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Everyone Is Talking About Grimes

Tommy Chase Lucas

We sat down at the bar of the Driskill Hotel in Austin where I’ve interviewed a ton of young female artists, none of which were anything quite like Claire Boucher, the girl that is Grimes. She was wearing the t-shirt she slept in over an awesome dress and holding a toothbrush—she hadn’t even had a chance to brush her teeth yet. It was day five of SXSW and I wasn’t in much better shape myself. She's small and speaks really fast and has a childlike quality (maybe I think that because her face was covered in sticker gems, which I was elated to see. I hadn't come across them since I was a kid).


Ray: I saw you perform at the church the other night.

That was so cool!

Have you seen any good shows at SXSW yet?
Purity Ring was awesome. The Dream was awesome. Picture Plane was out of control.

I missed the Dream! I went to see Das Racist.
That was probably equally good.

What are you doing tonight?
It’s my birthday so I’m going to eat cake and lie down. I haven’t slept for more than three hours a night since last weekend. I played at this other festival in Mexico in the mountains in Monterrey and got detained at the border! All of this crazy sh*t happened. I was at the airport for 24 hours. I lost all of my luggage. We kept playing shows that would go until 3 AM and then we had these 8-hour drives. I’m delirious!

You’ve been the talk of SXSW. Everyone is into Grimes right now.
I hope so. I don’t read my press because it scares me.

How did you meet your bandmate?
I usually don’t play with a band. But I really like it because when there’s someone else on stage, it’s easier for me.

People have deemed you dream pop. Are you cool with that description?
Dream pop is like Mazzy Star. I want to call it futuristic pop. It’s pop music, but it’s exploring something else too. Visions is my IDM [intelligent dance music]/new jack swing-inspired record. And now I’m working on an industrial pop record.

How did your sound come about?
I basically just search for whatever feels the best. I’ll usually know within a few minutes of starting a song if it’s going to be a good song. I’ll just press keys until I hear something and I’m like, “yeah that’s it.” And I’ll build a song around that—usually it’s a good beat.

What about the lyrics?
The lyrics always come last. My songs are all about stuff, but I don’t necessarily want other people to know what they’re about. I’m not that good at writing lyrics, but they are there because I want to have an emotional engagement with the audience. The last thing I want is to be a dancing monkey on stage and just be mechanically playing music. The lyrics are really important because they give meaning to the whole thing.

How did you decide on what you’re wearing right now?
I slept in this. I’ve got a really good outfit on underneath, though.

And I don’t think you had blue hair two days ago. How did you accomplish that?
“Manic Panic.” Classic. It’s hard to find in the States, though.

How would you describe your personal style?
I just want to aestheticize everything. My physical appearance is an extension of that. Why not make it crazy?

It seems like that’s the direction things are going in.
I should dress up a bit, probably.

I should do something weird. I’m creating a cult of personality. It should be weird. I feel justified in doing crazy stuff all the time. I don’t have to look nice at a job.

What’s the craziest thing that you own?
I have a ton of really good stuff from high school. I was really into Cosplay and Comic Con. I found all of my huge boots with chains around them from my cyber punk days.

Is that the first genre that you were attached to?
Cyberpunk—visually in terms of clothing style—that’s how I would describe myself. Taking elements of industrial cyber punk culture and making it more tasteful. No fake dreads or goggles.

What kind of music makes you feel nostalgic?
My favorite band for most of high school was Marilyn Manson. I was obsessed with Marilyn Manson. It doesn’t come across in my music. The music that I listen to is very different from the. I’m listening to cut hands. I listen to electronic music and bass music.

I told her that she should go run off and eat some birthday cake. And then she complimented my voice and told me I have a very nonchalant way of speaking. That was kind of cool coming from someone with a voice like hers. She may not be all about the lyrics. But the girl sure can carry a tune! I suggest you LISTEN! And don't call her dream pop!

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