When they met at Evergreen State College, Scott Bruzenak and Ariel Westberg were modern classic composition majors. He was a saxophonist who played free jazz; she wrote modern operas.
In the ensuing years, they’ve become husband and wife, and the music they’ve made together has ventured into other genres. (Bruzenak also has worked as a producer under the name Noisecastle III for the likes of Daya and JoJo). Billed as Westberg, the married Los Angeles-based duo’s new EP, Boomer Studies, adds “two different directions,” as Bruzenak puts it, to their broad musical palette.
“There’s the country, indie, dusty sound that’s more languid,” he explains, “and then there’s the more rock ’n’ roll [style in the] Tom Petty and Sheryl Crow direction.”
Those styles are wrapped around seven tunes that Bruzenak says reflect “a more direct approach to our day-to-day lives,” and by taking out some of the romanticism, “that felt more romantic to us.”
“We also had a concept about writing about Los Angeles — the city itself, and what it’s like to be here in the grind,” singer Westberg adds. “We were thinking about how exhausting L.A. can be and how tired we were, and we’re also in our 40s. It became more about our generation and this phase of our lives as we went along.”
The duo isn’t concerned about the eclectic nature of their catalog confusing fans.
“We’re in the position right now that we don’t have a fan base,” Bruzenak admits. “We’re throwing stuff out to see if people respond to it.”
He brings up Billie Eilish and wonders aloud how one would define her music. Then, in reference to pop music in general, he says, “There is no center right now. It’s wide open.”
And with that in mind, he says Westberg’s future output will also be wide open.
“In the next year, we’re going to start putting out singles every couple of months, and I think those are going to be even more eclectic,” Bruzenak says. “And we’ll see if anything piques anybody’s interest.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Photo by Chris Mastro