About a girl
Grimes’s multi-dimensional pop is rooted in her base of Montreal. Her latest, ‘feminine’ album has just arrived here, but, she tells JIM CARROLL, she’s already moved on
CLAIRE BOUCHER is a fast talker. As the Canadian artist jumps rapidly from point to point and crams a lot of ideas into one sentence, you begin to understand how and why she makes the multi-dimensional music she makes as Grimes. You sense that since the release of her latest album, Visions, Boucher has become even more versed in the art of talking about herself and her music.
“The attention is good and bad, those two extremes,” she says. “Sometimes, it’s really horrific when people are mean, but I’ve stopped reading what people are saying on the internet and don’t give a shit about that anymore.
“But on the whole, it’s great. There’s nothing better than making art and having people pay attention to it. That’s a rare thing that not a lot of people get to experience. My obligation in life is to make art. I don’t have to do anything else, which is a dream come true.”
Visions is a great leap forward for Boucher. While previous releases such as Halifaxa laid the groundwork for where she was going with her rhythm’n’bleeps, the new album pushes a different agenda, wherein directness and simplicity are core values. It’s a pop album, albeit a pop album with one foot still firmly in the underground.
“Pop music is about feeling good,” Boucher believes. “Pop doesn’t have to be meaningless or mainstream. The essence of pop is that it’s music which is very sensual and immediately gratifying. Of all the things that are classified are pop, those are the only qualities which run through everything.” There’s one word she has noticed many reviewers use about Visions that has thrown her a little. “It surprises me that people use that word ‘feminine’ in relation to the album because I’m a huge bro. I’m not a very feminine person, I guess, so it’s weird that my music is seen by so many people as that.
“I think it’s because my voice is really high and also because the album is extremely emotional. I really didn’t censor myself at all and it’s a bit over the top in that way. I didn’t go for an inherently feminine sound, but there are ideas in the culture of what femininity sounds like and the album goes there.
“After the fact, it’s so weird to look at this stuff and realise where it came from. When I was doing it, I was listening to a ton of Mariah Carey and TLC and female r’n’b vocalists and new jack swing and that obviously wormed its way into my head. That might also have a lot to do with why people think it’s so feminine.” Boucher credits the arts scene in her base of Montreal with giving her the confidence and gumption to make music.