Interview by Miriam Cadoni
If at the beginning of the 2000s, Tarja Turunen, Sharon den Adel, and Floor Jansen began to start the undisputed queens of the symphonic metal, now, Emma Ruth Rundle, Chelsea Wolfe and last but not least, the Swedish singer-songwriter Louise Lémon: together they represent the new wave of “gospel death”. Especially, Louise with her last album “My Broken Heart Is An Open Heart” released via Icons Creating Evil Art this past February showed an exponential artistic development worthy of our current time. Without further ado, let’s discover more about this artist by reading this interesting interview.
Hello Louise, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. How are you and how life is treating you nowadays?
I’m very good, I’m very happy about this release of this new album. This album is the first album that we’ve recorded ourselves and we’ve recorded it from scratch in a very nice studio and with some great equipment. These are truly busy days but really happy ones.
Although you have released your début album “Purge” back in 2018, we’re not so familiar with you and your musical career. When was your inception and when the music started to be part of your life?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist and I’ve been writing songs since I was 4 years old, so that’s what I’ve done all my life. I’ve just been trying to find a way that it feels honest for me.
Back in March was released your second full-length “A Broken Heart Is an Open Heart”. First of all, do you mind recall us a bit about its general production? Since the release of “Purge”, it has been less than one year from its release, how did you manage to recollect your ideas so fast? But let me ask you, until so far, how the media reacted to your last album “A Broken Heart Is An Open Heart”?
The feedback was really rewarding, I’m getting such good reviews for the album so I couldn’t be much happier than this. I felt like the album was well received by the media. However, if we refer to its general production, some of the songs contained in “Purge” were written for some quite time before and some are newer. I was really eager to make a new album and compose brand new tracks. I don’t constantly write, I have my period when I write intensively but my thoughts are always focused on what I want to achieve next both musically and lyrically and how to perfectly work on these pieces. These past couple of years have been quite intense for me and they were mostly related to how should I evolve and grow as a woman. For me, it was really easy to write this album because I was much more focused and I knew I was writing for this release only.
Do you consider writing therapeutic?
Yeah, yeah, definitely a lot.
Your second album features the participation of your regular collaborator Randall Dunn (who also he worked with Sunn 0))), Myrkur and Chelsea Wolfe). Considering that it’s not the first time that you work with him, you have already the perspective of how he operates. So, I wanted to ask you on which musical elements, you and Randall have focused on during the recordings? Also, why did you opt to use vintage microphones and amplifiers?
Well, when I mixed “Purge” together with Randall, I didn’t know him earlier and it turned out to be a fruitful collaboration because he did entirely understand my musical vision. This is why we contacted him again; it was also because he was the only one able to create depth and heaviness in a beautiful way. And we were mixing the previous album, we were already talking about recording the next album together because all ideas our ideas were on the same wavelength, consequently, it was quite an easy choice to choose him as a producer too. It was really what we wanted and our aim was to be more clear, more shiny even heavy, however in a different way. Everything in the début, especially the guitar had a sound much more distorted though this new album is heavier in a clearer way as it was an ocean that shimmers. During this recording process, for me, it was important to use these vintage amplifiers and microphones because they give a completely different sound like it was handcrafted which nowadays is quite uncommon. The difference is substantial and you get a distinctive atmosphere. Since I’m writing about personal matters and I’m trying to be honest, of course, the choice of this vintage equipment, in a way, reflects what I’m attempting to convey with my lyrics. The sounds that come from them it is quite warm like it was something that actually happened and not in a virtual manner.
According to the press release, you affirmed that (and I quote) “I want to make this album both darker and lighter” but you know that normally these iconic elements, light and dark, don’t really belong to each other. They’re like the Ying and the Yang, however, they might appear distant and related at the same time. So, how you were to coexist these two elements and prominently, in which section, between the lyrics and the music, we can find these peculiarities?
Well, I mean if we refer to the lyrics I think in this album I’m singing about some heavier topics and it’s a journey to create something and whatever you create it’s always a journey. Everyone is trying to find their inner true voice and when you find that you can do something quite meaningful, my goal was to dig deeper in order to relate with other people. When you grow up, events happen and you find yourself in these situations and for me, it’s absolutely therapeutic to write about it. Instead, for what concerns the music and if we consider that “Purge” we had several songs that were just real noise, however in “A Broken Heart Is an Open Heart”, we adjusted our sound by making it heavier. For example, with a piano, we can just play a simple chord and if it gets played in a certain way, people will react to it. I feel blessed to play with these great musicians who perfectly perceive what I’m attempting to achieve. With just one chord, you can play really heavy because you don’t need several instruments and play too fast to keep it real.
March 2019 marks the 1-year anniversary from the release your début “Purge”. As it is, are you capable to provide me a parallel between both albums? Where do you feel changed? And since it’s a short time, how did you manage to undergo this transformation/change?
For me, it’s important to evolve all the time. Even in my private life, it’s important to question things and to try new things because humans need to get different aspects, to not be stuck all the time. I think for arts, especially music, it’s the same. So, when I finished “Purge”, I felt the need to explore something else, I wanted to explore me in few several elements. You can clearly hear some similarities however you can get always influenced by new music, new events and new meetings with people in your life. Some of the songs present in “Purge” were written a few years ago, if compared to my début, “My Broken Heart Is An Open Heart” is much more mature in the lyrics and allow myself to explore new paths and I let myself be much darker than heavier.
I want to extend my congratulations on your cover album. It’s chef-d’oeuvre. First of all, who is the author of the artwork? Which is the exact correlation between the songs present and the cover itself?
It’s a Greek artist called Vagelis Petikas and he owns a company called Revolver Design. We did already collaborate together for “Purge” and during the process, he had full access to the music and he was completely free to come up with his own ideas. Of course, I was involved in it. For example, if we mention the lilies on the album cover: despite being my favorite flowers, they are a synonym for death because they are used during the funerary celebrations. However, they’re alive, growing and white and they’re pretty much lighter. I really wanted them to be present in order to show this duality between something darker like a funeral and on the other way around, something shiny and light like a flower.
Your music was defined by the specialized press with several adjectives such as “thoughtful, atmospheric and claustrophobic”. In addition, you have self-described it as “death gospel”. Personally speaking, which meaning you attribute to this definition?
Actually, after a live show, we did in Sweden, we received a review from a magazine where they defined us with that definition. We always had some issues on explaining what kind of music we play since it was a mixture of pop, rock and psych elements. Due to this reason, it starts to get complicated to correctly approach our music, so when we read this simple definition, we understood that was simply perfect for us. Usually, with the gospel you celebrate life and with death, we add some darkness. Saying that I can totally relate to it.
It’s recent news, actually the last week, that you have released a new single from your last full-length called “Almond Milk”. I personally really like it, what about if I ask you to share more insights specifically on this song?
I think that you can already imagine what is about this song but I had this feeling inside of me like I was afraid of someone leaving and on the contrary, I also had this feeling that I would stay forever and ever there like in a state of utter desperation and even though I can see clearly what’s happening and I don’t have the strength to walk away.
Does this single will be only digitally released or should we expect to be released in a special format?
Unfortunately, it would be only a digital release for this one.
In addition to “Almond Milk”, you have released as a B-side the acoustic version of your first single, “Not Enough”. Why did your for this special version and why did you deem it so personal?
It’s just it came naturally because we were in the studio trying out. I and my pianist wouldn’t play acoustically on purpose. I mean, I love this song and I love how it turned out. We just simply recorded it, I sang on it and this was it. During the entire process recording, everybody was on the same wavelength, into the right mood and very focused and so, all these factors generated a special vibe in the studio. Naturally, my pianist is a long-time collaborator of mine but all this happened in one take only. In the end, I really adore the acoustic version of “Not Enough”.
Before concluding our interview, I wanted to ask you if you have any concrete plans for your future in terms of touring and recordings? On top of all, I just discovered that you have signed a booking deal with an agency based in Germany, right?
Yeah, we are working on planning a proper European tour. Up to this moment, I cannot really confirm any specific date and destinations however I can tell you that I’m really about this and I’ll be touring soon in Europe. In regards to a new album, I’m already in the process of writing new music and composing new demos too. So, my fans should wait for too long, yet it takes some time to create everything.
So, Louise, thank you so much for this interview. Please feel free to say hi to your fans and our readers in the way you want.
I just feel blessed that people are reading this interview and listening to my music.
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