Here’s the thing about rock music: Just because a band’s songs are artistic, it doesn’t always mean that they lack edge or rock-ability. That’s the case with Chicago’s own A Lull. If you’ve ever listened to a song from these natives, you probably took note of the band’s percussion. It’s intense. By enlisting two drummers, A Lull creates a rumbling rhythm section for its fervent melodies to follow.
Mike Brown, A Lull’s guitar and keyboard player, phoned me the night before the band left for a short Midwestern jaunt with Gauntlet Hair this month. I wanted to chat with him about the busy summer he has coming up. With a new EP due out next month, tour plans, another release already in the works and a spot on the bill at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, A Lull have a full calendar.
When I ask Brown if he’s excited about playing Pitchfork he responds with a flat, “No.” He’s kidding, of course. The festival appearance will be A Lull’s biggest U.S. show to date (The band played an even larger festival last summer in Quebec.). Though Brown admits in all seriousness that hometown shows always bring a little added pressure.
“If [Pitchfork] was in any other city it would be a lot more exciting,” he said. “I don’t mean that in a bad way. We all just get nervous playing in Chicago just because we have so many friends here. I’m going to see all of these people tomorrow, you know?”
Any live show with as many elements as A Lull’s must be at least a little nervewrecking—no matter the audience. Brown finds himself continually shifting from guitar to keys.
In addition to the dual drummers, there’s also always at least a couple toms and snares spread throughout the stage for the other band members to join in on at various times during the set. Brown admitted there’s just one simple piece of advice to follow when it comes to coordinating such elaborate live shows.
“Don’t fuck up…basically,” he said. “Honestly though, that’s probably the biggest focus because there’s many times where we’ve got so much going on and the slightest slip of the hand will just messed everyone else up. We try to be on par and you sort of fall in a groove when you’re on tour and you know you’re songs. Then it’s pretty seamless.”
Even though the complexity of A Lull’s song composition has always been one of the band’s most defining features, fans might be a little surprised by their newest release, a five-song EP titled Meat Mountain that drops June 26. Brown explained the new material—A Lull’s first since their 2011 full-length Confetti—is a lot “looser” than the last album and that “there’s just not as much going on.” But he also assured me Meat Mountain is still undeniably a product of A Lull and that the new EP definitely sounds like them.
Catch A Lull performing on Sunday at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival and check out Meat Mountain on June 26. Pre-order the new EP here and listen to the band’s single, “I’m On Fire,” below.