Lorde explained how her synesthesia caused her to listen to lots of classic rock albums in a recent interview on WTF With Marc Maron. "Synesthesia is like when senses overlap," she explained. "You know what's quite good for synesthesia? Weirdly guitar music is not so overwhelming. I could listen to Neil Young or even Fleetwood Mac."
Lorde disappeared down a rock-geek rabbit hole with Maron. The pair discussed the Peter Green edition of Fleetwood Mac vs. the Buckingham/Nicks edition – "I'm obsessed with Fleetwood Mac Peter Green … It's the greatest shit ever," Lorde said. She also talked about her favorite member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. ("Graham Nash is for the ladies.")
"I love the Mamas and the Papas," Lorde added, jumping quickly from one L.A.-based, harmony-heavy act to another, "but that gets a little intense for me synesthesia-wise. There's this crazy modulation going on, all of a sudden we're in a different key. That can get crazy."
Lorde contrasted the making of those classic LPs – session players, live instruments – with her own process, which centers around a small number of individuals (her, producer Jack Antonoff) and heavy use of electronics. "I come from that culture of no one having any instruments," she told Maron. "Sounds come from computers. There's something kind of communist about it."
She stuck to the "communist" ideal when making her second album, even though she could afford to work in a more expensive fashion. "By that point, people were like, 'oh, should we show you some rich stuff?'" she said. "They show you the rich mixing desk. You're like, this doesn't feel like any kid could [have it] – I love the idea of any kid getting the same set of cracked plug-ins that they steal from the internet. That's how we made the song that won us a Grammy ['Royals']. It's literally cracked plug-ins."
"We didn't pay for pro-tools still for like a year after that," she added. "Don't worry, Pro Tools, we pay now."