"There's a very small difference between myself and my art," says the Norwegian producer, who introduces himself as Lido, rather than his birth name. "I always tell people I am what I produce." His waxing poetic words make it easy to forget that we're sitting in what feels like a World War II bomb shelter: an uncomfortably beat-up nightclub basement that shakes from the soundcheck for the Toronto stop of his new live tour.
"I'm a musician first and foremost," he states . "I'm a drummer and a piano player, so the cool thing about that is I can leave a lot of space in the show for improvising." His multi-instrument mastery similarly shines in the studio, where he's recently produced the debut album for ex-girlfriend Halsey, as well as his own collaborative album with R&B singer Santell, The Passion Project.
"I need to create, and if I don't create then I'm nothing" he tells THUMP. "When I was in high school, there would be a couple months where I did not have time to make music. I would start vomiting and get really physically ill. I'd skip school for a couple days just to make music and be healthy." Although his obsession with music is life long, his artistic directions have varied. "I've always approached music that wouldn't be considered my roots," reflects Losnegård, who was previously referred to as LidoLido during his two-album rap career. "I grew up on all this weird different music, and I grew up without knowing the rules." In his interview with THUMP, the versatile producer speaks on his creative obstacles, musically-bound relationships, and a surprise studio appearance from a sleepy Diplo.
THUMP: What's something that would surprise people about The Passion Project?
Lido: Pretty much all of it is true. "Pillows" was a concept that we came up with when we were literally out shopping for pillows. We were like wait a minute, there's a song in this. When we were writing "Lady's a Hoe," Diplo was sleeping on the couch behind us. We didn't know he was there, he was hiding under a blanket and we were talking about how to make this concept song. He woke up out of nowhere and he spit out this joke about a song and we were like "Oh wait, that's perfect." "Saved by You" was a song that happened after me and Santell went to church one Sunday.
The lead track on your new album shares its name with your ex-girlfriend, Ashley "Halsey" Frangipane. Is this a break-up song?
Not at all. I usually write my songs a long time after the incidence in my life. I take a long time to process things and approach them unbiasedly, so whatever stuff I write about right now probably happened a year and a half ago. I wrote the song "Ashley" two weeks before I met my ex-girlfriend which is pretty funny. The main Ashley was very random. We went to a strip club and we had a huge crush on the waitress. I didn't know her name, but I just thought she looked like an Ashley.
You also recently produced Halsey's debut album. Can creative couples effectively work together?
Absolutely. That worked out incredibly for us. It was cool because we met through music and it was very natural for us to write music together. That was a huge part of what we were and what we we still are. I think all couples should try to be creative together. It's such an interesting way of exploring someone's personality. It's when you learn something completely new about a person.
Do you see your music as Norwegian?
I am 100% Norwegian, but I was raised mostly on American music. I'm from Norway and I'll produce gospel music, which makes no sense because there is no gospel music in Norway. All my friends were listening to punk music growing up, and I liked rap music. I've always approached music that I felt was exotic and interesting. My roots are all over the place, so I'm trying to stay more true to my heart than to my roots.
Do you ever see yourself going back to rap?
I'll definitely go back to singing at some point, but I don't have an interesting enough voice to be a rapper. I don't know if i have a background that's interesting to write about, but I love rap music. I love singing, but right now it's composing that's most important to me
What will your legacy be as a producer ?
Because my background is so unique, I hope to help broaden people's horizons a little bit, open people up to different types of music that they don't normally listen to. I feel that the industry underestimates people so much and I would love to expose people to what is considered more complicated music.