Lykke Li | First Avenue | Sunday, September 28
Throughout three visceral albums and the course of six years, Stockholm singer Lykke Li has consistently revealed intimate parts of herself through her songs. Since her 2008 debut, Youth Novels, she's used her music to display undiluted details tracking her own (very personal) victories, failures, actualizations and frustrations. Although her confessional interpretation of pop music has gained her an international following, at the root of it all, Lykke Li's music is first and foremost a tool for herself.
This spring's heartbreaking new album, I Never Learn, utterly bared her most pained soul. But through the anguished beauty of the songs, Lykke Li has found both perspective and the means to keep moving. Ahead of her stop in Minneapolis on Sunday with fellow Stockholm artist Mapei, Gimme Noise chatted with Lykke Li about life after heartbreak and the freedom of letting go.
Gimme Noise: You've been essentially spent your life on the road touring/traveling the world since your music starting gaining momentum Your twenties have been anything but normal. Is there anything frustrating about the path you've chosen as a musician?
Lykke Li:Yeah, I mean that's just it. The one real downside is that you can't spend any time at home and sometimes your personal relationships suffer because of it. So of course that's a huge frustration.
And home--if you're ever there--is in LA right now?
I'm still living there now. I mean, I'll always be traveling and I'll go back to Stockholm. But yeah, I would say I live in between LA and Stockholm.
So I understand that you consider the three albums that you've put out so far as almost a trilogy. A tattoo that you have even indicates this trio of albums. How do you think that I Never Learn fits into that trilogy?
You know I start the trilogy with being a young woman fantasizing about love and then on the second one she finds love and then loses it and then on the third she loses it again and has to like find a way to love herself and finally open the door to become a real woman.
So would you say it's the closing of a chapter or do you think there is more to add on to the story?
I mean the way I see it every door that's closed opens another door. The way I see it there's kind of no end and no beginning. But it's definitely like...I do believe in trinities. A lot of things in life come as threes. These albums were my three albums about my youth and then I will start out another chapter.
What do you think this trilogy has taught you about being a musician? How have you developed as a musician throughout these installments?
I mean, it taught me everything. Everything I learned I put on my record so I guess it's just a natural progression.
This album is extremely personal and loaded with emotions. Is there anything difficult about reliving that pain every time you step on to the stage?
In a sense, but I mean it's also very empowering because I survived it. It's pretty powerful to sing all of it and to also feel like I'm finally past it now.
Was it a difficult process to start writing on it initially?
Yeah, I mean I was going through an extremely difficult time in my life, but writing was probably the easiest part of all of that. Writing is very therapeutic to me and so writing was easy the easier part and living it was hard.
Is there a song on the album that is especially close to you heart and why?
No, because it's every song really. I made the album as a whole and so every song is a part of the puzzle and is important.
Did the person who the album is about have a response to the music?
That's a very personal question, and I don't usually talk about people.
I know it's personal. You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to.
I mean I can definitely say that the album is coming from my point of view and was written in my point of view. I'm sure that there is another point of view as well.
Was there anything scary about exposing all of your own personal heartbreak for everyone to scrutinize and talk about and listen to?
Yeah, but I don't know I'd kind of chosen pretty early on to be as honest as I can and so you can't hold back then or second guess it. You just have to do it. I didn't even think about that much the people who were going to hear it. I just wanted to get it done for my own sake, really. I didn't think about it that much.
Has it been cathartic?
Do you think that you still have faith in love?
Oh yeah, for sure, more than ever now actually. When I was first experiencing all of this it I thought, you know, all of those titles like, "Never Gonna Love Again," I really did believe when I wrote it. But I survived it.
Once you're done touring for this cycle, how are you most excited to spend your free time?
I miss being with my friends and having a garden and learning about that and cooking and mostly making no plans at all.
Do you ever write new music when you're on tour? Are you thinking about another album yet in any capacity?
There's really no time for me to to do it on tour. You're always traveling and sound checking and doing something else. I hope there will be another album but I guess you never know anything.
You've also pursued some acting as well I understand. Is that something you'll do more of?
It's the same thing there. It's not something that I'm actively going after it but if something were to come to me that were the right thing to do then I'd probably do it. It's very different and so it challenges different sides of you than music does.
What's your biggest priority right now?
I really want to do the best I can with the tour. And along with all of that I just want to become a better woman, friend, sister, daughter and person in general.