Allie X Looks Back While Moving Forward
The name of the game at this year’s Met Gala was “Camp,” an ode to kitsch and all things bizarre. While some celebs missed the mark, Allie X is the queen of all things camp. From nun habits to carefully-crafted alter egos, Allie X is bringing camp back to the pop scene.
Allie X is currently on tour with ionnalee supporting her latest release, Super Sunset. The eight song EP details Allie X’s growth as an artist, grappling with her shift from a “rather naïve” creative to somebody who’s “kind of jaded and just really authoritative” during her five year stint in Los Angeles.
“I feel like I’ve changed you know?” She told BANSHEE over the phone. “And I’ve watched myself change. I’m also just growing older so that [change] would’ve happened anyway… I mean, I feel like a boss now but I feel like I’ve also lost my innocence, I guess,” she laughs sheepishly.
Allie X breathes life into LA, which is not just a city but an entity with tangible influence, a force to grapple with. The second single off the EP, “Not So Bad in LA,” is a song that perfectly encapsulates the sun-bleached timelessness of a “city that lives while its bright stars die / And you start to get old when you turn 25.”
“It’s super dry, it’s very sarcastic, and then there’s an aspect of denial to that song as well,” she says of the track. “It’s sort of like one of those moments where you’re like, crying but then you start laughing at yourself crying. Like what the fuck is wrong with you? [laughs] You know what I mean? That would be the feeling of that song.”
The EP serves as the movie backdrop for three distinct characters, The Nun, The Hollywood Starlet, and The Sci-Fi Girl. Each represents not just different aspects of her personality but different facets of her craft and creative process.
“With every body of work I do, I like to think that I’m putting a mirror up to myself and to the world and where I fit in the world and sort of just trying to find some truth,” she said of these personas.
Allie X has said before that Sci-Fi girl, an alter often shown in Matrix-esque shades and screaming color, is truest to the real Allie X. “Sci-Fi Girl is just me. That’s just the Allie X persona so that’s always there…”
However, throughout the tour, The Starlet has proven to come to life most often while performing on stage. “The one that… has come out more in the process of doing live shows for Super Sunset is The Starlet. The delusional blonde, waving to the audience and blowing kisses,” she laughs. “Kind of the one that feels very fun.”
However, The Nun, which represents naivete seems to have made her exit. “Yeah, like Maria from the abbey is no longer present,” Allie X says, laughing. “I feel like that part of me is now gone!”
From the ‘80s synth to the 2019 release of Super Sunset Analogue on cassette, Super Sunset is glazed in nostalgia.
Allie X admits to indulging her nostalgia, both on and off-EP. “I was just saying to my friend who’s doing [my makeup], ‘I’m a nostalgia whore.’ I just called myself that like an hour ago. I really indulge in nostalgia more than I should and more than anyone needs to and that’s definitely there in Super Sunset. It’s a retrospective piece where I’m sort of looking back on five years and everything that I’ve done and everyone that I’ve become and questioning the validity of all of it.”
Even now, she contemplates her old haunts, lingering over photos on the walls and how different things have become. “I’m like ‘so much has changed! I remember the days!’ and ‘Everyone’s getting older!'” She warbles faux-dramatically. “I’m doing all that stuff when I really don’t need to be.”
However, looking back has not hindered her progress. “Every year that goes by, I feel like I find more of my voice and that’s something to be proud of. Just being authentic and coming more into yourself,” she said.
Through the struggles and triumphs with creative authenticity, Allie X is undoubtedly on the right track. Over the last half decade in LA, she has maintained her forward momentum, moving from collaborating with artists like Troye Sivan and Mitski to carving out her own place and sound. “I’ve really followed my passion and been really ruthless about it and I do feel more artistically proud of myself no matter the outcome.”
Another artist who’s publicly grappled with identity is MARINA, formerly of The Diamonds. The pop starlet who dominated the indie pop scene in the mid-2010s recently shed her famous moniker, opting to go by just “Marina.” Though Allie X is happy to continue exploring the “X,” the unknown variable, she’s also open to the idea of one day finding a new identity. “It’s not a kitschy thing for the entertainment of people. If I ever get to a point in my life where I feel like I don’t have any more exploration to do, where I really felt that I really found myself then yeah, I would let go of the X but the X sort of gives you the freedom to be confused and figuring it out. The older I get, the more I realize maybe people really don’t ever figure it out. We just grow and we evolve. That said, I do feel like I’ve become way more comfortable in my skin.”
Not one to let herself get too comfortable, fans can rest assured that Allie X is working on new music. “Yeah, I’ve been writing [new music] for a while now, like before I ever released Super Sunset I was on to the next body of work.”
Be sure to catch Allie X on tour with ionnalee!