Written by Beck Rosoman
24 Sunday 24th July 2011

Why did you decide to record under the name Grimes? Does it have a special meaning?

That's confidential!

Haha, OK. What artists influenced you the most growing up? Are your parents musical at all?

My mother doesn't really like music at all, but my dad's pretty musical. He really got me into R&B and stuff.  He loves TLC and George Michael and stuff like that, which I would say I'm heavily influenced by.  Other than that it was mostly like Tool, Skinny Puppy, bands like that. 

I feel like if a new female artist is even slightly off-kilter or a bit weird she is compared to Kate Bush. Was she an influence for you? How do you feel about the comparison?

I really respect Kate Bush but I don't think I have too much in common with her. I feel like comparisons like that exist because there aren't nearly as many experimental female musicians, so Kate Bush is easy to pick out.  She was never an influence, I heard of her because of comparisons but I do see a lot in common between us, at least in the sense that we both approach pop music from a weird place.

In the same way, I feel like anyone who has worn double black in a video or photoshoot and is unconventional, is described as Goth Pop or something. How do you feel about Goths? Is it a genuine influence?

Well, I really think that a lot of people in my age group were heavily influenced by Goth music/style when they were younger, so I do think it is a genuine influence (at least for me - but I identified as a Goth for most of my teen-hood). Sometimes it's kind of silly that it's become so fashionable, but I'm glad that kind of aesthetic can see the light of day because I do think it's really cool and it would be sad if it weren't revived. And honestly, I think it's really been refined, a lot of that stuff looks and sounds a lot better than it did in the 90s.   

It must be even more daunting for young solo artists who are used to composing/making music without a band to go out on the road for the first time. How do you prepare for live shows? Do you find it easy to perform live on your own? 

I find it a bit difficult to perform live on my own. When I can, I use a drummer and in the future I'd like singers and stuff. It's pretty weird preparing for shows, trying to turn recordings into a live song (I feel like most people do the opposite). But it's been a really great challenge to take on.   

Grimes - Devon by Arbutus Records

How was your experience of opening up for Lykke Li? Looking at videos from those performances you seem to have picked up a lot of new listeners from that tour. How did you find playing for an audience that hadn't necessarily come to see you?

The Lykke Li audiences were super, super accepting and loving. It was a really incredible boost for me, self-esteem wise and also just as a performer. I feel like after playing to that many people, I'd be pretty hard pressed to be intimidated at a show. But yeah, she was really nice and cool, I feel like I learned a lot from her.  

Are you looking forward to your headline shows in London? Have you visited here much in the past?

My only real experience in Western Europe was when I came over for a single day to play the Dazed Festival and it was one of the coolest things I've ever done and I really want to come back. So yeah I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also nervous.

Londonlabel No Pain in Pop are reissuing Geidi Primes on August 8th here, how did that come about? 

I think Tom from No Pain in Pop met my manager in New York at a show I was playing and things just kind of unfolded. I'm really excited to be doing it with them though, and it's nice that that release will see the light a bit.

You directed the (great) video for 'Vanessa', was that a first time experience? Something you'd like to do more of?

Thanks. It was my first time doing that, but the guy who shot it (Jon Londono) helped me out a lot. But it's something I plan on doing more of for sure and it was really, really fun.  

How do you feel the imagery surrounding a release adds to the listening experience? I read that you’re an artist too, is it important for you to control/create your visual identity?  

I think the visual aspect of a sound is extremely important, and I work hard on that part of Grimes. I think in terms of marketing it's extremely beneficial, but more importantly it rounds out the concept of a song. When I write music I always have music videos in my head (none of them really ever get made) - but I think a lot about what I'm going to do visually.  

Literature seems to have helped shape a lot of your work. What are you reading at the moment?

I'm not really reading literature at the moment, mostly essays, non-fiction and stuff.  I brought this Noam Chomsky book on tour, but it's pretty dense I fall asleep a lot when I'm reading it.  

Are you working on any new projects we'll see in the near future?

I'm working on a new full-length, it'll probably be out in January and then I hope to tour and also release a vocal a capella album and make exclusive tracks for a bunch of producers I love and see what they do with it. 

Grimes plays Club Mofo at Corsica Studios, Elephant and Castle, on Friday 5th August with Creep (NYC) DJs before embarking on a UK tour with How to Dress Well. Check her website to hear more.

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  • Guest: yaskitty
    Sun 31 - Jul - 2011, 02:24
    "Grimes"?... Uh... Sweetie...