Since 2017, the Los Angeles-based band Wallows has won over many a teenaged fan with its brand of surf rock–inspired tunes. Although it took three years, the group is finally making its South Florida debut with a gig at Fort Lauderdale's Revolution Live Tuesday, February 18.
Anticipation is running high among Wallows' fans and the members of the indie-rock trio.
“People got very mad at us for not coming to Florida, and rightfully so," says keyboardist/vocalist Dylan Minnette, adding the group has wanted to make it to the Sunshine State for some time. "But Florida is so deep down there that if you’re going to hit anywhere in Florida on tour, you have to stop at multiple places to make it worth it. It’s just the money; there’s so much budget-wise that goes into touring. Now that we have enough funding, we can make it down here."
Wallows has been touring consistently since the release of its debut LP, Nothing Happens, in March 2019. After joining artists such as Ariana Grande, Tame Impala, and Childish Gambino on the lineup for last year's Coachella, the band made its way around Europe and returned to the United States only at the end of 2019.
Even with the refining and fine-tuning that come with a year spent on the road, Wallows looks forward to switching up things for its 2020 shows.
"We want to change up the show," drummer Cole Preston shares. "We already have ideas; it’s definitely going to be a little different. We’re going to be playing songs that we didn’t play [during the] last tour, and we’re looking forward to that. "
With the release of a proper full-length album, Wallows now has an assortment of original songs to choose from while curating set lists. But early in the band's history, when it has only a handful of independently released singles to its name, the group covered many '80s songs, including the Smiths' jangle-pop classic "This Charming Man."
“We realized that we’re not that charming,” lead singer and guitarist Braeden Lemasters quips. “The Finn Wolfhard charity event was when we first started being a band. So we learned two '80s covers: 'Blister in the Sun' and 'This Charming Man.' The Smiths are my favorite band — Johnny Marr is my favorite guitar player — so 'This Charming Man' kinda stuck.”
Owing to the aforementioned conclusion that the band wasn't as charming as the iconic English indie group, the cover was eventually ditched. "It started to feel a little gimmicky," Minnette says. “So we stopped playing 'This Charming Man.' I'm not going to flaunt flowers around the stage singing Morrissey and pretending to be Morrisey; it just doesn't suit [Wallows]."
Although on paper the band has been actively releasing music since only 2017, Wallows as a unit has existed for well over a decade. After meeting in a children's music program, the three performed under a plethora of band names, only settling on the moniker "Wallows" with the release of the single "Pleaser." On top of the name changes, Wallows' sound has evolved and morphed over the years as well.
“I feel like it was more like classic-rock stuff that made it sound darker," Lemasters says of the band's shift in sonic stylings. “I think the fun of being in a band and being able to create music is the idea of not knowing what’s coming — not really thinking things are off-limits or thinking things are not cool or whatever. It's all about inspiration at that specific moment.”
Minnette adds, "If I'm going through a dark time in my life, I feel like the song suits the time. Right now, our music is uplifting and fun; maybe it’s just because we’re enjoying where we’re at. So I feel like it's just going to be how we feel and how people are able to see whatever is happening.”
Even though music is Wallows' number one priority, that doesn't mean the band members aren't dabbling in other mediums. Minnette and Lemasters have been actors since early childhood and are accustomed to venturing into other art forms.
Wallows has frequently credited indie-rock alum Arcade Fire as a source of inspiration for the band. During an interview with Atwood Magazine, Minnette and Preston said the Montreal group's music for the 2013 Spike Jonze film Her was their favorite movie score.
Minnette says Wallows would leap at the chance to compose for films.
“Arcade Fire was good friends with Spike Jonze, and that’s how that happened, right?" he says. "If a friend of ours is making a movie and wants us to make music, we’d say yes in a heartbeat. Or it can even be something we make one day; maybe we’ll venture out and make projects of many varieties.”
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In the meantime, the group is looking forward to arriving in South Florida to visit family and share its music with eager fans.
“I’m looking forward to seeing my grandparents,” Preston says. They live in Florida — they’re coming out to all the shows. My mom and dad are going to fly out to all the shows there too."
Minnette adds, “I spent a lot of my life growing up in Florida because my mom is from Florida, so it always feels nice to go back. It’ll be cool. I’m really looking forward to all those shows."