Above: From “CAROUSEL” by Lykke Li on SuperRare

Lykke Li on Loops, Eyeye, and Her Genesis NFT Drop

Lykke Li brings an atmospheric audiovisual experience to the blockchain.

May 20, 2022 Artist Profiles

4 months ago

Swedish singer Lykke Li sees the world through loops and repetition. Lykke is known for pushing the boundaries with her projects. Thus, the case with her latest release Eyeye – which is not just an album, but an audiovisual experience.

And how does SuperRare tie into this?

Lykke is releasing a 7-video collection, as an NFT drop, to coincide with Eyeye, on SuperRare. Think of it more as a digital art series/exhibition. The imagery packs an emotional punch; blending the music with the visuals – to create a hypnotic sense of repetition that parallels how we now consume media.

SuperRare had a chance to throw interview questions at Lykke – to talk about everything from the upcoming NFT drop, her creative process, as well as collaborating with the legendary director, David Lynch.

GENESIS by Lykke Li on SuperRare

SR: For Eyeye – what made you feel it should be an immersive audio/visual experience? How would you describe the exhibition which will be on SuperRare?  

LL: For me, creativity and writing in itself is a very immersive experience. I’m always imagining and kind of seeing these images when I write that I then try to translate with production into something that you can feel. And especially with this project I was carrying all these landscapes and soundscapes and really closing my eyes and envisioning with my third eye. I wanted to make something very 5 dimensional that you can feel with all of your senses; not confining my art to one form, but allowing it to be free. I’m most interested in creating a world that you can step into and get lost in.

SR: What’s the process of blending music with visuals? Does the music come first or the imagery? What was the intention?

LL: Always when I make music, I see visuals and I know when something is done when I can experience this certain feeling that goes along with it. The music came first and then I felt like it was becoming a very textured, cinematic world that I had stepped into and I really wanted to finally go there. I’ve been so interested in making something like this for a very long time, and I knew that it was time to really imagine what it could be alongside with Theo.

SR: The visuals for the project are stunning. What was the collaboration like with director Theo Lindquist?

LL: It was a true kind of friendship between me and Theo. We spent hours and hours and hours talking about what was happening in real life to me. And as we were developing the album he would say things like “damn, your life is like a movie” and it’s true! I started out wanting to make a real movie with him, and something really interesting in our relationship is that we’re always battling with ideas and pushing each other to find the best creative ideas, and we’re both quite open to having the best idea win. And then Theo came up with the concept that instead of making a movie, what if we tried to tell the story of the movie in seven scenes that loop.

OVER by LYKKE LI on SuperRare

SR: What was the process in putting it together? How long did it take to complete?

LL: We wanted to use the creative norms of today, which essentially are that people always see things on a constant loop becayse of Tik Tok or Instagram, and we wanted to take the limitations that we see with the modernity of the world to make something lush and heartbreaking and very deep. We wanted to take the concept of moviemaking and make it fill into something modern and more relevant to the way most of us consume art today, almost a cut and paste solution while making art that we still cared about.

SR: What formulated the ideas? Why this project now? 

LL: When we first thought of using the loop as a narrative form, I became completely obsessed with noticing loops even in the art I had always loved, and I started to see it everywhere. Like, when I saw Pina Bausch’s Cafe Müller piece and he drops the woman like 10 times in a row, and when Marina Abromovic she runs into Udo over and over again; there’s something very hypnotic and transcendent about a perfect loop and the circle as a form is something I became obsessed with. The cycles are everywhere around us – the lunar cycle, the menstrual cycle, the cycle of life and death, and this cycle of neural response in love. The idea of trying to perfect the circle became really inspiring and challenging to me, and I realized that it’s something that I’ve been trying to do ever since I was a child. I went to Rudolf Steiner school as a child and one of the exercises that we did was to try to draw a perfect circle by hand. And I feel like that’s very much what making art is all about. It’s about honing in on the subject and trying to come closer and closer to some sort of truth, harmony and balance.

SR: Why are you drawn to the use of repetition?

LL: It’s just hypnotic for me. I was completely obsessed, I would stare at these YouTube compilations of somebody just like falling down and there’s something so interesting in continuous repetition, and as someone else has said, we don’t live life, we repeat patterns. So I’ve been in this state of mind of analyzing my own patterns.

SR: You’ve said repetitive bursts are parallel to how we now consume media. Do you think that is the future of music videos in our short attention span culture?

LL: For sure. I think we’re already there. We’re so used to only watching the small clips of something, like the trailer of a film, or there’s a whole trial and we only watch the highlights. So I think we’re sadly already there.

SR: What is the larger story in the seven visual loops?

LL: I’m trying to really dissect the characteristics of love, of addiction, obsession, rejection, attraction – like the loop that we all get stuck in. Also questioning what is real and what is not and the extent of the returning cycles of love. So it’s a meta film, it’s the movie, within a movie, where we’re trying to dissect the different phases of love but it’s also looking at the different characters and state of minds within myself, in a Jungian way you could say that it’s all my subconscious and happening on the inside.

5D by Lykke Li on SuperRare

SR: What emotional connections do you make to conjure the imagery?

LL: I guess when you are making art, you’re always trying to find the heightened peak of any emotion so you can show all the different shades of life in colors and feelings. The carousel of love.

SR: You mentioned in an interview that Michael Mann’s film Heat was a key inspiration. Could you go a little into that?    

LL: It’s more that I was watching it like a hundred million times in the pandemic and I just realized that it’s such a perfect movie, from the opening shot, the sound, to the acting to the plot line. it’s like watching a Greek drama with all its archetypes. I get inspired by everything that has such strength and perfection but I was not using Heat as an actual reference.

SR: What did you learn from collaborating with David Lynch that you brought to this project? 

LL: David really taught me to meditate and that there’s this level of creativity inside of us that flows if we are willing to close our eyes and tap into it. So that patience has been very transcendent for me. Also something that I learned from him is that he is very much guided by his emotions. Things don’t always have to make sense, they just have to feel right. So I very much work like that, too. I work based on my emotional intuition.

SR: Will these visuals be part of your live concerts on your fall tour? You have mentioned that the tour will be equally experimental and immersive  – could you explain a little further? 

LL: I’m putting together an immersive video installation with Theo, where I would be working and rearranging the album stems and mixing it for spatial audio. So I will definitely put together an experience with the videos, but the live tour will be something else. I’m really interested in the circle within the circle within the circle, so it will be quite a meta show; like the movie within the movie, within the show.

SR: What do you love most about the new album and the visuals?

LL: I made this album for myself, like a re gift for what I started when I was about 18. Theres been a lot of trials and missteps and wrong turns. It’s like I have been practicing this whole life to make the album and visuals of EYEYE – I finally was able to translate what I have been carrying within me for all this time. It’s my own Magnum Opus and how I would like to be remembered.

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Harmon Leon

Harmon Leon is the the author of eight books—the latest is: 'Tribespotting: Undercover (Cult)ure Stories.' Harmon's stories have appeared in VICE, Esquire, The Nation, National Geographic, Salon, Ozy, Huffington Post, NPR’s 'This American Life' and Wired. He's produced video content for Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, Timeline, Out, FX, Daily Mail, Yahoo Sports, National Lampoon and VH1. Harmon has appeared on This American Life, The Howard Stern Show, Last Call With Carson Daly, Penn & Teller’s Bullshit, MSNBC, Spike TV, VH1, FX, as well as the BBC—and he's performed comedy around the world, including the Edinburgh, Melbourne, Dublin, Vancouver and Montreal Comedy Festivals. Follow Harmon on Twitter @harmonleon.

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