very realistic expectations; and being super thankful for any little thing that happens to us right now. We've worked pretty hard, but you've got to work hard and you've got to practice and feel like everything's worth it when it happens."
The release of their 2018 EP, Spring, has only boosted their notoriety. Led by the infectious "Pictures of Girls," which they recently performed on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Spring shows Wallows taking the next step as musicians, something they are continuing to do as they work on their forthcoming full-length with legendary producer John Congleton.
Of course, you might have also come across members of Wallows for their acting credits, as well. Minette currently stars as Clay in the hit Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, while Lemasters had a prominent role in the TNT comedy Men of a Certain Age.
But don't mistake Wallows as a vanity project. This band is here to stay, with a passion and talent for making music that dates back to their early childhood.
"The reason I love making music stems from my love of hearing music when I was younger," said Lemasters. "Just hearing all the records my dad showed me and discovering music on my own, like Arcade Fire, like Alvvays … all these random bands.
"It's one those things that is hard to explain so that's the fun of it not knowing. It comes from a really organic place."
As Wallows preps their debut LP, they have a slew of major festival appearances to round out the year, including Lollapalooza, Life is Beautiful and Austin City Limits.
To learn more about the band's growth and the advice they would give to aspiring musicians, check out the video above. And visit Wallows' official Facebook page for their latest news.
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