LYKKE LI – GUNSHOT
Exclusively for H&M Life, Swedish pop star Lykke Li filmed an acoustic version of her track Gunshot off her new album.
Few artists are able to combine chart success with dark ambiguity as well as Lykke Li. The Swedish star, who due to her bohemian parents spent a large part of her childhood travelling countries like Morocco, Portugal and Nepal, has captivated audiences across the world with her ravishing songs and vulnerable, yet ferocious voice.
Lykke Li’s debut album Youth Novels, released in 2008, turned her into one of the biggest names in the new wave of Swedish pop. Her sense of style – black eyeliner, black leather asymmetric dresses – got her a lot of attention in the fashion world. Lykke Li has also launched an acting career, appearing in Tarik Saleh’s Swedish gangster drama Tommy.
On her third album I Never Learn, released on May 5th, Lykke Li sings nine delicately haunting songs about love and loss. As a special preview she has filmed an acoustic version of the track Gunshot, exclusively for H&M Life.
– I love acoustic music. To touch someone with just a guitar, a piano or a voice is really hard. It's also the purest and most divine kind of music. I've tried to record this album live as much as possible, but it's hard to get everything right in one take. Sometimes the drums are perfect but my vocals don't gel. Sometimes my singing is great but there's a problem with a drum.
WHAT KIND OF ACOUSTIC MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO?
– I love listening to old demos by singers like John Lennon, Harry Nilsson and Karen Dalton. I bought an old cassette recorder to tape my own songs. Some of those early versions are my favourites. My co-writer Rick Nowles works with Stevie Nicks. He played me a tape with some of her demos. Just her voice, nothing else. It was the best thing I ever heard.
ON THE I NEVER LEARN ALBUM COVER YOU STRIKE A SAINT-LIKE
POSE, WEARING A VEIL AND A LEATHER JACKET. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH
– I didn’t have an exact idea. I just wanted it to be as iconic as an old picture of Patti Smith. I'm wearing a long leather coat from Lanvin. It's lovely.
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU NEVER LEARN?
– When I decided on the title I had been trapped in a whirlwind, failing with everything, but I guess that you live, you learn, you crash and you burn. When you feel that you've learned everything, life is over. You want to stay confused. There's a Tolkien quote that I really like: ”Not all those who wander are lost.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY STYLE ICONS?
– I like looking at Richard Avedon’s pictures of farmers and miners in his book In the American West. I like seeing a lady in Paris or New York who bought the perfect Céline coat in the 50’s and still wears it. And [author] Joan Didion has a nice look, just a cashmere sweater and a sharp brain. Nothing's more attractive than that.
YOU USED LUCID DREAMING TECHNIQUES WHEN PREPARING FOR YOUR ROLE IN
THE MOVIE TOMMY. HAVE YOU TRIED THAT WHEN WRITING MUSIC?
– Yes, but it’s annoying when the melodies sneak into my dreams. I hum them in my sleep and add voice parts. It’s super psychedelic but I feel exhausted when I wake up. Recently I’ve been having really weird dreams. I'm swimming with dolphins the whole night. Maybe it's because I've done so many interviews and photo shoots. I'm like a dolphin who wants freedom.
BUT YOU’RE FORCED TO JUMP THROUGH HULA HOOPS AT SEAWORLD.
– Exactly. All I want to do is reach the ocean.