This week, Most Wanted: Music festival are set to host a night showcasing the finest of Denmark’s musicians. Expect unusual cultural collisions and experimentation alongside some classic dance. Ahead of the event, we talk to Lucky Lo – an upbeat and colourful indie popper who’s just released her debut album, Supercarry – for an intimate take on her own music, as well as diversity within the Danish scene.
Is this your first time playing in Berlin?
I’ve played in Berlin a couple of times before, but never with this project. I’m really excited to be back; I’ve had so many strange experiences here. I played some singer-songwriter gigs at places like Peppi Guggenheim. I also played at Loophole once, but they forgot I was coming! It was bizarre – they gave us a generator so we could play on the streets, and then later in the night we came back and performed at the venue. At first we were pretty dejected by the whole situation, but it turned out to be one of the best nights. And now I’m coming back to play for the first time as Lucky Lo.
With only a few weeks left she said to me, “I want my funeral to be the greatest party ever. I want you to drink lots, and to appreciate the fact that you’re alive.”
How did this project, Lucky Lo, come about?
To form Lucky Lo, I didn’t change essentially as a songwriter – I just met the right people. In 2019 my guitarist Mads Nørgaard invited us to play a random gig at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. We hadn’t performed together before, but immediately we had this amazing band feeling. From then we decided to try playing my songs, and we haven’t looked back since. With this new band, my songwriting suddenly fell into place, and we were soon signed by my favourite record company. And now I’m here!
You’re from Sweden, you live in Copenhagen and your debut album, Supercarry, was written in English. Do you ever write in Scandinavian languages?
There’ll be some Swedish songs on the next album; I think I’m turning back to that. There might also be some collaborations in Danish. I’m comfortable writing in English though. I’m a huge fantasy nerd and I’ve been reading novels in English since I was 11, so it’s almost the same level as my Swedish (except the accent, of course).
What fantasy did you read?
Oh gosh, everything I could. I grew up with David Eddings, especially the Belgariad series. And Lord of the Rings, of course! My Dad used to read it to me when I was a kid. It became a big part of my life.
In contrast to fantasy, your new album feels like it’s based on real experiences. Can you tell me about that?
In terms of songwriting, it’s true that on Supercarry I’m describing very specific scenarios from my own life, or from my perception of other people’s. I’m also interested in manifestation – the sense that we can change our circumstances for the better by trying to put a positive spin on things. So, I wanted to make music that had a sense of mantra. We had this idea of ‘supercarry’, which throughout the album is repetitive and simple. A lot of the songs, or sections within songs, only have two chords. I wanted it to be immediate, intimate, to cut straight to the core of the experience.
it results in an incredible mix of sounds… It’s funky, it’s sensitive, it constantly switches between languages.
The result is very optimistic from the outset. Even the first song, a meditative lyric about loss, is very uplifting…
Yes, it’s super optimistic about the future. That particular song, Sunrise/Sunset, is in honour of my friend Maja Westman. She was an amazing musician who passed away in 2019, much too early. She had cancer; she knew she was dying for a long time. With only a few weeks left she said to her family, “I want my funeral to be the greatest party ever. I want you to drink lots, to celebrate my life and to appreciate the fact that you’re alive.” Her passing wasn’t about death, it was about life. A lot of my songs are about traumatic experiences, ranging from struggles with sexuality and self, to climate change. But with every little topic you can choose to see the negatives or the positives – even with something as devastating as death. My music is about the positives. I always want to give my listeners a sense of hope. I want to be relatable, to make music about reality, while being poetic at the same time.
Let’s talk about Most Wanted: Music festival, specifically the Danish artists performing at the showcase. Can you tell us about an act we shouldn’t miss?
One example from Denmark is AySay – they’re a fantastic trio. I know the lead singer, Luna Ersahin, personally. She has roots in Kurdistan, Turkey and Denmark. That cultural blend is central to the band’s identity, and it results in an incredible mix of sounds in one project. It’s funky, it’s sensitive, and it constantly switches between languages. I’m so happy to see them at MW:M because theirs is a complex story to tell. They’re not mainstream or corporate. For me, it shows that bookers in the music industry are becoming (finally!) a bit more experimental, a bit more daring. AySay aren’t the safe choice, but they’re amazing. I recommend them to anyone.
Can you tell us a bit about the Danish scene more generally? How does it compare to Germany’s?
Denmark is a small country with a small scene. Everybody knows each other. There are a couple of artists who have had a huge influence on Danish music – Kashmir or Mew, for example. There’s also a great deal of 90s punk rock influence: something of the edgy, dark, grungy musical universe that also exists in the UK and in Germany. But right now in Denmark, immigration plays a huge role. I see artists popping up all over the place that blend unique cultural combinations – the government may not be embracing it, but the music industry is. That’s why we have artists such as AySay. Tobias Rahim is also worth a mention: he’s Danish-Kurdish too, and is having huge success in Denmark. Finally, diversity is on the rise. It’s so easy for the scene in a small country to become monochromatic. But we’re seeing more women playing music, and more non-white, non-European people breaking onto the scene. It’s exciting, and, with the help of festivals and promoters, it can continue.
- Most Wanted: Music – Nov 8-10 2022