TWO’S THE CHARM Lenka

With her
sophomore release arriving in stores this week, the Aussie songstress aims for
the fans, not the awards.

 

BY NICOLE ROBERGE

 

As I catch up with Australian singer-songwriter Lenka over the phone,
it is 5 pm in Connecticut but 9 am in Australia where
she is, and she is relaxing on the beach. 
She has a lot to be excited about. 
She has just gotten married and is about to release her sophomore album,
“Two.” (Her 2008 self-titled debut album featured “The Show” which was a top 10
hit in over 10 countries.)

 

            She did have goals
when going in to make this album: “I was definitely hoping to make something
faster and more danceable. I’m usually in the mood for dancing myself and music
to dance to.  It was definitely a goal when
working with producers and instrumentation. 
I also really wanted to write some pretty simple love songs and get it
out there without being too complicated.”

 

            The last album, she
says, was heavier and she wanted to have fun with this album and just live in
the moment.  There were many songs that
she did not put on this album that were in that vein and a bit deeper, that she
says she will save for a future project. 
She also wanted this album to not only be a little more mature, and less
childlike than the last album, but “faster and sexier.”

 

            Lenka says that she
learned a lot from writing, recording and releasing her first album, especially
when it came to the studio.  “I learned
that it’s really important to be in control in the studio,” she says.  “I learned that pretty quickly on the first album,
within the first few tracks to take control. 
It can be confusing, with all the things going on that are technical. If
you don’t really ask questions and take control you’re not going to make any
decisions.  So I was really strong with
that.  And I think I learned with touring
what songs are fun to play on stage.  I
think with faster songs and less ballads, I found danceable fun tracks with
energy that the audience can dance to, and are fun to play on stage.  I wanted to do that again.  Both types of songs.”

 

            There is one specific
part of the album that is very unique and Lenka’s favorite part of the
album.  On the song, “Heart Skips a
Beat,” they recorded her real heart beat as the bass for the intro of the song.  Working with engineers, they researched the
best way to do that.  She jumped up and
down really fast to get her heart rate going, and then they used a strong
microphone on her chest while everything else was really quiet, and recorded
it.  “They actually had to slow it down,
it was beating so fast.  It sounds so
loud and beautiful.  That was the most
fun,” she says.

 

            Lenka added some
electronic elements on this album, and says that she was first inspired to do
that after hearing Bjork.  “We use more
than just instruments-beats on the computer, atmospheric sounds and instruments
on the computer.  I used to be quite
adverse to it.  When I first discovered
Bjork, I found that her album was really dancey and I fell in love with her and
her melodies.  It was such beautiful and
emotional music.  And made from the
computer.  It blew my mind a little
bit.  I took a while to get there.  I wanted to do acoustic stuff for a while.  A guy who did production with her and helped
her create it, worked with me.  Too much
is definitely too much.  It’s good to have
some acoustic instruments in there and a sense of warmness and humanness. A
little bit of balance is great,” she explains.

 

            Lenka has had the
opportunity to tour all over the world and says that part of her career has
been fascinating, especially if you are someone who likes to travel, which she
does, adding that the shopping, food and meeting new people are perks.  “I’ve had a great time meeting new people and
seeing new places,” she says.  “It feels
like I’m on holiday sometimes.  I am
actually working right now.  Audience
wise, Salt Lake City
is always really exciting.  New York is
fantastic.  The fans are cool and
involved all the way.  The audiences are
loud, not aloof like New York
seems to be.  All sorts of countries are
fabulous.  It’s always interesting in Germany because
they clap on the one instead of the off- beat. 
Some are crazy and drunk and out of control.  Some are quiet and polite and keep you on
your toes.  Japan
is amazing, Italy.  They clap and scream for 30 seconds, and then
they are quiet and don’t chat and then clap again after the next song.  They are very respectful.”

 

            As for her fans and
her new album, she is hoping for a good reaction.  “I hope that they love it!” she says.  “So far, the three songs people have heard
have gotten a good response.  On the
first album, people told me how my music got them through depression and made
them feel better or got them through circumstances.  A few songs are about that-moving through
hard times and getting the best out of life. 
I hope I can do that again.”

 

            She hopes that “Two”
takes her different places too.  “Besides
reaching the fans and going to their hearts, I hope it gives me the opportunity
to do more touring and feel more comfortable and secure as an artist and that
it will secure a place for me in music,” she says.  “The goal is not to win a Grammy or
anything.  Just whatever way the album chooses
to go, I hope it keeps letting me do the things I love.”

 

Please check out
our Lenka photo essay in the latest issue (# 10): it features candid images of
the musician at home, on the set of a video shoot, and from her wedding.

 

[Photo credit:
Guy Aroch]

 

 

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