Tove Lo Details
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As anyone with ears will tell you, Sweden is quite good when it comes to fostering amazing pop talent. With Stockholm’s Tove Lo, however, the typical mould of elegant heartfelt electropop has been beautifully corrupted by the sort of lyrical honesty and rawness that not only ruffles feathers, but makes you want to clutch your hand to your chest and wail along at the top of your lungs. Having self-released two examples of her unique take on pop – the clattering blood-letting of Love Ballad and the raw, but disarmingly melodic Habits (the latter earning respect from everyone from Pitchfork to Popjustice) – Tove Lo is ready to take her pop confessionals to a whole new level.
Music was always going to be something Tove Lo was involved in. Her high school, for example, wasn’t like most high schools. Run by teachers whose motto apparently was “fuck reading, let’s play music”, it was here that Lo met both of Icona Pop, forming bands left, right and centre and learning how to write songs. Singing in bands was something Lo also took outside the school gates, fronting a math rock band and playing what she affectionately refers to as “shitty” venues. “I wanted to write but couldn’t play anything and the guitarist in the band put music to my lyrics so that’s how it all started,” she explains. “It was such hard music and it would change key and tempo all the time. You had to understand it, like mathematical rock. We’d play all these awful bars where there were no monitors or anything. It was always pretty rowdy, so I got a lot of stage experience.”
At the same time she also started working on her own demos in-between earning money as a session singer. “I think I just started to feel like I wasn’t really into that music anymore,” she explains of her need to spread her wings. “I wanted to experiment more with other sounds and not keep it so organic. I was into the electronic stuff that was happening and the guitar player was very against that sort of stuff. I started producing my own songs on my computer which was fun.” Perhaps as a sign of her intent, those early recording sessions took place in a freezing cold shed turned makeshift studio. “My cousins had a shed outside of their house. It wasn’t heated so I had this heater in there and sometimes in the winter it would be minus ten,” she laughs. “The days I didn’t have a session I’d walk my dog there and just sit there all day and produce my own songs. Habits and Love Ballad were kind of started there actually.”