The Swedish pop and trap artist rose to fame and controversy with her debut single ‘Smoke Weed Eat Pussy’ in 2017. Her album ‘Suicidal Since 1995’ was released last month, and written as an “open diary” to detail her early life and struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, family break-ups, suicidal thoughts, drugs, depression, and living as a bisexual in a “small-minded town”.
We caught up with Ängie while she was waiting in her new apartment for her producer to return to finish work on new material, with a view to dropping something in the summer. The singer-songwriter discusses finding hope through dark times, giving light to others, and what the future holds.
How did you found the world’s reaction to the last album, considering how open and confessional it was?
“People love it, which makes me really happy. Some people have written to me to say that they really found strength through the album. It’s nice to have people who can make sense of it when they feel bad.”
Was it hard to put yourself out there in such an extreme way?
“No, I’ve always been quite open about being sad all the time. It’s not a big deal for me anymore, because that’s how I empower other people – just by telling them that everything is fucked up and it’s OK to feel fucked up. There’s not a person on this planet who feels great all the time.
“I get a lot of messages from people about their suicidal thoughts. I feel like I’m helping a lot of people to accept themselves and get better.”
I interviewed Tove Lo last year, and she said that she was singing about drugs, sexuality, her feelings and her freedom in the same way that an artist like The Weeknd was – but people would talk about him like some kind of tortured artist and genius, but then react respond completely different when a female artist did it. Have you found a similar reaction?
“Yeah, I think it’s really weird that they put men in the spotlight for doing the same things we do. It’s really fucked up that they can get more acceptance just because they’re men. It’s weird that they still has to be like that. It feels like it’s not going to change. I’m just tired of men getting all the credit.”
Has it helped you to put these thoughts into music and share them?
“Yes. Every time I get a song out there it feels like a relief. I feel really bad when I don’t write a song about these things. I get super upset, sad or feel really bad. I have to write about these things or it just builds up and gets worse.”
What advice with you give to people in terms of coping with these feelings?
“Find some kind of hobby and stress relief. When I feel bad, I like to paint or write something about why I feel bad. Or just cry and talk about it with someone. As soon as I get it out, I feel better. If you bottle it up, then you just feel hateful. You really have to talk about real shit with people, rather than just gossip and stuff. You’d be surprised how much deeper stuff you have in common.”
So your first record was very much a snapshot of your early years?
“Yeah, it’s all from my teenage years and really weird happenings.”
And what do you find yourself writing about now?
“Still the same things, but a bit more real, I think. It’s not like I’m saying ‘do drugs, kids’ – because I don’t want the kids to do drugs. It’s more about ‘why’. It’s also not really the same sound as the first record.”
You said that you wanted the first album to have a very sweet pop formula to go with a very hard and painful message. Are you doing for the same kind of formula this time?
“I think so, but larger. I’ll be touching on more edgy subjects. I’m thinking about calling the album ‘Life Is Disgusting’. I will still sing about drugs but maybe with a different angle. I used to do a lot of drugs but no any more, because they’re not good for you! I like to sing about things that have happened in the past, and people seem to think it’s where I’m at now. But I don’t want to be a fuck up any more.”
It’s a pretty surreal, fucked up time in the world in general. What else has been inspiring you on your new album?
“I’m going to be singing a lot more about my mental health. I had a friend who passed away so I have a song about that and coping with that. I have a song in which I’m singing ‘I am your whore’ – I’m interested to see how people react to that.”
Sexuality is still far too taboo for some…
“Yeah. I was voted most controversial star of 2016 for singing ‘smoke weed, eat pussy’. That’s really weird. Men do it all the time, but here I am with pink hair and somehow I’m the most controversial pop star of the year. It’s weird, but I’ll just keep doing it until people realise that it’s not that unusual.”
FOR HELP AND ADVICE ON MENTAL HEALTH:
- ‘Am I depressed?’ – Help and advice on mental health and what to do next
- YOUNG MINDS – The voice for young people’s health and wellbeing
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably for young men
- Time To Change – Let’s end mental health discrimination
- The Samaritans – Confidential support 24 hours a day