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Allie X Talks Her Maximalist Album 'Girl With No Face,' Touring & Her Vision (Exclusive Interview)

Allie X Talks Her Maximalist Album 'Girl With No Face,' Touring & Her Vision (Exclusive Interview)

Allie X is gracing New Music Friday with an album full of her signature maximalist anthems!

Exactly four years after dropping her album Cape God, the hitmaker returned with her new body of work Girl With No Face on Friday (February 23).

The album marks a new era of creativity for Allie, who experienced viral success for the first time 10 years ago with her single “Catch.” Since then, she’s worked with everyone from Troye Sivan to BTS.

Girl With No Face sees her standing on her own, and it packs a lot of fire into the tracklist overflowing with bangers like viral single “Off With Her T-ts.”

Last week, we had the opportunity to catch up with Allie to learn more about the album. She broke down its creation, which started during the pandemic. She also opened up about touring, what’s next and her very best songs.

Head inside to check out our exclusive interview with Allie X…

Just Jared: You described the album as “a dizzying experience born of the deep desire to liberate yourself professionally and creatively.” Can you explain what you meant by that?

Allie X: During the pandemic is when this thing started. I’ve just been through a transition in the last few years. And it’s this sort of spirit of rebelliousness and need for freedom that propelled me into both the creative decisions I made on this album, as well as a lot of decisions I’ve just made as a woman in music and in business.

JJ: How would you say that creating during the pandemic was different than creating when we’re not locked up in our houses?

AX: Oh, so different because I feel the pressure of time very much. Like living in LA, things move really fast. There’s always somebody doing something and there’s always opportunities. So many opportunities that you feel like you’re missing them, and everyone just moves really fast. Ever since I moved here, I sort of went from like… In my Toronto days when I was doing music on my own, I would have written, say like my old song “Prime,” that would have been written over a few months. Every day I would have worked on it little by little.

And as soon as I moved out here, I stopped working that way because I felt so much pressure. And I also just started to think, “Oh, well, I’m not probably as good of a lyricist as her, or I’m not as good of a producer as him. So I’ll just do these co-writes and I’ll just like, let it be.” So when the pandemic happened, all of a sudden I found myself with this time on my hands and, you know, no collaborators. I got restless and sort of fell back into that pattern of making music like I used to before I moved to Los Angeles. So had that time and space not happened, there’s no way that this would have happened. I just, I know myself well enough to know that.

JJ: “Prime” was, I think, my entry point to you as an artist. It still holds up so well, and it’s so layered. I feel like there is a kind of a layered quality to the new album that does tie back to that.

AX: Yeah, I think I’m a maximalist in my production. I try to be a minimalist, but I’m always adding layers.

Allie X

JJ: How did you settle on Girl With No Face as the title?

AX: It just felt right. This was the first time I had a project where I didn’t know kind of all along what the title was. Cape God, I knew. Super Sunset, I knew. CollXtion I and II, I knew. Well, CollXtion I, I guess I didn’t know that it was even a body of work. But as soon as it was, I knew that was the title.

“Girl With No Face,” it was written as a song. It wasn’t till the very end of the process that I thought, “Hmm, I think this is the title.” The imagery was coming together with all the masks, and it just enveloped the process of writing it for me very well. And the reason it did that is because I started to feel after a while producing this thing in isolation like there was this other sort of presence with me. And I’m sure the presence was just a side of myself that had been buried for a while, but this presence started to come out and and really kind of guide my process and give me strength because it was such a challenging process.

And she had certain qualities that I felt that I didn’t have: a ferociousness and this want for vengeance and this c-ntiness and just like, I don’t know. I think it’s all just stuff that’s in me, but it did feel like there was this force in the room. So that’s who I think of as the Girl With No Face.

JJ: What inspired the visuals for the project?

AX: It was a lot of record covers and press photos from the music that inspired me sonically on this record, which is like new wave and post punk albums coming out of the UK in the early ’80s and the late ’70s and some late ’80s stuff as well.

That was a time where everything was very saturated looking. Very analog. There was the punk spirit, so black, white and red I really wanted. And then I knew for a while in the process that I wanted to do something with masks so I reached out to two different mask makers and asked them to commission some things for me. My friend Marcus Cooper is who shot the album artwork and I just knew he would get it. I really trusted his style.

My mood board for that, there’s a lot of photos of Kate Bush, Gary Newman, Debbie Harry, Blondie. I’m thinking of like, “Der Kommissar,” that’s by a German band [Falco] that I referenced their cover. But then also sort of more modern. I had some modern references in there as well. I didn’t want it to look completely retro.

JJ: Congratulations on “Off With Her T-ts.” It’s doing so well! Were you at all surprised by like how incredible the reception was?

AX: I thought it was funny because when I wrote it, I was playing it for people that are close to me. They’re like, “Is this about what I think it’s about?” And I was like, “Yeah.” And so I think I kind of shocked a couple people with it, and I was like, “Is this going to be like this polarizing thing?” And then it got close to release and I was like, “No. The community’s totally just going to laugh and love this and have fun with it just like I did.”

So I’m not really surprised at the reception and the understanding. I think it also helps that I’m a culty artist, and I’m not like Taylor Swift. If Taylor Swift put out “Off With Her T-ts,” there’d be like front page news about it, you know?

JJ: I’ve seen people asking for a music video for “Off With Her T-ts.” Is that in the pipeline?

AX: I think what I’m going to do is see what song raises its hand the most upon album release. It’s just so expensive. I’m such a visual artist and my YouTube numbers are alright, but I’m not having enough streams to make back the money that we put into a music video. So I can’t just keep spending and spending. I’ll just be in debt. I’ll try to do it for the song that makes the most sense to do it for. Like the most popular. And I secretly hope that that’s “Off With Her T-ts,” but let’s see.

JJ: That makes sense. It’s so hard when you’re creative because you want to do all the coolest things but have to consider money.

AX: Like I do have to make a living, you know? That’s actually something I really started to realize after Cape God. I was like, “You know this can’t just be a glorified hobby here.” We need to look at the profits. What are we spending versus what are we making? It’s funny how few people actually want to talk about that in the music industry.

I do believe that investing in something that’s of a high quality and standard will pay you back, but it’s a fine balance. In the case of music videos, I’m still not at a point where I’m making money on them.

JJ: Is there a song on the album that you’re most excited for people to hear?

AX: Kind of all of them. I just put so much thought into it, and there’s so much of me and what I have to say on this album. I’m just excited for the chance to be heard and listened to. I think “You Slept On Me” is a fun song. I think “Galina” is probably going to be a fan favorite. I think “Staying Power” and “Truly Dreams” are both perseverance anthems.

I think “Weird World” is going to be our focus track when it comes out. That’s one of my favorites. Nothing comes to mind ahead of anything else. At this point, I’m just really excited to have it heard as a body of work because it’s been a long campaign and it’s been singles. So I want people to hear the story.

JJ: “Truly Dreams” was one of my favorites. Is there a reason that you close with it?

AX: It has a different energy. It has a more a dreamers fantasy optimism kind of energy in it. And also this sort of attitude that I’ve always had, this attitude that I’m pretty proud of. And I think a lot of like Queens have it as well, actually, where it’s like… I’m just going to be doing me. I’m going to be living in my fantasy. I don’t know how to do anything else. So this is what I will be doing until I die. And I hope you like it.

But you know, if you don’t or if I never become a superstar, that’s cool because this is still my dream. And I just like ending on that note.

Allie X

JJ: “Saddest Smile” was the one ballad. The vocals go off there.

AX: I had a high D on that one!

JJ: Is there a reason why you felt like that was the one ballad that you wanted to include?

AX: Yeah, I thought that the album needed a dynamic. It’s a lot of [high energy, pulsing beats] for the whole album made on this drum machine. And so I just felt like we needed a moment of breath to slow down a little bit, have a little bit of an indulgent emo moment.

JJ: This is the first album that you totally self produced right?

AX: Yeah, and I do have to give myself credit for that, but I also have to make sure people understand that I did not get it to the finished master track by myself. I had a Justin Meldell-Johnson come on and do additional production for the final two months, which was great because we were able to replace sounds, fix technical problems, make the arrangements better, sound design stuff. He even vocally produced like “Saddest Smile.” So that was great.

And then I had an amazing mixer who spent months on it with me, and then I had it mastered so. But yeah, up to that point, from 2020 to 2023, I was on my own on a computer making this thing by myself.

JJ: Would you say that it was a little bit more liberating. Is it easier kind of to have that time to do it on your own?

AX: Yeah, it felt easier in the beginning. Then it felt way harder and daunting. Like, “Holy s-it what have I signed up for here.” I’m a person that, when I say I’m going to do something, then I have to do it. I felt like I’d said it to my team I’d said it to my family. So I felt tremendous pressure. And then the act of finishing it was so liberating. No matter the responses to this album, I’ll always be so proud that I did this.

JJ: Are there thoughts about a tour?

AX: Yeah! There’s emails going around, we just haven’t committed yet to anything. I’m scared of touring, but I also… I just did a performance in LA last Friday and then I did the party at Heaven after that. And I f-cking love being on stage, and I’m good at it. So part of me is dying to do it, and then part of me just has so much anxiety about it. So a little bit of a battle there.

NOTE: Allie has since announced a tour, which kicks off on June 6 in Chicago, Illinois.

JJ: You recently had the 10 year anniversary of “Catch.” If you could go back to that version of yourself, what is the most important piece of advice you would have?

AX: Don’t trust anyone. Seriously, this is a slimy, slimy music industry. Like, listen to your dad: Don’t trust anyone.

JJ: Are you thinking about what’s next already?

AX: You have to. Like T Swift is definitely always doing that. Because everything just moves so fast. The consumption rate is so, so high and quick. A picture lasts for one day on Instagram even though you may have spent months curating the team that made it. And it’s the same with music.

It’s a bit better with music because there’s this continuous sort of discovery that happens after a record’s release. But your fans are ready for the next thing six months later. The fact that I took like three or four years to do this was like, you know, I don’t know if I could afford to do that again.

Allie X

JJ: Is there something that you haven’t done yet that you want to achieve still?

AX: I mean, playing theaters in all the markets would be so cool. That’s kind of the level of live that I would like to get to, selling out theaters. There’s so many people in the fashion world I’d love to collaborate with. I do feel like I would love to get my live business to the level where I can do this. I have so many ideas; I never run out of ideas.

Basically, my biggest wish would be like, yeah I have a much bigger budget to invest in this so that so then I can dream bigger in terms of my vision.

JJ: You mentioned that “Off With Her T-ts” is one of your best songs. Could you name a favorite song from each era, or is that too hard?

AX: Oh, that shouldn’t be too hard. I may need to look at my own discography. But I would say it’s easy. CollXtion I was definitely “B-tch,” which is probably my best song ever. And then, CollXtion II, I would say “Paper Love” probably. I know that’s not a fan favorite, but I think that’s probably the best one in the record. Then Super Sunset, “Girl of the Year.” I just think it is a fabulous song.

Then Cape God, I think “Fresh Laundry” or “Regulars.” Also, “Susie Save Your Love” is so good. I did a post on that the other day because Mitski is so huge now. It had this viral response. And I was like, yeah, this song is really good. And then from this album, I would say “T-ts.”

I don’t have many songs that I wish I didn’t release. I have like a couple. I have songs that I don’t think are as good. And I have a lot that I’ve learned. But I look back on my my discography, and I’m quite proud of my spirit, my attitude behind it.

Check out interviews with more celebs that we’ve spoken to!

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Photos: Marcus Cooper
Posted to: Allie X, Interview, Interviews, Music