Lowly discuss the influences behind new album ‘Keep Up the Good Work’
Danish band Lowly just released their third album, Keep Up the Good Work, which finds them experimenting more with modern pop than ever before, while bringing a decidedly positive attitude to the proceedings that never descends into schmaltz. They say: “We know each other really well after 8 years as friends, colleagues and collective creators. We know what we’re each going through in life, and we can hear it in the music we make together; it’s always a personal reflection of us in the given moment. You can hear that we’ve become older, that we have more to tell. During the pandemic we experienced both the joys of having children and the sorrow of losing people we cared for. Life and death struck us, you could say, which maybe seems rather banal or cliché to be writing about. But for that reason, we think this record speaks universally, and has the potential of resonating with many people.” It's a lovely album and you can listen to it below.
We talked to Lowly about the album and the influences behind it, which include everything from Ariana Grande to Mount Eerie's Phil Elverum. Read that below.
LOWLY - INFLUENCES BEHIND 'KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK'
It's hard to specifically pin down 10 influences, the overall inspiration has been from all over the place, but especially contemporary pop music and its shameless attitude towards sound aesthetics.
We've used autotune, digital synths, vocaloid and other freeware trancy synths, to really embrace a digital artificial sound that is maybe a relic from the '00s and now present in what you might call hyper pop or art pop.
Sega Bodega, Sophie, Arca, Caroline Polachek have opened a door into a space where there's no judgement of taste, but more just embracing new ways of creating music and melodies and we tried to be in that space too.
We could also mention Lambchop and his way of using a harmonizer in a setting or instrumentation where you wouldn't expect a harmonizer. The "do do do" part in “You Are Good And I Love You” is almost a direct paraphrase of his song “JFK”. Also in that song the over-the-top compressed country guitar sound was inspired (or legitimized) by Madonna's “Don't Tell Me”.
Ariana Grande's productions have come up on many occasions, due to her clean warm synths that make a perfect pillow for her voice and the listener. If you listen to “No Tears Left To Cry”, it’s a perfect feeling of being held and sucked in and being overwhelmed all at the same time.
We’ve tried to find that same vibe on “The We The U The I” and “Lead Me”, almost as if the synths are a set of warm caring arms that you want to feel safe in.
On this album we are touching some deep stuff from losses of friends to becoming parents for the first time and especially on the tracks "The Fish", "Feel Someone" and "Took a Day off Feeling Sad" You can hear the inspiration coming from the honesty and intimacy of Phil Elverum's (Mount Eerie) lyrical universe.