The Walters first formed in Chicago in 2014. Members include lead singer Luke Olson, lead guitar Walter Kosner, bassist Danny Wells, drummer Charlie Ekhaus, and formerly rhythm guitarist MJ Tirabassi. Born at the inception of a burgeoning indie music scene driven in part by Tumblr and the return or retro alternative aesthetics, the group managed to mesh several sub genres within their effortlessly memorable tracks.
After a successful EP release titled “Songs For Dads,” The group of friends turned bandmates went on to live a midwestern musician’s dream–playing Lollapalooza in 2017. But with success comes setbacks. Shortly after the major festival performance, the band chose to split up. The split was born partially from what the group felt was a lack of industry recognition.
Seven years later, the group was met with a surprise. Their surf rock infused indie track “I Love You So” from their debut era had found a viral fan base on TikTok. The song suddenly soundtracked various different TikTok trends.
that’s why we need to constantly remind ourselves it’s okay to take it one step at a time
Some young fans even found themselves relating the tracks back to some of their favorite fictional characters due to its lyrical undertones of unrequited love.
The newfound viral status of the track sparked a band reunion, and subsequently a fresh record deal with Warner Records. Lead singer Olson now spends his summers in Wisconsin, but occasionally returns to Los Angeles to keep making music.
Amid the hundreds of interpretations of the viral indie rock ballad, Olson does not feel that it got lost in translation. The simple message was written with the intention of being universal.
“I feel like it’s such a simple song that it’s kind of hard not to pick up on the message. We weren’t a band and then it started to go viral on TikTok and it literally brought us back together.Without that song it would be a lot different. So we’re very grateful for ‘I Love You So,'” said Olson.
Getting The Band Back Together
The Walters recently returned from their first tour in the U.K. since their reunion. While Olson says that he hopes to keep the band’s traditional show format, he feels that there have certainly been changes since their five-year hiatus.
“Coming back, the shows are pretty similar to when we started. They’re still pretty high energy and lighthearted and fun, but it’s the band dynamics of being on the road that have changed,” said Olson.
“I feel like we’ve gotten a little wiser. The things you do when you’re just getting started and super young have you a little bit more all over the place. I feel we’re more grounded now for sure.”
The band’s previous tours have focused on different regions of the U.S. The TikTok trends of “I Love You So” have now spread the band’s music to international ears, something that Olson always dreamed of.
Olson recounted the surreal moments of interacting with international fans. Having the Walters’ music reach beyond the U.S. was always a goal of theirs.
“We’ve been fortunate now to have this second chance where we can actually do the things that we dreamed of doing. The first time around, we kind of stopped before we did all these things, and you just grow a greater appreciation for actually getting there,” said Olson.
‘Stuck In My Ways’ And What’s Next
The group released their first new single as a reunited band in June, titled “Stuck In My Ways.” Olson describes the track as a combination of experimental sound and the indie pop roots of their older work.
“Everybody’s got their way of expressing opinions, and some people want to do it online, and some people just want to do it in day-to-day lives, interacting with their friends. It’s hard, because, you’re a band, so I’m not going to go on stage and say something political just because I’m the lead singer,” said Olson.
“I just want to play music. People come, they want to see you play, and I don’t want to speak out for anybody. But more power to the people who do choose to speak their mind.”
The Walters plan to release new singles in the coming months, culminating in a new album. If you love them so, you can find the band on TikTok and Instagram @thewalters.