In the latest edition of Music Week, Lana Del Rey and her team talk us through her incredible new album Chemtrails Over The Country Club. The record has made a huge splash in the UK charts so far, currently sitting at No.1 on the midweeks with 37,515 sales.
Also discussed are some of the more challenging times Lana and her managers Ben Mawson and Ed Millett of Tap Music have weathered together. In 2020, Lana answered MW’s question about the biggest challenge she’d faced with just three letters: SNL – her 2012 Saturday Night Live performance, which (unfairly) attracted barbed reviews. In our new interview Lana sheds more light on the aftermath of it.
“Ed was with me that night and was a calm, reassuring force as usual, though in the moment we didn’t really know what was to come...” Lana reflected. “Ben’s hilarious. It’s his absolute strong point; in the midst of a calamity he’ll be on the bow of the ship with a beer in his hand, laughing. So, he kept me laughing and I sensed from when he told me that there was nothing to worry about that we could get through it. Although I’m sometimes defensive of my position or reputation, I do my best not to take things too seriously, I just really don’t like people who try to tear folks down.”
“Without wanting to sound bitter or defensive, it’s a simple fact that she’s had a lot of very unfair press,” suggested Ben Mawson. “We’ve been working with her for 10/11 years now, and some years are better than others. But obviously the start was brutal. She was accused of being some kind of fraud. Really she was a revolutionary.”
Lana also reflected on how she has played the long game with her career.
“I know for myself it took years of walking into the same [kind of] labels I’m signed to now to have a chance to be understood as a person telling a story rather than a trend,” said Lana. “I fought very hard for that and I’m so glad I did. People may get caught up now and then in the fact that I have a strong look or presentation, but at the end of the day what’s important to me is the fact that I’ve been able to tell my life’s stories, dreams and encounters for over a decade, and that in itself is a triumph.”
Tap Music’s Ben Mawson and Ed Millett were quick to praise the unique way she has approached being an artist.
“We don’t count on hits,” said Mawson. “Whilst being a superstar, Lana’s not conforming to anything in terms of modern pop. She wasn’t even when she first came out. Video Games didn’t have any drums and it was a big global hit when, at the time, everything was – and still is – dominated by beats. She’s done her own sweet thing musically since the start and it connects.”
“Her path has been a lesson that you don’t always have to take the most commercial decisions,” added Millett. “Just pick the most authentic ones and you’ll still be there a decade in. If your artist has conviction in what they’re making, then you can trust that. At the beginning of your career when you’re getting given all these opportunities, it’s like, ‘You gotta do this interview – if you don’t do it, then you haven’t ticked that box!’ Lana did it to a point, but there was so much that wasn’t right for her. And over time, you learn your life and career aren’t necessarily defined by the opportunities that are presented to you.”
“Often they’re presented as, ‘You’ve got to do this!’ but the beauty is nothing hangs on one particular yes or no,” continued Mawson. "The thing as a manager that you can be most grateful for is an artist that knows what they want. The worst thing would be them coming to you and saying, ‘What should I do? What should my next song be?’”
Ed Millet also suggested that Chemtrails is far from the only activity we can expect from Lana this year.
“She’s already got two albums in mind, I think,” says Millett. “And there’s the other poetry book still to come. She's always been super-prolific.”
Indeed, earlier this week, Lana confirmed the release of another new album, Rock Candy Sweet, stating that the LP will arrive on June 1.
Just as exciting, given that Tap oversaw Dua Lipa’s record-breaking Studio2054 livestream, is their answer to Music Week’s question about the potential for Lana to dip a toe into that world, too...
“She’s got her own plan for something,” hinted Millett. “I’m not going to say what it is, but she’s had it for years, and it might actually now [be] something we could pull off.”
In an unread extract of our cover feature interview, Ben Mawson also pointed to another area he thinks Lana could continue to explore.
“There’s more to be done with film maybe," he said. "Certainly [with] soundtracks. She might like to do acting. She could definitely do that."
Watch this space.
Subscribers can read the full Lana Del Rey cover feature here.
Photo: Cody Osbourne