Incoming! The ethereal Tove Lo is set to touch down in Aotearoa later this month for her first ever headline show!
Written by Oli Spencer
Photography by Moni Haworth
With her forthcoming album ‘DIRT FEMME’ on the horizon, it already feels like her most iconic era yet. Only going up, the multifaceted pop icon won us over back to back with the powerful leading single ‘No One Dies From Love’, followed by the truly epic and emotional ‘True Romance’. Not slowing down, the latest taste of the forthcoming album is the irresistible ‘2 Die 4’ - a hypnotic tale of finding the one, featuring an all too nostalgic sample of Hot Butter’s 1972 track ‘Popcorn’. The cherry on top is a dazzling new music video where we see the singer embody a bold heroine that she describes as “Wonder Woman with big dick energy”.
We caught up with the boundary-defying pop icon (and her dog curled up behind her on the couch) to chat about her latest hit ‘2 Die 4’, giving each song its own movie character, and experiencing the full spectrum of Tove Lo at her first ever NZ show.
Tove Lo is playing in Auckland on September 21st!
I seriously love ‘2 Die 4’ - does that popcorn sample mean anything to you personally?
I just have a very strong love for it. but for me, you know some people are like “oh it’s Crazy Frog!” and I’m like no, it’s not, it’s Hot Butter – Popcorn. But, my parents told me they would play it a lot when we were growing up and I actually don’t remember that at all. I do remember listening to it later when I went to this music high school, and one of the lunch concert bands played it and we started listening to it then again - but I have no memory of listening to it as a child. I just have this love for it – I think its genius, it’s so stupid! The sound is just like I don’t know, it makes me laugh.
I love all the art work involved with the album, what inspired the art direction?
So, it was actually pretty cool… usually I have a clear idea of what the visual aesthetic should be while I’m writing the music, but this time I just had no idea. The album name came to me quite late, I just couldn’t really… I had to have all the songs that I wanted to be on the record and listen through them to be like, oh this is what its about, oh, this is the title – and I kind of started to see all that. But, when I was listening through, everything felt so cinematic, and the lyrics are dramatic and it’s all very emotional, it feels very grand sonically. I wanted the visuals to feel very cinematic, and the idea grew into giving every song its own sort of movie character based on a female character that I like, or just a part of me that I identify with you know. For ‘2 Die 4’ it was Wonder Woman with big dick energy, which I think is kind of perfect.
'DIRT FEMME' is on the horizon - if the album had a texture, what would it be?
Warm metal, like gold plated metal that’s been out in the sun, it’s very hot when you touch it.
You’ve said this is a new era for you, aside from the music what does that mean for you on a personal level?
I think a lot of things, you know. For me it kind of feels like I’m doing everything for the first time again. Right as the pandemic hit and I was out of my record deal, I had just moved into a new place in LA. I kind of felt like, am I ever going to get that life back? Am I gonna be putting out music and touring? Just like everybody else questioning everything in the world. I think I had longer to write this record than I have since I wrote my first album which I think played a part in why it’s so good. I really had time to sort of write songs over a long period of time and just make better songs and figure out where I wanted to go and build it properly. Also releasing it on my record label for the first time feels very special and personal to me. I really do love where I live now and I used to never want to come home - when I’m out on tour I can be out forever, I don’t care about going home. Yes, I miss friends and family but you can come visit me, I don’t need to be back in my space. Now I love where I live, I love my dog whose napping right there behind me, I love my friends and my life here - so I think it feels like I’m rooted finally for the first time, so that’s also different. I still love going on tour, but I’m definitely looking forward to going home again. But yeah, it feels like everything is a new journey now somehow, in a really nice way.
What can we expect to see at your first ever show here in Aotearoa?
A lot of my husband’s family and friends haha! I’m just gonna bring all the feelings, all the energy. We’ve really dialed in the set, it feels really really good. I’m gonna play a lot of new songs, but try to bring in music from all the records since I haven’t played in NZ yet. Give the long term fans some of the early stuff too so they can be like I was there from the beginning. I’m gonna play from all eras. We have this kind of big section where you’re meant to dance and do nothing else and I am going to encourage people to do so. It will be high energy and highly emotional.
I always wonder if musicians miss playing older songs?
Yeah for sure, whenever we have a possibility for rehearsal time, I try to switch some stuff out to make sure I go through the catalogue a bit.. but it’s so hard to decide. I mean, this is my fifth album, and obviously when I do the DIRT FEMME tour, I want to play a lot of things from the album… but I’m also like, what about this? and this? Anytime I ask fans which songs I should play, everyone's saying different ones… there are so many deep cuts that people want, and no one is saying the same deep cut song… so it's really hard to pick. I go through all my albums anytime that I go on a new tour, and the nostalgia is just wild. I get thrown back to my voice sounding different, how I sing – especially since I had vocal cord surgery, I can hear such a difference in my voice - it’s all very intense.