Behind The Song: “When We’re High” by LP

LP, the operatic singing, keen-eyed songwriter who is known for epic songs like “Lost On You” and “When We’re High” isn’t afraid to curse. She’s not afraid to lust or show off fantasies, either. She’s confident in herself and in her vast abilities. From hiding her eyes underneath her curly coif to singing three-octave range while strumming a ukulele.

This bravado, perhaps, is made most evident in the song and accompanying music video for “When We’re High,” a sultry, slightly depraved song about tumbling into a lover and becoming a mess of arms and legs while enjoying the effects of, say, a little Mary Jane. It’s just another Tuesday night for LP and friends.

We caught up with LP to talk about many things, including the origins of both the hot-under-the-collar song and music video. Here, she tells us about the worlds she creates and the urge to stay in them forever. Her new forthcoming album, Churches, is out December 3.

American Songwriter: “When We’re High” is such an amazing song. I just love it.

LP: Thank you!

AS: From the bravado in the video to the Spanish guitar to your operatic singing, swagger, and the Jimi Hendrix lines, How did you feel as you were writing it and how do you feel when you sing it now?

LP: Oh, I love it. It’s one of my favorite songs. What I love about it is that, first of all, for some reason, that’s one of the ones where it’s not at all hard to sing. It may seem like with the opera part—I don’t know if it seems hard to sing, but I feel like there’s something about it where a lot of my songs, they’re as hard as they seem. But this one for some reason feels very easy.

Sometimes we even begin shows with that song, probably because it gets everybody loose. I remember we wrote it in a bunker in Paris in between— like, during the tour. Then we finished it at home. But it was just like—the whole “Oh-my-my, kiss the sky” thing, that was just like one of those like a lot of songs where I just started doing that melody. And I don’t know, it just worked its way in. It was very —it was very easy and I just love the groove of it.

AS: What was the music video like to make? It looks fun.

LP: It was super fun!

AS: Did you shoot it in New York City?

LP: That was in L.A. I think it was at this restaurant that was in West Hollywood or something like that. Or Beverly Hills. But yeah, we used the restaurant part of it. And I think the Standard Hotel for part of it, too.

AS: I love the elevator moment in the video where you’re looking away from the woman all super cool, coy, and confident!

LP: Yeah, I mean, you know, I try to give those fantasy moments for people to be like, “I can’t believe this is happening right now.” Especially being, you know, a gay person, or whatever. You’re always seeing those things with, you know—I’m just serving up what men have been doing forever— there’s no, like, “Oh what? Me? A bunch of women?”

Yeah, sure. That’s what it is, you know? What do you want? It’s like some James Bond shit. Like, “Fuck it!” It’s fun fantasy. And it’s meant to be cute. My girlfriend at the time, we were having fun with it. I try to always— even now with the new videos I release—I just try to create a world where you want to live in it. Sometimes I want to live in it forever.

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