DATE OF INTERVIEW: 22nd May 2020
Since releasing her debut album, ‘Purge LP’, in 2018, Sweden’s Louise Lemón has transpired to be a somewhat prolific artist. A sophomore full-length record, ‘A Broken Heart is an Open Heart’, followed just a year later and now, in 2020, she’s delivered a new five track EP, ‘Devil’. Sultry and sublimely melancholic, her songs are where light and shade contrast in what can only be described as a musical epitome of beauty in darkness. Or Death Gospel, which is her preferred term. A week before the release of ‘Devil’, Metal Discovery spoke to Louise about this new work, and precisely what the Death Gospel banner means to her…
METAL DISCOVERY: How are you doing with the pandemic and everything in Sweden?
LOUISE: Well, here in Sweden, it’s very open so it’s kind of normal and kind of not. I don’t know if we’re lucky or not, but we can move around still.
(Louise Lemón on her effluent creativity)
"...for me, that’s the purpose of life and that is when life really becomes meaningful. And, also, it’s the way I’ve always lived life and dealt with my experiences."
Photograph copyright © Sophie Winberg Tyrfelt
Interview by Mark Holmes
MD: Here, it’s week nine of lockdown, so weird times.
LOUISE: Yeah, super weird.
MD: So, ‘Devil’, the new EP, another fantastic set of songs. I gather you produced and mixed the EP yourself, alongside the keys guy from your band, Anders Ludwigsson, so did it feel good to be in control? And did that come with pros and cons?
LOUISE: Yeah, definitely pros and cons. I mean, I knew I wanted to do it this way because I had some ideas after doing my last record. And to do it with Anders, I’ve worked so long together with him so, you know, we don’t have to speak to understand each other. Having a producer on board was a much more comfortable recording with my last album than with this one, but I also felt the need to do this with this EP.
MD: I gather you recorded the EP in your usual rehearsal space… in a more natural, stripped down environment… somewhere you feel more secure, perhaps? I think the emotions in the music feel more immediate and raw on these new songs, so was that the intention; to try and convey and capture your emotions in a much more organic way by using your rehearsal space?
LOUISE: Well, I definitely wanted to capture the live element more so that, I think, we did. But I mean, going into the studio, I love being in the studio… but it was just a different take, and it was very nice to do it this way.
MD: Is that the kind of thing you’d want to do again, recording in that way, or will you continue to experiment with trying out different recording settings and scenarios?
LOUISE: I’m always trying to evolve and exploring new things but, I mean, I loved working with a producer and I will definitely do that again. And, also, it opens your perspective, having other people come in, but other people that you obviously trust and that you admire. So, having a producer on board led me to having these visions of doing this EP, so definitely I would work with producers, onwards.
MD: So you haven’t got the producing bug yourself now, then?!
LOUISE: I’m involved in every single thing I do, but it’s very nice to do it like this… I think that’s why I chose the length of an EP as well, which felt fitting to do it in this more downsized way.
MD: That makes sense, yeah. In press blurb, the new songs are said to be about “loneliness, self-doubt and hot searing love”, so by expressing and exploring your own emotions artistically, do you ever learn anything about yourself? Is your music a journey of self-discovery for you, as much as it is revealing yourself emotionally to the world?
LOUISE: Yeah, it’s definitely… it’s not about revealing myself; it’s about a journey of growth as a person and musically. I think also, when I listen to music when I can relate, when I can connect, when somebody is true to themselves… this is what I try to do with my music. Just to be very, very honest and talk about the things that are important in my life. So, it’s definitely like this personal journey and a therapy thing throughout.
MD: The songs do feel introspective in one sense, I guess because they’re based on your personal experiences, but they do feel very welcoming as well, as a listener. So does it feel like you’re creating shared experiences for other people to connect with? Do you get that kind of feedback from your fans?
LOUISE: Yeah, yeah, I do. People, going through things, have said they’re listening to my music and it helps them through these phases. And I think the more particular you are, the more honest you are, the more open… I mean, we are all different but we are all super equal. We are just the same. All of us. I think when you find those things that are, that really touches yourself - usually, they touch others as well.
MD: Particularly with the global pandemic now, I think people are coming to that realisation now more than ever; that we are, effectively, all the same, as you say.
LOUISE: Yeah, definitely.
MD: ‘Bathe in Gold’ has been billed as your “first ever love song”. Is that the “hot searing love” that’s mentioned in the press blurb?
LOUISE: Yeah, I would suppose so, yes.
MD: So did you feel the time was right to get a love song in there?
LOUISE: Yeah, I mean, I write about what feels natural for me, so it was special to have these more… because I usually write about darker subjects. So it was a very interesting thing for me to write this song and to open that window.
MD: Less Death Gospel and more Life Gospel, the love song?!
LOUISE: [Laughs] Yeah, I guess, but I think it still has this melancholic feeling to it. I mean, it’s much easier to write about the hardships of life than to write about the light parts, I think.
MD: Definitely. I gather the title track is about a guy who told you there’s a devil within you, but you came to realise through writing the song that the devil was within him, so was that song some kind of exorcism for you?
LOUISE: Yeah, it was very interesting because I wrote that when I was in a relationship, and I wrote this song about our relationship and I called the song ‘Devil’. I mean, you usually don’t do that when you’re like… this was a person that I was in a… [Laughs]… what I thought was a happy relationship, so it was like my unconscious knew before I knew!
MD: Interesting! You’ve been very prolific, thus far, with two albums and an EP within the space of three years. Do you feel like you have a constant need to channel different emotions through your music; like a constant need to be creating something?
LOUISE: Yeah, I do. I mean, for me, that’s the purpose of life and that is when life really becomes meaningful. And, also, it’s the way I’ve always lived life and dealt with my experiences. Also, it took me a while to get out my first album, ‘Purge’, so I think, after that, I found the right setting, the right people, like everything around releasing a record…
MD: When you opened the floodgates after ‘Purge LP’, there’s no stopping you now!
LOUISE: [Laughs] Yeah.
MD: So can we expect something new every year, then? Have you set a precedent?
LOUISE: [Laughs] No, I’m just trying to do a natural process and not forcing anything.