Løren’s first guitar was Tom Delonge’s signature model, the Gibson Tom DeLonge Signature ES-333.
“Growing up, they were one of my favorite, favorite bands,” he tells Los Angeles Confidential. “I still listen to them all the time. If I were to shuffle my playlist right now, they pop up.”
On the Tuesday after weekend one of Coachella, Løren— born Lee Seung-joo— sips on a beer in a ramen restaurant near Larchmont Village in Los Angeles. Two days ago, he was performing on the Sahara stage at the world-renowned festival and the very same stage Blink-182 had graced 48 hours prior.
“It’s surreal,” Løren says of performing at Coachella. “It happened and I’m still blown away.”
The South Korean rocker has had a whirlwind spring. In March, he signed with record label 88Rising; released his debut EP, Put Up A Fight, on March 24 and had his first-ever U.S. show at SXSW.
Løren grew up on a steady diet of rock music, inclusive of The Strokes, My Chemical Romance and Nirvana, but entered into the industry by making rap and dubstep beats. He generated buzz over the course of 2021 with a string of singles and later became the face of Saint Laurent.
And whether or not Coachella goers caught Løren’s set, they likely witnessed his artistic talents. His history also includes teaming up with Blackpink as a songwriter on “Pretty Savage” and “Lovesick Girls,” which the K-pop quartet performed during their history-making headlining performance.
It wasn’t until a few weeks before the festival that Løren was booked for Coachella. To prepare, it was all hands on deck.
“We have no time to waste,” Løren remembers thinking. “F*** my weekends, f*** everything. We're just gonna rehearse each and every day.”
The Coachella set spanned five songs and included a guest appearance from Landon Barker, son of Blink-182’s Travis Barker. He planned for six, which would have been a cover, but they had to work around technical difficulties.
“I was not impressed with the performance, but I was impressed that I could keep it together under the circumstances,” Løren admits.
Later in the conversation, Løren describes himself as a “control freak,” but while relaying the events of the festival, he’s just as lax as the way he is when he muses over his favorite artists. He saw quite a few at the festival, like Gorillaz’ Damon Albarn.
“He was one of my icons growing up,” Løren says. “The fact that I was coexisting with him in the same space, at the same time, was just f****** beyond this world.”
And even though Løren is still wearing his Coachella wristband days after the festival, he is ready for what’s next. After our interview, he’ll head to Gold Diggers in East Hollywood for a studio session.
“I love it here,” he says of Los Angeles. “It’s weird how at home I feel.”
With just a handful of visits to L.A., Løren already knows he wants to move here. He namechecks visiting the likes of The Nice Guy, Sunset Marquis and legendary rocker haunt the Rainbow Bar & Grill. It's clear though that his affection for Los Angeles is about more than just the allure of the city’s glitz and glamor.
“Everyone’s so polite and I love the fact that people are so open,” he says. “I always saw myself as like this— I mean I am awkward as this social dropout thing. But turns out I actually enjoy meeting strangers and hearing their stories.”
True to his name (Løren is an anagram for “loner”), the producer-turned-rockstar has long made music alone. It was pretty easy to do given his ability to sing, write, produce and play drums, bass and guitar. (“I wish I could play piano,” he later mentions.)
Now performing with a full band and under the 88Rising label, Løren has let more people in. During his last visit to L.A., he says it was his first time singing other people’s songs and that it “turned out great.”
In prepping for Coachella, Løren has to put songwriting off to the side, so now he’s eager to dive back into making music and release another project. He says Put Up a Fight feels a little less personal because the songs were written years ago. “I haven't written anything in a good two months. And so now that the inventory is full, I can't wait to empty it out.”
However, Løren already has a new song ready that he describes as one of his favorites that he’s ever made. He admits to usually being bad with titles, but notes that he already has the album name and title track, his new favorite, ready to go.
“It feels very emotional to me,” Løren reveals about the song. “The entire theme of the album is when I was in a pretty dark spot. Before all these good things happened last year, I was probably at the lowest I had been in a very long time. I think playing that song now is very euphoric. It was almost like this is what I prayed for and now I get to do it.”
Anyone in the crowd of Løren’s SXSW set was lucky enough to already hear the song, which he also plans to perform later in May at 88Rising’s Head in the Clouds Festival in New York. He knows the forthcoming show will be bigger and better than Coachella. They’ve been experimenting with visuals, changing formats of songs and potential covers. His friends want him to do a song by The Strokes, but her thinks there are certain sacred bands you just don’t “f*** with.”
In addition to his musical dexterity, Løren’s greatest asset as an artist is perhaps his fanship. He would never set out to make a replica of a Julian Casablancas song, but he can’t help but be affected by his alt-rock forefathers. “I digested so much of their music… their influence is embedded in me.”
Speaking about music in general, he later adds, “It's always felt so magical. It really feels like magic if you really think about it. It's something that’s not visible or present, but it can change the room, it can change your feelings and emotions and conversations and everything.”
Music has been Løren’s lifeline, so much so that he knows it's his only life path. He wants to do the same for others what music has done for him.
“I had a very rough school/social life,” Løren says. “[But music was] like a wall to lean on or something to drown out the world or forget the fact that you're eating lunch by yourself or whatever it may be. I feel like I got so much from it, more so than any other person or more so than any other thing. There's no way for me to not do it if that makes sense. I have to, crash and burn as I may.”
Photography by: Courtesy of 88Rising and The Black Label; Photos by Deanie Chen