It might seem that Wallows is just a side project for its band members, considering that some of them are actors. However, this rock band isn‘t one to shrug off.
“That was one thing I was worried about,” said Dylan Minnette. The 22-year-old singer and guitarist stars in the popular Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.”
He makes up a third of the band, with Cole Preston on drums and Braeden Lemasters on guitar.
“When we first put out our first song, ‘Pleaser,’ it happened to be right around when the show was on. I remember the challenge at first, at least for me, was wanting people to take it seriously,” Minnette said. “But it proved to not be a challenge so much. People really responded to the music.”
Rightfully so. “Nothing Happens,” the band’s debut album, dropped earlier this year and has been praised by reviewers. Most have remarked on how surprisingly mature the album sounds, especially for such a young rock band.
Though its members are in their early 20s, Wallows has been together for the better part of a decade.
“We met when we were young. We were like 11 or 12,” said Lemasters, who is also an actor with roles on “Men of a Certain Age” and “Betrayal.”
They’ve been playing together ever since, albeit under different band names. Before they dropped their first single in 2017, they were still struggling to come up with a name. They landed on Wallows just a few weeks before their first song was scheduled to debut.
Wallows is a well-known Hawaiian skate spot, though the band members knew about it through a Tony Hawk video game. Even after the first single came out, they were considering changing the name, with Minnette leading the push. As time has gone by, however, they decided it actually fits.
“When we were a lot younger, we started off playing strictly classic rock covers, and when it started to turn into us writing songs they were very much classic rock, sort of Led Zeppelin-inspired. I think as we got older, we sort of became more aware of what was happening, of things that were more current and that inspired us,” Lemasters said.
These days, they hesitate to label themselves.
“We don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves into any certain sound or any specific genre. We definitely see this growing even beyond what it is now,” Lemasters said.
Their songwriting process is just as undefined. Sometimes, one member will record a snippet of an idea on their phone and send it along to the group. Other times, they’ll create a song all at once in the studio.
“To rehearse, we usually rent a studio and to write, we usually go to Cole’s place,” Lemasters said.
“We just demo right into my laptop; classic bedroom recording scenario,” Preston said.
Some of the songs on “Nothing Happens” were sonic ideas that the band had for years and others, like the upbeat song “Scrawny,” came about halfway through making the album.
“The process had a lot to do with John Congleton, our producer. We wanted it to be a little more collaborative in terms of the sound and the arrangement. I feel like [the album has] been a long time coming,” Lemasters said.
Although much of their music is still new, they often hear fans singing along to songs during shows, which they’ve found reassuring.
“It really just makes me excited to keep playing it. When we’re playing new songs off the album, we don’t know how they resonate with people. I was really nervous to play some of them because I’m like, ‘What if these just don’t connect the way I want them to?’ Then, when they did, it honestly just makes you feel relieved,” Lemasters said.
Their advice before the show at Upstate Concert Hall Saturday?
Know the words to “Nothing Happens” and sing along.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Upstate Concert Hall
TICKETS: $17.50 in advance, $20 day of
MORE INFO: upstateconcerthall.com