I’m riding the subway in downtown Toronto, skimming through my music collection. Just last week, Girlie Action Media sent me the hook up to Lowell’s new album. Lowell, an up and coming Toronto musician, is a blonde, young twenty-something with style and edge. I give the first song a go, hoping to not have to review a shitty album, and I’m pleasantly surprised. Lowell’s We Loved Her Dearly is the perfect synth-pop-rock infusion for riding the rails of a busy, colorful city on either a rainy or sunny day. While listening to the album, I’m all at once reminded of the grimy singular notes and edgy lyrics of Le Tigre and the punk ethereal gestures of Grimes vocals. EMA would be weeping with joy in her grave, were she deceased. Instead: I’m having an experience. Words Were the Wars gives me gumption. Cloud 69 fills my with poppy aggression to change the world, and Summertime lowers the tempo, filling me with ease. The album is feminine and aggressive – airy pop mixed with punk and poetic lyrics that showcase Lowell’s writer of both tune and words.
I knew I had to interview her and share her music with Flurt. So I did.
Flurt: What were your musical inspirations for the album?
Lowell: Generally don’t listen to one type of genre, things tend to get jumbled if you’re listening to rap and classical music at the same time – something different is going to come out of that.
I’m super into pop writing and I’ve been in love with it since I was a kid. But I also love indie dance music, like Braids and Chad Vangaalen and Feist.
F: We’ve heard your music before. Where?
L: I’ve written for bands like the Backstreet Boys recently. Martin Halla, some artists in Norway and some Malaysian pop artists.
F: How would you describe your only personal sound?
L: Juxtapose. The only word I can think of is juxtapose. The whole album is juxtaposition: Visually, sonically, personality wise – with deep motions of thought, serious underlying messages. But, I’m also quite a free and careless person and I think that comes through in my art.
F: What is the creative process like for you?
L: Truthfully, it’s a blur; everything just comes to me at once. A lot of the time I like to find one sound that maybe I’ve heard before. Something that sounds familiar, like electric guitar with reverb which we’ve heard it so many times, then exploring and finding instruments I’ve never heard before or the effects of it. I like mixing the familiar with something new and maybe even uncomfortable. I try to incorporate lyrics that maybe you haven’t heard before in pop lately.
F: If you could collaborate with someone right now, who would it be?
L: One person I would work with right now in collaboration would be Kanye West, I would love to do my next album entirely with Kanye West. He may not be famous for being super eloquent in interviews but I can relate to that – just maybe not to the same extent. What he did with Yeezus was amazing — I listen to it everyday. The context, the lyrics, it’s all so angry but levelheaded. The things he is saying are so true and in that he took rap to another level. He’s talking about complex issues and breaking up these complex ideas about racism – its not simple catch phrases and he’s bringing [racism] up in a complicated way. A lot of people have a tendency to simplify [racism] and he’s just saying ‘no, it’s not that way.’
Society is what it is and if you can’t self reflect, because of the way society is around poverty and sex, and if you can’t think about that then you need to check yourself. When [Kanye] writes an album about racism and he’s angry people feel attacked because he’s pointing them out for how their thinking.
F: What are the important messages in your lyrics and music?
L: There are so many messages in the world: On this album I focused on feminism, sexual orientation, discrimination. Those were [the themes that were] inspiring me at the time probably because I’m female and I’m bisexual and the record is quite autobiographical – a lot of the songs come from that place of my own experiences.
F: What can we expect from you in the future?
L: I’m still in the phases of exploring. I’m excited to work on a next album… it’s early but I am excited to think about it. I’ve been working on this album for a long period of time and now I’m going to have a year to get another one together.
Lowell’s album We Loved Her Dearly drops September 16th. Keep up to date with her release and tour dates on Facebook.