While splitting their days between both NYC and LA, indie pop rock duo The Lulls have come together to release their latest EP, Meridian, out October 9th. The band, comprised of California natives and longtime friends Rutger Rosenborg (singer and guitarist) and Ryan Miller (drummer), take listeners on a journey of shimmering guitar riffs, cruising beats, and introspective, poignant lyrics. Ahead of their EP release show at Berlin on October 13, Bedford + Bowery was able to talk to Miller and Rosenborg about the new project, what it’s like to be a bicoastal band and how isolation and traveling influenced the creation of Meridian.
Rosenborg: I think our first show was the fifth grade talent show or something, we had a band back then up until we left for college, it was called Numskulls. It was some kind of pop punk stuff. We went our separate ways to college and then we graduated and then we started playing music again with the different bands, it was more like indie pop oriented. Then we transitioned into this band three years ago or so.
Miller: Yeah, it’s been described as shimmery before.
Rosenborg: Geography and place was the big thing for this EP because we recorded it and wrote it in so many different places. For the initial germs of the songs we rented a cabin in Idyllwild in the San Bernardino mountains.
Miller: Yeah, Idyllwild, it’s a trippy little town.
Rosenborg: We were just secluded up in this cabin for a week. We didn’t leave and we just started writing music. At least for two of the songs, that’s where the music sort of was formed. Then we recorded three of them in Connecticut, we wrote another one in San Diego, and then we wrote the fourth song in LA and then recorded it in LA as well. We [also] went on a national two-month tour, which is a long time to be in a van. So I think that sense of place and trying to find place especially in your own country, especially in this country, I was just thinking of having different voices be heard with that sort of sense of place in mind.
Rosenborg: Yeah, and I think having another voice in the studio also helped I think cause Ross [Nicol], our manager, helped us refine and produce the songs a little bit. That was a new experience for us but it turned out really well. In terms of lows of the process I would say all the money you have to spend and don’t make back. Another low was we had a sort of almost legal dispute because this other band, we wouldn’t even call it a band, they started posting music as The Lulls on Spotify. So every time you would search our name their music would come up. It was like ambient yoga music, I guess. They were like “there’s nothing we can do, you got to talk to the band themselves” and we had to get a lawyer involved and basically threaten legal action. Once we got through to them they were pretty responsive and they just said, “Sorry, we’ll change our name now.”
Rosenborg: It’s just embarrassing to say but Hex-Girlfriends was one of them. Our previous band was called Ed Ghost Tucker, which was just a randomly generated name, so we didn’t want to do that again basically.
Rosenborg: Ryan lives in LA and I just moved to New York like a month ago because I actually go to NYU. I’ve been here almost a month now and our release show is going to be here in New York on October 13th and then we are planning a West Coast run in the winter. It’s easier here to book shows [in New York] than it is in LA right now for us. LA is crazy, I can’t get a fucking show to save my life.
Rosenborg: Lately I’ve been listening to Grouper. She’s kind of like this experimental folk but not really folk. Her sound is super watery and super dreamy and I think that sort of sound has definitely influenced the overall production of it. I also look to other guitarists, like New Wave guitarists or even Paul Simon’s guitarist.
Miller: When we were writing we were kind of covering Slowdive and we were kind of listening to that stuff [that was] a little bit New Wavey, we covered some New Order back when we writing the stuff.
Rosenborg: I think it was a song called “Bruise,” which was on our first album. It’s a pretty straightforward pop-rock, I don’t want to say love song but it kind of was but it kinda wasn’t. It was very–I don’t want to say surface level in its approach but it was more heady that any real felt emotion or anything.
Rosenborg: I actually wrote that for [my] anniversary [with my girlfriend] this year. There’s a whole backstory, a sad backstory to it that I don’t know if I should share without her. Basically it’s a finding some sort of light or some good when something really terrible happens and trying to move forward from it.