Music

Allie X is done with the Hollywood ideal

The LA-based artist tells us about her escape from Hollywood and where to get jewellery made of bones.

Allie X’s album Super Sunset is a cinematic soundscape that describes her personal experience of re-locating to Los Angeles to further her career. It’s an intense, often dark, often shimmering collection of tracks that captures many sides of the intoxicating, seductive, elusive Hollywood dream.

The record speaks of perpetual identity crises and unapologetic desperation. And it condemns show business’ shallow obsession with youth. But there are two sides to this story. Many tracks explode into intricate, uplifting compositions. The effect is cathartic, like diving into a swimming pool in Beverly Hills. In those moments, the record obliterates pop convention, delivering sonic booms that represent an emphatic refusal to play into the demands of a fickle industry. The dream’s still there, but X can take it or leave it.

We caught up Allie to get the word on alter egos and songwriting as therapy…

Tell us about Super Sunset… is there an overarching theme on the record?

Yes. Super Sunset is the “Hollywood film” of my Hollywood story. It is based on my life since I moved to LA and all the facets of trying to be an artist. All the people I’ve become and how I’ve changed. I felt the need to exaggerate the story and give it an over-the-top aesthetic to get across the extreme, grotesque nature of show business.

Super Sunset has a line… “It’s so uncomfortable trying to fit into this skin”. I feel like a lot of people can relate. How is your sense of self right now?

Writing Super Sunset was taking a close look at my life, my goals and how I spend my time and energy. Kind of therapeutic in that I started to see how ugly and brutal show business had been and how I’d put my body and mind through a lot of shit that had caused me a great deal of pain. I came to a realisation when I got quite sick during the campaign that I had to stop. So to answer your question, my sense of self is stronger and recovering. Trying to learn to love myself outside of what value I bring as an artist. I fall back into old patterns (trying to control and handle everything myself especially) but I like to think that I’m on the mend. I’m trying 🙂

Is Allie X in any way an alter ego?

I wouldn’t define Allie X as an alter ego, though I never get offended when people do.  X is a liminal space. It is a representation of the unknown and unexplained feelings I feel.  By calling myself Allie X, I am declaring to the world that I am on a journey to learn who I am and where I fit into the world.  It’s more philosophical then a stage persona. That said, through the freedom of this project and the idea of “X” I have done a lot of wild stuff I perhaps wouldn’t have done if I weren’t exploring these ideas?  The idea of Allie X i.e. Allie (unknown) has allowed me the freedom to explore sides of myself artistically that I might not have pushed myself to explore otherwise. 

How much does writing music help you define your identity?

I feel very defined by my writing.  Before I used to write songs, I used to just sing them, which was a liberating form of expression.  But when I started writing songs, that’s when I felt I really started to understand where I belonged in the world, and when the people around me started to understand me better.  Writing a song and having people listen to it is truly a gift because it allows you to share the essence of your being with those around you.  

Do you ever think of wanting to be someone else? If you do, who is it? And what happens next…?

It’s weird.  I lament about my life and my problems sometimes, and I have generally been quite melancholic for most of my life. But I can’t imagine being someone else. There have been times in the last two years where I wished I was a dog. But I don’t think I really want that either.  I don’t know…

Tell us about your favourite ever sunset….

My favourite sunsets are in North Ontario at the cottage.  Looks like a Tom Thomson painting.  It’s so untouched up there and it’s easy to imagine what it looked like centuries ago watching a sunset.  

You tweeted recently asking for someone to turn your puppy’s baby teeth into a necklace. Did it happen?

Haha everyone thought that was so weird.  I love them. She is such a beautiful creature and everything is so new to her right now.  I want to mark this innocent, beautiful time in her life and have something around my neck that carries her spirit.  She is my angel! Anyway… I haven’t made them yet, but my hair stylist told me about this metal company in NJ called Sculptlery Bones that casts bone into metal jewellery pieces. So I’m going to contact them.  

Follow Allie X here.

5 August 2019