The Rap Re-Birth of Lido
Jersey club might be dead, but there’s Life in the talented Norwegian producer yet.
Remember a couple of years back, when internet-led music scenes lit the way? Chief among them being ‘Jersey club’ - we worshipped at the throne of Hemsworth, Hoodboi, Sliink, Yolobear, the Athletixx crew and pretty much anything that had a squeaky bedspring or R&B sample in it. Remember the ‘Fo Fa Di’ Soundcloud animal producer gang - Trippy Turtle, Cashmere Cat, Booty Beaver Y2Koala and Drippy Dolphin? And the long Reddit threads and very serious ‘music blog investigations’ into the true identity of Trippy Turtle, the ‘mysterious Jersey club Soundcloud producer’? Who everyone thought was Cashmere Cat, until Cashmere Cat played a set with Trippy, and Trippy turned out to be Norwegian producer Lido.
It was then that Lido-mania really peaked. You’d be hard-pressed to find a club music fan a the time who didn’t love Peder Losnegård, an ex-mainstream popstar/rapper who took his classic instrumental training and pop sensibilities and turned his talent to the underground US/UK/Oz club scene. We all lapped up his solo offerings: I Love You and Money, his epic remixes, his Trippy Turtle work, and his live wizardry at festivals and gigs. Lido’s mesmerising performance at our 2014 Pilerats X-Mas Party in Perth - where he played multiple sets of keys, sang, and wove gospel samples in and out of his original productions, was one of the best live club performances I’ve experienced.
However, somewhere between then and now, bedsprings bowed to bass, and trap tookover Trippy - the animal gang was usurped by Lean and his Sad Boys, and Jersey Club was swallowed up by the rise of rap/EDM crossovers. And I’m sad to say Lido dropped out of my regular listening - I missed the collaborative album he made with R&B singer Santell, The Passion Project, in 2015, and checking out Badlands, the album he executive produced for then-girlfriend Halsey, is still on my to-do list.
In March of this year, however, Lido made some clever music moves: the producer tapped into his rap heritage, using his former career as a rapper, and love for rap music, to recreate Kanye West’s seminal album The Life Of Pablo. He also brought out friend and collaborator, rapper Jaden Smith, at Coachella to rap a song from his forthcoming album Everything. And lastly, he’s started working with Chance The Rapper, contributing beats to Chance’s album, Coloring Book.
The moves - particularly in light of underground rap increasingly emerging in the mainstream right now - have brought about a surge in popularity for Lido, who has now once again found himself in the spotlight - not to mention forcing lazy fans like myself to re-aquaint ourselves with Lido’s genius. The Life Of Peder (Peder being Lido’s real name) is a tribute project of sorts - he remixed and re-sequenced the entire The Life Of Pablo album into one, eight-minute long track, put together in just three days. The night before releasing it, Lido posed a question to his Twitter followers. “Say hypothetically I have something kinda cool that will get taken down immediately…” he wrote, before posting the track the following day on his Twitter.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to check-in with Lido from Los Angeles – ahead of his Splendour In The Grass and pre-party appearances in Australia later this week. We begin with what drove him to take on the ambitious Life Of Peder project: “I was on a really long flight, most of which I spent listening to Kanye’s album on repeat. Usually there is one song that stands out to me, that I want to remix, but the whole album just captured my imagination and really inspired me. The album is like a raw Snapchat of Kanye’s mind, it encapsulates his creative genius. I followed the launch, and all the crazy fashion and ideas surrounding the album, and heard a bunch of alternate versions. So I was like you know what, I want to remix this whole album. It was a crazy idea.”
One that paid off – The Life of Peder received 500,000 streams in just 24 hours! “We didn’t expect that level of impact at all,” Lido tells, “Whenever I make music it’s just for myself then I put it out and see whether people like it or not, and yeah I haven’t expected this reaction.” I ask Lido if the positive reaction could lead to him considering further rap album remixes: “Hmm, I thought about maybe doing it with Chance The Rapper’s new album, but I was also a part of the creation of that album, so that could be weird!” Here, he refers to his production on the tracks Angels and Same Drugs, for Chance’s recent third mixtape, Coloring Book, that saw Lido travel to Chicago to work with the acclaimed rapper. As to whether or not Yeezy himself has heard The Life Of Peder, Lido remains uncertain: “I know the camp is aware of it, but not sure if Kanye has heard it himself. I’m taking the fact that I haven’t been sued yet as a sign that he hasn’t heard it! (laughs)”
Not that Lido had time to worry about Yeezy – he had bigger fish to fry, with his April Coachella performance just around the corner. For Coachella, Lido had a special treat – a live performance of his then-forthcoming album, Everything, in full (supposedly against the wishes of his management), with a grand piano (!), and surprise guest Jaden Smith on top of that grand piano. It was widely regarded as one of the most dynamic sets at Coachella, but for Lido, it was “probably the biggest anti-climax of the century”: “I put so much emotion and energy into that set - as I had put so much emotion and energy into my album,” recalls Lido. He says that he viewed the Coachella set as essentially two years' worth of work making the album, distilled into 45 minutes: “I was really nervous beforehand,” continues Lido, “I was scared as I didn’t know if anyone was going to react as they hadn’t heard the album before. Then the set was just over really fast. It took me a few days to realise I just played Coachella. But I’ve processed it now and it was an absolutely incredible experience.”
For many fans, the Jaden Smith cameo, and learning of Jaden Smith’s heavy involvement on the Everything album, was a highlight. Jaden joined Lido onstage to rap during Angel, which was the first track the two, who are firm friends, made together. “Jaden and I become friends as this album was unfolding,” explains Lido of the collaboration, “The role he pays as a central character in the album’s narrative, mirrors the role he played in my real life at the time. I treated all the guests on the album like actors - like each one had a story. It’s definitely a conceptual album."
The narrative nature of the album was what made Lido decide it ought to be played in full, in consecutive order, at Coachella on the day. “Initially I only intended to play a couple of new tracks from the new album, but then just having one or two felt like parts of the story were missing.” At the beginning of his Coachella set, Lido told his audience: “This story is not about a girl. This is a story because of a girl,” and explains that Everything is an “unconventional breakup album in the sense where it’s the story about what happens not during, but after, a breakup…like the grieving process, what happens to your head.” Whilst Lido will neither confirm nor deny, many fans have speculated the break-up in question is Lido’s split from ex-girlfriend/fellow musician Halsey. Halsey, who was in the audience of the Coachella show, tweeted a photo of afterwards, with the comment: “cried watching @Lido debut his album EVERYTHING @coachella. just remember i love him more than every single 1 of u.”
That claim’s sure to face some contention; as far as fans go, Lido’s got a lot of love out there – as was recently proved when the artist jumped onto Facebook for a live video, where he invited budding producers and fans to give him feedback on his work, and then submit their track in the comments for advice from Lido. The session was a massive hit: “It was fun!,” exclaims Lido, who explains how the video evolved: “It was an idea that started with streaming stuff I’m making. The last thing I streamed was in Norway when I was writing music - I love streaming because I get easily distracted, so if I stream it to hundreds of people I don’t get distracted by TV or Pokemon haha. The cool thing was, it was in the middle of the night in Norway and people were giving me advice on my tracks, and they actually had great advice. I realised they also write music so I asked for them to send me demos to check out too. It was super inspirational for me, and I think a lot of people found it helpful. I emailed a bunch back after the Session, and I uploaded some of the tracks onto my USB so I can play them out.”
Perhaps we’ll hear some of Lido’s producer picks at his upcoming Australian performances? Lido offers some insight on the plan for his Splendour in the Grass show, which, according to the man himself, will take on a distinctly ‘Australian’ vibe: “I’m going to peg the opportunity to play some exclusive stuff I have made with Australian artists, who are very talented friends I’ve met through my touring. I’ve got a new one with Alison Wonderland, and another new one with Wave Racer, to play!” Over the course of touring to Australia the past few years, Lido’s made firm friends with some of our leading producers, and has collaborated on tracks with Cosmo’s Midnight (Falling Out), Waveracer (World Record) and has spent time in the studio with Flume.
I mention during the interview that Lido’s Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine remix was a fave, to which Lido responded with a secret: “I’ve never told anyone this before, but I actually made that remix when I was in Australia last. I was at a festival, can’t remember where - maybe Melbourne. I watched Alison Wonderland’s set and she played Ain’t No Sunshine as her last track - and that inspired me to do the remix. I ended up making it in my Australian hotel room the next few nights.” We’ll also get to hear some tracks off Everything at Splendour, “but not the full thing, like I did at Coachella,” says Lido, “But it will be live - I’m going to bring a bunch of instruments, and I’ll be singing, so yeah it will be pretty special. But at Coachella we had a grand piano on stage, so I probably won’t have that… that was a tiny bit excessive!”
Lido plays at Splendour In The Grass this Saturday, and a Splendour pre-party at The Triffid in Brisbane on Thursday 21 July with Years & Years, Moonbase Commander and Twinsy (details/tickets HERE).