Kaitlyn Dever in 'Rosaline'.

INTERVIEW: Drum & Lace and Ian Hultquist Took Pop Music Back in Time for Hulu’s ‘Rosaline’

Ist thou ready to rock thine socks off?

Hulu’s new film Rosaline gives us an alternate take on William Shakespeare’s classic Romeo & Juliet. The movie tells the story of Romeo’s first “true love,” Rosaline (Kaitlyn Dever). In the romantic comedy, Rosaline must figure out how to stop the epically unfolding romance between her now ex-boyfriend and her cousin, Juliet. But Rosaline is not the kind of woman to stand in the background and let things happen to her. Rosaline’s modern sensibilities, set against Baroque clothes and backdrops, needed the right soundtrack with a mix of new and historical.

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Composers Drum & Lace (Sofia Hultquist) and Ian Hultquist teamed up to create a musical story that would make sense for the modern/Baroque combination. Using all Baroque instruments, they crafted original parts of the score while also reworking modern pop songs that any bard would be proud of. We sat down with them to discuss just how they took new songs and made them fit the time period of the film.

Sofia Hultquist and Ian Hultquist said they were drawn to the project because of the story itself. Plus, they could work with a music style that they don’t normally explore. Instead of using a lot of solo recorded music, they worked closely with a large group of musicians in the studio to record the classically inspired soundtrack. Sofia added the woodwinds were the “MVPs” of the group and brought a lot to offer to the overall sound of the project.

The music is bard-core

The score is heavy with pianos and percussion instruments while also adding a large dose of lutes, flutes, and the harpsichord (my favorite). When I asked if it was challenging to arrange modern music with Baroque instruments, they said,

“Most of the instruments they had were very plucky like the harpsichord, the lute, and the harp so there wasn’t any sustain which is something in modern pop music you might not realize it, but there is a lot of sustain chords. There’s a lot of things that are textural and layering. So our biggest challenge, I think, was to keep a track like Robyn’s ‘Dancing on My Own’ interesting without having a lot of the modern language. We relied really heavily on ostinatos and notes being repeated and building a modern like the way an ARP [synthesizer] would do in modern pop music.”

The composing duo said they would like to work with more of these “off-kilter” instruments in the future. Personally, I would love to hear more bard-inspired music. Between the Rosaline soundtrack and Jaskier from The Witcher, the classical bard might make a comeback.

Rosaline began streaming on Hulu on October 14, and the soundtrack is available now.

(featured image: Hulu/Disney)

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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.