On Stage/Off Stage: A Conversation With Lido

On Stage/Off Stage: A Conversation With Lido

Peder Losnegård – otherwise known as Lido – may only be 23 years old, but the multidisciplinary Norwegian producer, singer, songwriter and rapper has already enjoyed a rich globe-trotting career under a range of well-documented and relatively unknown aliases. Originally finding his footing at home in hip-hop, Losnegård eventually gravitated toward production, where he’s thrived on the strength of both his own material and stellar, progressive work for heavyweights like Chance the Rapper, Halsey, Ariana Grande, Banks and his regular collaborator and friend Cashmere Cat.

Lido has never been one to shy away from idiosyncrasy, so the admittedly brave choice to premiere his album Everything in its entirety live at Coachella – allegedly against his own management’s wishes – came as no real surprise. If there’s anywhere to abandon inhibition and pull out all the stops, it’s definitely the iconic Palm Springs festival, and it’s hard to imagine Losnegård backing down from such a prolific challenge. Lido is a fearless musical monster – whether he’s behind the drums, seated at a piano, or crooning into a mic – and the young maestro’s cosmic evening debut at the Gobi Tent was a faithful representation of his seemingly endless musical skill set. We caught up with Lido at the second weekend of Coachella to delve into why he decided to debut Everything live, his Life Of Peder Kanye tribute, working with the KORK orchestra, streaming on Twitch and his non-negotiable must-see artists on the lineup.

How exciting is it for you to debut your upcoming new album at Coachella? It definitely goes against the norms of what other artists usually do, which is expectantly to play their big hits.

It was a very risky thing, it was a very ambitious thing that we did but we did it for multiple reasons. First and foremost there are so many people at this festival that are so incredible at just DJing bangers; so many talented DJs, so many incredible producers who play energetic and hype music. And I am a much more emotional artist than that, so I was like 'I can't compete with these dudes with that anyway so I wanna do something different, I wanna do something emotional.' I've been putting out a lot of different music over the past couple years, but in terms of this specific album it is such a story and a specific concept that when we started creating the set, we put like a few new songs in it and we were like 'yeah we're gonna play remixes and we're gonna play cool shit,' but we're gonna focus on getting a couple songs from the album in there and it felt wrong, because there's a story from the first song to the last song in the album. So taking that out of sort of the linear form just felt wrong to me, so I was like 'you know what, let's make it a special thing; let's use this incredible canvas that Coachella is to give people an experience that they're not gonna expect, and let's play the entire damn album, you know what I mean? (Laughs) It was nerve-wracking, I gotta be honest with you because we played 90% unreleased music at a festival where this festival caters to a crowd to get them as hype as possible, so it was definitely scary!

It was incredible seeing the people's reactions and seeing how interested in how interested and how dedicated they were to experiencing the album more so than going crazy to another DJ set at Coachella.

From weekend 1, you announced early on in your performance that "this is everything." Can you elaborate on what you meant by that exactly?

Absolutely. Quite literally, the album is called Everything, and it is called that for multiple reasons. First and foremost because the Lido project and what I'm trying to do with this music is to literally make it 'everything' that I am. I have a lot of different projects that touch on different genres and different ways of making music, and this is sort of the project where I make music without compromise. This is where I take cords from gospel music, energy from punk music, sounds from electronic music, melodies from pop music and squish it all together without really caring too much. This is just everything that I like, and that is the reason I wanted to call it Everything in the first place. And it's also a very emotional and personal story about a relationship that goes wrong, and letting somebody be everything to you. The story of the album is the process of your mind, when something that was 'everything' is gone. What is left, then? What happens to you if something else was everything to you, so it's sort of like a "getting over it" album; the emotional process after a breakup when that everything is nothing. So it's for multiple reasons, definitely. It felt right calling this album Everything.

What I try to do with this album is explore the nuances and feelings, because most of the time when people write a sad song, it's a slow song with minor chords that's real sappy and boring, you know? That's usually how people portray sadness, but for me when I'm sad, there's so much energy in it. There's so much anger and sadness, there's so much happiness and sadness, there's so much confusion. Basically what I try to do is take these steps and processes and try to portray the feelings completely, and not just be like "at this point of the story I'm sad so this is a slow song," and really explore not only sonically interesting sounds and sound design, but also how can I portray feelings in a more complicated way than usual when telling a story.

As you touched on earlier, the performance felt very personal and definitely special, almost exclusive because you had to be there to fully experience it.

Very true, that was one of the reasons we chose not to stream it. We wanted to keep this exclusive, we wanted to keep it only for the people that were there so that they can experience it the way we wanted them to experience it.

Tell us about how The Life of Peder all came about.

Anthony and I were coming back from Norway in the plane and I couldn't sleep because I was bored. I was listening to the new Kanye album and there's very rarely albums that have multiple songs that I feel like remixing. Usually I hear through an album and I'm like 'alright, this is the one, this is what I wanna remix and do something special with.' I listen to this album and I was like 'there's so many ideas and little things in this that I want to do something with,' and it sort of just came to me to just do everything and see if it was possible to combine all of the elements that I really loved about the album and put that into one thing. I've never heard anyone remix an entire album into one thing before, like there's plenty of incredible remix albums obviously, but I try to capture the essence of this album in just one continuous song. I dunno, it was just a cool project and Kanye is one of my favorite artists of all time so it felt right to do it with him when I was going to do something so substantial.

The song title ended with "Part 1," can we expect more installments in the near future?

I dunno, I created several more parts that were not included from what I initially released. Whether or not if that's going to turn into a part 2 or not, I don't know yet but there is definitely more material that we didn't put in part 1. If I'm inspired and it happens, then it happens but I don't have any immediate plans of doing it. But I can definitely say that it exists.

How was it working with Canblaster on the Superspeed project?

That was a really really cool experience! We spent like a week in Paris, locked ourselves in the studio and sort of came up with another one of these crazy concepts that I always do. We tried to create an EP about time, and we experimented a lot with time signatures and with interesting rhythms and polyrhythms. Both me and Canblaster have a love for clock sounds and use them a lot in our music, so it just felt right to do a concept EP about time. And he's an incredible artist, we have a lot of mutual friends so it sort of just happened.

Recently you did an amazing live orchestra composition with the KORK Orchestra of all your remixes, and there was a lot of great reception from viewers and listeners. How did that idea and concept come about?

It was something I've actually dreamed about doing as a kid. I've always had a love for classical music and for string instruments in particular. I've been talking to this orchestra for years and years about doing a project together, and they're so amazing and do a lot of unconventional stuff. We didn't really have a project yet and an idea that was special enough to me, and then it got to the point where I had so many remixes and so many electronic songs that felt very classical to me, and I figured that would be a cool thing. I've never heard a symphony do remixes before, and I was like "finally, this is cool; this is special" so we made it happen. We did like an hour and a half-long concert of a bunch of remixes I put out and a few of my original tracks as well.

There's something so special because there were 86 members in that orchestra, and there's something so special about the energy and power of 86 human beings coming together to do something that happen in your mind -- to bring an idea that popped into your head into life, and it was an incredible feeling. Just the vibrations and the power, so I was completely high off of that and I really want to do more projects like that. We have one more schedule with me and that orchestra where we'll probably will be playing more of the album, and hopefully it's a collaboration that can evolve and continue to do more cool stuff.

Let's talk about your set at Coachella weekend 1. How did you feel personally and emotionally being there on stage, debuting your new album?

It was crazy! It was such a different kind of experience to me; I've played a bunch of shows like this before but it's always been DJ sets and playing stuff that people know and sing along to; jump around and dance to. This was such a powerful thing because we had 10,000 people that I'm telling a story to, it was powerful and so different than any other show that I've ever played in my life. I poured so many emotions into those 45 minutes that it was really interesting after, I was empty. I was so empty that I probably didn't feel anything for 24 hours after that, I was done -- I had nothing more to give. Like 24 hours later I was like "holy shit I played at Coachella! That was really cool." It was great, so much fun and so powerful. I'm just so happy to, like I said, use this canvas to give it to people for the first time.

I understand that you stream on Twitch sometimes. Firstly, are you a gamer at heart? And is using this platform a way to show your fans some of the behind the scenes material you're working on?

(Laughs) First of all I would definitely consider myself a gamer, but not a hardcore gamer in terms of computer games. I was always a Nintendo guy, like ask me any question about Pokemon and I got you.

So I was never really familiar with that specific platform, I was just introduced to it by friends who said this is the best way of communicating stuff that you do from your computer to other people. Whenever I'm uninspired, I'll go to YouTube and I'll search studio videos and I'll watch other people create music. I cannot tell you how many times I've watched the making of Justified, or how many times I've watched Timbaland studio sessions. So basically I think I have a very different mentally on making music and producing music compared to a lot of people because I grew up in the middle of nowhere, and I had no peers that could teach me anything. Nobody really taught me the rules and the ways that you're supposed to do things so I figured out how to do a lot of things on my own, and through that I developed different ways of reaching those goals. Say for example something as DPS sidechaining, which is a technique a lot of producers use to make techno music and shit like that. I didn't know that that was supposed to be done through a compressor so I found different ways of achieving that sound, and through that found the signature way of doing things. So I was always interested in listening to other producers talk about how they make music and how they think, because it broadens your horizon and it inspires you so I wanted to do that for people that make music as well because I have a very different perspective.

Also honestly, whenever I'm in the studio I get very easily distracted. If I know I have a couple thousand people watching me, then I stay on my shit, you know what I mean? (Laughs) That keeps me making music and not start playing Pokemon on the side, so it's good for me as well.

Who are some of the must-see artists for you to see here at Coachella?

Oh man, there's so many! If I had to choose three I would definitely say Anderson .Paak, Hudson Mohawke and Sia. Those are very very different artists, but that's what it is for me. Anderson .Paak is one of my favorite artists right now, Hudson Mohawk is one of the reasons why I make the music that I make, and Sia is just the best songwriter of, fucking the last decade in my opinion, so those three are must-sees for me. I saw all of them weekend 1 and they were of course incredible, so I would definitely tell everyone to check them out for sure.