Wallows talk new album ‘Model’, dream journals and shoeys

Fresh off the release of their new album ‘Model’, Wallows pop by for a chat about songwriting, dreaming, the one criteria they’d need to do a shoey on their Aussie tour. 

Wallows have just dropped their latest album, a sprawling, mesmeric collection titled ‘Model’.

Marking a welcome divergence from the LA band’s usual sound, the new record finds Dylan, Braeden and Cole at their most experimental, honouring their staple alt-rock roots while delivering lighter, more optimistic vignettes of romance and coming-of-age.

Credit: Aidan Zamiri

We’d already been treated to standout singles like ‘Bad Dreams’ and ‘Your Apartment’, but the remaining tracklist proves an equally engaging listen from a band who are more than willing to push the boundaries of their sound.

Fresh off the release, and ahead of their national Australian headline tour — find ticketing details here — we caught up with the trio for an insightful yarn about music, creating visuals, and their favourite memories of visiting Australia.    

HAPPY: You’ve described ‘Model’ as your lightest project yet and a divergence from the band’s anxious tendencies. Do you think this evolution is a necessary part of being an artist and happens naturally, or is there value in simply refining what you know? 

BRAEDEN: I feel that’s a great question because it is something that naturally happens. I feel like you’re always trying to write a song you haven’t written before, or you’re always thinking about how certain different things inspire you throughout your life.

That is one avenue of being an artist or being in a band that’s really exciting. Like let’s say bands like The Beatles or Radiohead can evolve so much with the music they make. I feel like that is amazing.

But then there’s also certain bands that kind of refine their craft, like The Smiths or The Strokes, and they kind of refined it, you know. I think they’re both great for different reasons, and I don’t think it’s necessarily one way or the other that’s correct.

For us, we always want to naturally evolve and push our sounds. I think it’s just more exciting that way. 


HAPPY: You’ve talked about how ‘Model’ was created in a relatively short time span compared to other albums. I’m wondering whether you found this short burst of creativity to be more fruitful for your music? 

COLE: I think to each their own to some degree. There’s certainly people who would prefer to spend, like, three years working on something to make sure that they check every avenue and turn over every stone to make sure that it’s perfect, or what have you.

For us, with this record, doing it fast was really helpful, because I think we work well maybe when we’re under a little bit of pressure. Maybe not an exact deadline, but some sort of limitations.

I also think we’re pretty guilty of overthinking things a little bit, and kind of ultimately veering away from what maybe the core of an idea was.

So when you have a shorter amount of time — and we wanted to set out to do a lot of songs — it sort of forced us to put down the first idea, maybe it’s the best idea, and then we moved on.

For me, when we were recording the record, I would kind of forget things that we had recorded, because we’d be like ten songs later and then we’d circle back.

Then we’d listen to something we did a week ago and be like ‘oh, this is actually really cool’. Then you kind of surprise yourself a little bit, and become re-inspired by things that you may have over-thought if you had too much time.

So I think the brevity of this process definitely helped us this time. I think going forward, that’s sort of how we would probably prefer to do things.  

HAPPY: I kind of interpreted ‘Bad Dream’ as being about one person perhaps being unhappy in a relationship, and how that leaks out when they’re asleep. Are any of you big believers in dreams being reflections of what we’re experiencing in reality?

DYLAN: Oh, do any of us feel that way?

COLE: I feel like Braeden is like the dream guy. 

BRAEDEN: Yeah, I personally love dreams. I love dreaming. It’s honestly a really cool part of life. I had an idea one day, and I guess it might already exist, but the idea of making a show where every week is just something you’ve dreamt up as a concept.

It’s just never-ending ideas and never-ending storylines that you could have with that. But it’s just so entertaining. I think life would be so boring if you’re just sleeping in darkness and then existing.

It’s fun how you can exist, and then go somewhere else, some crazy DMT or LSD trip and then wake up. Which is really cool. Dreams are almost like memories to me.

I can look back on dreams that I’ve had in the same way I look back on actual memories of mine. They’re all kind of one and the same.

Which I think is pretty exciting. I think they’re so cool. I used to have a dream journal, and I’ve lucid dreamed a couple of times too. 

HAPPY: I caught the music video for the singles. How important is the visual side to your artistry when creating music? Is it something that’s top of mind when you’re in the studio, or more so developed after the fact?  

DYLAN: It really depends. I don’t know that it’s usually top of mind in the studio with us. I just think that we knew that this time, for this album, [the visuals] needed to be, at the very least, something with more intention.

Something with the most special and memorable album cover that we’ve made yet. We love our first album covers, but they were really after-thoughts.

The first one is an iPhone photo that Braeden took of the back of my shirt when we were hitting a deadline for album artwork. So we thought maybe this will be the album where we put ourselves on the cover.

I feel like if we didn’t do that, it definitely wouldn’t have been called ‘Model’, so everything would’ve been different. So we knew this time that we were going to create an album cover, we were going to do it this time.

We’ve all been a fan of his work from afar, but Braeden brought up this creative director figure. Someone to kind of help us piece the visual components together, and in a roundabout sort of way he did.

It’s Aidan Zamiri, and he’s done a lot of really great things recently. A really talented photographer and creative director. We reached out to him and he was down and we were like, ‘hell yeah’.

It’s the first person we reached out to and the first we thought of. He really helped us build this visual world which we’ve always wanted to do.

It’s actually hard for us to lock in on something visually, together. Our minds are very much music-minded and it can get to a point where we’re like ‘ahhh, what do we do about visuals?’.

So Aidan really helped us bring it home and created a little world. I think it’s worked really well with our fans and I think it’s cool.  


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HAPPY: You also previously toured Australia in 2022. Any particularly standout or memorable places you visited while here? Any bucket-list items for when you’re here next? 

BRAEDEN: I remember Australia is the first place I played tennis, with Cole. That was the first place on tour where I picked up a racket, and that led to a pretty fun tour tennis journey that still goes on to this day. Do you remember that Cole?

COLE: I do, yeah. That was so much fun. 

BRAEDEN: And there was a great croissant place, was it in Melbourne?

COLE: Oh yeah! It was called like, Luna, or something like that?

BRAEDEN: Sydney was beautiful, and I love how they have great whites in their water. 

DYLAN: Is the big beach Bondi beach? I know that’s like the spot and it’s really popular but it’s, like, really beautiful. 

HAPPY: Maybe you guys will do a shoey?

COLE: We heard about the shoey, yeah [laughs]. I’ll volunteer myself!

DYLAN: If I see proof that it’s a shoe that came out of the box and was never before worn, it’s a maybe. If a fan is giving me their own worn shoe, it’s literally never going to happen [laughs].