Intrigued, we found an opportunity to ask Shaun from the band a few questions – some serious, some tongue in cheek — to find out more about the group in question, about the band’s single launch party at the Old Blue Last, their upcoming tour with Spector, and the hopes and aspirations that will likely see the trio taking over the world via social networks.
First things first, where does the name ‘LULS’ come from? What does it mean?
Well, in short the word LULS comes from the beautiful language of the Netherlands (Dutch) and literally means . . . er . . . “cocks”! So I guess we can join that elite echelon of bands with sexual reference names. I’ll be happy to sit at the rock round table with fellow juvenile contemporaries, Smashing Pumpkins, The Slits, Buzzcocks. I’ll be proud to join them.
But I guess the real reason we chose it and the reason we related to it was because it felt like our lives have been in a bit of a “lull” for a long time now. I’ve been sat going nowhere for… years, maybe this is the start of that coming to an end… maybe it’s not!
So where are you all from?
Well we all live in London. Adam is originally from York, though he has lived in Camden for the last 5 or so years. Ben lives in Isleworth, an area of London I’d never heard of or been to before I met him. To be honest I still doubt its existence… it just sounds a bit mythical to me, like saying you live in Rivendell. Though that illusion was shattered when I Googled it and found out it was part of Hounslow!
I live in Dalston, arguably the “cool” part of town. In my defence I’ve always lived here, one of the few people I know who has and I can safely say it didn’t used to be cool. I can still remember when I would have to beg my friends to come visit me. Now most of them have hung out on the strip more times in the last month than I have in the last five years… or they’ve just moved here.
How did you all meet and come to play in a band with each other?
I first saw/met both Adam and Ben when they were helping out mutual friends by filling in for the permanent members of their bands. I just kept bumping into them and eventually ended up playing with them. Actually when I first saw Adam, he was playing on stage and I was pretty terrified of him. He looked really pissed off; I kind of wanted to speak to him afterwards but just pussied out and went home. I thought he might be a really angry person, turned out he’s probably the most friendly guy you’ll ever meet and it’s me who’s pretty moody.
Spector and their whole road crew are just great, really fun guys to be around. Everyone who I’ve mentioned this tour to seems to think it’s going to be the most debauched thing since… I dunno… Motley Crue circa 1984. There have been a few photos on Instagram showing sinks full of sick… so maybe they are right.
Have you played any particularly memorable live shows? What do you think makes a good live band?
So far I think we’ve only played about 10 shows… wait… is that right? Seems low, I’m going to consult our online diary… I was wrong, it’s 12 shows so far. Still pretty low, this tour will pretty much double that. Of the limited number we’ve played so far, I’d say our single launch was the definite highlight. We are happy as long as we get a soundcheck and the room is full-ish. That show was extra special because it was our first headline show in our hometown and there were people there.
What makes a good live band? I guess it’s what that band bring to a live show that makes them unique. Take The Hives for example; they have a level of showmanship that makes them stand out. You know, things like when they all freeze at the start of ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’, everyone goes mental. Or The Mars Volta, it’s a totally different experience but just as great. Having all their songs joined together with 7min instrumentals makes for a really intense… trip? Er, gig! That’s what I meant, gig.
Your first song is called ‘Swing Low.’ I would describe it as a ‘heady’ (as in ambitious) pop song with multiple engines. How would you describe it?
I like your description, multiple engines sounds cool to me. I can’t say I really know what it means but I like the mental image… I wish all our songs had multiple engines. I think having written ‘Young’, which at points is quite tender, it ebbs and flows, we just wanted to do a song that was a bit more relentless. A song that kicked off from the start and didn’t really stop. Something you could nod your head to, maybe even move to. I’m glad you said it’s pop, it is. We in no way fear pop. I think pop is often more interesting than a lot of indie/rock… probably because it’s so fad-based so it is constantly changing.
You worked with Director Ferry Gouw on producing the music video for ‘Swing Low.’ What’s the idea behind the video? What inspired it?
All we knew when we went to Ferry was that we wanted it to be really colourful and we wanted it to be more than a standard performance video. We just told him that and he took it from there.
The video was inspired by this old children’s game Ferry found. This is going to be pretty hard to explain but essentially it is a board with eight faces arranged in a ring printed on it. The features of each face move, so if you slide the eyes of one face to the left all eight faces eyes slide into the left and create new faces. You can do this with the hair, eyes, nose and chin/body. The cover of the box proudly states you can create over 4000 different faces by moving the different features.
Ferry’s idea was to apply that ever-shifting platform to a different shape and essentially work a performance video into it.
The launch party for your debut single was held at the Old Blue Last. Could you tell us one amusing or interesting thing that happened at the single launch party?
Hmm I don’t really know if anything amusing happened whilst we were there. I was too busy feeling like I was about to have a panic attack, then vomit, then have another panic attack. From soundcheck to show time, I basically just wanted to go lay down in a quiet room, adopt the fetal position, maybe turn the lights out and have a comforting little cry. It’s been the most stressed I’ve been about a gig. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since actually, I think I may have been really weird when I was speaking to people before the show. If so, and you spoke to me, sorry.
We went to a karaoke night afterwards, my trademark rendition of Whitney Houston ‘Dance With Somebody’ complete with major lift and vocal warbling went down a storm… but I think you probably had to be there to find it amusing.
Are there any artists or producers that you’d particularly like to work with?
I’m not really someone who really obsesses over producers and knows all the up and coming talent. It means my list is pretty ambitious and probably not that unexpected. Er….Rick Rubin, Paul Epworth, Dave Sitek, Butch Vig, Alan Moulder, Brendan O’Brian, Rich Costey. Yeah, basically the guys who produced all the albums I listened to in my early teens.
I’ve never really thought about us working with another artist. I’d like to do a song with Karen O, I love her voice.
A fun one – what’s the most embarrassing song on the ‘Top 25 most played’ playlist of your iPods.
The most embarrassing thing I’ve listened to recently is… hmm I don’t know. Not because I haven’t listened to anything embarrassing but because I’m having a hard time deciding what the most embarrassing track is… it’s all pretty shocking.
Maybe I’ll just list a top five and you can decide… do I really want to put this in print… oh whatever. Embarrassing top 5… let’s do it.
Crazy Town – ‘Butterfly’
Christina Milian – ‘Dip It Low’
Mud Vayne - ‘Dig’
Sterophonics – ‘Dakota’
LULS - ‘Swing Low’ (listening to your own music is lame)
What’s your biggest goal as a group at the moment?
I guess it would be to have the opportunity to release an album. Actually it’s more than that, we’d like to have a proper shot at being a band. You know, make an album, do some tours, meet some people, maybe have some fun. If it turns out people really like it, amazing. If not, well… I’ll just go back to cranking in my bedroom… or should I say, I’ll just continue cranking in my bedroom.
What can we expect to see from LULS over the next few months?
Over the next few months you can expect to see three grown men, via the mediums of Facebook and Twitter screaming at the general public “PWWEASE LIKE MY BAND!! PWWEASE!” When we are not doing that we’ll probably do some touring and finish off our second single. Then we’ll start the whole thing again.
P.S. Please like my band. Please………#seriously