seven minutes with charli xcx
SOPHIE, sweat and Justin Bieber’s aftershave with the Boom Clap singer.
Charli's 'Angels' have it pretty hard. Her army of dedicated fans have had to endure years of hard graft while their queen bee worked it to the top. It's taken her the better part of a decade to go from teen party bopper rocking squalid squat parties to legit pop star who hangs with Katy Perry. Then, finally, fame and success came dressed as a leopard print, lollipop licking glamazon on the cover of Charli's second record, Sucker, the album that helped propel the Bishops Stortford singer from successful songwriter to star in her own right. It got her Billboard awards and world tours, won her rave reviews from Rolling Stone, it perched her firmly on the cusp of global pop superstardom. So what does she go and do? Threaten to sack it all in.
We're sure the BeyHive, the Swifties and the Katy Cats don't have to put up with this shit. When's the last time Taylor threatened a pop star identity crisis? Fortunately, with a third album currently being put together, it looks like Charli isn't ready to hand in her notice just yet. Waiting in the wings for Charli after she tears up the mainstage at last weekend's Wireless festival, we grilled her on what's next for the ever-evolving singer…
So you've just played Wireless. How was that?
It was all right; the crowd were a little slow. They weren't that up for it to be honest. They did get going and that was nice, I like to win people over.
How do you win someone over if they're facing the other way or checking their WhatsApp?
Oh, I just stare them out. Or flash my pants.
The critical reception to Sucker has been massive, how did your 'angels' respond?
They've all been so sweet. I definitely feel like I took a risk with this record in the sense that it's so different from my first album. It's a lot more pop, a lot more guitar led. It was cool that they supported me and trusted me and got into it despite it being so different. That was really amazing. I'm always going to be someone who takes risks and changes my aesthetic completely. I'm glad that they're down for that, they're very sweet, and they send me my Justin Bieber perfume.
It's so good. It's very sugary; it's like wearing sugar. It's called Some Day, which is quite cocky. Like, 'some day' it'll happen. I'm so into Bieber at the moment, I feel like he's on this super emotional tip right now, and I love it. The music I've heard is so real. I'm such a Bieber fan; Baby is one of my favourite tracks of all time.
Would you record with Biebs?
I don't know. I'd love to write with him, I'd do a really emotional club song. I think he's going to have an Usher Climax moment; maybe even that Jack Ü [Skrillex and Diplo ft Justin Bieber - Where are Ü Now] song is that. I think that could be a real vibe for him.
Who else are you loving right now?
All of PC Music. I'm really into the new Tame Impala songs, I've also been listening to Prince a lot at the moment.
You're about to go on tour with Jack Antanoff's band Bleachers; what's the best thing about him?
He's a massive weirdo and I love him. Jack's great. We're going to do pedicure Monday's, Mani-Mondays. We're going to do a squash tournament; it's going to be great.
That all sounds very wholesome…
I think it does on the surface, but it's also their last tour of this record, it's their going-out-with-a-bang kind of tour, so I reckon they're ready to party.
So manicure Mondays and destruction Friday's?
Destruction every other day of the week, yep that sounds about right.
What do you take on tour?
My Bieber perfume, obvs. As many bottles as I can get my hands on. A good pair of platforms, my friends - I took my best ever friend Twiggy on my last tour - shout out Twiggy, she's a legend. She came and sold merch, which was funny. I like bringing friends along and having a lol. And then, pop tarts, vodka…
Apparently vodka is really good for getting the smell out of clothes?
It is! We use it on our stage outfits, it kills the bacteria and that's what makes sweat linger. You spray it, hang it up and it dries. Try It. And then to drink; vodka and cranberry. That's such a basic drink isn't it?
Who else will be there?
I have an all girl band and it's always really fun hanging out with them, I feel like we're in Josie and the Pussycats when we tour. That's a nice feeling. They're great musicians.
Have you had any time to work on new music?
Yes! It's going really well. I've been working with SOPHIE on a few things, he's incredibly talented. We did a little trip to LA together to hang out and do some writing; I'm really excited about. It's just ideas at the moment, but hopefully people will hear stuff next year.
Does that mean it's going to be a party record?
It's going to be so different from the last album. It's going to be the most pop thing, and the most electronic thing I've done. I started working in that way quite naturally, it just happened. This always happens, the second I put out the previous record I'm always over it.
Are you over Sucker now?
Oh I've been over it since we released it. But it's fine, I'm not like, 'Oh God I hate this', but I always want to move on to the next thing, I want to continue creating. I always question whether I should stop being an artist and just be a songwriter because I can never be bothered to do the promotion and all the stuff I'm meant to do, which is very anti-productive and makes everyone very mad at me…
How many interviews do you have to do today?
A lot. Yours has been really good by the way.
THANKS. How important is partying as an inspiration to your music?
It's important. I think it's inspiring, especially with this next record. People always dismiss it but it's such a big part of everyone's life. I think the best things happen when you're out; the most traumatic things and the best stories.
What's the best party you've ever been too?
To be honest, it was probably when I was sixteen and I went to a rave for the first time at the peanut factory in Hackney. I'm from Hertfordshire and nothing happens there so it really blew my mind. There were loads of people dressed as zebras. That was probably the best party ever because it was so alien to me. I remember being like, 'I'm in Skins!'
Have you worked out the best hangover cure yet?
Oh mine are terrible, I just have to vomit all day and stay in a dark room. Then at about 9pm I emerge, eat a pizza and then I'm fine. I can do sushi, sushi's actually good on a hangover. Avocado rolls though, not fish.
Sucker is out now
Text Shannon Mahanty