Interview: Wallice lassos lo-fi lightning
Do your best to capture the fuzzy feelings of your adolescence. If you’re lucky you’ll hear the sweet blissful tones of Wallice there, probably dancing with a knowing tip of her hat, I reckon.
LA based indie pop/rock Wallice has spent the past two years perfecting and releasing singles you can cry and groove to. This year she delivered her first EP, Off the Rails, that lays the track for a bountiful future of catchy tunes and catching feelings. As she gears up for a promising career, Wallice’s output for the remainder of the year is an embarrassment of riches that include another upcoming single, two shows between Los Angeles and New York, and a collaboration with legendary producer Ariel Rechtshaid on Nothing Scares Me.
We parked our horses next to Wallice during the 2021 Head in the Clouds Festival and asked about her muses, thoughts about trains, and the shocking inspiration behind her cowboy hat.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
How’s your festival experience so far?
It was really fun. This is my first festival. It’s very well run and there’s free drinks in the artists area. I grew up in LA so the Rose Bowl is such an iconic place.
It’s cool there’s a lot of Asian folks around.
It’s so nice to see literally all Asian people. My manager was like, “If you’re looking for me, I’m the only white person.” It’s so comforting. My partner is half-Filipino and we all feel at peace here. There’s something about it.
Whose set has been your favorite so far?
I caught a little bit of Luna Li’s before having to set up our drum kit. I saw some of Rei Ami’s yesterday. I saw Japanese Breakfast last night and she was amazing. Her and beabadoobee and Joji are the ones I was really looking forward to.
I noticed there’s a Western aesthetic running through your music, I was wondering if you could tell me about the inspiration there?
I wish I had a better answer. I think it looks cool. Maybe it’s a past life alignment thing. Maybe I was a cowboy or something. It’s pretty silly because I grew up in LA. I just think it’s fun. Also, the cowboy boots and hats I own are all bright colors. No cowboy would actually ever wear them.
You’re wearing it. So you’re a cowboy. You’re a new era cowboy and leading the way. Bring more ten gallon hats to the MET Gala.
You know Fairly Odd Parents? Doug Dimmadome.
Can we expect a music video with a Doug Dimmadome hat?
Putting it in my notes right now.
Can you tell me about working with Ariel Rechtschaid?
It was really cool. It’s funny because I was aware of his music before I was aware of who he was. I’m not a music person where I know who produced what. I’m just like, “I like that band!” After talking about who we should work with, Ariel’s name was up there. I’ve definitely listened to all of his music and visited two of his studios.
Who are you listening to right now?
I really like Sam Evian. He just released a new album, you should check it out. I’ve been playing the Japanese Breakfast album on repeat. I always love Dr. Dog and these Radiohead releases from the Kid A and Amnesiac era. They’re new songs, but made back in the day. Those are really fun.
Have you seen Mad Men yet?
I have never seen Mad Men. I’ve saved it to my iPhone to watch on planes like three or four times, but I never get to it. I think that because of the bros who watch it and live by it, it kind of ruined it. I think I may watch it one day. I heard it’s good. My roommate was watching it from start to finish, and I would sit down every ten episodes and watch for ten minutes.
That’s an amazing question. I’m going to say Phoebe Bridgers is my first instinct. Where’s Mitski from? Phoebe is from LA, I feel like that’s harder. I think Mitski is from a smaller town. I could be wrong. But Mitski’s new song and new video is amazing. All the girlies are going to be sobbing.
I don’t think I watched it growing up, but my little brother is five years younger than me and that was a show he would watch a lot. He had the little Thomas toys. When I was little he only spoke Japanese because his mom’s from Japan. He would listen to Thomas the Tank Engine in Japanese. I have a lot of sweet memories about it because of that.
I wrote the song when I was 22 and now that I’m 23, I can go on tour and go to festivals and actually have other people listen to my music. So maybe I kind of manifested a cool life at 23. That’s a great question… I’ll shave my head and go full sleeves.
You heard it here first folks. Any future work you can tell us about?
I have a new song coming out this month called “Wisdom Tooth.” There’s a music video going with that. I’m finishing up my second EP this year, which will come out early next year. And I’m going on tour with Still Woozy in January for two months. So I’m very excited.
This interview was conducted by Justin Ricafort, in-person at 88rising’s Head in the Clouds Festival in Los Angeles on November 7th, 2021.
Off the Rails EP is out now on major streaming platforms. Press photos by Jerry Maestas.