Intriguingly sweet synth-pop with a slight undertone of melancholy is what Toronto-born Allie X does best. The enigmatic, self-producing artist released her first track ‘Catch’ at the start of 2014, which was a Technicolor triumph of a pop song, with inescapable hooks and lyrical content that curiously hinted at obscure hospital imagery.
“The main themes in my music seem to be self-destruction and addiction, medicine, hopeful hopelessness,” Allie opens up. “I like to think that when I write lyrics I am letting some of the darker feelings out of my unconscious.”
A month after its release, ‘Catch’ was tweeted by Katy Perry, who referred to it as a “spring jam” to her 53 million followers, giving Allie a full induction into the world of pop.
“I always had a feeling it was a good song but almost gave up on it a few times. It’s been a real triumph for me to have it embraced by so many people.”
Two tracks followed in a wave of increased interest from fans – the shimmering ‘Prime’ and ‘BITCH’, the latter of which reveals a darker side to Allie’s soundscape, complete with defiant shouts of “I’m your bitch!” as it swells into full-scale fuzzy pop production.
“I spat out ‘BITCH’ in one day when I moved to Los Angeles last summer. Really strange lyrics were coming out. I wasn't sure who I was singing about at first, then I realised it was about my relationship with my own shadow self and likening that to a marriage where each person has to make concessions for the other.”
Not settling for anyone else’s musical vision, Allie X has self-produced all of her releases so far, presumably with that mystical “shadow self” in tow.
“I believe in a new model for the artist in the music industry. I want to be at the forefront of that revolution. And I don’t believe my project will succeed if it gets in the wrong hands, or gets slowed down.”
Allie X stands as a defiant and bright beacon in a saturated world of pre-packaged pop and musical beige.
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WHERE: Toronto/Los Angeles
WHAT: Theatrical dream pop with hints of melancholy
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Catch’, ‘Prime’, ‘BITCH’ (above)
FACT: Despite the sugary sweetness of some of her production, Allie X doesn’t have any sugar in her diet, or apparently in any other aspects of her life: “I don’t sugar in any form. Ever.”
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Words: Hana Barten
Photo: Mike Hernandez