Interview with Lenka - Aviva - Berlin Online Magazin und Informationsportal für Frauen Interviews im März 2024 - Beitrag vom 09.10.2009

Interview with Lenka
Katharina Liese

After many film parts and her success with "Decoder Ring" the Australian artist Lenka started her solo career in 2006. In Germany she had her debut with the album "Lenka" in August 2009.

With this album Lenka presents a choice of self-made pop songs ranging from melancholy and optimism. "The album intensifies the mood.", says the musician. In her songs she touches on complicated relationships, separations and lovesickness. But the album isn`t a mixture of blue and depressing melodies. The gentle singing shows confidence and approaches these subjects in a positive way. "I don`t like it when people are down. I want to cheer them up.", she says and that is exactly what the 30-year old singer achieves with her songs.

© Katharina Liese

AVIVA-Berlin: Your father is a jazz musician, so since childhood you have been contact with music but today you`re a pop musician. To what extent was your father`s music an influence on your own music?
Lenka: It was a very strong influence but it took me quite a long time to realize. I tried to rebel against the jazzy influence for quite a while and when I was a little girl, mostly I was exposed to traditional jazz music, the old jazz like Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday, more trad jazz and blues. My personal taste was much more poppy. I mean I was a little girl. When I was a teenager I always really liked the old music but it was more like Pink Floyd or The Beatles. I was in an electro rock band…Much more experimental and my Dad didn`t like the music at all. I find myself actually choosing things that were really jazzy, a little bit influenced by jazz.

AVIVA-Berlin: You grew up in the Australian Outback. At the age of seven you moved with your parents to Sydney. In 2007 you finally decided to live in Los Angeles. Have you brought any of the Australian way of life to the USA?
Lenka: Yes, a lot of nature and the simply way of life. It`s not very American.
My boyfriend and I try to go camping as much as possible and we try to maintain the connection to nature and also barbecues …That kind of culture of hanging out with friends on Sunday. You know, no fuss! Just chuck a few sausages on the barbecue. That`s very Aussie… I guess that`s about it. The other thing that is quite Australian is a sort of laid-back, a lazy kind of attitude. That was what I wanted to get away from. So I tried to leave the old behaviour behind and that was really refreshing to be in America. It became a good blend between the two cultures in my life.

AVIVA-Berlin: As a teenager you took acting lessons from the legendary Cate Blanchett at the "Australian Theatre for Young People". What did you learned from her?
Lenka: I was only 13 or 14 years old, so the most of the time we played a lot of games. That was really funny. There were some technical things that I`d learned but what I remember the most is just a general importance to have passion for what you do and to respect your craft. Now I can transplant that same idea to music. I didn`t really have any mentors in my life but she inspired me to go to the arts.

© Katharina Liese

AVIVA-Berlin: After your success as a singer of the band "Decoder Ring" you decided in 2007 to continue your career as a single artist. What made you make that decision?
Lenka: Actually when I started to make music, I had been an actor for a long time and I was in my early 20s. I did the A colleges well and I was intending to do soul music, but when I met this drummer, who was in "Decoder Ring" I felt in love with what they were doing and I really threw myself into their style. But after a couple of years I felt like I needed to go back to what I intended to do in the first place and my natural style is a lot more girly and poppy. And their style is more masculine and atmospheric experimental and not a lot of vocals. Because I really sing maybe three or four songs in an hour which was cool but I started to write these little songs on the side and I thought that it`s not like quite "Decoder Ring", so I kept them in my pocket. I still recorded them and it wasn`t really a very purposeful decision but when we, the band, went to America on tour, my first time in America, there was an industry guy, who was helping the band and we became friends with him. When I played him my solo songs he suggested that I go up to L.A. to write my own songs and to just see what it`s like. It might be fun. So when I did that, it went really well and then I was more like following the oppurtunity and following this positive response that people gave me. The really early songs that I made when I was with "Decoder Ring" I made separately, two songs got placements on TV. It looked like I could make money. Only in America can you get something started through this film and TV kind of thing… I thought: "That sounds pretty cool!". The band wasn`t doing very much so I just kept travelling around and I kept emailing with the band like: "Should I come back, what shall I do?" And I said: "Well, you know, you sound like you`re having fun so I get off the recording contract, sorry!" And then I actually made an album that`s totally instrumental and no vocals at all. So we both completely went in different directions.

AVIVA-Berlin: Your song "Knock Knock" is about the person who will always be there and who finds the right words when there are problems. What does friendship mean to you?
Lenka: I guess it is that idea that no circumstances, no rules, nothing could get in the way of it. You could have a fight with a friend, some disagreement and you maybe do not talk to each other for months. But if you really need each other, you`ll be back. That`s, I think, the mark of a true friendship and that happened to me a few times. You know, there are different levels of friends, I think: social friends with you hang out with, you go for a beer and have really fun but you wouldn`t call them in a crisis if you needed a shoulder to cry on. And there are people you did not see. My friends in Australia I haven`t seen them for years! I see them maybe once a year for a couple of days…So I think that`s pretty interesting that there are these people that you get through your life and who could be anywhere around the world. It`s like we make out our own family.

AVIVA-Berlin: As an actress you had a lot of success ("The Dish", "Lost Things"). Can you imagine acting again? What are your plans for your professional future?
Lenka: I would like to act again but music is number one. I`m not gonna start going out in auditioning and really pushing it. I`ve done two auditions in the last five years. I haven`t really interrupted it. If someone said to me: "Look, it`s an amazing script and I want you to be in it." And if it`s interesting to me, I`ll definitely do it. I love escapism and acting is the ultimate escapism. You get to pretend to be someone else for the whole day. It can be quite dangerous when you do it full time I think (laugh). A lot of actors are a little bit crazy. I would love to do the old job. I would also love to use the skills that I`ve learned from acting and my love of theatre and film and somehow involve it in music and be a bit more behind the scenes and actually create projects that might involve me doing film or theatre in galleries more live performance with pop music.

AVIVA-Berlin: Lenka, thank you very much for this interview and I wish you all the best for your future projects!

© Katharina Liese

Lenka enchanted the Berlin audience in her concert, on September 21 at the Postbahnhof. The singer succeeded to animate the reserved (in her words "polite") public, so that the applause at the end of the concert didn`t stop. With her live performance and her fabulous talent Lenka is truly extraordinary.


Beitrag vom 09.10.2009