Every year, Coachella is the place for artists to pull out all the stops, and Lido made sure he delivered something special for his debut set in Indio, Calif. A few days before his performance at the Gobi Tent, the Norwegian-born, 23-year-old producer announced on social media that he’d be playing his highly anticipated album, Everything, in full. It’s quite an unprecedented move to debut new material to fans because the experience is happening in real-time. The reactions, comments, and everything in between comes with a lot more weight.
Lido didn’t have to worry too much. The crowd ranged from casual listeners to folks who have been following his every move for the last few years, a good sign that he’s got a dedicated fan base who have been waiting to hear what he’s been working on. At around 8:20 PM, a black silhouette was removed to reveal his series of situational visuals that structure the story of what happens to you after a post breakup. It complements the theme of every feeling a guy has gone through after getting dumped. You want to drink a little more to ease the pain, some days will feel gloomier than usual, and there are plenty of times when you want to seek immediate companionship.
He’s a vigorous performer, switching from drums to piano to vocals all in the span of one song. "Crazy" was a peak moment for Lido, as the entire crowd came alive for the song's spectacle. Jaden Smith, who Lido says is one of his best friends, appeared on stage to perform a new collaboration, where Smith’s lyrics play an important role in the album’s concept. Overall, these first listens indicate that Everything will be some of his most personal music to date.
It hasn’t been 24 hours yet and Lido is still in awe at what transpired the night before. “It was the most emotional 45 minutes of my life,” he says. Here, he breaks down Everything, Jaden’s role on the album, and if the songs draws from his past relationship with Halsey. We also talk about his Kanye West tribute project, The Life of Peder, and why major labels should embrace unofficial remixes more.
Why did you decide to debut Everything at Coachella?
The album is a concept album. There’s a story from the first song to the last song. And last night, we performed 90 percent of the album in the order of the album. We played it front to back because of that story. When we started talking about Coachella and how to do this, all of the original music that I put out is from two years ago. I was basically just like, "I don’t want to play old music." And then we started [putting together the setlist] and I was like, "I’m going to play this song and I’m going to play this song from the album." It just felt weird. It was like, "I’m missing the whole story." So I was like, "Fuck it. We’re just going to do the whole thing. We’re just gonna play the whole album." And give people this story.
Can you summarize what this story is about?
I had a little speech in the beginning of the set. I said, "This story is not about a girl. This is a story because of a girl." It is a very unconventional breakup album in the sense where it’s the story about what happens after a breakup. Most people write about the incidents, the complications and the conflict that leads up to breakup on an breakup album and just what happened. This is very much what happens after. It’s almost like the grieving process. You know where you have [five] steps in the grieving process? It’s kind of like that. It’s an extremely personal and honest album. It’s the story of what happens to your mind when you care so much about somebody and that somebody disappears.
After they heard your new songs, some of your fans thought the content was about your ex-girlfriend Halsey.
It is a very personal situation. Whether or not that’s the person, I won’t disclose at this time. It was very important to me to write this album to be not gossip-y. Like I said, this is not an album about a girl. This is an album about my head after a girl did some fucked up shit to it. So whoever triggered that is not so important to this story, which is why I don’t really want to get into that. But it was a very real situation for sure.
Did your breakup with her play a part in the songwriting process?
In general, it was very important as a concept. She helped me develop a lot of the songs. She even co-wrote parts of it. Yeah, she’s one of the most important people in my life. She’s still absolutely my best friend even though we’re not dating anymore. She was there last night and everything.
What’s going through your mind when you’re performing new material for the first time?
It’s crazy because basically this performance was two years’ worth of feelings squeezed in 45 minutes. Like magnified by thousands of people. I poured out so many emotions in those 45 minutes. I walked off the stage and I was just empty. I just collapsed. I’m still trying to realize what happened. I’m still trying to catch up. I’m super proud about what we did and I’m super proud of our team for pulling all of this shit off. It was a very risky thing to do. It was a very ambitious thing to do. Literally the craziest shit that we ever pulled off. And we barely did it.
We decided to play the album not very long ago and we pulled together some absolutely crazy shit for it. I’m super proud of the fact that we did it. I’m sort of happy that I got to premiere it in the platform that we did. And right now, I feel good about it obviously, but I don’t think it has caught up to me quite yet.
Jaden is one of my best friends and he’s probably one of the most important voices on the album.
Tell me about the song with Jaden Smith you debuted last night. What’s it called?
The song with Jaden, I am not going to give you the title of the song just quite yet. Jaden is one of my best friends and he’s probably one of the most important voices on the album. When I wrote the album, I very carefully picked every voice that appears on it because they all play a very specific role; they all play a very specific character in the story.
Jaden’s song is sort of a turning point. It’s towards the end of the album, and it is sort of song about acceptance and perspective. He is very much the same reason why this album became what it did because of his contributions to the album in general.
So he gave you some creative guidance?
Absolutely. He wrote a verse from my standpoint. He wrote a rap verse as if it was me and that sort of completely blew my mind and we sort of shaped the rest of the album in a way that he interpreted that song.
Was that one of the first songs you did?
It was one of the first songs that we had a feature on. And sort of realized like, "Yes, this is the way to do it. I want this album to be written completely from my perspective." So yeah, that was really, really special.
Does he only appear once?
All the voices on the album are very much fluid. I’m trying to be careful how I word everything. They all play very specific parts and some of those parts repeat and some of those parts intertwine. So Jaden’s voice definitely happens more than once. Though that is sort of his moment and where his character is the most central one. It’s a complicated album.
I want to get into your remix of Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo. Why do you have such a deep appreciation for remixing music?
In general, I think my appreciation for remixing has a lot to do with me just loving ideas. I grew up surrounded by a lot of gospel musicians and a lot of jazz musicians. Improv and interpretations of songs and changing of songs was a very natural thing for me.
When I got into electronic music, I was like, "Yes, this is the same. This is jamming. This is the jazz club right here." I think whenever I hear something, when I hear someone having an idea that I hear a different interpretation of. If it’s like, "Ah shit, I wish I had that idea because I would have done this instead." I think it’s just my love for music and my non-existing respect for the purity of music. Music is a living thing, music is supposed to change. Music is supposed to breathe. And that is why I love taking ideas and extending their life and extending their potential or changing people’s perspective of it. I think that’s why I love remixing so much.
What’s your message to these major labels who don’t understand the idea of sampling?
Labels don’t realize what remixes do. This is not the story of what’s the thing? The hoverboards? This is not the story of that where you forgot to patent it and suddenly everybody is making the same thing. That’s not what this is because me remixing a song takes people back to the original. Me remixing [Bill Withers’] “Ain’t No Sunshine” made people remember the original and went back and copped that as well. It’s not like people are gonna be like, "Oh, I really want to buy this song. But, hey, I see a remix next to it, I’m gonna buy this remix instead." That’s not the math of it.
I do believe that’s the way major labels think of it. You’re taking something that you are supposed to make money off of and now you are not making that money because you took it instead. That money didn’t exist if I didn’t do that. It’s just a twist that’s a very old mentality unfortunately. I think both music and the industry is in a transitional period. We are gonna butt heads a lot. But hopefully, we’re gonna figure it out soon.
You were inspired to remix Kanye’s album. Are you thinking of doing any other hip-hop albums this year?
Kanye’s album was one of those things where I listened to the album and I was like, "Holy shit. I really want to remix every song." And that happens very rarely. I don’t know. If another album does that to me, then absolutely I would love to do that again. It was a really fun and challenging process. But it’s been a very long time since I wanted to remix so many songs on one project that I have to do all of them. So we’ll see. If that happens again—yes. A million percent.
How long did it take you to put together?
It took me about three days. More or less. So who knows, maybe something like that comes along again.
Recently, Halsey performed "Castle" at the MTV Movie Awards. What did you think of her performance?
I was there. It was amazing. Such a powerful thing to watch something that we wrote together being performed in such a cool platform. Me and Jaden had a fucking dance-off in the middle of the thing, it was hilarious. That was a fun night. I’m not a red carpet person. I would rather be in a dirty studio somewhere. It was really special to see the music being performed that way and she killed that performance.