“I got over having mono like three days before Coachella, so this feels a bit like deja vu,” recalls Wallows vocalist/lead guitarist Braeden Lemasters. With all three members of the band raised in California, Wallows’ Coachella debut in 2019 was a watershed moment for the fledgling indie band. However, a year later, instead of celebrating their continued success the road, the group is relegated to reliving their big moment from their couch as part of Warner Music Group’s PlayOn Fest. Playing throughout the weekend on the Songkick YouTube channel, the virtual festival revisits outstanding live performances from recent years, in support of the World Health Organization.
“It’s so funny because this was actually the first proper show of tour after our debut record came out,” explains drummer Cole Preston. “It was our first time playing new gear, first time using in-ear monitors. There were a million firsts happening at once.” Additionally, while the average viewer might not notice a different, Coachella was the first time the band was playing many of the songs from their debut album Nothing Happens live. “Realistically, I wish they had Weekend Two footage,” vocalist/rhythm guitarist Dylan Minnette says with a laugh.
When PlayOn Festival started to take shape, the band jumped at the opportunity to be involved. “It was important to us to do something for the people who care,” says Minnette. “Plus, we’re in really good company,” adds Preston, a nod to the festival’s massive multi-day lineup that includes Green Day, Paramore, The War On Drugs, Death Cab For Cutie, and many more.
Stuck in their homes, the band’s main focus is to continue writing their second album. Fans are chomping at the bit for new Wallows material. Just after the world went into lockdown, the band shared the single “OK,” their first new music since the release of Nothing Happens. The song was streamed upwards of one million times in its first week. “In a way, it’s sort of nice to do nothing but write. We’re writing a ton of songs,” says Preston. “We’re inspired to put something out during this time,” Minnette adds. “We’re asking ourselves, ‘what can we do right now to give people something.'”
Of course, having the luxury of space to write can’t replace the electricity of a live show. Watching their Coachella set again later this weekend, Wallows will be reminded of what they are missing on the road. “I can’t wait to go back,” Minnette declares. “I can’t wait to play again.”
Check out Wallows performance as part of PlayOn Fest here on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. EST.