After catapulting onto the pop music scene with her breakout hit single "Habits (Stay High)" and debut album Queen of the Clouds, Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo became known for her unapologetic, infectious emotional hits. Now, she's back with an equally-as-addicting single "Cool Girl" ahead of her second album Lady Wood, due October 28.
When we got the chance to hangout with the Cool Girl herself, we took her for drinks at the coldest place in New York City we could find: the minus5° Ice Bar, a literal -5 degree room made out of ice. We huddled into our parkas, handed Tove a tequila on the rocks, and asked her everything you've been dying to know.
If you could work with anyone in history who would you collaborate with?
Tove Lo: If I could pick one top collaborator of all time, um, man it’s hard, but I think Sia is still gonna be my number one. Her voice is amazing and she’s a great songwriter. That’s my dream collab.
Never fall in love or experience love once but never see that person again?
TL: Definitely fall in love and never see that person again.
Last dream you had?
TL: It’s a really weird one. I was running late to a show that I was gonna play with my keyboard player, just acoustic, and David Bowie and Britney Spears were opening for me. But I never made it, so I got there but it was already over and I remember my keyboard player was looking at me with a lot of disappointment, and I had no excuse. I don’t even know in the dream why I was late. That was a weird one, for sure!
Most memorable performance?
TL: One of the most memorable for sure is Lollapalooza. Not this summer, but the summer before. That whole summer was just crazy for me, because it was playing all these festivals for the first time on kind of like big stages, and I didn’t really expect or have any idea of how many people were gonna be there, and I played some of my biggest crowds ever.
I remember that set at Lolla, two of my best friends from Sweden were there and they were just like, "What is happening?!" And it was just so cool. I almost burnt my feet because I decided to be barefoot and the stage was so hot from being in the sun, so I had to run and grab my friend’s old grandma slippers she was wearing and kept performing. It was the best vibe and everyone was just singing along and dancing, and the sun was shining — it was amazing!
What’s your favorite word?
TL: "Cool!" No, I’m kidding. I think my favorite word is “emotional.” I use that a lot.
Favorite curse word?
TL: Uh, “fuck.”
During the writing and producing stages when you need inspiration, or to get your mind off things, what is your go to?
TL: I think I kind of just have to go off the rails a little bit. I have this one side that is very getting shit done and locking myself in a studio and digging around in all the heartbreak that I use as inspiration. But to get that inspiration I have to live first, so I’m kind of falling in and out of the two. But if I’m just trying to get away from music in general, which I really don’t ever do, I just kind of hangout with my friends. I’ve started doing a lot of coloring books, I can really focus on that and keep my mind off everything! I don’t know, dancing. I write poems. It’s always something that has some type of creativity tied to it.
What’s one thing you haven’t achieved that you would like to?
TL: I would love to make a movie. Well, now I have kinda made a short film actually, but I’d love to make like all the music for a movie — the soundtrack.
What's your worst habit?
TL: I don’t know if I really wanna share that! But, I don’t know, I guess I’m just very messy. I just started living with my tour manager who also tours with me all the time, and I think it’s different with us living in hotel rooms to being in the same apartment. It’s just like, your shit is everywhere! And he hasn’t said this out loud, but, I can tell in his eyes that’s how he feels. I’m just really messy!
Which song on this new album best describes you?
TL: I mean every song on the album is very personal to me, so it’s kinda hard to pick one of all of my babies. But I think the one that describes probably where I’m at right now is the song "Lady Wood." It just kind of says that, you know, I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me, and let’s just hangout.
What's the first thing you’d grab in a fire?
TL: If there’s any humans or animals around that would be the first I would grab, but otherwise, it feels terrible to say, but probably my phone just because it has all of my pictures and everything on there.
If you were stranded on a desert island who would you want to be stranded with?
TL: I would want to be stranded with my best friends, but one of them has a baby, so I guess the other one which is Caroline.
Were there any unexpected parts to fame that weirded you out at first?
TL: Yeah, I mean honestly, it’s so weird. This feels like round two kind of, and I just can tell I’m so much more relaxed no matter the situation. I think the first round I was just terrified of anything that had to do with people looking at me, which is weird when you're like, I want to be on stage and perform! That's a very different kind of moment. I remember doing photo shoots thinking, what do I do with my hands, do they go here?! It was just very unusual. And having people run up to [me] and loving me, without ever having met me. As soon as you get over the fact that it’s out of love, it just makes you feel great. And I just love talking to my fans, because I feel like they do know me because we share so many of the same emotions, you know? It’s really cool.
Would you rather swim in a pool full of pudding or jello?
TL: I mean if I’m also gonna kind of eat it at the same time, I would say pudding.
Are you a romantic?
TL: Yes, very much.
Favorite Disney movie?
TL: Pocahontas, for sure.
Give us your unfiltered thoughts on Ikea.
TL: Am I gonna be allowed back in Sweden now? No, I think Ikea is great because it gives everyone the chance to have real furniture in your house because it’s so cheap. I also want to just, like, set it all on fire when I try to build it myself because it drives me crazy. I think it’s like one of the best tests for a couple to try and build an Ikea shelf together. But I’m a little bit more about pieces that last a little bit longer.
What’s the best and worst idea you’ve ever had while high?
TL: Like, are they the same idea? Because it can seem like the best idea when you’re high but then you wake up and kind of realize it was not the best idea. I think the best idea I’ve ever had was probably when I was on a sailboat in Nicaragua and saw these dolphins pass by and we were listening to some super awesome song and I started writing another song over that and it’s called “Bitches” — that is not out yet — but that turned into a great song. The worst idea I’ve ever had, I don’t know, just eating everything in the fridge. Doesn’t make you feel that great the next day.
Who is your favorite famous Swedish person?
TL: If we’re speaking in terms of influences and someone I look up to, I would say Robyn. I think she’s incredible and does everything exactly her way and is killing it. And my brother, he’s an awesome person.
What gives you "lady wood?"
TL: A lot of things. People that speak your mind, all the badass girls that are just killing it in music right now, a really, really great first kiss, a good beard, good tits.
What’s one thing you everybody should do at least once in their life?
TL: Just walk up to someone you think is cute and tell them they’re cute. It makes everyone feel good, no matter the outcome.
What is your go-to comfort food?
TL: White cheddar popcorn or pizza.
Dog person or cat person?
Instagram or Twitter?
Favorite place to just get away from it all?
TL: Any type of jungle situation, where there’s like no cell service and I can try my best at surfing.
What's your message to young women who want to pursue music?
TL: My message to young women doing music is don’t let anyone think that you can’t do something just because you’re a woman. Don’t apologize for yourself, and whatever you’re feeling is right. Like no one can tell you that your gut feeling is wrong. And you’re the only one who knows really who you are, so people will try to influence you in many ways, but if it doesn’t feel good to you, it’s not right. So stay true to yourself, just be badass, and have fun. Don’t take it too seriously. Drink tequila.
Which song on your new album took the longest to write?
TL: The one that took the longest to write was probably "True Disaster." I remember I changed up the verse a little bit and we had a different pace at first and changed the production many times. So yeah, that took the longest to get finished.
Being a big supporter of the Free The Nipple movement, why do you think people are so scared of women’s nipples?
TL: I mean, I really don’t know. I mean I grew up in place where, it’s not like everyone in Sweden walks around with their nipples out, but I grew up in a place where nudity is natural, it’s not shameful. And I think a lot of it is connected to old religious thoughts that you know, you’re not supposed to show your body, sex is sinful. It is crazy when 50% of us have breasts and both men and women have nipples. It makes no sense to me. I really don’t know. I’m going to keep trying to make sure that we see more of them, but I can only do so much, I’m one person!