How Tove Lo Became Sweden’s Darkest Pop Export
I just like to talk about drugs in my songs because obviously a lot of people know what I’m talking about: It’s not a secret. I can tell that everyone knows what I mean when I say these things.
But then, you know, you have all the other reasons for why I shouldn’t. Because if I sing about it in a positive way, I’m no longer just only sitting in my studio. People are starting to know who I am, and young kids will listen and feel inspired – either to not to do it because they’ll see the “Habits” video and just say “Fuck, that looks awful,” or be like “That’s so me; I want to be that self-destructive person.” Which is kind of how I was when I was growing up. I was always drawn to the self-destructive kind of way. I thought there was something beautiful about it, I don’t know why. But yeah, I don’t know if I should take a stand or not. Right now I’m just writing what I know.
Is it weird making that transition, where people now hear the songs you write and try to learn something about you from them?
I didn’t just want to give these songs away because they were too personal, but I haven’t really thought of the difference of coming out and suddenly being the face of your own thing – it’s hard. I don’t think I ever will understand how much people will have the energy to have opinions and feelings about me as a person, depending on the stuff that I release and decide to give up to the public. It will never be enough to just to be like, “Here’s the music. I’m performing live. That’s it.” People are always gonna want more and know more and get more from me as a person.
But I get it too, I love reading all these personal interviews about an artist whose music you love because you want to know the back story. I think it’s because if you relate so personally to the music you want to relate to the person too. It’s been a big change that’s taken me a while to accept. Especially when it comes to the appearance of me – like, how I look and what I wear and my make-up and my hair and everything. It’s suddenly just because I’m a pop girl that’s very important. It means a lot to everyone around me that I look good, and I don’t think it should have to. I just think I should look the way I do. [laughs]
So as you were becoming more famous, more of a “pop girl,” what were you trying to do with Queen of the Clouds?
When I wrote for this album I was like, “I’m still just gonna keep it very personal, like all the lyrics are mine and it’s just kind of my story.” But it’s surreal, everything that’s happening right now. I wouldn’t have minded having an indie career. But now that it’s kind of taking off you’re watching your actual teenage dream coming true, slowly but surely. So the album is raw and personal. It’s my kind of dance-y pop but with that little bit of pain in there, a bit of darkness.
I’ve divided the record into three parts: “The Sex,” “the Love” and “the Pain,” which is basically the way that all my relationships usually start and end – I realized that looking at it [laughs]. But yeah, it’s got maybe a bit more of the happier side of me as well, which I feel good about. I want it to just feel emotional and big, but still have that kind of quirky pop to it. It’s the mix of the organic and electronic beats – it’s messy. I feel like it’s messy and it’s raw and it’s honest, and I’m really proud of it, actually. I feel very good about it.
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