- 09 Aug 21
"There's a huge amount of idealism being where I'm from," she tells Hot Press.
In the new issue of Hot Press, out now, cover star Lorde opens up about depicting a "surreal kind of version" of her native New Zealand in the music videos for Solar Power.
As she gears up to release the hotly anticipated new album, the pop megastar spoke to Hot Press's Paul Nolan live from New York, where – fresh from performing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert – she discussed life during the pandemic, Bobby Gillespie, Radiohead, fame, politics, the differences between Gen X and millennials, and more.
New Zealand is a country rightly admired around the world, due in no small part to the strong and inspiring leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Arden. Still, in a scene from the ‘Solar Power’ video – which quickly generated an avalanche of online analysis – the focus jumps from Lorde, who merrily leads a hippyish cult around the New Zealand seaside, to a shot of rubbish strewn on the beach.
Lorde has said the moment was merely intended to convey that New Zealand is a society with problems like anywhere else. The perhaps darker elements to come in the forthcoming videos might also be signalled by the quote on Lorde’s Instagram: “The themes are always the same – a return to innocence – the mysteries of the blood – an itch for the transcendental.”
The lines are taken from author Joan Didion’s masterpiece Slouching Towards Bethlehem, her journalistic portrait of how the Californian hippy dream curdled at the end of the ’60s.
“Yeah, I think the video – and actually the videos, because we made seven in the end, all set in that same world – while they’re not depicting New Zealand, the place where I live and where I’m from, it’s a surreal kind of version of that,” says Lorde. “It’s totally pristine, and it was important to me to wink at that. There’s a huge amount of idealism being where I’m from, and probably where you’re from also.
“I wanted to slip in the idea that all is not what it seems, which gets more revealed over the course of the videos. More people are starting to have that thought of, ‘Literally, where would I go if the shit hit the fan?’ Everyone sort of has that place. Maybe it’s some weird house in the Bush, or maybe it’s the beach, but not too close to the waterline. It was interesting to me to think about that, literally and metaphorically, whilst making those videos.
“The first one is so light, I really wanted it to feel introductory, and then it gets a bit meatier as we go on.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Lorde discusses the comparisons between 'Solar Power' and Primal Scream's 'Loaded'.
“I wrote ‘Solar Power’ on my keyboard, completely alone,” Lorde notes. “Screamadelica had always been one of those records where I was like, I have to check this out. Everyone said I’d love it, but I never had. Obviously, I was born in ’96, so I missed it while it was happening. But I heard it and was like, ‘Oh wow. Somewhere along the line we have just osmotically crept upon this thing.’ Sometimes that happens – the combo of the chords and the drums was similar.
“What may have happened is that you send something to someone, and it has the same kind of chords, and they’re like, ‘Oh, this is a sort of ‘Loaded’ energy.’ We really responded to that, but I had never heard the song. So as soon I heard it I was like, ‘Oh man, I’ve gotta reach out to Primal Scream.’
“I ended up talking to Bobby Gillespie and I said, ‘There’s absolutely a connection here for whatever reason, whether I knew it or not. ‘Loaded’ preceded ‘Solar Power’ in a really cool way.’ But he was so awesome about it, he was like, ‘Thanks for reaching out.’ It was important to me that he felt cool about it, and he seemed to. But I’ve just been like, ‘Let the record state guys: ‘Loaded’ – that’s it!’ And I’ve since gone on to spend more time with Screamadelica and enjoyed it so much.”
Read our full interview with cover star Lorde in new issue of Hot Press – in shops now, and available to order below: