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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

WALLOWS: DRAWING OUT THE BEST ON 'MODEL'

We caught up with the trio to chat about their third studio album, Model.

Image: Aidan Zamiri.


When I last sat down with Wallows in November 2022, the band had just arrived in Sydney for their debut Australian tour. Nearing the end of the album cycle for their sophomore body of work, Tell Me That It’s Over, the trio had just started writing for what would become Model.


Fast forward eighteen months and we meet again over zoom, only weeks before they delivered the album to the world. “I think I'm really excited to see what resonates the deepest and whats like the staples and the classics and what's gonna happen,” says Dylan Minnette. “You know, it's really exciting. It's weird to think that our album comes out in weeks from this point, and in two weeks we'll know, we'll start to see the real reaction.” He had said the success and reach of arguably their biggest song to date, Are You Bored Yet?, had come as a surprise and that it’s hard to pick which songs will go on to resonate with audiences due to personal bias. “I think we weren't expecting that at all… it's sort of hard when you're so kind of biased, but also you're like so familiar with the songs and they come from you. It's hard to have perspective really on like how they might be perceived.”



One central theme listeners may note on Model is a more personal approach to songwriting. Across the body of work, the trio document their growth as individuals and musicians, embedded within honest and intimate lyricism. Braeden Lemasters notes the journey undertaken whilst creating the record, “from where we started the album to where it ended, I feel like a lot of things happened in our personal lives. I feel like that reflects itself on the lyrics.” The album documents all the tropes of exisiting in your twenties, presented through the bands perspective. Lemasters and Minnette trade vocal duties across the album, which allows for multi-faceted storytelling. “The songs Dylan sings narratively, I think change a lot based on events that were happening in his life, which is amazing.” Lemasters says. “I think songs for me, like the songs I sing, I feel like two of them are pretty personal to me. Bad Dream was almost more of like a fun experiment to try to write like a boy band song. And we ended up making a song we liked.” Where Bad Dream displays tongue-in-cheek lyricism, Lemasters’ other two vocal outings, Don't You Think It's Strange and Going Under, are far more inward. He notes they are “actually really personal in a certain sense.” Minnette adds, “I'd say it's the most honest that we have been, at least I know for myself when I speak about it, like you Braedan, I've never been this confidently honest on an album.” He tells me of his approach to writing the bands sophomore album, saying he felt like he was “trying to be really honest,” but found it to be more organic whilst penning Model. “This was just like, 'here it is and I'm just writing from a place right now that's really honest to me and I'm not overthinking it.' I think that maybe that's also why we're the most confident that we've been out of albums of ours.” 



Cole Preston notes that with each album, they’ve taken a varied approach to creating. “Our first record was our first record, so we were like pretty green and like didn't, we were just like nervous and confused for the first part of that and just winging it and making it happen. Our second record took like an entire year to create for some reason.” For their third body of work, Wallows prioritised experimenting to mine every crevice of their artistry - resulting in what Preston describes “as a pretty large batch of demos.” From that collection, they went on to record twenty five songs, which was eventually curated into the tight twelve-track release we hear today. Preston contemplates that in doing this, they were able to gain perspective on what their third body of work would become. “We were able to look at twenty five full songs and be like, 'okay, these ones are the ones, we actually got to curate that track list a little better and like have options and have different versions of it.' I think we landed on something that yeah, like is familiar enough.” He cites Lemasters as a driving force for their new outlook, noting that from the outset and throughout, he wanted the band to push themselves, and venture into unexplored waters whilst writing and recording. "So I think there's a few songs in there that don't really sound very much like what you would think from us. I think the album is many different things, [laughs] and I'm excited for people to hear it. I'm really curious how the fans are gonna react,” he says echoing Minnette’s earlier sentiments.


Watch our interview with Wallows.


Expanding upon their established indie-rock sound, Model introduces threads of sixties-inspired soft rock and early 2000’s steeze into their sonic palette. Pushing up against the boundaries of their sound, the trio have teamed up with longtime collaborator John Congleton. “John, he's goated.” Preston proclaims. He goes on to detail their collaborative relationship, noting how Congleton draws out the best of their artistry and the trajectory they intend to follow. “When we made plans to do LP three, Model, we had a writing session scheduled with John, just like, as we would with other people. We just wanted to get in and write with him. We hadn't seen him in a while and when we got in the room with him, we started talking naturally about what we were doing next. I think he just sort of started talking about what he would envision for us just as like a friend and mentor and collaborator. Everything he said, he was taking the words kind of out of our mouths about how we imagined the next step in our careers.” This warm comfort extended beyond the feeling of returning to something that works with Congleton, into a pillar of support for what the band set out to achieve on Model. In doing so, Congleton understood their wants and desires, and fuelled their drive to be more. Their ambition is the driving force of Model, which has resulted in a body of work that firmly honours their roots, creating a new space to grow and continue to morph both personally and musically.  



Whilst they continue to evolve, Lemasters recalls on their approach to creating and how core aspects remain the same. “I think the main thing, even when we first started writing songs when we were like teenagers, I think with every song you write you try to achieve something you haven't before.” He goes on to note that whilst his approach to songwriting and what inspires them is maintained, the reinvigorated joy of songwriting is powered by exploring different paths of their artistry and conveying these feelings and emotions in new ways. “That's what's really inspiring about songwriting. It's like a never ending thing, trying to search for something you haven't given to the world yet in a way.” He pauses to consider what the future may hold, before stating, “I think we haven't even really like, fully went crazy with that yet. I'm excited for the future albums to maybe be completely different from these ones, but I feel like that's always the goal of songwriting is to push yourself, you know? That's where it changes.” 


As we come to the end of our interview, Minnette has one message to share with Australian fans ahead of their tour later this year - which he promises to be a bigger, better show - “We can't wait and if fans wanna bring us things, just please let it be Tim Tams.” 



Model is out now!

WALLOWS ​MODEL TOUR 2024

with special guest grentperez


​December 5 – Perth, Australia – Fremantle Arts Centre +

​December 7 – Adelaide, Australia – Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre +

​December 9 – Melbourne, Australia – Margaret Court Arena +

​December ​12 – Sydney, Australia – Hordern Pavilion +

​December ​14 – Brisbane, Australia – Riverstage +

​December ​17 – Wellington, New Zealand – TSB Arena

​December ​18 – Auckland, New Zealand – Spark Arena


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