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Wallows: West-coast rockers talk band names and memorable moments

Dylan Minnette’s role as Clay in the Netflix original show, 13 Reasons Why is far from Minette’s only talent.  He is also a musician in his talented band, Wallows. The band consists of members, Braeden Lemasters (singer and rhythm guitar), Cole Preston (drums) and Dylan Minnette (singer and guitar). Wallows are a band that have had multiple names before such as The Narwhals and The Feaver. They played Vans Warped Tour in 2011 and currently have a few songs available on iTunes such as “Pleaser,” “Sun Tan,” “Uncomfortable,” and “Pulling Leaves Off Trees.” With their unique and alternative sound, they are a band worth seeing on their current tour which goes through March. The Suffolk Voice writer, Will Heffernan had the chance to chat with Dylan, Braeden and Cole about their music and tour. 

Q: How did you guys meet and how did you guys get into playing music? 

A: Dylan: Braeden and I met when we were both nine years old, we were just friends at first and we were both into classic rock music. Just for fun, we started writing silly rock songs together and then had this dream of one day starting a band. Then I decided to join this thing in LA called “Join the Band”; it’s a program where kids come together to practice for a few weeks and then play a show. I asked Braeden to join and that’s where we met Cole. He was playing drums and it felt really good, so we thought, why not start a band? That was about eight years ago. Since then we’ve gone through a couple band names and now we landed on Wallows last year. 

Q: How did you guys end up with the name “Wallows”?

A: Braeden: We came up with the name because it’s something I heard around my whole childhood. It’s actually a skating spot in Hawaii. It was on this documentary called Animal Chin; this cool skate spot, a space you call back in the 80’s and they made the spot called Wallow. It’s just a wash behind houses which is really cool and I thought that was really interesting. When we were trying to come with band names I just threw that into the mix. There’s a lot of cool meanings behind Wallows; it can mean sadness, nostalgia, and a bunch of other things.

Q: Cole: We all grew up, our first wave of really loving music was, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, that’s the true route of all this. As we grew older, different kinds of records just blew our minds. We were really into Is This It by The Strokes as well as Arctic Monkeys records and then that sort of evolved into  Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend . Dylan always says the most exciting artist in music right now is Frank Ocean and we love the Tyler The Creator album. We’ve just grown up listening to music for a long time and our influences now are just super wide ranging.  

Q: Do you have a favorite song to perform? 

A: Cole: My favorite song to perform might be “Sun Tan,” cause people jump on the trumpets.

Braeden: It’s one of the four that people know which makes it already really exciting to play. We’re playing a lot of new material on the road right now.  

Q: Do you guys have any memorable moments from the tour so far? 

A: Dylan: We all got sick, I’m sure there are a few more memorable moments.

Cole: The first time someone crowd surfed at our show was in Santa Barbra randomly, but the crowd just went totally ham for some reason. We’re not like a mosh pit kind of band necessarily, but that show was just like an insane audience and then the shows following that in LA was a similar vibe.

Braeden: I think one of the most memorable moments was in Vancouver on my birthday. We were playing on my 22nd birthday and for the encore we just decided to play songs I like because it was my birthday. We played  “Dammit” by Blink-182 and we have never even played it once in our lives and stopped half way through then the crowd just sang “All Star” by Smash Mouth acapella. It was this crazy encore that didn’t make any sense. There was a review from that show that was just like “Wallows were good but strange” and I thought that was really funny. That was a really memorable moment because we were just goofing around for the encore and it was really weird. 

Q: Do you guys have a full length album coming soon? 

A: Cole: I think everyone can expect a EP first and then, I think the album will come not too long after but there’s no plans.

Dylan: I can guarantee you that within 365 days, there will be an album out. 

Q: Sometimes at these small intimate shows there can be surprises at the merch table, can fans expect a surprise at the merch table after show? 

A: Dylan: We went to the merch table a few times to sign stuff. We topped because we all got sick and we had to protect ourselves and stay healthy and some of the venues were just too big so it would have been too much of a commotion. It all depends on how we are feeling You never know, we’re always kind of around the venue afterwards, it’s not hard to meet us.  

Q: In honor of one of your songs, “Uncomfortable,” what is one thing that will make you feel uncomfortable at first but you know will make you better in the long run?

A: Cole: Working out.

Dylan: Yeah, getting yoked.

Braden: I mean, I don’t know, I want to learn how to play the piano.

Dylan: I don’t think any of us really play the piano at all.

Braeden: We just like improvise it.

Cole: I would say working out is the one thing that makes you feel uncomfortable that makes you look good.  

Q: How do you guys come up with each and every album artwork idea? 

A: Dylan: We always come up with our artworks, down to the last second—to the point that people were getting mad at us.

Braeden: It’s always a last-minute decision, we like to put as much of ourselves into as we can. We’re not about random but it feels good when we work on the artwork. You’ll see this next one soon.  

Q: What’s one things that we can expect from the rest of your shows that would make people want to come see you guys? 

A: Cole: I think we’re going to keep it spontaneous, you’ll see something different every show, just make things interesting. If fans come, maybe we can throw out some Twix bars, you never know.

Make sure you get tickets to see the Wallows live when they come to The Middle East Downstairs on February 26th. Tickets can be bought here.

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