Grimes on ‘Art Angels’ Follow-Up, Why She Loves Tool
Claire Boucher, a.k.a. Grimes, prides herself on being a one-woman show. She writes, produces, engineers and performs some of her generation’s most inventive indie pop – most recently Art Angels, which hit Number One on the Alternative album charts and shifted her from hazy synth-pop toward an off-kilter guitars-and-beats sound. The Vancouver native, 28, takes charge of the videos too: At the moment, she’s lounging in bed at her Los Angeles apartment, editing the clip to her next single, “California” (which sounds like mutated Dixie Chicks). In May, she’ll join Florence and the Machine on tour, and this month, she’s set to play Coachella – where her set might coincide with a certain hard-rock band’s reunion. “They’re onstage for so long,” she says cheerfully, “so you can still catch Grimes and Guns N’ Roses.”
You learned to play guitar just for this album, right?
Yeah, this was just my first attempt at playing the guitar. Which is apparent when you listen to the album. After [previous LP] Visions, I didn’t want to play the keys, ’cause I don’t want to be considered “synth-pop.” One of the first things I did was Google what chords were in Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” and I used those on “Belly of the Beat.”
You also taught yourself to play violin, which seems pretty difficult.
You just Google shit and, like, learn it. But all my violins are incredibly Auto-Tuned, and I just recorded a bunch of notes and arranged them after the fact.
You’re signed to Jay Z’s management company. What’s the best advice he’s given you?
He told me to stop apologizing so much. It was very difficult. Canadians have to say “sorry” all the time. That’s actually really good advice.
You’ve mentioned Tool as a big influence. What is the attraction there?
Instrumentally and vocally, they go to a ton of weird places. And I love the dynamic range, too. They’re so artsy, but also populist. I try to live by the sonic principles of Tool.
Art Angels uses rock sounds in a really different context. Do you have thoughts on how rock can work in 2016?
I personally really love [British bands] like Bring Me the Horizon and Foals. There’s definitely a future in rock, but it will probably be more fusion-oriented, like rock that uses 808s. Twenty One Pilots is kind of like that – it’s sort of rock, but the sound is hip-hop. You know all those songs on [the Smashing Pumpkins’] Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness that almost sound like Lorde or something? I feel like that vibe has not been explored.
Kanye West Says Jonah Hill in '21 Jump Street' 'Made Me Like Jewish People Again'
- 'Thank You Jonah Hill'