20 Questions: Yung Lean
Swedish rapper Yung Lean has matured artistically since the divisive sad boy aesthetic went viral back in 2013.
If you want to listen to Yung Lean’s most honest and emotive work to date, you can listen to his latest album Stranger. If you want to read a conversation with him about haunted hotels, acid trips and meatball recipes, then please read below.
Favourite member of Slipknot?
What was the first record you truly fell in love with?
Dookie by Green Day.
Last movie that you watched on a plane?
What was the name of your first musical project?
I had a band in fourth grade. We called ourselves The Ice Cubes.
And what was the vibe with The Ice Cubes?
It was very embarrassing. We had one hit which was called Södermalm, which was the area where we grew up. And, it was basically about very middle school activities, like skipping school. I kind of jumped off the band right before we were the opening act at a show in IKEA for this rapper called Adam Tensta, who was kind of big at the time. We were all like 11, 12-year-olds. It was weird.
What’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in?
I remember one in Dallas that was haunted. Yung Sherman was on the fourth floor, and he read on the internet that someone was killed there in the 60s or something. Someone knocked on his door so he came and slept in the same bed as me. We met this, like, old hotel lobbyist and asked him if he was a ghost and he just said in this really bored and scary voice, “The question is, am I real or not?” and then he vanished. We looked for him. There was no way or him to escape that quickly.
“What advice would I give to myself ten years ago? Don't become a rapper”
What’s your signature recipe?
I’m very good at making homemade meatballs with feta cheese inside and mashed potatoes and like a super nice gravy and pickled cucumbers.
Do you make the meatballs from scratch or do you buy them readymade?
I make everything from scratch. I buy the meat and then I roll the meatballs and I make it with egg-yolk, pepper and red onions. And then you slather them in butter.
Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met?
Charlie Sheen. I was in LA doing a Calvin Klein thing. I was standing outside and I asked him for a cigarette. He pulls out this little bottle out of his jacket and he says, ‘Hey, do you wanna? Boozin’ at work?’ I was just about to go in and take photographs, so I said, ‘Hey, Charlie, how about you and me go on a bender sometime?’ and he said, ‘That’s my boy, that’s my boy,’ and then his manager comes out. I’m like ‘What’s Charlie doing here?’ And she’s like, ‘Oh, probably his worst film yet, it’s called 9/11’.
And have you ever taken acid?
Yes I have.
Did you enjoy it?
I’ve had good times on acid, I’ve had bad times on acid as well. Once, in Canada, I thought that I could like choose my own voice. It was like a jukebox in my head with different buttons. One was like a barber’s voice, one was like a policeman’s, one was like a bus driver’s. I chose the barber man’s voice.
Sounds like some good gear.
Do you have any regrettable tattoos?
Maybe I will regret them in a couple of years. But right now I’m still young and dumb.
What’s the best song to walk on stage to?
I’d love to walk onstage to The Final Countdown by Europe.
What’s your favourite emoji?
Probably the one that blows out smoke, the smoky face.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
One summer I worked for an outdoor swimming pool in the countryside of Sweden. I sold swimwear and towels, and then I would have to clean the saunas, the changing rooms and all the toilets. One year there were these sad Danish women who would to stay at the end when it was already closed. I had to get them out. They were always naked and laughing when I came into the room.
Who’s your favourite person to follow on Instagram?
I’m not really on there too much. I have an account and I upload photos but I don’t really watch other people.
If you could give a piece of advice to yourself ten years ago, what would it be?
Don’t become a rapper.
What would you like written on your tombstone?
That’s kind of a serious one. You got real.
I always end this with a death question.
Okay, I’ll just have a quote from The Final Countdown.
Stranger is out now via YEAR0001