Having co-written summer staple “Fancy” with Iggy Azalea, dancefloor queen Charli XCX (née Charlotte Aitchison) is now gearing up for the release of her sophomore album, Sucker. The 22-year-old Brit has just launched a new video for one of the album’s lead singles, “Break The Rules”, which sees her dancing on top of a hijacked school bus – a pastiche of a photograph by David LaChapelle that lingered in her mind. Aitchison described her new LP on Twitter as “raw, pink and sexy.” Add “sugary and dark” to the equation and you get the formula for Queen XCX’s own brand of rave-tinged electropop, which nowadays is informed by the likes of PC Music. The experimental London label’s signee Hannah Diamond – whose breakout track “Pink and Blue” is a robotic, shiny, hyperrealistic nursery rhyme – caught Aitchison’s attention last winter, when the two swapped a few tweets. In what might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, we asked Diamond to interview Aitchison for the Mean Girls issue.
Hannah Diamond: So you’re out in San Francisco at the moment?
Charli XCX: Yeah, I’m out here doing promo and stuff, and then I’m off to Sacramento.
H: And you’re coming over to London on October 30 for a show, right?
C: Yeah, I’m doing a show at Heaven. It’s going to be really cool. I feel quite nervous about it because I haven’t done many shows in the UK, so it’s the place I kind of always freak out about. But in a good way, I guess.
H: Everyone’s gonna be so pumped for it. It’s happening just ten days after your new album comes out!
C: Yeah, and it’s the day before Halloween as well, which is like my favourite holiday! I’m really excited for this show and maybe me and my band will dress up as The Addams Family
H: You’ve just released a new video, too…
C: Yeah, it’s called “Break The Rules”. I filmed the video in LA; it’s inspired by my favourite movies,Jawbreaker and Carrie, and this photo of Marilyn Manson in front of a school bus by David LaChapelle, which is like my favourite photograph of all time. It’s the best video I’ve ever done.
H: I love how you always stay connected with your fans online; you always message them back and answer their questions. Is that something that’s really important to you?
C: Yeah, I feel very much like I’m an artist borne out of the internet and fans interacting with each other, so if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am now. It’s nice to be able to give something back to them.
H: What has been the most supportive and important social network that helped you get your music known?
C: I think it was probably a combination of Tumblr and Twitter. Tumblr is where a lot of my hardcore fans are. Those are the people who really understand everything about me. I see my Tumblr as the inside of my brain, like that’s what I put on there. I feel like a lot of my younger fans are on Twitter and that’s where they connect with me the most.
H: I always see people messaging you calling you their queen.
C: Yeah, I always have people tweeting me saying “Slay queen, slay.” I don’t know why, but it always makes me laugh. It’s funny, I always get some crazy shit on Twitter, like sexually graphic fan tweets. I always screengrab them, they make me laugh so much. It will be like, “Slap me with a brick until I’m dead and fuck my unconscious body, Queen,” and it’ll be from someone with a name like @SelenaGomezFan97!
H: At what point did you realise that things were starting to get crazy with music stuff?
C: I think it was the beginning of this year. I went through a phase, to be honest I was really close to… “giving up” isn’t the right word, but I began to really not care anymore and I was finding it really difficult to make pop music. After the song “I Love It”, I began seeing a strange side to the music industry that I didn’t know existed before, and I was at a point where I was feeling uncreative. But then after I wrote “Fancy” in January, things started going a bit crazy. I went to stay with a friend in Sweden and basically sat in the dark and made a punk record, all these two minute songs… so when I wrote “Fancy”, I felt like I got all my aggression out and I could write pop music again.
H: Do you have any advice for me starting out in the music industry?
C: I feel like you, as an artist, have it going so right. One thing I wish people had told me at the beginning of my career, is to totally stick to my own ideas and vision and be myself. I feel like it was difficult for me because when I signed my record deal I had just turned 16, and everything was so confusing for me. I think that’s definitely the best advice.
H: Let’s finish this with a quick-fire round… Favourite phone app?
C: Iggy [Azalea] showed me a great one called Drake Shake. You take a photo and shake it and Drake appears.
H: Favourite person you follow on Twitter?
C: Yung Sherman from Sad Boys.
H: What couldn’t you live without?
C: My best friend Twiggy – she’s my oldest friend and she doesn’t give a shit about my music career, which is the coolest thing.
H: Has a really unexpected fan ever got in touch with you?
C: Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe hit me up and was like, “Hey, I love your music, can I come to your show?” and he came to my show in LA.
H: What’s your favourite thing to do to chill out?
C: Watch movies, music videos and stuff. Right now, I keep watching Arrested Development.
Multi-coloured cotton motocross print dress by MARC by Marc Jacobs
Photographer Frederik Heyman
Fashion Editor Louby McLoughlin
Interview Hannah Diamond
Hair Sam Burnett
Make Up Sonia Bhogal
Manicurist Ami Streets at LMC Worldwide using Chanel A/W 2014 and Body Excellence Hand Cream
Photography assistance Dieter Deswarte
Fashion assistance Georgina Thomas and Charlotte Spice