Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lana Del Rey interview off-cuts

So, last week I met up with Lana Del Rey, who was coughing and spluttering after cancelling her gig at London's Koko venue the night before. Demure and softly-spoken, she was absolutely charming. More homebody than homewrecker, despite whatever impression you may have received from her lyrics.

Our chat formed the basis for a BBC profile piece, which was published over the weekend. But I thought you might like to see a fuller transcript.

Can you remember the first time you thought "I can write a song?"
I didn't really start writing until I was 18 and my uncle sort-of taught me six basic chords on the guitar. I realised I could probably write a million songs with those six chords - so I moved to New York and I took a couple of years to just write whatever I wanted.

That's quite a late start.
It's really late.

Had you been creative in other ways before that?
Yes, in some ways. I don’t know if I'd say it was my focus. I never really thought about writing my own music but I did like to sing.

Do you remember the chords your uncle taught you?
It was G, C, A. It was D minor, A minor and some diminished chord as well. Some trick, some shortcut. When I learned F, which I assumed would be easy, I was like "fuck". F was just never going to happen. Four fingers? Never going to happen. It's too hard.

There isn't much guitar on the album. When did you switch to piano?
I didn't switch because I don't really play piano – unless it's a Wurlitzer and I'm sort of just holding sustained chords. On my first record, I played guitar throughout most of it. With this one, I started working with this guy Justin Parker who's never really done anything in pop music. I just started freestyling over his sustained, melancholic chords. And that was how, really, the second evolution of my style began.

You said you were always a singer... Where did that start? Do you remember singing with your family when you were young?
I remember singing with my mom and with my dad. There were musical children's movies, like Mr World and Raffi.

In my house, my sisters loved Grease.
We loved Grease, me and my sister. [Sings Summer nights] They're really beautiful, those songs.

... Click here to read the rest of the interview

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