Not many bands could reemerge after a hiatus at full force, but apparently, that’s something that came naturally for indie-pop band The Walters.

The Chicago-based group comprised of Luke Olson, Walter Kosner, MJ Tirabassi, Danny Wells, and Charlie Ekhaus may have taken some time apart from one another for four whole years, but the smashing success (and surprising virality) of their hit single “I Love You So” brought them back to the mainstream even bigger than ever. With 1.2 billion streams for the track on Spotify alone, the infectious track resonated deeply with a universal audience, capturing hearts with its catchy melody and heartfelt lyrics –– exemplifying a meteoric rise to fame that showcased the power of independent artists in the digital age.

The Walters performing for Wanderland 2024

The Walters photographed by Mayks Go/Billboard Philippines.

As their music spread like wildfire across online platforms, garnering widespread acclaim and adoration, the band’s reunion has sparked newfound excitement among fans and industry insiders alike. With their signing to Warner Music last 2021, there’s no doubt that The Walters are poised for even greater heights. In several ways, their re-emergence signals a new chapter filled with endless possibilities and creative exploration as they continue to craft tunes that pair well with our lives.

So, to see them performing live on the Wanderland stage this 2024, it played out like a momentous film reel from one of your favorite comfort movies. Filled with warm bursts of energy that feel both exciting and familiar, their music evokes a sense of nostalgia and introspection, transporting listeners to a realm where every chord progression and lyric feels like a poignant coming-of-age moment.

Yet before the audience became immersed in a living, breathing soundtrack unfolding in real-time, Billboard Philippines caught up with The Walters –– chatting about what they were most excited about performing on stage in the Philippines for the first time, the lessons they’ve learned from their hiatus, and what lies ahead their music career moving forward.

The Walters performing for Wanderland 2024

The Walters photographed by Mayks Go/Billboard Philippines.

Billboard Philippines: Welcome to the Philippines. Your presence here at Wanderland 2024 marks your first time here, so what is it that excites you to be on this side of the world?

Luke Olson: Well, we’ve had a fanbase here for a while. And based on what social media says, there’s always fans that are asking us to come here – for years! So just for the excitement, that we get to play, for you know, the fans here in the Philippines.

Yeah, your audiences later are gonna really catch your set and cheer for you guys with their whole hearts. Are there any songs that you guys are excited to play live here?

Luke Olson: Obviously, “I Love You So”. I would say “Sweet Marie”, and then one of our songs called “Hunk Beach”. It’s very energetic and we just have a lot of fun playing it.

Walter Kosnor: Sometimes we would play it twice.

Luke Olson: Yeah, well only if we would have enough time. *laughs*

You guys were previously on a four-year hiatus, but are now back in full force as a group. Are there any key takeaways from your time away from the music scene?

Luke Olson: Uh, yeah. You know. We were all able to live our separate lives and do other things and only got the opportunity to come back, you know, and you really want to make the most of it and you appreciate it more. We were younger before, and just being away from this band and having it comes back, you realize how important it is, not only to us, but to other people – such as our fans. So we’re just trying to make the most of it, and we’re trying not to go back into hiatus. *laughs*

That’s good to hear. Because we wouldn’t want that to happen.

Luke Olson: We’re trying really hard not to.

The Walters performing for Wanderland 2024

The Walters photographed by Mayks Go/Billboard Philippines.

So, you guys have more than 16 million listeners across the world (and placement of #455 as the most listened-to artist on Global Spotify), which is a huge thing considering how many artists there are in the world. What do you think makes your music resonate with such a universal audience?

Luke Olson: Just so you know, lyrically – we’re not like – it doesn’t take much to understand what we’re talking about. *laughs* It’s very much like, a universal thing, and you know, the sound could be described as easy listening, so kids can listen to it, older adults can listen to it, so I think that kind of sets us apart in a way –– just the gentleness of it.

Walter Kosnor: Yeah, I think that we just write lyrics about what we know, and we honestly don’t know a lot. So, yeah.  *laughs*

But we write about love, and I think the best way to describe the music that we make that I personally like is with the word melancholy. It could be an ode back to another time, or a memory. I think that happens a lot for people when they listen to “I Love You So”, it brings them back to when they first listened to it. There’s a nice sense of nostalgia that comes with it.

And so in a way, your songs become the soundtrack to people’s lives.

Walter Kosnor: Yes, exactly!

I see that because it means so much to your audience. You guys just released your new single “Wishing Well” just a few days ago,  Would you say this marks the beginning of a new musical era, and perhaps a new record?

Luke Olson: Yeah, I would. For the last year to be kinda, trying some things, and experimenting, but with “Wishing Well” it gives us that feeling of The Walters when we first started. And we have you know, we’re working on an album that’s close to being wrapped up, and there’s a lot of that type of sound on it. Just the nostalgic, easy listening The Walters sound. I’m really excited because I know our fans are going to appreciate it.

So would you say there’s a tentative release date for that, or perhaps within the year?

Luke Olson: Within the year. We would ideally like to release the record, before the summer. 

And since it’s our first full-length album, because we’ve only released six or seven-track song albums, this one is going to be eleven songs. Or ten or twelve, we don’t know exactly, but something like that!

The Walters performing for Wanderland 2024

The Walters photographed by Mayks Go/Billboard Philippines.

Listen to The Walter’s latest single “Wishing Well” below: