Anyone who grew up jammin’ to the Goo Goo Dolls, and Vampire Weekend will appreciate the same mellow rock tunes from Wallows. The band, made up of friends, Braeden, Dylan and Cole have just dropped their EP Spring, this…well, past Spring. Many will recognise Dylan, from 13 Reasons Why, the hit Netflix show, which just dropped it’s second season earlier this year. But don’t let his role overshadow his musical talent. Like Braeden, his voice blends in beautifully with the creative sounds, all three have produced together. The group are a musical match made in heaven.
When I got the chance to speak to Dylan and Braeden on the phone, they were in Chicago getting ready for their Lollapalooza set (and for a deep dish pizza of course.)
What are you guys up to in Chicago?
Dylan: We’re here for Lollapoolza. I cannot wait, it’s kind of like a cool little dream for us, because we came here in 2013 and it’s one of our favourite festivals, we’ve ever been to, so the fact that we kick off our festival career – because this is technically our first festival. We did South by Southwest but this one just kind of feels like one of the big ones.
I mean for rock bands, it’s like the ultimate peak, so I’m sure you guys are super excited for that.
Braeden: Yeah, it’s insane.
So are you guys originally from California?
D: No, I’m from Indiana originally, like in the mid-west,
B: I’m from Ohio which is near Dylan in the mid-west as well.
Are you guys based in LA now?
B: Yeah, we’ve been in LA – since, god I was like 9 when I moved out here and now I’m 22. So a good amount of time, what is that 12 years or something? Or 13 years pretty much.
D: Yeah it’s a similar thing for me, I started going to LA when I was 8, Braeden and I were going for acting at the time. Braeden and I met through our moms, way back when, when Braeden was 8, and I was 9. So yeah, that just kind of happened, and we were seeing each other all the time. We were both in to music so it worked out, and we became friends.
How do you guys balance your acting commitments with Wallows?
D: I think we’re all used to the fact that there is this other thing happening with acting and we work very hard to schedule everything around it now, or at least while it stands. But I think the way that I make it work on my end, is just whenever I’m not filming 13 Reasons Why I devote all my time to Wallows, I’m definitely not going in to try and pursue another movie, or something else in the time being. I think if I were to continue doing other acting projects it would have to be when the show is over, because then – half of my year has to be taken up by music. That’s because it’s the only way it’s ever going to work. I don’t say the same thing about acting, because I’ve been doing it for a long time, if acting happens to fall in somewhere, I’ll do it, but for me, acting is working right now, and in order to make music work, I have to devote as much time as possible, and I want to, so I think it’s really making sure that I personally give myself to Wallows as much as I possibly can… I’m going to be just as devoted to Wallows, #Devoted – you know what I mean?
B: I agree.
I know you guys were in London, back in April, was that your first gig overseas?
B: Yes, that was our first international show, we did two shows actually – one at the Queen of Hoxton and one at the Hoxton Square Garden kitchen, and they were so much fun, and so awesome, and I love the crowds. Especially the second show at the it was a really mellow show, and I think, we as a band really took it in, and we really loved London. It was my first time there in general, I think Dylan’s been there before, but it was my first time, and I loved it – and I’m excited for more. I was definitely blown away by the crowd, I was like – dang. They know how to sing some bass rifts, which was really cool.
Would you guys ever consider coming back?
B: Yes, 100% – what?
D: Yes, of course – 100 million%, I was kidding!
So let’s talk a little bit about your latest EP, Spring. Tell me about the creative process behind the EP, and all the songs that went into it…
B: Sure, basically it’s a nice little mixture of songs we have lying around, and there are some newer songs that were literally written a week before we went into the studio, and there were some songs we’ve had for a while, that we thought would work in the same world. So it’s kind of a cool mixture of our song writing in the last couple of years, and also very recently. So, basically we kind of picked all of those songs, because they all work together, in a way that we thought was nice, and we demoed the songs in Cole’s bedroom, and kind of flushed out all of the songs.
D: Flushed out?
B: God, yeah I always say that! So, anyway, we did that, we did them in LA with our producer John Congleton, who also did our album that’s going to come out next year-ish. The whole thing was great, we did it at Sunset Sound, the process was really great and really fun, and uh – I don’t know if Dylan wants to add anything to that –
D: Nah, you’re killing it – you flushed it all out.
B: But yeah, it all came together on the idea of the word of Spring, and I think Dylan came up with the title
D: I did?
B: I think so?
D: I mean yeah, I said it was coming out in Spring, and it feels like Spring, so let’s call it Spring.
So tell me more about your upcoming album, is there anything you can share?
D: What I would say is that it definitely sounds like, I think, from our perspective, it feels like a progression, and I feel like it’s stepping into a direction that we want to go in, and it’s kind of touching on certain things we wanted to get into. It definitely sounds like a progression of what we’ve done so far in our years. But [being] in the shoes of a Wallows fan, that’s around right now, and that’s been around, I do think that there is an element of every aspect of Wallows on it as well, and I think whatever you like about Wallows I think they’re all there, with a lot of new things to find as well. Right now, it’s a really good balance of, I think what people would want out of Wallows, so I hope that’s the case, but it’s hard to tell. I mean we have a long mixing road ahead of us, and we have a lot of work to get it done, but it’s recorded, it exists, it will be out – and yeah, and that’s pretty much what I can say for now.
One of the songs I got especially attached to was 1980s Horror Film, just because the ending just killed me – I thought it was so funny! Tell me how that song come together…
B: Ok, let’s see – I remember the basis of that song formed after randomly discovering, and listening to the Stone Roses, that’s where the guitar riff came out of, and then, I think it was Eye of the Resurrection or something, and then for some reason, Norwegian Wood by the Beatles. I was listening to both of those songs, and then for some reason, that just inspired, the basic structure of that song. It’s not based on any true event or anything like that, but it’s kind of based off my favourite horror movie growing up, Halloween 4. I used to watch it all the time, so then I just based it right around the idea that there’s this guy, that is so excited to finally, you know, meet this girl that he kind of grew up watching…like they’re young at the time, and now they’re older. It was all free flow thoughts, all the lyrics just kind of came out in one sitting, and I remember when I got to the end, I was just like, ‘Oh, how could this be really funny’ – I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, she could just not be into guys’ and there you go, and then it just kind of happened and then we just kind of rolled with it.
Are there any particular songs on the EP, or any songs that you’ve released had special meaning to you?
B: I think the most personal one for me is ‘Let the Sun in’, probably…
Any particular reason why?
B: I think it’s because it’s one of the main ones on the EP, that the music and lyrics truly came out of a really honest place. It kind of just came out of nowhere in a way that I was really surprised [about], and I was really happy with how it turned out. It just really summed up a moment in time, about a specific person or specific thing. I think thats the one I would look back on the most, and think, ‘Wow that’s cool.’
D: I would say Ground. I’m just happy with that song and how it turned out. Cole and I took a riff that Braeden recorded in a voice memo and then we went and made a guitar riff to go with the voice memo. Then Cole pulled out a drumbeat on a drum pad and then started putting bass under it, and started to make this RnB, or rap beat. I wanted to have asong that could have this flow of and RnB song… it’s weirdly such a different song for us and I don’t think it necessarily came out that way. But when listening to it, it’s a cool song to me because I feel like it’s different than our other songs, that’s not just why I like it, a lot of our songs are different, but to me it’s different just because of the way I listen to it, and I think I like it better than most.
Who were some of your musical inspirations growing up?
D: Braeden and I, we both grew up with music. Both of our dads are musicians, and that’s how Braeden and I got into music, our dads have played together in everything. But I think we both became really obsessed with the Beatles. We grew up with everything, but I think the Beatles were first and foremost why we are doing what we are doing, for sure. I remember being 4 years old and playing in my basement in Indiana singing all of Abbey Road.
Unpopular opinion, but Abbey Road was by far their best album.
D: You know, I would not argue that – but I think Braeden might.
B: Well it’s not that I would argue, I think every Beatles album has something special, but Magical Mystery Tour deserves more attention and needs more cred – sorry to rant.
D: Yeah, let’s start fighting over the best Rolling Stone album now. But back to the question, in terms of bands that have been relevant to [Wallows], I think there was this huge game-changing moment was when Braeden was really getting into Led Zepplin, and then I really got into Rage Against the Machine, and then that put us through a phase. But what also put us through a phase were bands like Kings of Leon and the Strokes, primarily, like those became game changers as well.
Who are some new and upcoming artists you guys are loving right now?
B: The first that comes to my mind is a band called Remo Drive, I literally love them and I think Stephen Paulson and Eric Paulson, they’re brothers – I think they’re amazing, and they’re amazing songwriters.
D: The Garden, too
B: Yeah The Garden as well, Precious Kid too
D: Also Joy Again, I think they’re a fantastic band, it’s shocking to me that they don’t have more attention on them right now because they are just unreal, a very great band. This is just me in general, but this girl, her name is Kalben. She has this one album that came in 2017 and it’s literally some of the best and creative music I’ve ever heard in my life.
Listen to Spring here: