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Interview: Wallows on their 'Remote' EP.

Interview: Wallows on their 'Remote' EP.

"13-year-old me would be quivering," Wallows' Cole Preston shares midway through recounting a story of exactly how it happened that Albert Hammond Jr. features on their new 'Remote' EP - FYI, it's his voice that features in the outro of 'Dig What You Dug'. "It doesn't make sense, and that's the joke," his bandmate Dylan Minnette quips, while third member Braeden Lemasters chuckles thinking back on the occasion which resulted in having an inside joke with one of their musical heroes (the band have often cited The Strokes as one of their main inspirations).

The new EP, which was written and recorded entirely during quarantine earlier this year, sees the trio pushing the boundaries of the Wallows sound ('Coastlines' is an absolute standout), while at the same time delving even further into themes of growing up, relationships, and more.

We spoke with Wallows ahead of the release of their new 'Remote' EP about fate, their musical progressions, and more...

...I do think that people are destined to enjoy other people's company more than others, even if you get to know them more, because people are so different that there are just a select few that you actually want to be with - romantically and also just people you want to hang around - because everyone has nuances.

COUP DE MAIN: I love the 'Nobody Gets Me (Like You)' music video and wanted to know, what is with your obsession with curly fries?
WALLOWS - BRAEDEN LEMASTERS: So, during the 'OK' video when we had the little drive-thru skit, we were improvising and I just randomly said, "Can you curl the fries?" I never thought anything of it and I never planned on saying that, it just came out. And then in the video, they give me fries and they're not curly, but I didn't even think of that... and then it became a whole thing on Twitter with getting curly fries, and people picked up on that. And then when we were doing the next video we were like, 'We might as well make that the inside joke of the whole video,' and that's where it kind of peppers in there.
WALLOWS - DYLAN MINNETTE: It's a sequel, and a lot of movies, especially comedy movies, do this. There's one joke that's everyone's favourite joke in the first movie, and then they just overdo that joke completely in the second movie. That's essentially what we did. <laughs>

CDM: What would Wallows be like if Braea was in the band instead of Braeden?
DYLAN: Oohhh, so much better.
BRAEDEN: That's for you guys to say.
WALLOWS - COLE PRESTON: The same? We'd still be Wallows.

CDM: Cole, Tess features in the latest Wallows press photos, and Dylan, Casper and Lucy feature on the cover of the remix for 'Are You Bored Yet?'. Braeden, where is your animal?! It needs to become a part of Wallows history.
BRAEDEN: My current pet is a dog called Chloe.
DYLAN: You've never shown off Chloe!
BRAEDEN: I've never shown off Chloe, but she's cute. She's having an interesting time with certain health issues - she's an older dog, but she's wise; very wise.

CDM: In 'Virtual Aerobics' you sing, "Want to dress in what makes you like me." Why do you think that when you're interested in someone, people tend to put their best self forward / a version of themselves which you think the other person will like best?
DYLAN: Oh man, that's a really good question. I don't know if I can even answer that. I just know that inherently it is that way and you feel that way. Specifically the person I was writing about in that song... That song is about when you're first starting to speak to someone that you really enjoy talking to, or that you like, and 'Virtual Aerobics' can be taken literally because when I thought of that title, I was thinking of literal virtual aerobics. But then I kind of took that in the song and was like, 'Oh, when you're sort of dancing around the fact you guys like each other virtually through texting,' and I was thinking that's the virtual aerobics. I feel like around that time and the experience that I was writing about, I felt like this other person was just a lot cooler than me and had really great style. I felt completely a step behind. I don't know why we feel that.
COLE: I think it's natural for people to try and get what they want. So through whatever means, even if it means kind of 1% faking something, and I'm definitely guilty of doing that. In relationships, as you get to know somebody, I feel like when you get more comfortable those layers get peeled away, which is funny because ideally, it would be the opposite direction where you add layers, but sometimes it's like, 'Here's the absolute best of me,' like those memes, or it's like, 'If you see me at my worst then you don't get me at my best,' and it's kind of like that. You just learn more about a person over time.

CDM: In 'Dig What You Dug' you say: "You never wanted all the friends you’ve got and that’s okay ‘cause they’re stuck finding a god." What is that lyric about?
DYLAN: I feel like the lyrics of that song can be taken in a couple of different ways. That definitely comes from a place of insecurity and wanting to fit in with these people around you. It's kind of like 'Virtual Aerobics' in a way, with these people that you know, you want to fit into a group and this box of people that you think are really cool and you're feeling like your value and how cool you are to others is defined by whether those people like you or not. So 'Dig What You Dug' is an inside joke that we had made in a session where we started playing with this song, and that's why we called the song 'Dig What You Dug', and I was like, "Well, what can we write around that title?" I guess I sort of took it, like, 'Yeah, I'll dig what you dig,' and I'll be into what you're into or whatever. So that line, "You never wanted all the friends you got," is sort of talking to this person, saying you never wanted all the people that you've made your friends and you never wanted to be a part of this kind of group, so why are you conforming yourself to this thing that you used to not be? But it was okay, you didn't want them because they're stuck finding the things that they want to worship and that they want to be. The god is not literal, but some people just decide to worship someone, or try to be something that acts like a god - that's sort of more what that line is.

CDM: 'Nobody Gets Me (Like You)' is such a romantic song. It's weird to think about how there are so many people in the world but some people just 'click' with each other. Do you believe in the notion that there are certain people we are fated to be with because of the way they are, or the way they communicate or connect with each other? Not even just relationships, but friendships, and bandmates?
BRAEDEN: Yeah, and I've been diving into horoscopes a lot recently, just for fun. I had Co-Star before, and it's crazy to see how you're compatible or whatnot. But I do think that people are destined to enjoy other people's company more than others, even if you get to know them more, because people are so different that there are just a select few that you actually want to be with - romantically and also just people you want to hang around - because everyone has nuances. Everyone has things that make them different, and that can make people stronger, and that can also make people fit together. Maybe some of those things can actually drive people apart, which is normal, because that's just what life is - it's just a bunch of figuring out what makes you happy and making other people around you happy. So I do think that some people are more prone to giving each other more than others, for sure.

CDM: 'Coastlines' is one of my favourite Wallows songs ever. I love it! It feels like such a musical progression from 'Nothing Happens'. What do you remember about the musical beginnings of that song?
DYLAN: The beginnings of that song were before 'Nothing Happens' even came out. It started after 'Nothing Happens' was recorded. At the beginning of starting to do some writing sessions with other people, it was with this guy Cole M.G.N. - a super talented writer and producer - and we liked his method of how he likes to write with artists because we would just start a new idea for a minute and a half, sing on top of it and just move on, and do five ideas in one session. So 'Coastlines' ended up being sort of a combination of three different ideas we put together in one session, like, 'Oh, that would make one big great song.' We've had the demo of that for a long time. It used to be just kind of straightforward indie-pop, the way it used to be executed--
COLE: A little more normal or something.
DYLAN: Late in the process of recording 'Remote' remotely, we ended up being like, "Maybe this song 'Coastlines' won't fit on album two or whatever that record is going to be, maybe we can just make it fit on 'Remote' and make that song now." Then we gave it to Sachi [DiSerafino] who co-produced the whole thing with us and John DeBold, and he kind of took it in this more sort of EDM / The Strokes / Beatniks inspired thing and it totally blew my mind when I heard his first pass of producing it the way that he did. That song was transformed and really propelled to a place I never could have predicted. And I really love that song too. I'm glad that you like it though, because that is, if not the most different song that we've done so far, then the most experimental, or at least one of them, so I'm happy that it works for you.
CDM: It kind of feels like it's a new piece of the Wallows chapter and still fits into the world of your sound, but it's on the edge - which I think is what you want new music from a band to sound like.
DYLAN: That's what we wanted the whole EP to be like. It still feels like Wallows, but it's just teetering over this edge of something completely new. That's the whole thing.

CDM: In 'Talk Like That', you sing, "Imply one thing and I’ll think about it for days." Do you think over-thinking is a normal part of this modern generation? Do you think we should be thinking about certain things more/less?
COLE: Let me think about this...
BRAEDEN: I overthink everything recently. It sucks. I'm trying my best not to overthink anything. I'm gonna go get a drink. Do you want anything? <laughs>
COLE: Yeah, maybe just speaking for modern times, maybe it has to do with the invention of texting because now there is more time to think about how you interact with people. In the past, before phones, it was always a conversation where your first idea was the best idea, because you're not going to sit there for five minutes with a blank expression and think about what you're going to say. So maybe that has inspired it being more common for people to overthink stuff because we can. There's more opportunity to.
DYLAN: It's sort of the same theme of 'Virtual Aerobics'. Like, if you imply or say something fallacious, I'm going to think about that non-stop. Like, is it? Is it not? You don't have that face to face interaction with someone to know whether it's worth overthinking or not, or whether it is flirty or something. Also with texts you can literally keep scrolling back and revisiting it and reading it and interpreting it in different ways.
COLE: Yeah, and I don't know if anyone's ever been able to show a friend a conversation to talk about it, like, 'This is how this person is talking to me. Can you explain to me what you think?' How do you interpret what it's like? I don't know if that's good or bad. Probably maybe good because we can refine what we say, but also planning if stuff doesn't really go well too. I don't know.

CDM: You touch on that idea as well in ‘Wish Me Luck’ when you say, “I’m always just getting stuck inside of my mind.” Do you think that it’s important sometimes to try and take a step back, and look outside of your mind?
DYLAN: Yes. I mean, definitely.
COLE: Yes. An example that comes to mind, just in my life, is when I am in a relationship with somebody - I'm currently single - and I am sort of blinded by my own situation. I kind of see things my own way and someone like my mom or my friends or something would tell me, 'Oh, maybe you should think about this interaction more, or think about what you're doing, or make smarter decisions,' or whatever. Then you kind of just chew, like active hearing, and I just choose to not listen to certain people and I'm kind of blinded in my own little world, but then as soon as you step outside of your situation you can be a little bit more objective. But as soon as you can step outside and see it from a different perspective, things are very revealing because when you're in those situations you can't see it from any other perspective unless you force yourself to do it.

CDM: One of my favourite lyrics on the whole EP are in 'Wish Me Luck', when you say, "I don’t want to lose myself to all my insecurities. If I told you all of them, who would it hurt more, you or me?" It sometimes feels like a weight lifted when you can share the hardest parts of yourself with another person, but often it can add an emotional burden for them to carry with them too. Do you think that sometimes it’s more selfless to hold onto things? How do you decide when to share those parts of yourself with someone?
DYLAN: I think it's definitely healthy to, but that one specifically, I feel like if you really care about someone and they're really opening themselves up to you and they're explaining their insecurities... if we're talking specifically about that lyric, it's easy to sort of hear what someone is saying and take it personally, or kind of put it on yourself - that it has to do with you, or that you're not doing something correctly. I feel like it takes a lot to be able to let that go and not let your head go to that place when someone is explaining that to you, and it takes a very healthy relationship, whether it be a friend or romantic, to be able to completely remove yourself from that and just listen to someone and support them. It's scary to open yourself up to someone like that and that's where that line comes from. Like, would it hurt me more to say this out loud? Or would it hurt you more because you might think that it's because of you?

CDM: I love that your latest bio says that you are a Wallows compound, and the different producers you work with are different chemicals being added, like a science experiment. Have you guys seen 'The Powerpuff Girls' intro song? What do you think the Wallows equivalent of "sugar, spice, and everything nice" is?
BRAEDEN: Pumpkin Spice, everything twice! Pumpkin spice, and--
DYLAN: Pumpkin spice and a pizza slice.
COLE: Yeah, and no lice!
BRAEDEN: And a roll of the dice.

CDM: Your bio also says you guys have worked with Albert Hammond Jr.? What can you tell us about that experience?
BRAEDEN: At the end of 'Dig What You Dug' there's a voice that comes in, and that is Albert Hammond Jr., and the inside joke of 'Dig What You Dug' started with him. It was either Cole or I who would say, 'Oh, I dig that,' or whatever. And then Albert Hammond Jr. I think he was like, 'Oh, I dug that,' and then it just turned into, 'Oh, I dig what you dug.'
COLE: Yeah, and it just evolved, like, 'I dig what you did,' and, 'You did what I dig.'
DYLAN: It doesn't make sense, and that's the joke. The original joke was, "I dig what you dug, and I dug what you did," and it's just like, you feel that person. We were in the studio with him that day, just kind of writing some stuff with him, and he's awesome. But afterwards, he sent us a voice text saying that and I thought it was hilarious, and that is the voice text that is on the song. I was like, 'Well, if we're going to title that song after our inside joke, I really want to put that at the end of the thing,' because it's so funny. Only we'll get it, but I knew it had to be on it and he was down.

CDM: As part of the merch packs for this EP release, Australia and New Zealand are getting special coffee brews! I’m excited to try them. Do you like having innovative merch ideas? Have you tried the coffee yet?
DYLAN: I want to!
COLE: Yeah, as soon as it gets here. I can't wait.
BRAEDEN: Are you more of a fan of 'Nobody Gets Me Like Brew' or 'Are You Poured Yet?'? Which pun do you like more?
CDM: I think I like the 'Nobody Gets Me Like Brew'.
COLE: That's pretty good.
CDM: I can't remember which one, but I was reading the flavours and one of them has a more chocolatey flavour.
DYLAN: I'm excited to try it.
BRAEDEN: I want the mug and the coffee.
DYLAN: The idea was brought to us by our label in Australia. They were like, "Oh, we had this idea of 'Are You Poured Yet?'" I was like, "That's hilarious. I love coffee and I would love to make coffee. That's amazing." And we partnered with this local coffee roaster. And then Braeden was like, "We should also do one called 'Nobody Gets Me Like Brew'!"

Wallows' 'Remote' EP is out now - watch the 'Nobody Gets Me (Like You)' music video below:

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