Although his musical endeavors began with playing the drums and piano, Norway-based producer Lido is embracing his musical and singing abilities as he explores the R&B and electronic game. His live shows are the perfect example, with live instrumentation and electronic elements woven throughout his sets. Now living in Los Angeles, he is working with some big names in hip hop and rap. Among his friends and collaborators are the likes of Chance the Rapper, Jaden Smith, and Santell.
His debut album Everything, which dropped October 7, is the perfect combination of pop and electronic music. The 11 track record tells a story “because of a girl,” rather than about a girl. Despite his fears and insecurities surrounding the release of his debut album, his hard work has evidently paid off.
We caught up with Lido about his musical beginnings, collaborating with his friends, and getting starstruck over talent rather than celebrities.
OTW: How did you start posting music on Soundcloud?
Lido: I’m originally a drummer and I’m pretty good at piano, which I’ve been playing my entire life. But back then I was still pretty fresh to producing electronic music. I needed a creative outlet so I started working on a pop-oriented project. I played it for a couple of my friends and they told me to put it on SoundCloud. I had no idea what SoundCloud was at the time but I decided to put it on there to see what would happen. Then it sort of took off very, very quickly.
OTW: How did you realize that things were taking off?
Lido: I started off doing bootlegs. I would find an acapella, chop it up, and have fun with it. When really big artists started reaching out for me to remix one of their songs, I realized I was doing something right. They were paying me, not suing me. That was the game changer for me.
OTW: You produced “Angels” for Chance The Rapper on Coloring Book. Is there another song on Coloring Book you wished you produced?
Lido: I wish I was a part of “No Problem,” which my boy Brasstracks did. It’s definitely a standout to me. I also love “Blessings 2″ with Ty Dolla $ign. In general, the whole concept of the Coloring Book is very much a team effort. Chance [the Rapper]’s team is incredible, so I was fortunate enough to be involved with a couple of things.
OTW: Are you seeking more collaborations or are you just letting things fall into your lap?
Lido: I don’t do a lot of collaborations, sessions, or production for other people because at the moment I’m very inspired to do my own stuff. There are a few people who I really care about and believe in. I’m currently working on projects with them. My main focus is definitely my solo music. But there’s always some cool stuff that I’m inspired to do and care enough about to put some time into.
OTW: Take us into the week leading up to the release of your debut album. What was going through your mind?
Lido: It was quite the process. We had the first set of masters six months before the album actually came out. It was an ambitious album, so I was nervous. I was trying to do a lot of things that I hadn’t seen other people do. I wasn’t sure whether or not it was going to work or if people were going to relate to it. It was a huge relief when the album came out. The two years we spent working on this album paid off and we got incredible feedback.
OTW: Are you going to put out more concept projects?
Lido: I think I will always have some sort of concept to whatever I do because I’m very concentrated when it comes to projects. I made an EP with my friend Santell where the entire project was about bringing back the 90s R&B vibe that no one else was doing at the time. I always have a concept or a thought that goes throughout the entire project. Whether or not it’s going to be a story, I’m there’s going to be a lot of overthinking because that’s me in a nutshell.
OTW: Does LA inspire you to make music more than Norway does?
Lido: I love it here in LA but its really distracting. There’s a lot of cool people to hang out with and do fun things with. I’m not used to that – I’m used to living in the middle of the forest in Norway (laughs). I’ve had a lot of incredible musical experiences with people here who I would’ve never imagined collaborating with. But whenever I go back to Norway and stay there for a couple of weeks, I come out with something that sounds like an EP. Maybe I need to take a long vacation and make some real music (laughs).
OTW: Have you had any crazy celebrity run-ins in LA yet?
Lido: I don’t really get starstruck, but I’ve had tons of weird encounters. I’m always starstruck with talent. I’ve met a lot of people here who aren’t famous, but are insane musicians with chops and skills. I’ll whip out my phone and nervously film them playing a piano solo.
OTW: How have you developed your live show? It looks insane.
Lido: The main thing for me about the live show was always to play the director’s cut of the album. We’re playing the album front to back with all the stuff that didn’t make it onto the album. We’re giving people the full experience, which is exactly the way I wanted it to be. It was important for me to showcase my musical abilities and have a lot of freedom within the set to freestyle. I wanted to do things that most electronic live music experiences don’t really have the ability to explore because a lot of it is usually synched up to visuals. I’m still brand new to this stuff – I learned how to DJ two years ago. I’m fortunate to have an incredible crew that helps me get my crazy ideas out.
OTW: What artists are you watching right now?
Lido: My focus is always on my friends and the people that I have faith in and collaborate with. I have a lot of faith in Chance the Rapper and Jaden [Smith]. I think Jaden is going to do something really important with the album that we’re making right now. My friend Tennyson is an incredible producer from Canada as well. I did an EP with my friend Santell, who’s about to release his own project. My friend Heavy Mellow is doing some really interesting stuff that no one else is doing right now. I think these are the people I consider my best friends and the most musically-inspiring artists that are out there.
Interview by Malcolm J. Gray