Kaotican Alphabet

Tove Lo interview

Swedish singer Tove Lo was special guest for the band in Europe this summer and joins them again for the upcoming North American shows. We spoke to her during the European dates to find out more about being on the road with Coldplay and singing on Fun from the A Head Full Of Dreams album.

Hi Tove, how’s it been going?
It’s been really fun. The crowds have been amazing. It’s always different when it’s not your own fans. You don’t know what you’ll run out to: if people will know the music, if they’re gonna be supportive or if they’re just gonna wonder what you’re doing there. But yesterday was my first ever show in Italy and they were just cheering us on and giving us a lot of love.

It’s great the crowds are being so receptive.
Yeah. And it’s still a really huge feeling just to be on the same stage as Coldplay. Me and my band have all been fans forever.

You’ve supported other acts before, like Maroon 5 and Katy Perry. Do you think you’ve had to learn how to be a good support act?
Actually, I think this is the first one I’ve done where I feel like I know what it’s like to be a headliner. Because when I did Katy Perry, I’d only played a few club shows. And on this tour it’s been a mix of doing this with Coldplay and then doing festivals and my own club shows. But when you’re the support act, you feel like you make a new impression on people for the first time. When I do my own shows, people obviously know the songs and they sing along. This is more like it’s almost a bigger challenge trying to win people over.

It sounds like you’ve managed to.
Well, sometimes I’ll have a day when I’m not feeling very on board with myself. You can’t nail every show – or at least I don’t feel like I do! – but then you just look for the people that are into it and focus on them. There’s always a few people that are cheering you on! But honestly, all the shows I’ve done with Coldplay now I feel like all the fans pay attention. I feel like even if some are into it and some might not be, everyone is listening. Which is great when you’re the support act. We’ve been having an amazing time.

How did you come to be playing this tour?
We just got asked to play. My manager told me and obviously my response was “Yes!” without even thinking any further. And then I just texted Chris and I was like, “We’re going on tour with you!!” We had a bunch of festivals booked, but we managed to work around them and fit it all in. And now I’m so happy that we got to do a lot of places in Europe that we’d never played before. And I’m so excited to do shows in the States too.

And unlike pretty much any tour support act we’ve ever interviewed for, you’ve actually sung on a Coldplay song [Fun on A Head Full Of Dreams]!

How did that come about?
That was probably one of the coolest experiences for me. I got an email from Chris where he was being very polite and said, “Hi, it’s Chris Martin from the band Coldplay”. I was like, “I know who you are. Is this a prank?!” Because I didn’t even know they had any idea who I was. But he said he wanted to call me to talk about a song. So I said, “If this is real then yes, here’s my number”. Then he called me up and said, “We have this song and we’d love you to be a part of it, we’ll send it to you and see how you feel”. I was just like, “What’s happening?!’ So he sent me the song and I remember I was in Rio, for the first time, sitting on my balcony looking out at Copacabana listening to the song. It was insane. I remember just loving the lyrics and the message and really relating to it.

So then you agreed to record it?
Yeah. And then maybe a month or so later we met up in LA and recorded with Phil and the whole band. Everyone was so sweet and nice. I remember standing in the booth, thinking “I’m singing to Chris’s voice, that I’ve sung to so many times, but now it’s actually going to be on this song!” It was unreal.

And what a great song it turned out to be.
Aw, thank you! I love it too. For me it was an honour just to be asked. And it also felt pretty cool to be like, “Oh, so me and Beyonce are featured on this album…”. Hahaha!

Do you feel like the song and the support tour have helped to bring you to a new audience?
Oh for sure. I feel like a lot of people that listen to Coldplay might not listen to me – cos we’re not usually put in the same box, if you know what I mean – but I honestly write very much from the heart. Even if it’s pop, it’s still very real to me, and I make sure to not polish it too much and keep the rawness, especially in the lyrics. And I’m hoping that comes through. Cos I feel like the people who listen to Coldplay are music lovers and there has to be a depth to the music. And hopefully they feel that’s in my music too.

Is this the biggest touring experience you’ve been part of?
Yeah, I think it is for all of us in my crew. We’re all like, “Holy shit!” But everyone’s been taking really good care of us. The first thing to get used to was being on stage and how huge it all feels. I always take a moment during the set to kind of look up and around. Because usually by the time we play our last three songs the venue is pretty much full. I look up to the very, very top and it’s like, “All those people up there can hear me!” It’s a really cool feeling.

Also, the tour catering is amazing.
Yes, we’ve just been talking about that! Cos that is certainly not always the case. It’s been such great food. I’m vegetarian and eat vegan and there’s always amazing options for that. When we get to the venue, it’s always like, “Right, we’re here – who wants to go eat?!” And everyone there is always so nice.

Do you remember when you first got into Coldplay?
The first time I really sang their songs was when I was about 16. I was at a music high school in Sweden and me and some other girls did an acapella performance of Fix You. Even now when they play it live I remember my harmony! I got into them well before that, though. But Magic is my song. That is my song.

It came out during a time of my life when everything was happening so fast for me with my artist stuff and going through this crazy heartbreak too, and it just spoke to me so much during that time. It’s that thing about never regretting even though it ended. You see sometimes when people break up, love turns into hate and just a dark memory. But it’s not, because you were happy once. So I think listening to that song makes me think of that. You can still remember something – even though it hurts a bit – with joy.

There’s actually a similar message in Fun.
Exactly. Which is probably why that spoke to me a lot too. You can still keep the shimmer on the memories. It doesn’t have to go fully dark! I really remember when I got sent Fun and I was reading the lyrics at the same time as listening. I was like “Oh yeah, so true! I know that feeling!”

Did you you see Coldplay play live when you were a kid?
Yes, I saw them in Sweden at the Globe, a long, long time ago. I was really a young teen.

Have you been watching them a lot on this tour?
Yes, we’ve been watching every night! And my whole family and my boyfriend have come out for shows. I love the part when Chris asks people not to use their phones and everyone cheers. It kind of forces people to be fully present. I think you film shows because you want to keep the memory, but you don’t ever really look back to it. And you won’t remember what you filmed, you’ll only remember what you actually watched. So if you have your phone up the whole time, you won’t ever actually remember it, because you won’t take it in fully.

And you’re looking forward to North America?
Yes I am, I’m very excited. Someone told me the Rose Bowl in LA is a 90,000 people stadium. I don’t even know how to take that in! I can’t imagine the feeling for Coldplay of having built this relationship with people where – like Chris says – they’re taking all that time to get there through the traffic and the city for a show. Coldplay have created something that people love so much that it’s like the highlight of their year. People have saved up and been ready for these shows for months and months and months. That feeling must be incredible.

For those fans who’d like to find out more about you, what’s coming up?
Well, I have my second short film coming out, called Fire Fade, and a new album later this year. The album I released last year has a sequel. So it’s the second half of that.

Final question, which you may have already answered, what is your favourite Coldplay song?
Oh, if I had to pick one I’m going to say Magic. I’m not going to pick the one that I sing on! Hahaha!

For more info on Tove Lo, check out her websiteFacebookTwitter and Instagram

Live photos by Roadie #42