While the pandemic derailed tours and scrapped recording plans for many musicians, there’s one performer that actually found a freeing feeling in the midst of this past year – Australian pop wonder Lenka Kripac, better known mononymously as the purveyor of hits like “The Show” and “Everything at Once.” Kripac is the matriarch of a busy Australian home; between crafting with her children and jamming on her ukelele, she somehow managed to release twin EPs Discover (six original songs) and Recover (six covers of classics ranging from Pat Benatar to Bob Dylan). She also put together a video for follow-up single “Ivory Tower” via DIY means. “I shot the footage of myself on an iPhone in my five-year-old’s bedroom. The effect of the lockdown on creating content with whatever resources you have at home was actually quite liberating,” she tells Audiofemme.
She sent her DIY footage to her old pal Mitch Hertz to achieve the lo-fi animation style she wanted. “We were going for an aesthetic somewhere between ’80s video art and Monty Python-like animations,” Lenka explains. “I had attempted to create a collage of the photocopied buildings myself first, but when I realized it was beyond me, I asked him to create that kind of thing for me. He went way further and made this whole revolving world.”
With lyrics like “I know your heart is torn, I know you see the difficulty/Do you save yourself?/Or do you like humanity?” the song is her attempt to get inside the heads of powerful capitalists hellbent on profit above all else. “It is a message to the evil, greedy types at the top of the heap,” she explains. “Like, surely they see that the choices they make are bad for humanity as a whole. Do they hate humans except for their fellow white rich? I assume they must feel some entitlement to protecting their own kind, otherwise I just can’t understand it.”
Since her earliest forays into music as a member of electronic rock band Decoder Ring, Lenka has recognized the value of collaborating; she recently released a cover of Future Islands’ “Seasons” re-envisioned with the help of Cleopold and Animal Feelings. “Doing it all alone is not fun for me. I like a bit of that but I also really love to do the whole process with others, from writing to production to touring,” she reveals.
As a young actress, Lenka had an a-ha! moment while performing in a play in her early twenties. “My character sang a song and each night I was inundated with people after the show saying I should be doing more singing. So, that was the shift, realizing that I could just work on my music at my own pace,” Lenka reminisces.
From that moment, she went into the music industry as a performer, music writer, and even started a label, Skipalong Records, to self-release her work. She might add “mentor” to her long resume, but for now she is all about releasing music as it comes to her. “The pandemic and lockdown changed perspective for myself and a lot of creatives I think,” she says. “I no longer feel like I need to make an entire record before releasing something out into the world. It’s the benefit of the whole streaming and playlists phenomenon. I’m happy to just go one track at a time!”