High Priestess of Scandanavian Pop: Lykke Li

O2: So were you performing at all back then? Were you trying to write?

LL: Yeah, I was doing open mics and stuff.

O2: Do you remember which clubs?

LL: Yeah, C Note, Caffé Vivaldi, Village Underground.

O2: What was your music like back then? Was it similar to what you’re doing now?

LL: I was playing piano and then I would ask people to play guitar with me.

O2: So you would play piano on your own?

LL: Yeah, and then sometimes if they had no piano, I would have someone play guitar with me. I found this French guy that played with me.

O2: What do you do day-to-day to pass the time while you’re on tour?

LL: I’ve been so busy doing press and phoners and shoots so I haven’t really had time. And then we travel during the day.

O2: But when you’re on the bus just hanging out…

LL: …maybe reading something or watching Big Love and Weeds and The Wire. I don’t know. I hate, hate when I have nothing to do, so I just stare out the window and feel like I’m about to have a heart attack ’cause I’m so bored.

O2: People have referred to your parents as "hippies." Is that a reasonable description of them or no? [Lykke’s mother, Kärsti Stiege, was in an all-female punk band called Tant Strul in Sweden, and her father, Johan Zachrisson, was in a raggae group called Dag Vag.]

LL: It depends what you mean. Of course, they’re in their 50s now, and they’ve settled down and don’t do the stuff they used to. But they live on a mountaintop and they’re quite free and loose. I guess, if you would meet them you’d think they were hippies, but not like 100 percent. Not hardcore… They’re old and they do old stuff. They care about the garden instead.

O2: I know that you traveled a lot as a child [to Portugal, India, Morocco]. Did those experiences impact your music in any meaningful way?

LL: I mean, everything I’ve done has impacted my music, but I can’t say like, oh, riding a bus in India really influenced that song. I don’t know yet. I’m just living my life right now. Maybe if I turned out to be a psychologist in my 50s, I’ll be able to look back on my life and say for sure, but I don’t know now. I’m in the middle of living, so I don’t know.

O2: Are you still surprised about how much your career has blown up recently? The buzz has been growing about you in the States for the last few months. Are you still excited by all of that?

LL: I never pay attention to buzz or hype or critique. I’ve never been high just because I was written about on blogs. I have other things on my mind.

High Priestess of Scandanavian Pop: Lykke Li