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Lene Lovich In Interview 2017

Lene Lovich was interviewed by Mike Thorne in England, during June 2017.

Lene Lovich in interview

by Mike Thorne

Mike Thorne: During your next phase of reinvention, over the years and at interviews here, you’ve developed and evolved. How deliberate is this?

Lene Lovich: I never think very long or hard about what happens next, I just expect it to happen. I like to keep an open mind, but nothing is very calculated. I don’t like to think too far ahead. So, I’m just waiting for something to feel right, and when it feels right I’ll move in that direction.

Have you always thought this way, or in the past did you pursue a very definite direction and development?Lene Lovich and her band on stage

I’ve never known what I’m supposed to be or where I’m supposed to go – I’ve spent most of my life feeling quite lost. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, I quite enjoy being lost and wandering about in the unknown. Otherwise life becomes very predictable and I think I’m here for adventure. And where that comes from I don’t know.

You say you wander around lost until you find something, so that must be a real eureka moment.

It happens all the time. I like finding things, so I like being lost and I also like finding things. So sometimes it’s myself that I find, and sometimes it’s something interesting in the road. So when I find things, I put them in my bag and keep them with me for a while – and sometimes these things trigger interesting thoughts.

Are you having interesting thoughts triggered right now?

It’s great to reconnect with you Mike, because we don’t really speak very much but when we do, it’s very natural and a happy place to be.

So, the basic question is what’s your current action – what are you doing musically at the moment?The band in Genoa, Italy 2016

I’m having a lot of fun being on stage with live performances. I have a band now which is great – it allows me to revisit the old songs in a powerful way. And the connection with the audience helps me to understand my identity, and to have good feelings in a world that’s not always so good.

In a way working with a band takes you right back to the beginning, but more recently you’ve written songs by starting with a sound. Are you thinking of maybe writing songs in a band environment?

I think I would have to know something about the song before I began to work anything new with the band. And I’m a bit shy and nervous, and I don’t like jamming. So I have to wait for the idea to develop a little bit so at least I can translate my thoughts to a band.

Has this always been the way for you?

In the past working with Les, we didn’t talk much, but we had such a natural affinity with each other musically and every other way. So things just evolved. I like that very much because then it doesn’t seem contrived.

Poster showing the band's German tour dates,, October 2017So, you’ve now been going and you’re playing sets with songs from the best part of 40 years ago – how does your view of those old songs, does it change, the way you deal with them…

It doesn’t really change at all, I just instantly connect with the moment of bringing those songs to life, and time doesn’t really come into it. It doesn’t matter to me.

So you don’t feel the need to push them into a different place?

No, I like the place they’re at, I’m very happy with that. And I think maybe if physically I was affected by time, then I might want to change things more. But because I don’t really feel too changed by time, then I’m quite happy to say the songs as they were originally.

And to talk in general a little bit about the new world that we’re in, pop music has always suffered from ageism. And yet here we are, 40 years on talking about pop music and still making it. Do you think the field is now home to wrinkly radicals like us?

Well, I think that I was lucky to start at a time when there were less boundaries, I think. Sort of coming out of the punk revolution, it felt like anything was okay as long as you liked it enough to do it. So, I think now people think too much about what they’re doing, and trying to appeal to too many people. I think it’s better to just do something that only you can do, and do it as well as you can.

Well that’s the way you’ve always functioned. So do you think that there is enough room now in pop music in general, Lene and Kirsten in Berlin, 2013and with you in particular, do you think that there is enough room for new directions to be found? Or do you think that there’s been so much done, some say that it has been closed in?

I think as an individual, you have explored a lot of different ways of singing, or presenting music. So, I think it’s important to keep trying to think of something new, but I don’t think there’s an end to it – I think it’s a big world and you can always find another direction. I don’t know, I don’t really like to talk about the creative side of it because I don’t understand it.

There’s always been a pressure to deliver something which reflects what went before, looking for the next Sgt. Pepper or something like that. Do you feel that pressure at all, and do you think it’s different now than it was 40 years ago?

I certainly don’t feel any pressure from outside people because I’m not involved with established record companies or the music business at all. So I’ve stepped away from that, and because of that I’m not needing to play by anybody else’s rules. So that doesn’t really affect me.

Lene with her bandDo you, at any time, feel the need to push against the imposed boundaries which the record companies provide?

I’m quite sensitive to negativity that might come from more conventional ways to playing music. And I’m quite happy not to be a part of the commercial world. I can’t guarantee that everybody’s going to like what I do. But I think the main thing that is important is to find your identity and enjoy it.

Do you sense that there’s a tendency more, in pop music at large, to just follow the herd?

It’s great fun to be liked by a lot of people – and I think that’s quite natural. But if it’s not you, then at some point I think it’s important to own up. Otherwise you’re existing on a very small level. And as enjoyable as it is, I think if you can find something that’s unique within yourself, then that’s better.

Lene backstage in RomeSo, you’re always yourself and it’s worked up to now. Do you get the sense of listening to other people, who do you think might have that same sense of self and projection – is there anybody you see that radiates that sort of individuality?

Well, I’m a bit out of touch with what is happening right now in music, so I’d probably have to go to the past to find an example. I’m so much into my own world that I’m ashamed in some ways to say that I haven’t reached out to hear what else is going on. So, you know, it would have to be people from way back, like Frank Zappa or Jimi Hendrix.

It sounds like being out of touch works for you very well though.

I don’t need a lot of outside stimulus, I don’t need to be inspired by other people. It makes me sound very selfish – but I think it’s so much fun being in my own world that I think I would be a little bit afraid to be too much a part of somebody else’s world.