Hello Lene, I guess I can say you have a real punk-attitude as after all you started your career on the street. What did punk mean for you and how did you got the idea that you wanted to have your life differently?
The punk revolution was great because it confused the established music business. Probably for the first time the major record companies were not in control. There was a fantastic feeling of freedom. Bands could be successful, not because they were played on the radio or the TV, but because people liked to see them play live.
You did lots of things in those days. You were a singer, an actress and a dancer. What was your biggest passion?
Twothings excite me about music, playing live and experimenting with ideas when I record.
At a very young age you came in touch with some giants like Salvador Dali, you even wrote lyrics fort he disco star Cerrone. How did the world got in touch with the quite weird world of Lene Lovich?
I had a difficult time at art school. I was interested in creating art from mental images and feelings. I was curious about surrealism and this wasn’t liked by my teachers. So I decided to find Salvador Dali. In the beginning, I tried to get experience from anywhere possible. Working with Cerrone was an accident, but I was very happy to have a chance to have lots of studio experience and to be a part of a very talented team.
You soon were picked up by STIFF Records and in no time Lucky Number was a world wide hit. I guess your world suddenly changed?
The early days at Stiff Records were the best. I was allowed total freedom as long as it didn’t cost too much. And for the first time in my life I was accepted.
I guess I can say you are/were a pop star as everybody knows you. How easy is life to be a pop star?
I never wanted to be a pop star. I just wanted to find my voice and have fun with music. It was good in the beginning but the longer you are in the public eye, the more they see things that are wrong with you. Freedom is such a precious thing. When you are in that pop world, you have to share your life with that world. And you lose some of that freedom.
Just like say Adam Ant you created a whole legendary image. Was this your own creation?
What I look like on stage is part of my identity. It’s me, in my most concentrated form. If I allowed other people to design my look, I would lose some of my identity.
In all honesty, did you thought Lucky Number would enter the charts as after all it’s not exactly what you’d call chart music!
I never cared about the charts, but the record company cared very much. Lucky Number was selected as a single because the audience liked it when we played live. The record company wanted me to add a ‘real’ chorus, but I refused.
I always saw you as the British version of Nina Hagen, and so it happened you were with her in the Herman Brood-movie. Was the Nina Hagen-link a coincidence or were you in touch with each other before Cha Cha?
Nina and I appeared at the same time. I saw a video clip of her on Dutch TV and I thought she was great. But we didn’t meet until I went to Amsterdam for the movie.
From 1990 on you almost disappeared for fifteen years from the music scene, I guess you wanted to be away from it and why exactly did you return?
After a long time of touring, recording and making TV shows, I think I was ready for a change in my life. The record company wanted me to have a hit record and I didn’t like the pressure to change myself for commercial reasons. Having a family was more important and more interesting.
You set up your own record label Flex Music. I guess this is quite important for you to be independent, not?
I was badly wounded by the music business and I had no money. It was only because I was lucky enough to meet the people in my band that I thought it would be possible to be on stage again.
In fact, can we expect some new material soon?
I don’t know. I hope so, we’ll just have to wait and see.
This summer you will be playing at W-Fest in Belgium, I guess you’re looking forward to that?
It’s going to be fun. I’m 100% excited.
Any acts you want to see yourself at W-Festival?
It’s always a bit crazy backstage at festivals and I miss a lot, getting ready to go on stage. It takes me a while to cool down when I come off stage so I usually don’t see any bands.
What do you prefer on a festival : ice cream, beer or French fries?
French fries, or chips as we say in the UK. Good for the voice and probably the only vegan thing available.
What is your favourite record of all time and please state why.
I’ve got lots of favourites for lots of reasons. But today I will choose Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix. It was an inspiration when I first heard his unpredictable guitar playing. I wanted to sing like that.
With who would you want to be alone in an elevator for 8 hours and what would you do then?
I’d like to be with Ingrid Newkirk the founder of PeTA, people for the ethical treatment of animals. She has amazing energy, really good ideas for saving animals and a great sense of humour. We could make some cool plans for the next step in human evolution.
The last words are yours...
I don’t like to talk, but I love to sing. There’s something special in the vibrations of the human voice. I’m ready to communicate vocally at W Festival, ready and waiting.
Artist interview by Didier Becu - Luminous Dash