allie x is our sweet-sounding candy crush
Ahead of her first ever London show at Birthdays tomorrow, let your mind spin with the LA singer and visual artist.
"I live in Hollywood. It's always sunny, glamorous with a bit of a dark undertone, and still rather surreal to me…" says Toronto-born Allie X of her adopted home. "I can't stay there for too long, but I love coming back to it." Rather than daydreaming of her future life as a pop star, the singer spent her teenage years just trying to get through each passing month. But having made it through the trials and tribulations of becoming a real person, she moved to LA to pursue music and soon found herself writing extensively with the likes of Troye Sivan while developing her own material.
Set to the sound of her sugar sweet pop, Allie illustrates her world with a series of spinning GIFs, an aesthetic that continues into her brilliant music videos. Her view of Hollywood seems almost reflected in project X; her sleek Morticia Addams hair, red lips and playful stage presence offset by the mystery of keeping her eyes, and possibly secrets, hidden at all times. "Sunglasses are symbolic of the anonymity of becoming 'X'" she explains. "A certain protection... eyes reveal a lot." As Allie prepares for the release of CollXtion II this spring, read on and be Xtremely Xcited.
Do you write with a certain type of listener in mind?
I write for the people who, for whatever reason, find themselves confused about life and are looking for a fixture to follow. The fixture being X of course, not me. There is something liberating about recognising the sadness, conflict and ridiculousness of being alive, and realising that you can really create your own 'Xperience' while you are here on planet earth. I have a lot of young fans, and a lot of LGBT fans. After meeting and hugging so many of them, I often picture them when I write now, and I try to send my support. All that said, anyone can listen to music and take anything they like from it.
Talk us through the your awesome spinning visuals; how they started and why they continued…
When I was a child I used to spin around till the room became totally blurry. I would then fall to the ground and close my eyes. It was a feeling I loved, this suspended sense of stillness as the world turned around me. The feeling would never last too long though and soon I would have to get up. Anyway, when I was putting together the songs I had written for the Allie X project and trying to make sense of them all, I kept picturing myself doing the spins. I started to think of that feeling as 'Feeling X'; an almost indescribable emptiness in the pit of my stomach that brought me joy and wonder. I realised I had been spinning my whole life; winding myself up, to make the world turn as I wanted it to, even if it was only for a moment.
How do you think being from Toronto has affected you musically?
I grew up in the indie rock / experimental electronic scene in Toronto. I think it gave me a sense of freedom about how 'weird' I was allowed to be. That said, my music never fit in with my friends' music there. It was maybe ironically cool because it was pop, and people liked watching me on stage, but I don't think anyone really knew what to make of me.
How're you feeling about your first London show?
I'm feeling Xcited! I can't wait to meet my fans out here and see their faces.
If you could befriend anybody, real or fictional, who would you pick and why?
I think I would pick my grandfather whom I never met. He's English actually.
What's the last book you read?
I think it was The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison. I have put so much time into work during the last year, I am ashamed to admit I have read much less then at other times in my life.
What have you learnt recently?
I have learnt that I am more of a woman then I thought.
Favourite X word?
'Xtreme' is one I relate to very much
Which new music speaks to you the most?
I've been listening to Flume, Nicola Cruz and The Internet.
What's the best advice you've ever received and who was it from?
"If you knew you would eventually succeed, how would you do things differently now?" Martin Kierszenbaum said that to me.
You've said that your music doesn't sound like how it looks in your head… what did you mean by that?
I suppose it means that the full picture isn't complete without visuals to juxtapose some of the sugary sweetness of the music. That said, many songs in CollXtion II have more depth of colour to me, than the songs in CollXtion I. Or maybe I'm just seeing things differently now.
What Old Habits do you have?
Self-destructive patterns of thought and behaviour… I try and not let them get the better of me, but sometimes they get the best of me.
Did we see you on the pages of Playboy?!
Yes. Even though their mandate has changed, I thought it was funny that I was in a Playboy magazine. I've always been the weird girl that no one thought of as sexy, so if I had told my teenage self I would one day be in Playboy, I think I wouldn't have believed it.
What're your hopes for 2016?
Reaching a wider audience, releasing music X's will love, and a bigger production budget to make the visions I have in my head come to fruition $.
X marks the…
Allie X will play Birthdays on Tuesday 5th April.