ABOVE: LUST FOR YOUTH. PHOTO COURTESY OF RASMUS JENSEN
Over the past five years, Hannes Norrvide has been trading on both desolation and romanticism under the moniker Lust For Youth. Though originally from Sweden, Norrvide recently relocated to Denmark, the home of his longtime live collaborator Loke Rahbek (of Sexdrome and Vår). Though Norrvide’s previous records were spaced-out and abstract, airy approximations of the ’80s synth-pop records that he holds close to his heart, he’s emerging soon with an LP called International, which doubles down on the pop inclinations of past records and largely excises the personal distancing from feeling that some associate with the gauzy modes of his past releases.
We recently caught up with Norrvide to discuss the ideological sparks for transformation that he and his collaborators made on International. We’re also excited to premiere “Armida,” one of the most instantly endearing tracks from that new record. Check it out below.
COLIN JOYCE: It’s been only just a year since the last record, but this one feels so carefully considered, how did you turn out a new record so fast?
HANNES NORRVIDE: Me and Loke had talked about recording some new songs together for a 7-inch or a tape, because the other recordings have been only me (sometimes with some help from friends), and by chance we ran into Malthe one day who asked if we wanted to come to his studio and record. We quickly recorded three or four songs, and Malthe quickly went from being “just” an engineer to taking part in the songwriting and becoming a member. I don’t like to sit and stare myself blind on what I work with. I also have this feeling that if you work on something too long and trying to make it as perfect as possible you might lose the personality of the work.
JOYCE: One of the first things I’m struck with about this new record is that the songs seem more focused and melodic. What motivated the decision to write songs in a more traditional mode?
NORRVIDE: It has always been the goal for this project, but when I did Lust For Youth by myself, I didn’t have the tools or experience to make it. But early on in the project, the bar wasn’t that high, when I did Growing Seeds, the plan wasn’t to have a sound like we do on International; it is something that has come along the way. Most important for me is to always move forward.
JOYCE: I always appreciated the abstraction that marked your past records, but it doesn’t feel like it’s missing here either. Was it difficult for you to excise the more sprawling tracks?
NORRVIDE: No, I never thought of it during the recording. Even though some of the tracks are very different, they share the same emotions and stories.
JOYCE: This almost feels like your attempt at a pop record, which isn’t something that I necessarily associate with Lust For Youth. What are some of your favorite pop records?
NORRVIDE: There is a lot of albums to put on this list, but right now this is what comes to my mind: New Order’s Brotherhood, The Tough Alliance’s New Chance, Duran Duran’s Rio, Pet Shop Boys’ Very, and Veronica Maggio’s Satan I Gatan. They’re just really good records and I get really happy when I listen to them. I could say a lot about these records but it wouldn’t make any sense now.
JOYCE: If you’ve been trying to make pop music in the past, do you feel like what you’ve done this time around is more in line with your vision for your music?
NORRVIDE: The vision for Lust For Youth has changed since it started. Mostly I had different goals and got inspired from other stuff at that time. Lust For Youth has been around for at least five years, so it’s just natural that things would change. It’s like you don’t want to eat the same dish every day, some days you want to eat chicken, some days ice cream.
JOYCE: People have called your music bleak, but you also say your songs are about love. Are you intentionally pulling at the apparent disconnect there?
NORRVIDE: I don’t think LFY was ever intentionally bleak. That’s just the way it turned out. Some of the new tracks are definitely not bleak to me. People have different views and get different emotions from listening to music. But my guess is that the old recordings have been very lo-fi and monotone.
JOYCE: Lust for Youth is now a trio; how is it different working with collaborators than just on your own? Has it made anything easier or harder?
NORRVIDE: When I recorded alone it was easy to get stuck with some ideas, but as a group you can quickly move forward and getting new ideas. We haven’t had any fights yet. We all have different skills, which work really well as a unit.
JOYCE: What did Elias from Iceage do in this record? Do you feel a particular connection to the music that he makes? I feel like the Vår records come from a similar spiritual place… and obviously you’ve both worked with Loke Rahbek.
NORRVIDE: We had a lot of friends coming by the studio during the recording to hang out and to listen to what we were doing, and when Elias came by he recorded a bass line on an organ and added some guitar on it, then we just worked on from that. Everything on the record happened by chance, we went in the studio with no real ideas except that we wanted to make more accessible pop songs.
JOYCE: Do you have any plans for what comes next for Lust For Youth? What do you do to follow your most accessible record to date?
NORRVIDE: We haven’t decided yet, we are talking about making an ambient record. It is something I wanted to do for a while. But I’m not even sure that will happen, I would also like to do an R&B song, but that will probably not happen. We have a lot of ideas of what to do, but it’s still just talk.
LUST FOR YOUTH’S INTERNATIONAL IS OUT TODAY. THE BAND WILL TOUR BEGINNING NEXT WEEK. FOR MORE ON LUST FOR YOUTH, PLEASE VISIT ITS WEBSITE.