Tove Lo bare chest.
Believing this to be an audio-only interview, the Swedish singer-songwriter giggled and made excuses to search for a shirt, leaving her and my collaborators to ponder. about the static noise of our Zoom call for a few seconds. (For starters, this is purely brand-based for her.)
As she reappears in front of the camera, fully clothed, she puts on a hidden smile now video recording, YouTube streaming and TikTok editing including a promotional cycle for her fifth studio album her new release, Dirt Femme. Crucially, this is her first record to leave the major label system — after her multi-year contract with Universal Music expired, she chose to release it. Dirt Femme through her own Pretty Swede Records, supported by a small, personalized team run by artist relations agency Mtheory.
“Doing it independently now is like, very different, but it’s great for me. I really like it. I feel so free,” she confessed from the floor of her home studio.
“Working with a big label – the main need was to sell records, because it was supposed to be commercially successful music. That, and being pop music, and wanting to do something different or darker that doesn’t resonate with a lot of people, can be frustrating at times. Even so, she readily admits, “I desperately needed a big label to make my music as disruptive as it was.”
That break came in 2014 with “Habits (At a high level)“, a sleeping hedonist talks about self-medicating to get over a breakup. The yin equates to an episode of Skinit was part of a wave of moody, self-conscious pop hits like Lorde’s “Royals” and Sia’s “Chandelier” that signaled a shift away from the blazing craze of the early 2010s charts. like LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” and “Katy Perry’s” Fireworks.” Over the next decade, she would continue to craft a familiar blend of danceable verses and confessional verses. Along the way, Tove sprinkled some of her smudged eyeliner on songs by Lorde, Hilary Duff and Dua Lipa, featuring the 2020 track “Cool” written by Tove, whose lyrics are “I Can I Can.” see us in real life” —The kind of small part of the English language that has turned other Swedish-written songs such as “… Baby One More Time” (written by one-time Tove collaborator Max Martin ) into instant classics.
Meanwhile, her music videos have become events in their own right, culminating in a 2019 Grammy nomination for the spectacular track.Glad he wentThe video, which features an impressive amount of CGI for a self-described “good looking bitch left of center”. This achievement only adds to Tove’s insatiable appetite for combining her music with stunning visuals.
“Honestly, I pay for a lot of my videos,” she says. “I paid for ‘Glad He’s Gone’ because it was just too much budget for a studio to support. No one, at least not at my level, would spend that money on a video. My team tells me that all the time. ‘You’re an idiot, why are you wasting so much money on this?’ It was my guilty pleasure, I guess. I like it.”
A few days before our call, she was in Estonia filming the video for “2 Die 4”, the third single to come out. Dirt Femme. In it, she whispers about a handsome new lover through an irresistible mock-up of Gershon Kingsley’s popular 1969 electronic composition “Popcorn”. It’s part electronic music history, part Y2K fascination, with a video — featuring creative direction from Tove’s husband Charlie Twaddle — recalling the splash antics in Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” .
This is also one of the more interesting songs on Dirt Femme, grappling with everything from Tove’s teenage struggles with counting calories (“Grapefruit”) to his fear of becoming boring (“Suburbia”). In “True Romance,” she foregoes her usual cool communication for a catchy chorus that turns into a satisfying, passionate scream the second time around.
If it all sounds a little more personal, that’s because it is.
“This is the first time that I have so much time to write and stay in one place,” explained Tove, thanking and blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for giving her space to sit with her thoughts. . “The last time I had that time was for my first album.”
Tove’s last album, Sunshine Kitty, was released in September 2019, about six months before the pandemic. She completed about half of her planned tour dates before postponing the rest, splitting her time between the US and Sweden while life slowly returned to normal.
“In my mind, I just came out with an album and I had to tour all year, and then my contract was done, and I almost didn’t want to write for the first year,” she recalls. . “When I first started writing music [again], has no purpose. I’m just the kind of song writer. That makes them a little bit more vulnerable.”
In particular, “Suburbia” refers to the perennial interest in the party girl, who once boasted about drinking “champagne all day” with her lover who was trapped in the “boredom bubble” in 2019. “Bikini Erotic. It was a fear that came true above all else in 2020, when she and Twaddle headed to Las Vegas for a chapel wedding in the midst of the pandemic. It was one of the few times she felt like her parents fully understood one of her life choices, she said.
“There is only one way to really live with the people I grew up with,” she said, referring to her hometown of Stockholm. “When I got married, it was like, ‘Oh, you’re doing something normal, you’re like us.’ I have felt it from family and friends this way, so what should I do? The next logical step? Let’s be the boring straight couple just talking about the renovations they’re doing in their house? “
“When I got married, it was like, ‘Oh, you’re doing something normal, you’re just like us.’ … So what should I do? The next logical step? Let’s be the boring straight couple just talking about the renovations they’re doing in their house?“
Not that she had a shared life to begin with; With her husband, Tove now shares a home in Los Angeles with three friends. One of them is producer Tim Nelson, or TimFromTheHouse, who worked closely with Tove on Dirt Femme. There are also Sam, a musician and music manager, and Jesse, a fashion event producer.
If that wasn’t enough action under one roof, she also hired her best friend to help her shoot TikToks. “I really have a lot of fun on that platform. I would say, it’s lazy with the big labels, ‘Oh, we’re not going to put your song out until it goes viral on TikTok,’ she said, possibly referring to artists. like Halsey, who was publicly complain about trademarked TikToks. “But to artists, I also want to say, give it a try. It’s such a vast platform, you don’t even necessarily have to relate it to your music. You can do whatever else you want to do and it will probably resonate with some people because it’s a huge place with lots of nooks and crannies to go down. “
Her home may be overflowing with creativity, but “collectively,” as she calls it, finds plenty of time to play.
“I have a friend who is an absolute techie, so I will just go with her to a lot of more cool places in LA,” she said. “Your average position [in L.A.] closes at 2. There are a lot of cool DJs and cool places, but you have to go to shabby venues with not the best sound. It’s hard to find a place where they can blast until 6am without making a fuss and you really get a live sound system. “
Still making music, still partying, and still living with roommates, Tove Lo can be said to be no different from a noisy Hollywood housewife.
“I guess I have a fear that that’s what we’ve subconsciously been aiming for,” she said. “A lot of times you end up with how you grew up, in some ways. Now that I’m back to my element again, I don’t have such worries anymore. “