We climb aboard Allie X’s non-stop, straight-to-the-top rocket to learn a bit more about one of pop’s finest hopes for 2016.
Having well and truly captured the attention of the US and Canada, Toronto-based Allie X is now launching in the UK. This is eXtremely good news, as, firstly, Allie X is one of the pop world’s most electrifying and promising talents for 2016, and secondly, it’s about bloody time we got in on the action.
Since blasting out into the world with the perfectly crafted, glimmering ‘Catch’ at the end of 2014, Allie X has been making serious waves internationally. Even Katy Perry was sharing her “obsession” with ‘Catch’ over on Twitter, hailing it her “spring jam” to her 50+ million followers. She then spent the remaining part of 2014 and 2015 solidifying her extremely-good-pop-star-in-waiting reputation, and importantly, adding consistency to her CV with the likes of further tracks ‘Prime’ and ‘Bitch’.
Now things are gearing up a notch with the impending release of the ‘Catch EP’ in Europe, and the brand new lyric video for ‘Catch’ signified that the song is about to get the proper UK launch it deserves. With much more to come in 2016, we get the feeling it’s going to be hard to miss Allie X. With that in mind, Wonderland has a chat with Allie X to ‘catch’ up with where she’s at, and in the process discuss how to avoid that female trap of being seen as “just a voice”, her love for key changes, and find out what the ‘X’ is all about.
Earlier in your career, you found success within Toronto’s indie music scene. What prompted your move out to Los Angeles?
I got a publishing deal, that was the main factor. I had been planning on making the move for some time, but needed $.
As you’ve shifted from Toronto to LA, you’ve also shifted from indie to a pop sound. What does pop mean to you and how does it inform your own music?
In my opinion, pop means something has a mass appeal, to the point where it breaks into popular culture. For me that is a goal, and I do consider myself an aspiring pop artist. I love huge soaring melodies, I write verse/pre/chorus structures. If I could I would key change at the end of every song. That said, I understand that for music to make it to the masses sometimes it becomes very generic and very stupid. I never want to succumb to that. Like many other artists in this “blog pop” genre, my goal is to push the boundaries of sound/lyric/melody in pop music, while staying true to what is satisfying/therapeutic to me.
In previous interviews you have mentioned teaching yourself about sound production and design. How have these skills changed the way you write music?
Yes I taught myself to use Ableton Live. I believe at least preliminary knowledge of one of these programs (Logic, Pro Tools, Ableton etc) is very important to artists these days, especially females, who are often considered “just a voice”. When I learned the vocabulary and terminology of production, I was finally able to #Xpress the sound I was hearing in my head.
You have referred to the ‘X’ in your name as the unknown variable used in algebra. What does this ‘X’ represent for you?
Many things. Some I haven’t figured out yet. Currently the most significant to me is the anonymity it represents. X is the identity I take on a journey to find the missing parts of myself. X gives me the ability to wipe the slate clean, and the freedom to live in a world that I can create myself as who ever I want to be.
Medical imagery seems to be a theme within your lyrics and in videos like “Catch”. Is there a reason why this theme exists within your art?
Yes it does. The lyrics began to come out of my subconscious when I was improving the melodies in gibberish. The words “doctor”, “vein”, and “medicine” all came out in the first pass. I picked them out of the voice memo and went with it… started thinking about the parallel between the doctor/patient relationship and the lover/lover relationship. How one can become dependent on a medical professional in the same way they become dependent on a boyfriend/girlfriend. How obscene it is that a doctor will often hold your life in their hands yet not care for you at all on a personal level. How they are conditioned not to involve their feelings. It’s all very fascinating to me. I’ve dealt with a doctor or two…
You have an electrifying stage presence with very precise movements. Do you use any choreography in your live performances?
Oh thanX so much. I do use a sort of choreography. I am not a dancer by any means, so instead of choreography, my aim was to create a sort of “language of movement” that felt natural to me. I worked with a kind and very talented drag queen in Montreal, Billy L’Amour. Together over a couple weeks we developed my performance together.
Katy Perry tweeted about how she was “obsessed” with your song, “Catch”, calling it her, “spring jam”. How did this make you feel? How do you think it’s affected your career?
Well it’s definitely given the press something to fly with and probably a few thousand followers on twitter. I have a lot of admiration for Katy, we have met a couple times, and she is very intelligent.
Do you have any future goals or aspirations for your music? What’s next for Allie X?
Currently we just began a campaign in Europe so I will be spending some time there next year. I plan on releasing a lot of new music in the near (ish) future. CollXtion II is in the works… and as I said earlier, I would like to reach the masses.
Photography: Logan White