Disenchanted with American media and publications, Lana Del Rey continues to appear in magazines outside of the US. Lana covered Rolling Stone France in March and Vanity Fair France in April.
Nikki Lane, who appeared on Lana Del Rey‘s last album, ‘Chemtrails Over the Country Club,’ spoke about what it was like to work with her with Rolling Stone magazine.
Nikki Lane first toured with Lana Del Rey back in 2019, when Del Rey was on the road in support of her album Norman Fucking Rockwell! “It was really cool, because I saw that Robert Ellis went out, and Lukas Nelson went out, and Weyes Blood and Zella Day,” Lane recalls. “She was taking a lot of people in our world, and so I was really excited for my opportunity.”
But the Nashville country outlaw has known Del Rey for what she calls “a long time,” and their friendship has led them to become unlikely creative partners. While rehearsing for a show in Wichita, Kansas, the two of them unexpectedly wrote a lonesome country duet titled “Breaking Up Slowly,” which would appear over a year later on Del Rey’s latest LP, Chemtrails Over the Country Club. Since that first tour, their relationship has only strengthened — Del Rey has talked of a country project with Lane on the horizon.
“I like our voices together. I really like someone like Skeeter Davis, and so I love hearing our harmonies kind of build upon what some of those artists historically did with their own,” Lane tells Rolling Stone. “I feel like they go together. It’s just been fun to spend time with her as a friend, and then to end up on her record.”
We talked to Lane about her ongoing work with Del Rey and what may come of it down the road.
How did you come to work with Lana Del Rey?
I think my first [show with her] was in Wichita or something. I went out to the Midwest, and I hadn’t seen her in a long time, so it was literally as simple as a catch-up. We sat down in a hotel room and talked about what had been going on in the past few months. And I had carried my guitar up to practice “Look Away,” the song of mine that we were going to do on her show. And I kind of said out loud, “Well, someone says I’m breaking up slowly.” And the thing that I now fully know about Lana is that, that’s all it takes to spark a strong melody. That’s how I write songs, too — someone says something, and it triggers an idea, but it becomes so much more prolific.
So she sings, “Breaking up slowly…” And I’m like, “Oh shit, yeah.” And so we wrote the song just hanging out before we went downstairs to get ready for the show that day. Honestly, I didn’t realize it was kind of done in its entirety at that moment. We reconnected later on in the year, and she said, “Send me your song!” I made her a demo, just so that she had something – not that she needs my help, but I thought that I would just send her a completed idea. And they used the vocals from that and built up our track, and then we were able to do the song together. I was excited when she said it would be on this record. I didn’t know where it would land.
This song is obviously very country-inspired, and the Tammy Wynette/George Jones references really stick out. How did you two come up with the idea to reference them?
If you look at the previous lines in that first verse we’re talking about, it comes to the word “regret.” And I don’t think that we knew who would be the characters we would use, or who could play out that storyline, until she said, “Wynette.” I’ve read that she carries one Tammy Wynette vinyl around — she likes to keep that energy and that thought, like muses to her. And I have a dog named after Tammy Wynette, I have a “Tammy” tattoo. You’re a fan, but you also know that heartache. It was as simple as it rhyming, and then it was like, “Oh.” You have an idea, and then things slip out.
What stands out about the album version of “Breaking Up Slowly” is that Lana gives the reins entirely over to you for the first third of the song — her voice doesn’t come in until later. It’s a similar thing that she does with Zella Day and Weyes Blood on a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “For Free.” Did you know that that was going to happen?
I knew once she had sent it back to me. And at that point, we had just started to experiment writing together. But I felt the same way — I was just mapping it out for her, I was happy to just have written a song with her. So when she sent it back, and left not only the opening chorus but the first verse, I was like, Wow. Because to me, those are subtle ways of someone showing their confidence in their work.
And also, I love “For Free” on her record — she is down to share her light, and when I think about her, that’s what I think about. She’s constantly around her peers, around her family, and sharing the experience and the opportunity. When you’re on set with her, you kind of can’t tell who’s working or who’s not. What’s hers is yours in that way.
Lana has mentioned that you two were working on a country album together. Is that still something that we can expect down the line?
I think so — you know, I obviously want her to be able to have control with the way her art plays out. But knowing that we’re working together on these projects, I was like, “What are we gonna do with that other song?” And she’s like, “Well, we’re gonna do more!” She wants to lean in. Her voice naturally works so well in that country space. And I think what you’ve seen with Lana, with her records across her career, is that she likes to lean into all of those characters, or all of those different genres, different producers that she’s worked with and sounds that she’s worked with. So I think she wants to lean into country, and I love that. We’ve been writing songs driving around in an F-150 in Texas. I think you can expect to see the fruit of that.
Lana Del Rey has been spotted out in March and April promoting her album ‘Chemtrails Over the Country Club,’ as well as hanging out with some friends, and joining Nikki Lane on some of her shows in Texas.
Candids > 2021 > Watching sky promo for ‘Chemtrails…’ with Clay Johnson, Ed Millett and co. in California, USA (March 19)
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Candids > 2021 > Spotted at Sweet Butter Kitchen in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, USA (March 25)
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Candids > 2021 > Shopping in Beverly Hills, California, USA (April 1)
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Candids > 2021 > Meeting fans after performing at Nikki Lane’s show in Austin, Texas, USA (April 2)
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Candids > 2021 > With Nikki Lane at MotoStuka in Dripping Springs, Texas, USA (April 5)
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Candids > 2021 > Meeting fans after performing at Nikki Lane’s show in Austin, Texas, USA (April 5)
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Candids > 2021 > Fishing with Nikki Lane in Austin, Texas, USA (April 6)
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Candids > 2021 > At a birthday party at Harriet’s Rooftop in Los Angeles, California, USA (April 10)
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Lana Del Rey is on the cover of Rolling Stone Germany’s April cover. In the interview, Lana reveals that she has written an 11 minute poem titled “My Father Told Me If I Went Slowly, I’d Be Safe – But He Was Wrong.” The magazine is available to buy here. Below is a roughly translated snippet from the interview, which is originally in German.
What is a common misconception about you? That I feel attacked for no reason.
What happens to the American Dream when it comes true? For me that means: you know who you are and move accordingly in the world. In my case, a mixture of satisfaction and activism. I fill my own cup, but I also have a lot of people who I support and whom I like to watch grow.
What are you not getting enough recognition for? In my public life, recognition is not particularly important to me. In the bedroom, on the other hand, I like to work hard to collect extra points.
What instructions did you give your producer Jack Antonoff particularly often? “Let yourself go!” “Be wilder!” “More twists at the end of the songs!” And whenever I got stuck, I asked him about chord progressions I could sing on.
What do you like best about Los Angeles? What I love about L.A., of course, is the weather – today, at the end of February, it’s 28 degrees – and the hiking. I love the surrounding area and the many animals.
Despite her seventh studio album, ‘Chemtrails Over the Country Club,’ only being released on March 19, Lana Del Rey has already revealed that her eighth studio album will be titled ‘Rock Candy Sweet’ and will be released June 1. While giving interviews before the release of ‘COTCC,’ Lana revealed she was working on that and another album at the same time, which explains why another album could be ready so soon.
The announcement came as a surprise on Instagram when responding to criticism from an article in Harper’s Bazaar titled “Lana Del Rey Can’t Qualify Her Way Out of Being Held Accountable.” In response, Lana said:
“Just want to say thank you again for the kind articles like this one and for reminding me that my career was built on cultural appropriation and glamorizing domestic abuse. I will continue to challenge those thoughts on my next record on June 1 titled Rock Candy Sweet.”
Lana then referenced part of the article specifically. Lana highlighted the author who said “nobody had significantly criticized Del Rey for ‘including’ people of color in her upcoming album, and her need to disassociate herself from the Nazi-led riot on Capitol Hill was also curious…” In Lana’s response to this, she said: “You’re right it would have been unnecessary if no one had significantly criticized everything about the album to begin with. But you did. And I want revenge.”
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Lana Del Rey’s seventh studio album, ‘Chemicals Over the Country Club,’ is out now (March 19). The album features ‘Breaking Up Slowly,’ a song performed and co-written with Nikki Lane, in addition to ‘For Free,’ sang with Zella Day and Weyes Blood, both of which were performed on Lana’s previous tour. Lana also released a music video for the opening track, ‘White Dress,’ which is available to watch now, and has a new digital merch store with exclusive merchandise for the USA: LDRVillage.com (make an account to view).
Buy ‘Chemtrails Over the Country Club’ now
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Click here for more options, including special edition vinyls
Lana Del Rey is on the April cover of UK magazine Music Week, which is out from March 16. Part of the interview can be read on their website, but the rest is only available to subscribers. The photoshoot appears to be outtakes by Lana’s 2019 shoot for Q Magazine by Cody Osbourne, with one photo of Lana from 2018 taken by Chuck Grant.
Part of the discussion, of course, includes reuniting with super-producer Jack Antonoff, with Lana detailing how one of Chemtrails’ finest moments, White Dress, came about as a surprise when she heard him “noodling” around on the piano.
“I just stepped up to the microphone and started ad-libbing an entire song, which was only somewhat modified with layered vocals,” she recalls. “That only happens once in a while, and it also started off as kind of a joke [with] me not really knowing what I was saying or singing about. It just brings me back to that good ol’ fashioned feeling of getting lucky and being able to express myself without really having a second thought about needing to edit it. That’s what the sentiment is about, being brought back to a time when things felt the purest.”
“Jack’s technical skill is off the charts musically, his chords are fantastic if you’re ever stuck for inspiration,” she continued. “On top of everything, he’s just genuinely hilarious which is really important. We have each other laughing a lot.”
Also in the feature, Lana Del Rey, Tap Music’s Ben Mawson and Ed Millett and Polydor co-president Tom March look back at her career to date.
“Coming off Norman Fucking Rockwell!, she’s in the best place she’s been in almost from the beginning of her career,” Polydor’s Tom March told Music Week. It is a position, Lana stresses, that has been hard won.
“I know for myself [at the beginning of my career] it took years of walking into the same [kind of] labels I’m signed to now to have a chance to be understood as a person telling a story rather than a trend,” said Lana. “I fought very hard for that and I’m so glad I did. People may get caught up now and then in the fact that I have a strong look or presentation, but at the end of the day what’s important to me is the fact that I’ve been able to tell my life’s stories, dreams and encounters for over a decade, and that in itself is a triumph.”
“We don’t count on hits,” said Ben Mawson. “Whilst being a superstar, she’s not conforming to anything in terms of modern pop. She wasn’t even when she first came out. Video Games didn’t have any drums and it was a big global hit when, at the time, everything was – and still is – dominated by beats. She’s done her own sweet thing musically since the start and it connects.”
“It’s not that I don’t want to have a hit, it’s just that without meaning to, my journey has ended up playing out more like a long-term game,” Lana told Music Week, before outlining the things that have worked for her. “Long-playing records and lots of them! [With] spoken records in-between, and lots of other little interesting projects. I think an artist can have their finger on the pulse of culture without having big hits, but it might end up being something that isn’t metabolised in the form it was meant to be until a later time. At least that’s how I feel like it is for me mostly.”
Lana Del Rey is on the April cover of Mojo, a music magazine in the UK, which can be purchased from their website here. Alternatively, you can read the scans in our gallery if you are outside of the UK.