New Zealand-native and 2013 breakout star Lorde and Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst are fans of each other’s work, so The New York Times connected the two for a chat:
During their talk over the phone, Lorde and Oberst discussed their writing process, the role age plays in a musician’s life, and their mutual admiration. Lorde said she got into Bright Eyes’ music through her current boyfriend, who pointed out similarities in their writing styles.
LORDE …The way you express emotion as a songwriter, it’s, like, childlike. It’s fierce and honest and intense, and you’re kind of defying people to say that they didn’t feel the same way as you. Everyone has those feelings that they don’t quite want to admit, but which you do, in songwriting.
OBERST A lot of that was starting at a young age, not realizing that it wasn’t cool to, like, express your emotions. I wasn’t old enough to be cynical or jaded. I had a similar reaction when I heard your music. So much stuff at your level, in the Top 40 world, is just like vapor: You hear a song and maybe you can hum the melody but you walk away with zero ideas having been communicated. And with your writing, you can do it all at once. You can have this amazing pop anthem that the whole world’s going to sing, and you can still communicate solid, concrete ideas and paint this very vivid picture of lost teenagers in this faraway place.
LORDE I appreciate that. But that’s another thing that I really love about your writing, the little visual thing that just stays with you. I wrote one down — the line: “People in the pool like a drowning army, the smoke alarm emotes and the hotel lobby glows.” I was like, that is perfect!
Read their full conversation.
Update: The Times has posted more excerpts from Lorde and Oberst’s conversation. They chat about disliking social media, getting along with their parents, starting out in small towns, and more.