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St. Vincent Talks About Her New Album 'MASSEDUCTION' and Why She's 'Happy to Be Misunderstood'

St. Vincent Talks About Her New Album 'MASSEDUCTION' and Why She's 'Happy to Be Misunderstood'
From TIME - October 13, 2017

In the ten years since she introduced herself to the music world as the guitarist/singer/songwriter/indie darling known as St. Vincent, Annie Clark has gone through a series of stylistic personas that are often tied to the themes of her musical work. From a domestic goddess with a chilling case of ennui (2011's Strange Mercy) to a futuristic, space-esque rocker (2014's St. Vincent,) Clark's all-encompassing personas are nothing short of performance art and her fifth studio album, MASSEDUCTION, is shaping up to be no exception.

In the lead-up to the album, Clark has leaned heavily into her latest creative iterationa sexy, absurdist bent that she terms "dominatrix at the mental institution"musically, aesthetically, and conceptually. It's the reason why her Instagram page is filled with tongue-in-cheek short films of her ruminating on gender, power, and pop culture, while clad in brightly-colored latex and her music video for single "New York" is a visually gorgeous trip that feels like a trip to the Pantone archive with a seductive, unnerving energy. Likewise, her music for the new album, co-produced by Jack Antonoff, holds nothing back, unapologetically reveling in the strange dread and pleasure of life, love, and loss.

Outside of her musical personas, it looks like Clark's also evolving; it was recently announced that she had signed on to direct a female-centric feature film adaptation of The Portrait of Dorian Grey, a change of mediums for her.

Ahead of the release of MASSEDUCTION, we caught up with the singer before a party at the House of Peroni, an New York City pop-up gallery that she curated in the style of her new album to talk about her new music, her directorial debut and getting your heart broken.

TIME: Youve said that this album is very personal and that if someone wanted a look into your life, this project could provide thatwhy choose to focus on the personal with this album?

St. Vincent: I believe in the axiom that you can only write what you know which doesnt disallow for imagination its art, its not biography; its art, its not a historical timeline. But within every deeply personal experience, theres a universal human experience.

So many of your songs touch on those very human emotionslike heartbreak and falling in and out of love. Is it difficult to be so vulnerable with such personal themes?

Its actually not. Its not hard because I trust in that transitive property, that if it matters to me and resonates with me, it will likely resonate with someone else. I just dont think theres anything to be ashamed of in living the human experience. Im not ashamed of being super low or finding myself in compromised positions or all of the various short stories contained in the album.

What do you hope your listeners get from this album?

I hope they get anything they want. And what I mean by that is that once the record is done and out in the world, it doesnt belong to me anymore and it shouldnt. People take it and weave it into their lives however they see fit. I have exactly zero qualms about being misunderstoodIm happy to be misunderstood as long as the misunderstanding isnt something horrible. Im happy for people to find their own meaning and their own journey with it.

How do you think it differs from your past work?

I think its less oblique. I think its more direct. Jack Antonoff were merciless with making sure every song was as airtight as it could be. Every word and every note was thoughtfully labored over.

What was it like working with Jack?

I love him so much. Hes a wonderful person. Hes one of the luminous ones.

Are there other luminous ones?

Absolutely. Sufjan Stevens is one. My friend Carrie Brownsteinbrilliant. The list goes on and on. Cara [Delevingne] is one of the luminous ones for sureshe burns very brightly. So many.

How do you find getting creative in different mediums like your music videos and your upcoming film project?

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