Interview with Wallpaper

Wallpaper performing at their college

Fellow Band-aid Isabel linked us up with rock band Wallpaper for a fun little interview!

Does Wallpaper have am exciting origin story? When did you first realize making music is something you wanted to do?

Andrew: I don’t know if our origin story is particularly exciting.

Jack: Wallpaper kinda happened naturally. There was nothing too exciting about the genesis of the band, so to speak.

Andrew: There’s no like, we were fighting in a war together and realized we needed music to survive. We wrote songs and wanted to write songs together because we were friends. There’s this band Horse Jumper of Love, and I texted Jack about it and he decided it was an important moment. That’s why we sound the way we do. That feeling we got from their music, and this one song we made in a previous band. It’s very corny, it’s very silly.

Jack: I remember the moment he texted me while I was at work, I had that album in my collection for two years and I never listened to it, and then it was like, “Oh yeah, I think I have that.”

Andrew: One of my favorite albums of all time.

Jack (top) and Andrew (bottom) of Wallpaper

What was your first impression of your bandmates when you met?

Jack: I was really intimidated by Andrew, he was so cool. I have this distinct memory of walking up the stairs and saying “Hi” and I don’t think he heard me and he just walked past me. I was like, “Fuck!”.

Andrew: If I had noticed I probably would have remembered and felt really bad about it, but I don’t think I heard. I don’t even remember how we met.

Jack: It was through our friend Will, he was the de facto leader of the band we were in before called Foxglove.

Andrew: Bass player extraordinaire and guitar player extraordinaire! Shoutout Will.

Can you walk us through your song “Montgomery” and the inspiration behind it?

Andrew: I wrote that song junior year of high school before Wallpaper started, and I really wanted to rip off Dinosaur Jr. I sat down and was messing around with my guitar and came across this weird chord with a G flat or an F sharp in the bass but otherwise it was a regular E. And there was this experience I had with a girl who is now my girlfriend, who was like, “Can I sit with you at lunch?” and I was like, “No.” And I felt so bad about it I wrote the song. That song has been with us for a very long time. It’s to me barely recognizable as something I made but it’s very much attached to the formation of the band and the whole ethos I guess.

You recently released a Bathroom Performance featuring songs like “Toothbrush” and “Tuna Salad”. How did filming this in a public bathroom come about?

Jack: We approached the Instagram account Indie Bathroom Performances, and they showcase rock/indie bands performing in their own personal spaces. We just set up in the bathroom of an art building and played a show.

Andrew: Our friend Zane Farmer shot it, he can make our performance look like the best thing ever.

Wallpaper performing at their college

One of your “studio rules” is that if it sucks, say so. How do you keep each other honest?

Jack: Andrew and I are very honest people when it comes to art at least. We have a great back and forth where we can send each other something and if it sucks we can be like, “This definitely needs some work!”. We aren’t afraid to give each other quality feedback.

Andrew: I think it’s something we both learned from being in art circles and being in the art circles and art community. Critique is really important if you want your art to be good. It makes you wanna make it better. Our songs aren’t pieces of shit but at some point sometimes they started that way. And we had to workshop and figure out what makes a song tick. Oftentimes it comes down to lyrics. I’m very nitpicky about how the words sound and what they say and what they mean. I work on Jack with them at the lunch table. We talk about music stuff more honestly than we do about our feelings sometimes. It’s a part of who we are to be honest, dishonesty is really annoying and it sets you up for failure.

What bands/artists do you look up to and have paved the way for you musically?

Jack: Definitely Built to Spill, Andrew and I both love Built to Spill. Nirvana is a classic. Horse Jumper of Love. Have a Nice Life.

Andrew: A really formative album for me that I’ve realized is not great is there’s this band out of Los Angeles called the Campfire Girls. What I’ve realized is like, people tried to sign them in the post-grunge vacuum that was created and were like “Look at these pretty guys, they can really make music!”. Then they spent all their advance on heroin. But the music they made before that was pretty solid. The lead singer went on to play in Puddle of Mud, which was sad to hear, but I’m glad he’s doing well. It’s a very good little, kind of spacey album with weird chords in poppy songs. It helped me find our sound.

Jack (top) and Andrew (bottom) of Wallpaper

You have a meme on your Instagram of a massive Taylor Swift back tattoo. What’s your favorite Taylor Swift song?

Jack: “Love Story,” but I’m a huge fan of “Lover” as well. Love that song.

Andrew: “You Belong with Me.” It’s a megahit, it’s fucking great.

So, besides wallpaper, what do you have hanging in your bedrooms?

Andrew: We don’t have any wallpaper because we live in dorms.

Jack: I have a Wallpaper setlist, some reminders, a photo from one of my favorite photographers who’s also a friend of mine. Shoutout to Christian. Then I have a poster from this publishing press in Richmond. A calendar. A bunch of random stuff. Not too much.

Andrew: A signed Pusha T 8×11, some art by my girlfriend, a Sonic Youth poster that was given to me by Rane Shounds who produced our record (Check out our interview with Rane Shounds here!), a Minor Threat poster, a Jack photo, a Heart Shaped Box still, more girlfriend art, a little painting I made in high school, a Death Consciousness postcard, a Minnesota Vikings thing, and then this which says, “You will never be your idols.” I think that’s important to know. I think it’s, I have a tendency to put people on a pedestal and it’s always a good reminder to be yourself in a way that’s a little more self-detrimental. There’s that Sonic Youth thing, kill your idols. That’s the wall tour.

Describe yourselves as a band in 5 words.

Andrew and Jack: Quiet, Loud, Catharsis, No Bass, Melancholy.

What are some of your upcoming plans?

Andrew: EP releasing April 6th. Every week now until April 6th we’re releasing each of the songs on the EP. The one coming out now is “Tuna Salad.” It’s another Zane Farmer camera operated collaboration. We’re really excited about it and what it’ll do. The “Toothbrush” video is coming out and that’ll be crazy. The one song we have out on streaming right now. Those are the plans for now. Get the EP out and start playing shows and rock and rolling in a more aggressive sense.

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