Annie Clark, the artist who records under the name St. Vincent, discusses the nature of creativity and where her ideas come from in a new short film, Disruption by Design, which is premiering here. "One of the ideas in this latest iteration of the tour is, 'Is this OK?' and if the answer is, 'I don't know,' then it's like, great, let's go forth [and] forge ahead," she says.
The eight-minute documentary, which instrument maker Ernie Ball Music Man made, shows her playing some of the songs from her latest album, last year's Masseduction, on her custom St. Vincent Signature Guitar as she explains how she came up with the innovative presentation of her latest tour. A lot of the footage captures her and her band as they test out the staging for the latest leg of the tour, and she describes her process of evaluating what works and what doesn't as she considers what she wants to present about herself.
"What I want people to feel from the St. Vincent show," she says, "it's beautiful and it's strange and it's grotesque at times, and it's all these things – how do we make an experience that people will go, 'I could have never had that experience anywhere else.'"
She also discusses her Signature Guitar, which she designed in collaboration with Ernie Ball CEO Sterling Ball and the Ernie Ball Music Man engineering team. "I made this guitar for players," she says. "The design of the guitar, everything was incredibly purposeful, but it was also spontaneous in a certain way. The shape that I drew initially at the factory ended up being pretty similar to how it ended up. You're honoring the past. You're taking the knowledge that various people have cultivated and passed forward, but you're also going, 'That's cool, we'll take that, but let's do something else. Let's find out what's in the future.'"
In an interview with Rolling Stone last year, Clark talked about how maintaining a steady stream of projects like designing the guitar is what keeps her going. "I don't take time off," she said. "I tweeted this the other day, but it's true: 'Work is more fun for me than fun.'"