by Alex Kazemi on
Whether you love, hate, or barely even know her; Lana Del Rey is definitely buzzing. Check out this exclusive interview with the sultry songtress.
SS: The idealistic American Dream/suburban sadcore influence seems to be the core theme of many of your songs. When did you first discover your connection to the unaware, psychotic, patriotic, ‘50s youthful girl who has had her heart broken one too many times? Did you imagine the invented USA stories, or actually live the life you’re singing about?
LDR: I didn’t know I was connecting with the concept of the American Dream until people started asking me about it. I was trying to tell my life’s story through songs – not for anyone else, but for myself. I wasn’t trying to evoke the sentiments of a different era – I was paying homage to my life and to all things beautiful. I was inspired more by the colours and landscape of Hollywood than I was by the dark American Dream that is usually associated with the word ‘Hollywood’. I was interested in the texture and colour of film from fifty years ago. I explored old film after I started writing, so when my lyrics and melodies met other people’s home videos it became a world… a world that means nothing and makes no sense. It’s just a mood and an atmosphere, but I wasn’t trying to translate anything by putting the two together. I just enjoyed occupying the space where they met.
SS: Was it always easy for you to write tragic love songs?
LDR: Yes, always. I felt like life was a beautiful sad song.
SS: ‘This Is What Makes Us Girls’ evokes nostalgia in an almost unrealistic fantasy way. You can imagine the girls drinking PBR and riding in cars and crashing down in the end, like most teenagers do. When you’re working with a producer, do you always try to involve a cinematic intent with the sounds you approve?
LDR: When I was younger, in high school, the group of girls I ran with were already living their own grownup lives. We really did whatever we wanted. It was beautiful for a short time, and then before I knew it, my lifestyle caught up with me and I had to go to another school. When I work with my producer, Emile Hayne, we talk in terms of colours and pictures. For this song I said, “OK Emile, think the American Beauty soundtrack meets Bruce Springsteen… girls sneaking out in the middle of the night in Miami, living for themselves – living on the edge.” He knows exactly what that translates to, and helps me create a soundscape for the record. [Producer] Larry Gold also understands working with pictures as far as direction goes. He conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra and put strings on most of the record, knowing that I wanted lush strings that had a sad, summertime sound.