“‘I Follow Rivers’ is probably the only track that pays me”

Swedish singer Lykke Li

Swedish singer Lykke Li

He toured with Terrence Malick, performed as Ryan Gosling’s girlfriend and directed some of his music videos, including one in Faro, the island where Ingmar Bergman came from. And even though the lyrics of his latest album are full of cinema references, the one to whom we lent a relationship to Brad Britt – without confirmation or denial – is actually a musician, a real one, who writes no compromise, often. piece of shoegaze of unparalleled melancholy and many think about how women should combine creation and motherhood. At the age of 36, Lykke Li, a Swede who has lived in Los Angeles for nearly ten years, is releasing her fifth album this Friday, May 20, Mata. And while his manager, who is with him at Courney Love, says that he is the craziest, Number he met in a large hotel in Paris and made an observation: the actor seemed destined, dark and tortured as his music.

Number: You are American by adoption and committed to the purpose of women. As we speak, they are in danger of losing their right to abortion. What is your opinion here? Do you think this can happen?

Like Li: In this country, women have no power. So, even if this decision seems completely crazy, strange and delusional, it is possible. We’ve seen so much madness happen, Trump was elected … America really is naloko. I will not be surprised.

In your opinion, has Joe Biden’s coming to power changed nothing for women?

America’s flaws and problems are so deeply rooted … By living there, you really realize how much more inequality there is than anywhere else. Our time may finally overthrow the American dream …

From your start in 2008, you launched your own label. Did you have the impression, while working with the majors, of not being heard as if you were a man?

My music is sometimes distributed by majors. I just told them: “Here is the album and the cover”, without giving them the choice. I have always felt very strong: fortunately, I have always been the boss, especially with my co -workers who are mostly men. However, I realize that many musicians are not in this situation …

You’ve been in the music industry for 14 years. Have you ever felt the toxic masculinity around you?

Inequality and toxic masculinity plague daily life. Not in the music: it’s a place of freedom where the biggest stars are women and where they are in control. I write, I direct, I do what I want and all the time. When I think of Beyonce, Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B… They are the bosses!

There are women who are not as strong as Beyonce or Megan Thee Stallion …

The way women are viewed, the standards of beauty imposed on them, maternity leave … These are inequalities that are deeply rooted in society and which we all suffer on a daily basis.

In 2019, you organized a festival with just, I quote you, “strong women”, with Megan Thee Stallion. Tell me about this project.

I wanted to underline one dysfunction: the hegemony of men at the top of the bill at major festivals and also on backstage teams. So, I made this event with only binary, non-binary or transgender women producers, sellers or actors as well. It is revolutionary. I played with Cat Power, Courtney Love, SOPHIE – who recently passed away sadly …

A few years ago you gave birth to a boy. What is your opinion on how Rihanna redefined our perspective on a pop star’s pregnancy?

This is incredible. But Rihanna is a special case, she is surrounded… It is still very difficult for a musician to understand how to be an actress and a mother at the same time.

Are you having a hard time with that?

I struggle with that even when I speak to you: I am far away from my son and I feel bad.

What is your schedule when you are with him in Los Angeles?

I wake up early to prepare breakfast, pack lunch and take it to school. Then I call, I meditate, I try to exercise, I go to therapy, I organize meetings, I have lunch … And I always clean something up when I walk home.

On your Instagram account, you posted a meme from a fan: “I like how Lykke Li made a genre for sensual, sesame and depressed people”. Is that how you define your audience?

[Rires.] It’s almost in a funny tone. I found it so funny that I sent it to all my friends who reply: “looooool”.

It is often said that there are people crying while listening to your music in a club, do you believe?

I hope ! It will be a pleasure to be able to evoke such feelings.

Your last album eyeeye was produced by Björn Yttling, with whom you have been collaborating since 2008. Can you imagine making music without him?

I made the past without him: it was special, we hadn’t met in years, we hardly talked… Worked with him again on eyeeye it was as if we had separated and remarried!

Why did you split up?

Sometimes we have to experiment and step back. I just moved to Los Angeles, I live with a famous hip-hop producer that I collaborated with for the album. Very Sad So Sexy because I’ve always liked this kind of music. Then I listened to Shangri-Las again and I felt like I was bleeding: I had to go back to my first love.

You often use the image of drugs to describe your music. Why?

It’s not pictures, it’s real experiences. I am in this state of mind when I compose.

In 2014, you launched your own brand of mezcal. However, you seem to have decided to be sober at the age of 19. Is it still like this?

I chose to be sober when I moved to New York: I would play open mics where you had to buy a drink to sit at a table. So I stayed in front of my gin and tonic that I didn’t drink and I went up on stage sober … It only took a few months!

You are often associated with your profit I follow the rivers. What’s the hardest: that this song comes back on the carpet every time we talk to you or that a remix by an unknown Belgian DJ blew it up?

[Rires.] Same blessings! When I was younger, it was more offensive… Now I am proud and thankful that I have made a transcendent song that is played at weddings, parties, concerts, parades, movies …

Will you earn until you die on this song?

Maybe this is the only song that earns me.

eyeeye (2022) by Lykke Li, available from Pias.

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