NEW YORK (AP) — In their early days, the Beatles were called Johnny and the Moondogs and Coldplay went by Pectoralz. The rock band Wallows is no different.
Over the years, the trio has had a number of names, from the Feaver to The Narwhals. Now they’re taking a big step to help people remember the band: A full-length album.
Wallows is made up of “13 Reasons Why” star Dylan Minnette, fellow actor Braeden Lemasters (his credits include Amazon’s “The Romanoffs”) and Cole Preston. They’ve released singles independently, toured, and recorded an EP in 2018, but their debut, 11-track studio album, called “Nothing Happens,” is out Friday.
They’re launching a tour through North America and parts of Europe beginning in April at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It’s been a long time coming for the trio but they agree the timing is right.
“Had we been doing well when we were kids, it would’ve been a completely different thing,” said Preston.
The trio talked to The Associated Press about their intro to music, choosing an album cover and finally releasing their album. Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
AP: You’ve been together since you were kids. When you think back to those early days, do you feel like you were good from the start?
Minnette: Oh, we’ve definitely gotten better over time but I’d say we were pretty badass when we were 13.
Preston: We were way more confident then.
AP: What does it feel like to have what you’ve been working toward finally come out?
Minnette: We’ve always known, we’re going to be an album band. We wanted our records to be cohesive, make a lot of sense and be projects that stand on their own. And I feel like we definitely reveal a lot more than we ever have in our songs.
AP: How did you get this knowledge of music as kids to even start a band?
Lemasters: For me, it was my dad. He was in bands when I was growing up and I would go to his gigs. And he showed me the Beatles when I was like 9 and it blew my mind. It just kind of happened. I started playing guitar for eight hours a day in my room at around 10 and then formed (this) band. That was it.
Preston: I remember when “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” were really big and I became obsessed. I decided I wanted to play a real instrument so started playing the drums. But I was like a nerd for “Guitar Hero” and posted my high scores online.
Minnette: You did?
Preston: Scorehero.com. I’m sure they’re still up there. Drumbum1096 was my handle.
Minnette: My dad was also a musician so we’d sit at dinner and he’d be like, “Who’s this again, Dylan?” ”Stevie Wonder.” Then I started discovering my own music like Kings of Leon. Also from streaming music. I know a lot of people can say a lot about the digital age of music, but I feel like it’s so easy, in the best way, to discover music now. You can discover incredible artists all day long.
AP: Your album cover looks like a simple piece of fabric. Talk about that.
Lemasters: Album covers and band names are the hardest thing to think of. We reached out to a lot of artists and they sent us really good stuff but it didn’t connect. And our manager was texting us like, “Guys, where’s the album cover? This is two days late. You’re not going to have a vinyl for the release.” And I took out my phone and took a picture of the back of Dylan’s shirt jokingly.
Minnette: I was walking. Minding my own business.
Lemasters: And I looked at it and was like, “That’s actually really cool.”
Minnette: It looks like a cool design with these wavy lines. If you don’t know it’s a shirt it’s kind of a trippy cover. But there’s also something about a striped T-shirt that’s very youthful and the album is also about loss of innocence and leaving it behind.
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