Pretty obsessed with these recent Lana Del Ray songs. Very excited for the release of her new single “Video Games” b/w “Blue Jeans” out 10/9. The pre-order (will be) available here. Listen/watch videos of “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans” below. Both are stellar tracks. Looking forward to a full length in the future. She recently had an interview in Pitchfork’s “Rising” series. Read it after the jump.
Lana Del Rey is old-school Hollywood glamor meets splice-friendly YouTube culture with a fair share of coquettish attitude and smoke-parlor Stevie Nicks vocals thrown in. She became a blog concern this spring after her visual for creaking, strung-out Best New Track “Video Games”caught eyes and ears. The clip, created by Del Rey herself, shows its star pouting into her webcam as found footage of skateboarders, drunk starlets, and American flags flicker by. The juxtaposition of its seemingly-put-together singer and its DIY aesthetic proved intriguing.
Lana Del Rey is also Lizzy Grant, a 24 year old who grew up singing in several different school choirs in Lake Placid, New York, about five hours north of the city. She released an album on iTunes in January 2010 produced by vet David Kahne, known for his work with Paul McCartney, the Strokes, and Regina Spektor, among many others. The LP, dubbed Lana Del Rey, has since been deleted. “I would like people focused on my new music for now,” wrote Del Rey in an email– understandable since that record’s dusty Americana only hints at the promise of “Video Games”. And while she’s previously admitted that “managers and lawyers” helped her choose the “Lana Del Rey” moniker, she’s not a character or a studio creation. On the topic of Lizzy vs. Lana, she wrote, “There’s not a real me and another me. Same person, just a different name.”
“Video Games” and its B-side “Blue Jeans” will be released as a single October 9 digitally and a day later on limited edition 7″ via Stranger. Meanwhile, Del Rey is currently working on another full-length, which is due out early next year. We recently emailed her a few questions and she answered some of them, writing about her musical beginnings, the perfection of Elvis, and why “sleeping with the boss doesn’t get you anywhere at all these days.”
Pitchfork: How did you meet the pretty-well-known producer of your first album, David Kahne?
Lana Del Rey: When I was 18 I was signed to an indie label and we sent my demos to five producers. David called us 10 minutes later and asked if we could start working the next day. We spent every day for five months on the record with Coney Island and hope as the touchstones for the sound.
Pitchfork: What did you learn about music and the industry from releasing that album?
LDR: I learned that there’s no reason why people decide they like music when they do. Even if you’re the best singer in the world, there’s a good chance no one will ever hear you. You make a decision to keep singing or to stop. I’ve been singing in Brooklyn since I was 17 and no one in the industry cared at all. I haven’t changed a thing since then and yet things seem to be turning around for me. Perhaps the angels decided to shine on me for a little while.
Pitchfork: Have people offered you opportunities in the music industry if you were willing to change your sound or look?
LDR: No. People have offered me opportunities in exchange for sleeping with them. But it’s not 1952 anymore. Sleeping with the boss doesn’t get you anywhere at all these days. Nobody cared about wanting to change the way I looked or sounded because no one was interested in the music.
Pitchfork: You’ve said that managers and lawyers helped you come up with the name Lana Del Rey, which suggests that you and your music may be crafted by others. Obviously, this isn’t new– you could argue that Elvis was molded by his producers and managers– but how important is it for you to be taken seriously as an artist as opposed to a music-industry creation? Do you think those two things are even in opposition, necessarily?
LDR: I write my songs and I make my videos. Elvis had good management and that’s why he looks well-crafted but actually– other than his custom-made jump suits– he was always a gentleman, always a star, had a face like a god, and a voice like a dark angel. So he wasn’t really contrived– he was just dead cool. That’s why his legacy lives on, because he was actually perfect.
Pitchfork: Your dad is a successful domain investor, but I read that you were living in a trailer park a few years ago. Do you fetishize that trailer park lifestyle?
LDR: My dad is an entrepreneur and an innovator. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t make you a rich tycoon and being an innovator doesn’t mean that you’re successful. It just means that you’re interesting. No one cares that I lived in a park– Dad loves trailers and is getting one in the Everglades. My first record label gave me a small check and I moved into a park near Manhattan. It’s not something I cared to even share but people keep asking me about it. My songs are cinematic so they seem to reference a glamorous era or fetishize certain lifestyles, but that’s not my aim. I’m not trying to create an image or a persona. I’m just singing because that’s what I know how to do.
Pitchfork: You started singing in a church choir– do you think your church would approve of some of the lyrics on “Kinda Outta Luck” like the one about hitting dudes in the back of the head with a gun?
LDR: God has saved me a million times so I think he must’ve enjoyed that song.
“Kinda Outta Luck”