Allie X has followed up her ‘CollXtion II’ album of last year with ‘Super Sunset’ - out today! - a collection of songs where Allie explores a story through three different alter-ego characters, The Nun, Sci-Fi Girl, and The Hollywood Starlet.
Having spent 2018 touring with Hayley Kiyoko, as well as teasing the upcoming album via a series of excellent song drops - including ‘Little Things’, a relatable ode to anxieties, and ‘Not So Bad In LA’, which aptly touches on the unique Los Angeles lifestyle - ‘Super Sunset’ is set to take Allie X to new heights.
We caught up with Allie X on the phone recently to talk about the new release, the power of love, and more…
COUP DE MAIN: I love the line in ‘Focus’, “When you love someone the rest just falls away.” Do you think that true love can prevail, despite any circumstances?
ALLIE X: Oh thanks so much! You know, it is a love song and it’s a super direct love song for me, but the thing is that I'm not really a romantic. It’s only recently that I've started to understand love, and a question like you asked hits me in a funny way, like I don't even know what I believe because I have just been opened to what love is and what it can be and everything. I'd like to think that true love can prevail despite any circumstances, but I don't know if I've seen it. I might have seen it, but you just kind of never know unless you're in the relationship.
CDM: I guess you just kind of hope for it to prevail.
ALLIE: Yeah! <laughs> I'd like to think that it could.
CDM: In 'Not So Bad In L.A.' you sing, "You start to get old when you turn 25," which is an accurate statement if I've ever heard one. Why do you think society is so obsessed with youth?
ALLIE: That is a great question. I feel that it is almost a primal thing, I feel that it has to do with almost a sexual thing, being the child-bearing age and what we see as beautiful, it all sort of happens during a certain time and once that time is over you become less 'youthful’ and ‘attractive' to society and kind of get pushed to the back of the line, you know? The thing is though, as I was saying that, I was like, 'Well, how much of that is primal and how much of that is just media and what we know as a culture?' And I feel like it is a bit of both. It is very exaggerated in Los Angeles, it is so crazy. Most of the time I'm working with executives, writers, producers, make-up artists, hairstylists, you name it in the entertainment industry, and the majority of them are 25 and under. It is definitely a thing here as I'm sure it is a thing in New York too.
CDM: I feel like there is an obsession with musician's ages - when you're like, 'Wow, they're only 16!' But most music industry executives are all middle-aged men. It's such a strange contrast.
ALLIE: I know, it is a little dirty.
CDM: There's bits of 'Little Things' which kinda feel like a hug in song-form for anyone living with and battling against anxiety. Is that the vibe you were going for?
ALLIE: Totally! I wrote what became that song when I woke up one morning and I had just woken up and I hadn't even gotten out of bed and I looked at the curtains in my bedroom and they were slightly opened and there was this bit of light coming through and I felt so angry. <laughs> In my head I said to myself, ‘Why do these little things make me furious?’ I then just started thinking about that and just writing it down and thinking about how these small things, I get tunnel vision on them and a lot of anger and anxiety around them, but when it comes to bigger picture problems, I can get through those better, they don't phase me as much, but the little things chip away at my soul everyday. They really stop me from living my life to the fullest, so I think it’s just a song kind of addressing that.
CDM: I guess those little things are around you everyday, whereas the big things you hope don't come up as often in your life.
ALLIE: Yeah, I don't even know if that’s it though, it’s like when you have a big crisis hit you and, at least with me, I go into soldier mode and I am just like "Okay, I'm going to deal with this.”
CDM: What was running through your mind while writing 'Science'?
ALLIE: 'Science' is a late night drive song to me. I picture being in a car with someone in the middle of the night in LA and I actually really picture the LACMA and I picture driving past the LACMA in that song. That was kind of what was going through my head with that one.
CDM: Is there a music video on the way for ‘Focus’? We always love your music videos and visuals, so are excited to see what you have planned.
ALLIE: Yeah! I'm working on it right now - we'll see. If I had a huge budget, I would be making videos and short films with Michel Gondry. I have a lot of ideas and a lot that I would like to do, but there is always money to think about. One day I will have a short-film!
CDM: When we last spoke in 2016, we talked about becoming your whole self and how you think it’s important to always be evolving as a person, as opposed to settling into a version of yourself. How do you think you’ve changed over the past two years?
ALLIE: Oh man! I feel like I've actually changed a lot since we last spoke, I feel like I've settled more into being an adult, and an adult woman specifically. I feel more like a lady these days, just kind of embracing femininity and even just the idea of being more maternal and caring for others, and it’s a quality I've never had - not saying that proudly, I've always been a loner and sort of detached and have difficulty caring for other people, and I think it’s because I went through some difficult stuff in my teens that I had to protect myself. I don't mean to psycho-analyse myself but I think that is kind of where it comes from. In the couple of years since we spoke, I feel like I have grown up a bit. I still have a crazy monkey mind but I think I am slowly getting a grasp of it and finding ways to be calmer. In terms of my career and my art, which is the thing that makes me the most high and the most low I think, I've really managed to start thinking about it in a different and healthier way which is, 'You are probably going to be doing this for your whole life, it is a marathon, just ride it out, don't burn out and don't get your hopes too high or too low either because you want to make a life out of this,’ so in that way I feel like I've matured as well.
CDM: I like the running a marathon analogy - you have to pace yourself.
ALLIE: Yeah, you have to pace yourself. You want to enjoy it too because why else would you choose such a difficult career? <laughs>
CDM: How was going on tour with Hayley Kiyoko?
ALLIE: It was so fun! You never know what to expect as an opener, sometimes you do an opening slot for someone and you get kind of treated like a second class citizen - they don't really care that you're there and they don't want to buy any of your merch and that’s sort of how you break even when you're opening, so I didn't know how it would go. It was actually the most fun and positive experience and one of my favourite moments of this year. Her fans were so warm and really took to my music, or at least it felt that way, and I just really feel like I made new fans. Her crew were really nice and treated me as if I was another headliner and the venues were all great. The drummer that was touring with me for this tour was not a regular drummer and it was his first tour ever, so he was so excited and so funny, our tour manager was very crude and the opposition of those two personalities was hilarious. I have good memories!
CDM: You wrote a song on the Lea Michele album last year, among others - have you been doing any other songwriting for other musicians recently?
ALLIE: I have moved away from writing for others quite a bit. I used to do 50/50 and now I'm probably at like 90/10 and that’s probably where I'm at. I don't feel as inspired to write for others, particularly just to write for radio because that is what you're doing when you write for other pop artists, it started to feel wrong to me. I'm sure I'll go back to it and maybe even do that more than I am doing for myself right now and it just depends where I'm at, but I am very happy to write with Troye [Sivan] and I have songs on his album 'Bloom', but in terms of anything else, I am just very focused on my own writing.
CDM: You have to focus on yourself, it's your year!
ALLIE: <laughs> Did you just say it's my year?
CDM: Yes, we've decided!
ALLIE: <laughs> That's nice!
CDM: When are you going to finally come and visit us in New Zealand! You need to get Troye to bring you!
ALLIE: I might! That might be the way that I get out there actually, I think it has to be a nice support slot on a longer tour so I can afford it, but oh my god, I would love to come to New Zealand, I have heard it is so beautiful.
Allie X’s new album ’Super Sunset’ is out now - listen to it below…