“Go bigger with everything you do onstage,” St. Vincent’s Annie Clark tells Rolling Stone of the motto she brought to her band’s Saturday evening set at Coachella. “Subtlety goes out the door. You just have to be a monolith onstage. All of the quiet, sensitive numbers, we’re like, ‘X through that. Nope. Not gonna do that one.'”
St. Vincent’s super-adrenalized Saturday set continued a trend the guitarist and singer-songwriter has begun to see throughout her current tour, in support of her visceral, seductive 2011 LP, Strange Mercy. “My shows have gotten increasingly physical,” Clark says, adding that the other day she “had almost a Carrie-like moment in the shower – not with menstrual blood, though,” she says, with a smirk. “My knees were bruised and my shin was scabbed.”
Clark’s battle scars aren’t always self-inflicted, however. While on tour in Istanbul, Clark and her drummer visited a Turkish bath house and received more than a massage. “They kind of beat you,” she says. “They toss you around like you’re nothing – flip you around, scrub you down. They’re not precious with your body.”
Post-Coachella, Clark will return to the road for additional St. Vincent shows, including two this month with Tune-Yards. The soft-spoken singer also tells Rolling Stone she plans to release new material this fall: Clark says she’s completed her collaboration album with the Talking Heads’ David Byrne (inspired by the Dirty Projectors and Bjork’s Mount Wittenberg Orca LP), and they plan to hit the road together shortly after for a set of tour dates.
The collaboration got its initial legs when the two musicians met up at a Björk and Dirty Projectors charity show three years ago and were approached about working together on a similar project. They agreed, and after convening in a NYC studio, it quickly became apparent that they were onto something epic. “We just started writing and kept writing and writing,” she says. “It just evolved to become this much bigger thing.” Adds the singer of her collaborator, “David Byrne is the coolest person on the planet.”