photo by Brendan Walter seen at

Lykke Li – So Sad So Sexy! An Interview

There is nothing stronger than a broken woman trying to rebuilt herself, Lykke Li takes a broken heart and turns it into art, into pop. We had the chance to speak with her in the city of Berlin previous to her “So Sad So Sexy” live show.

WeTransfer Presents Work In Progress episode 3: Lykke Li

KALTLBUT: Why did you start working on this album?
Lykke Li: I was writing a lot of stuff but I did not feel the sparkles. I’d done “Hard Rain” and I thought it felt fresh. After this, I knew I was ready to start working on an album.

KALTLBUT: “So Sad So Sexy” is the first album you’ve made in Los Angeles. What was the difference in the creative process between this and the past albums?
Lykke Li: It was much harder! I made all my past albums with Björn Yttling, and I knew that we were going to work until they were done no matter what. In LA there were so many people involved, and it felt like chasing people just to be able to work on a single. But it was also really inspiring when I finally got to work with them because I have never done something like this. It was fun to be experimental.


KALTLBUT: Was it your intention to be experimental?
Lykke Li: In LA, there are musicians from many different places, and collaborating automatically creates new relationships between viewpoints. Each piece feels completely different to work on because every moment is a unique creation that could only have happened with those artists. It’s fascinating even just by what new sides of yourself it can bring out.

KALTLBUT: Like taking risks?
Lykke Li: Yes, and doing things that are difficult or that you are intimidated by, but that help you reach a new wave.

KALTLBUT: Were your collaborators new to you?
Lykke Li: All the people that I worked with were people I respected. Some I have known for years, one was my boyfriend at the time. Others: we had coffee and then recorded!

KALTLBUT: When did you know the album was done?
Lykke Li: I kept fiddling with small things, then I realised it was complete.


KALTLBUT: You write your songs completely by yourself. What is your relationship with the old songs?
Lykke Li: I write about emotions that are not connected to time, so I relate to the feelings even when they were things I wrote about long ago.

KALTLBUT: Heartbreak is a constant theme in your work. Do you think this will go on?
Lykke Li: I don’t know what the future holds, I imagine there will be some more heartbreak but maybe not as bad as this. I don’t know.

KALTLBUT: What do you think about the music industry?
Lykke Li: It’s a horrible place. I don’t know how to navigate it. A lot of the time, I feel like I’m unsuccessful or old – by industry standards. It’s really difficult to feel good about yourself and your work. Making the album is actually the best time, because I am in the studio and nobody knows what I am doing. It’s difficult afterwards, when people say things like, “Oh, you didn’t sell that many albums.”

KALTLBUT: How is your state of mind while touring?
Lykke Li: On tour you’re brain-dead. You are the show. You wake up late, just enough time to find something to eat and do your make-up. It’s a totally different thing to making an album. It hurts physically, it feels like a marathon.

KALTLBUT: I know you recorded the videos in Mexico, what is your relationship with this country?
Lykke Li: My partner and one of my best friends come from Mexico. I spend a lot of time there, and I love it. It’s just a short flight from LA and suddenly you’re experiencing something so exciting, so vibrant.

KALTLBUT: Do you do anything else creative outside the studio?
Lykke Li: I am always writing in my notebook and listening to music. When I’m drunk, I start singing shit and record that, too.

KALTLBUT: I know you have an odd relationship with your voice: you said once that you were actively trying to change it with a lot of smoking and drinking. Are you close to your goal?
Lykke Li: I mean… no. Every day I wake up and my voice confronts me with the fact I am a white girl from Sweden.

KALTLBUT: Being sexy in Europe and USA are different things. Would you agree?
Lykke Li: I feel like I am European no matter where I go…

KALTLBUT: A strength?
Lykke Li: Yes, definitely.

KALTLBUT: What does “change” mean to you?
Lykke Li: Change happens wether you want it or not. Things always change and some people have a harder time accepting that. My life has changed so many times, so I take change as what it is.

An interview by Manuel Moncayo and Nicolas Simoneau
Feature image: photo by Brendan Walter seen at

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