Interview: Grimes

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We first came across Grimes (Claire Boucher) earlier this year when she blew people away with her SXSW performances. Since then things seem to have sped up with the release of Darkbloom, her split EP with d'Eon and subsequent videos for "Vanessa" (self directed) and "Crystal Ball". Claire's now prepping the re-release of her Geidi Primes LP through No Pain In Pop, previously released in 2010 by Arbutus Records. The re-release is to be kicked off with a new video for "Beast Infection" which you can see below.




Having a moniker is a big thing for Claire, she told us: "I'm not really into people using their own names for music projects, I guess it sounds kind of folk-y or something. So I use grimes."

Grimes seems to be more than just a moniker though, the whole idea stretches into her visuals and recordings, larger than life and anything but dull. Claire still classes herself as a DIY musician, claiming; "It started with just bedroom recordings, I guess it still is bedroom recordings though I perform quite a bit. It's actually taken me really far considering", she laughs; "It started out so casual".

DIY recording can obviously be a lot more troublesome than having a production team in place, be it large or small. Hit and miss according to Claire, saying; "Basically I just need to be in the right frame of mind. I know when I'm going to write a good song, it's definitely like *ping 'oh shit, like I need to make music right now'". "Vanessa" is a wonderful example of a *ping moment, watch the video below.




April was a busy month for Grimes with the release of Darkbloom and the "Vanessa" video. Darkbloom came about due to Claires mutual friends with d'Eon and the fact the Canadian music scene is so small. It may not be the last time we see their names together too, as Claire told us; "We're actually thinking of working on more stuff, literally together. I think he's thinking about starting to work primarily with female singers, so I want to sing for him for his next record if there's time."

It's been well publicised that Claire can't read music and it's now something she's growing to regret, saying: "I wish I'd never really publicised my inability to read music because I feel like it's not a big deal at all and lots of professional musicians can't. It's never been a hindrance to me anyway. But I do think it's pushed me to develop my skills as a producer or electronic musician rather than like a traditional one, which I think has served me well.

It's certainly obvious that it's helped in terms of remixing; Grimes has remixed the likes of Washed Out, Young Galaxy and S.C.U.M to name just a few. Admitting that some are out of sheer admiration and others as a way of developing further skills; "With the washed out remix, I just loved the song and the artist so much that I desperately wanted to make something he would like", she laughs. "But in general I see remixes as just producing a new song, I rarely follow the structure of the original song. Usually the only part I will use is the vocal, but I like trying my hand at producing, using someone else's vocals. I think it makes me feel like I can be something besides 'just a singer' - which I'm trying to get out of. I'll pretty much remix anything given the time (if there are vocals) because I like the exercise. It's also a way to make music that's a lot more free because it's not going to be on my record or anything (which is intensely curated) so I try more stuff I haven't tried on remixes and for that reason I think you can tell I had fun. I think people like to hear music that sounds like it was enjoyable to make."

That creative element transcends into videos with Claire, saying; "I honestly feel like most people are pretty artistic they just don't explore it. So many times when, like, I just smoke weed with my friends and people are drawing or something, I'm amazed with what people come up with. My brother who's a total jock; one day I found his sketchbook and it was really technical and intense, I was like, 'whoa, like you don't even try to let anyone know that you're so good at this'."

"I just like, exploit it and talk about it so people know that I do it but yeah, it's not a thing you progress into or develop. I think it's more a thing that people lose, so they respect artists because they forget how to do it, not because they never could."

Grimes is now working on her first full length, adding: "It's the best work I've ever done, the only work I'm actually proud of and not embarrassed to show people. I really want to hone my live show so that I can perform those songs, which will be difficult."

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