Lido Put 'Everything' Into Debut Album, From the Voices in His Head to the Lunch in His Belly
There's a story behind Everything. Each instrument and voice down to the most minute detail of Lido's debut LP tells an important part of the most personal tale the Norwegian producer has ever told.
“I definitely pushed myself on this,” he says. “I'm an over-thinker in life, in general, with things that I care about. But this? I don't know if I've ever cared as much as I have cared about this album.”
Everything is nothing if not grand. From the opening whispers of “Catharsis” to the Kanye-esque screams and choirs of “Falling Down,” all the way to the sweet unresolved finish of “Tell Me How to Feel,” the 11-track album is a clear maturation toward hints of greatness. It's well-hyped, in part due to a cinematic album trailer that roots Everything in a story of love lost. Lido is quick to point out, that over-mused subject matter is only the beginning.
“I think [the breakup] process can be very long, and I think a lot of people write music very early on in that process,” Lido says. “The music, therefore, is a little tainted by that; the blame games and all the bullshit of the relationship. That's really not that interesting to me, but how we work as human beings emotionally, and how we evolve emotionally -- now that's weird as f---. That's what I want to write about.”
While he admits Everything is “100 percent something that I went through,” its lyrical content is intentionally vague. The album isn't about a breakup, per se, but about the very emotional and sometimes physical journey one embarks upon in a relationship's aftermath, that inner-battle between man and self to redefine life on its own. That's why the first song is “Catharsis.” As he puts it: “The album starts with an end.”
It's very much Lido's journey. The songs became sonic snapshots of exactly what was happening to the producer as he wrote and recorded. It's not unusual for a song to take an artist back to a time and place whenever it comes on or they perform it onstage, but in the case of Everything, the details are so fine and particular, it takes him back to what he had for lunch.
“I just discovered quinoa,” he says. “We were eating these bowls of quinoa, and I put my bowl with a spoon in it on top of a speaker, so that rattled every single time the bass hit. [My collaborator] and I were making jokes about, 'Oh, that sounds so cool.' Fast-forward six months, and he hears 'Only One,' and he's like, 'Wow, you really put a bowl with a spoon in the song.'”
The level of his obsession in the studio got so deep, Everything sometimes seems like the story of a man descending into madness. “Citi Bike” captures that feeling perfectly with an overabundance of voices, each representing a different aspect of Lido's cluttered, frustrated and frenetic mind. It's the midpoint of the album; he's drunk and angry and about to fall off a psychological ledge. Energetically, it's truly a high point, and right in the middle of the track, we hear the album's whispered title from the opening track once again.
If “Citi Bike” is the album's apex of rage, “You Lost Your Keys” is its most vulnerable low. A five-minute piano solo is admittedly strange on an “electronic” album, but that's nothing compared to the original eight-hour recording of Lido sitting alone save for two microphones that captured the very real feelings of loss and confusion. When he locked himself in his studio that day, he was determined to find the right key for his mood. He couldn't. The lyrics “I can't decide what key you're in” aren't just a cute play on a shifting musical accompaniment, it's literally Lido talking to himself.
“I had a lot of epiphanies in terms of what issues were underlying, in that process, and then I sort of gave up,” he remembers. “I'm not a sound designer, I'm a musician, so I think my approach to writing electronic music is how limitless and how much cool shit you can do with this incredibly vague genre. There are no boundaries. I can do whatever I want, and I think a lot of people take that as an opportunity to create really cool sounds, but often forget to write really good songs.”
It's a bad pun, but it's true to say Lido put Everything he's got into this album. It should surprise no one that he's taking exorbitant care with upcoming live performances.
“I'm creating a lot of interludes with time for me to explain and really go into the concepts of the songs and the details,” he says. “My friend was over last night. I played her a couple of songs, the live arrangements of it, and she was like, 'Yo, you're literally reproducing these songs already. You're about to put them out. What are you doing?'”
The plan is to perform the album from start to finish, just as he did in a ballsy move last Coachella. He's chosen a few locations across the country, preferring the ornate stages of theaters and storied halls over the smoke-filled nightclubs DJs take over.
“If I'm going to tell a story that is this important and personal to me, then I need to do it in the right room,” he says. “I wrote a very vague album and now its very important to me that I tell this story in the right way.”
He'll be a blur of sweat as he runs from instrument to instrument, re-creating and reliving the heavy moments that made Everything possible. It will be chaotic, certainly energetic, and perhaps a bit surreal. Maybe it will hit you somewhere deep you never expected. That's what Lido is aiming for.
“Hopefully, you'll just take some sort of feeling away that this is honest,” he says. “This is personal.”
LIDO NORTH AMERICAN TOUR
10/1. San Diego, CA - Crssd Festival
11/2. San Francisco, CA - Herbst Thater
11/4. Seattle, WA - Washington Hall
11/7. Vancouver, BC - Rio Theater, CANADA
11/9. Los Angeles, CA - Ace Theatre
11/11. Boston, MA - Berklee Performance Center
11/12. New York, NY - Apollo Theater
11/15. Montreal, QC - Phill Center, CANADA
11/16. Toronto, ON - The Great Hall, CANADA
11/18. Chicago, IL - Lyric Opera House Grand Foyer
9/22. Oslo, Norway - Jakobkirken
9/23. Hamburg, Germany - Reeperbahn Festival
9/27 Paris, France - Badaboum
9/28. Amsterdam, Netherlands -Bitterzoet
9/29. London, United Kingdom - International Festival Forum (PRIVATE)