People truly relate to you and your songs because of that shared need for freedom and the constant search to find what we all want out of life. You really portray that on the record, and it’s super beautiful and so human.
It’s bittersweet. It’s a notion that’s almost a rebellion, but it’s also the fact that I have what I want. It’s a constant…well, I don’t know what it is. The idea of being a runaway. I think a lot of people feel that way.
Also, those were my favorite kinds of artists growing up. Fiona Apple’s records were a contradiction in themselves. Half of it was this, half of it was that. Joni Mitchell, too. I grew up listening to emo music, you know what I mean? I listened to Death Cab! I was one of those little girls, too. A lot of what I listened to was also about questioning things all the time. I’ve always had these questions, and I’ve always been drawn to artists who have the same ones. I think they’re never really answered, but they’re explored. Through that exploration, people don’t feel as alone.
You’re always rocking such cool outfits onstage. Do you have a style icon?
I have a couple! I love Penelope Tree. She’s kind of like the evil step-sister of Twiggy. I love Prince’s clothes; I’m a big fan of that type of flamboyant fashion. And of course David Bowie. It’s a nice combo. It’s slightly dark and playful, but also psychedelic and fun.
What kind of music do you listen to on the road?
I’m awful, because I used to really research music all the time. When I’m writing, I don’t listen to anything. Especially anyone who’s out and about right now, because I really don’t want to be influenced by it. That’s the funny part—I’ll be compared to, like, seven different people. I’m not comparable, because I’m doing my own thing. If you’re across the board like that, you’re doing your own thing. That’s exactly what I wanted to achieve with my music. While I wrote the album, I didn’t listen to any music. That’s kind of extreme, I guess, but that’s what I do. So now, I just rely on my friends making me cool mix tapes. I’m like, “Please help me get back in!” I love Temples, I love Tame Impala, I love Perfume Genius. Aside from that, I always go back to old favorites. Whenever I travel, I listen to Joni Mitchell. I think she was such a lost lady, and I feel her there. I’m all over the board. I’ll literally listen to a country song, and then it will be pop and then folk. I think you have to listen to what you want to listen to and not feel weird about it not being cool. I like so much cheesy music, and I like so much credible music. All that matters is how the music makes you feel.
It’s so weird to me. I understand there’s a scene that goes along with music. But you can’t say you like the song “Teenage Dream” because Katy Perry wrote it?! Guess what? I fucking love that song. You know what I mean? People get too worried about not sounding cool. At the end of the day, the people who are the coolest are the people who do themselves completely. They’re not worried about being embarrassed. You know what’s embarrassing? Thinking that something’s embarrassing! You’re not leading your own path and being true to you.
What three words would your friends use to describe you?
Honest, passionate, and wild.
Tell us a fact about yourself that most people don’t know.
I was stung by a Portuguese man o’ war when I was 15! I also don’t have any tattoos. I’m planning on getting some, but I feel like people always assume that other people have tattoos. I don’t. Oh, I also used to make people call me different names. I feel like I’ve had about six different names. My freshman year of high school, I asked people to call me “Willow.” I just decided one day that was my name! I love it so much. And in seventh grade, I told people to call me “Charlie,” which people said wasn’t a girl name. I was such a young girl, but now I’m friends with Charlie [XCX]! I feel like I was always sort of joking around saying, “Now you must call me Luna!” And people were like, “Okay, you’re Luna now!” In those times, that’s what I believed my true color was. Like when kids wore punk clothes and then grew up and became hipsters. You just kind of alter and with time, you change. I was such a weird little hippie kid, and then I got a little more dark and goth in high school. I think your emotional state dictates it, too. When you’re super happy, of course you’re going to be a little flower child. When you’re super sad, of course you’re going to be gothic and wonder what’s going on in the world…
If you could collaborate with a group of artists and make a big super-group, who would you choose?
That’s tough. I would have loved to work with Syd (Barrett) from Pink Floyd. Actually, let’s do an all ladies super-group: Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, and Carole King. And who else should we throw in there? Joanna Newsom! Susanne Sundfor, she’s a Norwegian artist. Who else for good measure? Okay this is an obnoxious super-group. It’s like too super of a lady super group.
Of course, I love boys. Boys are awesome but it’s kind of nice not to have boys around sometimes. I feel like gossipy mags focus on keeping women down, and I think we need to make [women] feel really good about themselves. I think that’s what we’re missing in society. Okay, I have one more: Meredith Monk, she’s from the ’80s. Oh, and we can throw Grace Slick in there? And Heart! Okay, that’s it—it’s officially done. There are too many ladies! Can you imagine? What if we got all of us together for a writing camp? Everyone could come together and write like one giant song, like “We Are The World.” But instead, it will be “We Are The Babes!” It would go: We are the babes, we write our music! It would be amazing. That’s my goal in life!