Wallows on their ambitious second album Tell Me That It's Over: "This makes the most sense to us"
Wallows music more often that not feels like a perennial burst of sunshine, so it's fitting that as winter turns into spring, the American indie-rock trio have just released their ambitious second album.
Tell Me That It's Over comes with some heady expectations. It's been executive produced by Ariel Reichstad, who has worked on some of the most influential records that blur the line between 'indie' and 'pop' over the last decade; from Haim's Women In Music Part III, Charli XCX's glitchy debut album True Romance and Sky Ferreira's influential Night Time, My Time.
Now, Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston are ready to step out and level up with their sophomore record, which seamlessly blends more traditional indie-rock elements with shades of New Waves and synths, reminiscent of the works of bands as varied as Blondie, Vampire Weekend and The 1975.
We jumped on Zoom with the boys as they prepared to jump on stage at Boston on the latest stop on their tour to catch up on what this album means to them.
Boys, hello. You released your debut album in 2019. Now, a 3 year gap in between records may not be that big, but the world has quite literally changed around us in that time.
Braeden: We actually released our debut album 3 years ago today. March 22. How mad is that?
Dylan: It is almost exactly three hours later. Hours? Years.
The passage of time! How did you feel, then, exactly three years ago today - and how do you feel now, putting out your second album?
Braeden: I feel like I was a baby at that time.
Dylan: I was a little more nervous.
Braeden: Now, I'm like oh it's gonna be fine! Let's go on the press tour! Maybe I'll be more nervous the day before.
Dylan: You build up to that moment [the release of your first album] for so long in your head, your whole life. The whole approach to this new record has been more spontaneous and carefree and, like, instinctive. I'm excited for people to hear it.
Cole: I think we all learnt that first time around that it doesn't stop [when the album is released]. So this album cycle is really only just starting.
Dylan: Even though this is technically only our second album, we've put out so much music in the five years, not even five years, that Wallows has been a band. This is our fourth release. We take then all very seriously.
During isolation you released an EP, Remote, that was (as the name says on the tin) written and recorded during lockdown. How did it feel to record Tell Me It's Over in person?
Cole: Making Remote, for a lot of it [we were separated]. We would make voice notes and send files via email. Dylan and Braeden were recording vocals into their iPhones, like in their closets. They would send everything to me. Whereas for this album, we hadn't even met Ariel [Rechtshaid, producer] in person. We'd done one song with him prior.
I think Remote was pretty calculated. We were chasing something, or rather we were forced to create that sounded really computer-y, given our situation. This is a little more spontaneous, you can hear it. It's off the cuff.
You mentioned Ariel Rechtshaid there, the producer of this album. He's worked on some great records - the Haim stuff, obviously and the first Sky Ferreira record, which I think really stands the test of time. How did you connect?
Cole: Our very good friends Sachi [DeSaranfino] and John [DeBold] produced the Remote EP. John was Ariel's engineer at the time, so when we became friends it all kind of connected. I can't remember how we reached out, but our first session with Sachi and John was actually in the studio in Ariel's house, and then we spent countless hours in that house recording this record. The universe does its thing, I guess.
Braeden: He brought new perspectives to each song. We wrote a lot of these songs over the last two years and they originally fell into a very specific vibe. The beautiful thing about Ariel is that he's so good at a vibe switch - you let that creative door open and see what happens.
I understand that Especially For You - which is kind of New Wave and Blondie - was originally quite different to how it sounds now.
Dylan: In terms of its energy, it was one of the ones that stayed pretty true [to the demo]. But production wise, the sonics chased a lot. I'd say originally it was a lot more straightforward - like Sky Ferreira's You're Not The One, or a The 1975 song. It was cool, but pop. Ariel just decided like, let's make this into a Midnight Vultures, 90s era Beck direction.
Hearing it, this record feels like a step-up for you as a band. Would you agree with that?
Dylan: I think that's what we hoped for. We're so inspired by Ariel as a producer. I feel like inevitably this is going to be a step-up for us. I think we were all hoping and expecting [for that to happen]. It's my favourite thing of ours we've done. It proves that this just getting better and even more comfortable for us. It makes the most sense to me, out of everything we've done. I'm not nervous this time. I just feel really confident.