Categories: Arts Music Pop

Talkin’ sex, tattoos with Tove Lo

From her Stockholm home, Swedish singer Tove Lo – a longtime member of Max Martin’s elite Wolf Cousins songwriting collective – is watching the new Trump-regime war on American women with growing unease and befuddlement. “I can’t believe that so many people think that this is what society should be like. Growing up in Sweden, you were able to say and do whatever you want, the same as men,” says the electro-pop singer, whose sophomore disc is “Lady Wood” (a moniker for a female erection). On its cover, the Os in her name are replaced with a vagina logo, which is tattooed on her arm, and also appears on coats her band members wear. “We call them VaJackets,” she says.

It’s just creepy, the insidious ways that Republicans here are attacking women’s rights.

Yeah. And just that feeling of knowing that the most basic things, like being in charge of my own body, and being in charge of my own sexuality, that that’s all of a sudden not going to be OK anymore? I can’t understand how that’s going to happen and take place. I’m just…just out of words.

Obviously, you’re pro-choice.

Yeah. Definitely. But whenever you talk about abortion, people take up these views, like, “OK, what if you were in this horrible situation where you were raped?” And I’m like, “You know what? Yes. But it doesn’t even matter. It’s her body and she chooses what she wants to do with it. So no matter if the reason for the pregnancy is horrible, or it’s an accident, it’s still her choice.” That’s the way it is over here.

Sweden is much more progressive, right?

We have free clinics where you can go and get the care that you need, without having to be rich or having to do it in secret somewhere. And we learn about sex from an early age, so there’s an open discussion about the fact that women should be as sexually free as men, and there’s no making it something shameful or ignoring it. I have three vibrator stores really close to where I live. I live in a really progressive area.

You’re also not afraid to discuss masturbation, in songs, videos, even the term “Lady Wood.”

Yes. And Madonna, it was quite a while ago that she masturbated onstage. She’s done all these things that, for me, as a woman in pop, were really important. Like saying, “Hey, I’m a sexual being, and that’s f—- awesome!” And it feels better to be in tune with your own body. When you’re masturbating, it relieves stress, makes you sleep better, makes you happy, and you’re hurting no one. How can that be something bad?

Tove Lo
Where: Fox, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 8
Tickets: $35

Tom Lanham
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Tom Lanham

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