Before the Twilight song, the duet with Kanye, and the Levi;s gig, there was just Lykke Li, the smoky-eyed blonde with a permanent topknot and a catchy single called “Little Bit.” Li was always destined to make it onto our iPods with her vulnerable but brazen voice and knack for stuck-in-your-head melodies. Her equally inspiring look didn’t hurt her appeal. We caught up with the Swedish pop sensation on the eve of a coast-to-coast tour to find out just what it takes to wear heels on set and why she never leaves home without her trusty bottle of dry shampoo. Spoiler: It may have something to do with her long, newly dark chestnut locks.
There is such a visual element to your music, from your videos to your live shows. How important are aesthetics to you?
It’s not so much about aesthetics, but about following your vision and also letting the impulse guide you. I can’t help it, but I am a very visual person; whenever I have a second to daydream I see little movies, pictures, textures, and layers in my head. So when I’m creating, it’s just about following that impulse, although I have to say reality never lives up to my imagination! My music and art are all about escaping reality in some sort, about turning the nothingness and pain in one’s life into something beautiful and worthwhile. That is also why I prefer wearing black.
It’s impressive that you wore heeled boots in the “I Follow Rivers” music video—it must have been hell to run around in the snow while wearing them.
It was hell and heaven at the same time—the bare feet part especially—but I can’t remember a time where I felt more alive! The boots are vintage, I’ve worn them every day since.
Was it strange to see legions of girls adopt your topknot bun when your debut album, Youth Novels, came out in 2008?
I try my best to forget about that bun accident; I basically wore it a handful times out of necessity and one of them was caught on film. So I don’t think I have a lot to do with girls wearing the good old bun—there are only a few things you can do with a hair and a head.
Coachella 2011 is under way in the Indio valley, which means music lovers (and hallucinogen enthusiasts) have gathered en masse for some mind-altering fun in the sun. Due to some poor planning, we couldn’t make it out west to enjoy the musical stylings of bands like Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Sleigh Bells, Animal Collective, and the Kills. We’re particularly bummed about missing Warpaint, though, L.A.’s all-girl foursome that has become something of an international phenomenon since dropping their album, The Fool, in October—their first offering since officially getting signed last year. “It’s a bit psychedelic,” bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg (pictured above, far left) says of the band’s sound, adding that it can also be “hard at times, and more aggressive.” The seemingly incongruous mix makes for quite the compelling live show, which is helped along by the fact that all four of Warpaint’s members possess that rare double threat of being both super-hot and super-talented. Put simply, these girls can rock—and they do so in relaxed, vintage duds while sporting tousled hair and the occasional bit of makeup. Here, Lindberg breaks down her special brand of “OCD” festival fashion and reveals why multivitamins are clutch for life on the road.
Being based in L.A., I’m assuming you’ve been to Coachella before. But this is your first year actually playing it. How does that feel?
I’m excited. I’ve been to Coachella many times—it’s kind of a Los Angeles festival. And we’ve been an L.A.-based band for about seven years, so it’s nice to finally be playing. Two years ago, I was on mushrooms and I was watching the Cure and crying—I had a great time. I love the Cure—I grew up listening to them. That was the one band that I had posters of all over my wall. It was really nostalgic.
Sounds like it. Are there any bands you’re psyched to see this year?
We just got off tour for a month so I haven’t decided if I’m going to stay the whole weekend. But I rented a car so I can leave when I want. I’ve never seen PJ Harvey so that could be cool. And Arcade Fire—they put on such a good live show. I’m most excited to venture into the smaller tents and listen to things I’ve never heard before.
You guys have been touring a lot recently. How does that work seeing as how it’s just girls on the bus? Do you guys share clothes and stuff?
We all just kind of get in our outfits and we end up having those clothes on for a while. There’s not really a lot of sharing. We all have our own individual style, what we like. We share makeup more than anything—like, hey, can I use your lipstick?
The Coachella Music and Arts Festival is officially under way here in Indio, California, and our personal tally of headbands and all things fringed has officially begun. Plans today include taking in the musical stylings of Yeasayer, Grizzly Bear, and LCD Soundsystem, followed by a hopefully rousing, late-night performance by one Jay-Z (please, oh, please, let Beyoncé be hanging out backstage). But we’re equally psyched for tomorrow, when we’ll have yet another opportunity to see Beach House, which has proven to be a particularly enjoyable experience of late (we saw them at the Bell House in Brooklyn in January. Kate Winslet; also there). The Baltimore-based band made up of Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand has been touring for the past few months in support of their new album, Teen Dream. The record solidified our love for their ethereal sound, and for Legrand herself, whose serious vocal prowess, epic mane of thick brown hair, and vintage aesthetic won us over when we saw the band live back in 2008. We caught up with Legrand, who rolls into town this weekend in the middle of a whirlwind North American tour, to talk hair (obviously), “van fashion,” and why even rock stars grapple with the sensible vs. impractical shoe dilemma.
We took the liberty of checking the weather forecast for your show tomorrow, and you’re looking at full sun and 91 degrees. In situations like these, might you consider forgoing your signature hair-down-to-there and long bangs for a high ponytail—or maybe even a topknot?
No. My hair is a wild, untamable beast! I like letting it grow; my bangs grow whatever way they want and I kind of follow their rule. So side bangs, poof bangs—it’s kind of unpredictable. But I love the hot sweat. I think overheating onstage is invigorating. It’s better than being comfortable. I think being comfortable is the death of a show.