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Interview: Lenka Shines Bright On New Album “Intraspectral”

The earwormy “Ultraviolet” and “Champion” bill the project’s standout singles and encourage a carefree spirit.

Fifteen years into her career, Australian singer-songwriter Lenka remains in tip-top form on her new album, Intraspectral. The singer is a long way from her debut single “The Show”—which received a popular cover from Melanie Martinez while on “The Voice”—yet still knee-deep in whimsical pop on her seventh studio album.

“I love being in the studio and leaning into various vintage styles to create something new,” Lenka said in a statement. “I’m so proud of the way this album turned out. It’s very special to me, and I feel really connected to these songs.”

The project takes a big bite out of life, arriving as a taste tester of mood-lifting genres produced by Dave Jenkins Jr. The earwormy “Ultraviolet” and “Champion” bill the project’s standout singles and encourage a carefree, “have your cake and eat it, too” energy with distinct inspiration from decades-worth of indie-pop influence. 

Yes, Lenka bolsters an expansive resume of smaller EPs and masterful songwriting, but her start with acclaimed electronic-rock crossover band Decoder Ring gave her a crash course in proper artist development for her eventual solo major-label pop career with Epic Records (New York).

With hit songs such as “The Show,” “Everything At Once,” “Heart Skips A Beat,” “Don’t Let Me Fall” and “Blue Skies,” Lenka’s music has featured in movies such as Moneyball and Easy A, TV shows like Ugly Betty and Grey’s Anatomy, commercials for Microsoft and Coca-Cola, and Billy Crystal even sang her song at the 2012 Oscars. Additionally, it was recently the 15th anniversary of her hit song “The Show.”

Fifteen years into her career, and Australian singer-songwriter Lenka remains in tip-top form on her new album "Intraspectral."
Lenka (Courtesy Photo)

Earlier this month, Lenka and I chatted about her new record, Intraspectral, musical inspirations and favorite career moments. Read the full interview below.

Andres Fabris: Hi Lenka! How are you? What have you been up to lately? 

Lenka: Hey! I’ve just finished my Aussie tour and album promo, so I’m just chilling right now and spending some time with my kiddies.

AF: Let’s just jump right in. You got a new album out. Intraspectral—it’s your first album since your 2020 EPs Recover/Rediscover. Can I just say: Instraspectral is everything! I can hear decades-worth of indie-pop influences, and it’s super upbeat and energetic. Can you talk a bit about the inspiration and creative process behind Instraspectral? 

L: I think after the quiet covid years I was very ready to dance around and adventure a bit and wanted to make music to reflect that. Even though the theme of the record is quite inward-looking, the energy is mostly aimed outward, like an introvert/extrovert conundrum. We recorded this album over a few different sessions so there was plenty of time to listen back and finesse the moods we wanted to achieve. The vibe of the album actually came together slowly over time as I realized what I was trying to say, this idea of the spectrum within … 

AF: With Intraspectral, you have now released seven solo albums! We aren’t even including the EPs and standalone singles, either. Each album is hefty, too, and well past the standard ten tracks (and I can only imagine the hundreds of demos that didn’t make each cut.) What is a main/common inspiration for you while writing music? Do you get inspired on the road, with friends or family? Do you often get writer’s block? Talk to us about your writing process. 

L: Writing songs is a blessing and a curse I feel. Like, I have to do it, it’s a way to process emotions and it’s an absolute joy for me to create melodies and moods with song. But it’s also like a ball and chain sometimes, it won’t let me free and I make so much content that I then have to decide what to do with it. There’s a cycle my husband is well attuned to where I go through this pattern of depression – write songs – record songs – happiness – release songs – tour – depression, and the cycle starts again! 

Fifteen years into her career, and Australian singer-songwriter Lenka remains in tip-top form on her new album "Intraspectral."
Lenka (Courtesy Photo)
AF: Talk to me about “Ultraviolet.” It sounds like a whimsical acid trip anchored with a really uplifting message. It’s one of my favorite closing tracks ever. Typically, artists play it safe with a slower, maybe artistically generic finale track, but the party doesn’t stop for you. 

L: Funny you should say that and I have to give props to my producer Dave Jenkins Jr for this, as I wanted to put “The Entire Spectrum” last, which is very female and maternal. But he suggested swapping them and putting Ultraviolet last to bookend the theme and journey of the album and it was such a good call! I wrote Ultraviolet with Julian Hamilton, who is from the electro outfit The Presets. He is great with simple anthemic EDM type stuff that has an emotional core. I had this idea of the desire for living in the ultraviolet, dangerous, sublime… He helped me draw it out into a banger! It’s exactly how I’ve been feeling lately, the mood is perfect. 

AF: I know it’s hard to pick favorites, but off your new record Instraspectral, which track do you feel best reflects that project and which do you hope fans connect with? Also, is there one track in your discography that you keep on coming back to? 

L: Definitely Ultraviolet, also I love Cabin In the Woods and Silhouette. But yes of course, I love them all as my babies. 

AF: Of course, Intraspectral is your new baby, so it’s automatically your favorite. But if you could pick one record of yours, what would you recommend fans listen to after Intraspectral? Maybe something that still reflects you or stands the test of time. 

L: I’m very proud of the album Attune and feel the themes are still very on point for me in this time of my life. But I love it when fans connect with Shadows. I have a fan in China who makes a sign #justiceforshadows which I think is so funny and awesome. It’s a lullaby album and I’m also really really proud of that one too. 

AF: Changing gears, a little, I want to know a bit about your upbringing. What was the music scene like while growing up in Australia? Was there a specific point in your acting career where you realized that you wanted to pursue music full-time?  

L:I grew up with a jazz musician father and quite a bohemian family in a regional town. But I was more into dance and acting and pursued this professionally as a teenager. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I even thought about doing music for myself. At this point I started writing songs and searching for collaborators. It took another 7 years before my debut solo album came out! As for music in Australia, there was always this Aus-rock scene that was never my vibe. I was more into the pop ladies like Kylie Minogue, Bananarama, and of course Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, The Bangles.  

Fifteen years into her career, and Australian singer-songwriter Lenka remains in tip-top form on her new album "Intraspectral."
Lenka for Intraspectral (Courtesy Photo)

L: One of my favourite placements was for “Trouble Is A Friend” in the movie “Easy A.” It plays when Emma Stone gets in trouble and has to go to the principles office… 

AF: When starting your solo career, were there any musical inspirations you wanted to emulate? Now, in 2023, have they changed? 

L: I was very keen on Bjork and all her creativity. That has changed a bit, I think I became less weird when I was thrown into the deep end of being signed to a major label in America. (Epic records). My sound and visual identity because more mainstream for a while there. I’ve always like to walk the line between being more artistically challenging but still super accessible and kinda “all ages”. 

AF: Reflecting on your solo journey since releasing “The Show” in 2008, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself? 

Don’t waste any time, keep working hard and collaborating while you have the energy and passion for it. Have confidence in your creative ideas. If you feel something, then undoubtedly other people feel it too and will relate… 

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