Lorde offered a full breakdown of her long-awaited new single, “Solar Power,” during an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music One Friday, June 11th.
The track, Lorde said, was borne during a summer on Martha’s Vineyard, when she came back from a long day of swimming and began playing around with a Yamaha DX keyboard. She said the melody reminded her of Robby Williams’ song “Rock DJ,” and when she later took the song’s skeleton to producer Jack Antonoff, she set about capturing a distinct summer vibe.
“We had all the windows open. It was summer. And then we just followed it through,” Lorde said. “I sampled cicadas on my phone for the last few summers. I was like, it has to have the cicadas in it. I really wanted to capture [that] there’s something so specific about the New Zealand summer.”
Along with the Robby Williams nod, Lorde cited Primal Scream’s “Loaded” as a major influence on the track. While Lorde said she arrived at the melody organically, she cited the 1990 Madchester classic as “100% the original blueprint for this,” and said Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie even offered his approval.
“I wrote the song on the piano and then we realized like, this is, it sounds a lot like ‘Loaded,’” Lorde said. “It’s just one of those crazy things that like, they just were the spiritual forebears of the song. I reached out to Bobby and he was so lovely about it. And he was like, you know, these things happen. You caught a vibe that we caught years ago. And he gave us his blessing.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Lorde spoke about inviting Phoebe Bridgers and Clairo to provide backing vocals on the song, marking the first time she’s had other vocalists sing on one of her songs. “I just knew it had to be a gang,” she said, adding, “the sentiments were not just mine alone to deliver. So yeah, it really it’s everything I hoped it would be in terms of having other people on it. It’s fun not to be alone. Finally.”
And Lorde offered a bit of a teaser for her forthcoming album, saying it, too, was inspired by both a steady process of rejuvenation and New Zealand summers. “I think people realize that about me now, I’m one who has to go away and figure it out and I’ll be back and I’ll bring you a full universe when I come back, but it takes me a minute,” she said. “And I feel like you can hear that in the work and the whole album. When we do sit down and talk about it, it just felt light and casual and playful, and that’s the zone that I’m in.”