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Oct 13
By Izzie

In December 2012, Lykke Li joined Miike Snow and Peter Björn & John for MOCA’s Beach Party at Miami’s The Raleigh, billed as what one local paper described as being “better than a trip to Ikea.” After the show, the three acts stripped down and headed to the beach, when it suddenly clicked: The evening had yielded such musical chemistry between them that it only made sense to form a supergroup.

“We were like, let’s have a band and never do anything for money,” said the Swedish singer in a phone interview from Los Angeles, where she currently resides. “Let’s only focus on really having fun, because I think that you can get lost a lot when you’ve been doing it for a long time. So it was about getting back to the purity, the art…. It’s so much more fun doing it together than doing it alone.”

Nearly four years after their fateful dip comes “Wings of Love,” the first single from the band, called LIV, which translates to “life” in Swedish (and is also the name of member Björn Yttling’s daughter). The collective, which consists of Li, Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt and Pontus Winnberg, PB&J’s Yttling, and producer Jeff Bhasker, displays a sort of frayed jangling of ’70s hippie past with “Wings,” as tangential to Fleetwood Mac as it is any of the artists in the class of broad-stroked, Laurel Canyon folk.

The sepia-toned visuals for the single is “almost” a paean to that night in Miami, said Li. It’s her directorial debut, one that captures the ephemera of summer’s expiring euphoria, with scenes of lanky nude Swedes mulling in the woods and swimming in the water intercut with paintings from Malin Gabriella Nordin and slow-motion vignettes of Li kissing Bhasker, with whom she had a son named Dion in February.

For Li, it was a last-minute shoot during her time in Stockholm, where she usually spends her summers. She put out a request on her Instagram page asking anyone who felt comfortable disrobing on camera to come to the location, and it only ended up costing a few thousand dollars. “I wanted to capture the feeling of Swedish summer,” explained Li, “the feeling that everything is possible.” She penned a poem that she released in tandem with the clip as an explainer: “No drug can beat the feeling of Swedish summer,” she wrote.

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“Wings of Love” acts as a prelude to LIV’s full-length debut, which Li said is recorded but will release as individual songs and videos as part of a “bigger installation,” with shows planned for spring 2017. Though half the songs were written years ago, the quintet only came together last summer when everyone’s schedules synced. Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk is an obvious inspiration, but it was rooted more in the freedom to create at will, something for which Li admonishes the state of the music industry.

“We’re kind of making our own music in a slightly nostalgic way, where we’re trying to create the music that we want the world to have at this time, because it’s definitely not what the world is like now,” she said. “So being purists and longing for something to be like that, so well written and so well sung. There are no tricks. Just fucking amazing songs that were recorded in such a warm way. Raw.”

Pregnancy played a part in the production—she is draped in lace in a promo photo with Wyatt, a deconstructed bridal dress exposing her growing stomach. It’s a provocative image, and one that came without reason: “I’m just creating as I go, and I subconsciously figure out that I’m already doing things ahead of where I’m at,” she said. “We created this story where we also wanted to make a video for it, where I found it really beautiful that I was pregnant at that time and I’m carrying this life inside of me, [and] I have to get married, although we feel conflicted about it. We were just creating.”

LIV’s sole single is a mood shift for Li; it’s far more jubilant than anything she’s done as one of indie pop’s most brooding figures. Her solo albums have been flush with heartache and introversion, belying the galloping, pseudo-psych tone of “Wings of Love,” a sound that she indicated will somewhat carry over to her impending fourth solo LP. “I’m Lykke Li—it can never get too bright,” she said with a laugh. Instead, Li is aiming for a more grandiose approach: “An ‘I Will Survive’ type of vibe,” she explained. “I’m learning a lot from living in America. You can be down and diverse, but the chorus has to have a powerful, positive message.”

It could be that moving to Los Angeles played a heavy hand in bringing a lighter tone to Li’s music and disposition. She contemplates the thought, as if she already hadn’t. “I’m always so creative when I’m here, because it really allows you to have your own space and you’re so much in your own head,” she said. “For a writer, I think that’s a good thing to figure out what it is that I’m feeling. It’s a place where you can be whoever you want to be. It’s a city full of weirdos and dreamers.”

Article written by: Vogue Magazine

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