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Music

9.8.2017

Allie X Got The Fuck Out of LA to Create 'CollXtion II'

Allie X is a Angeleno with Canadian roots—roots that this artist felt so strongly connected with, she had to return north to reclaim her magic. Actually, the phrase X uses to describe the process was “reclaiming one’s identity,” but for this artist, the two are almost one and the same; where a resurfacing of identity evoked magic and vice versa, CollXtion II was born.

Sonically, CollXtion II serves up a stripped back version of X, which makes sense given her return to the core of defining herself as an artist. It’s grounded, more organic, and intimate AF—without losing the electronic mad scientist vibes you loved in CollXtion I. At the risk of jumping the gun, we’ll venture to say that it’s her most authentic record yet.

Oh, and as far as returning to Canada for the next one? It’s a near guarantee.

Since your album just dropped, I would love to start there—what has the reception been like so far?

I think it’s been really strong. I’ve seen a lot of good reviews and the response from the fans has been really good. But yeah, I guess it’s kind of hard to gauge, but the most important part to me is that the fans love it.

I read that it’s about “reclaiming one’s identity”—could you expand on that? What does that mean for you and for people listening?

Yeah, have you seen the album art?

Yes!So yeah, the cover is me in a very juvenile pose, wearing a dunce cap, and my leg is in all these different blocks and I’m just trying to put it back together. Each song represents a piece of me. Whether it be a memory, or a fantasy, or just my interpretation of reality, the record is a study on how much of who you are now in the present is—for lack of a better word—pure, and how much of it is actually been informed by experience, pain, and trauma, and sort of how that literally and metaphorically shapes a person. So back to the album art—all of those pieces are representative of the journey I’ve taken and sort of me just trying to fit it back all together and figuring out who it is that I am now.

I know that you left LA and went back to Canada to record most of it. Why did you feel like that change of environment was necessary for the album?

I didn’t know at the time…I honestly just got really tired and exhausted in LA. I’m a writer as well as an artist there, and just kind of churning out songs like that for a long time just got to me. So I actually just went back to Canada, to my hometown, to take a break. I just stopped writing for a little bit. I wanted to be near water and more green and just hide out with my dog. It was just that kind of a thing. I ended up spending the whole summer there, and when I allowed myself that time I started to get really inspired again. And by not being around the producers and writers and the network I have in LA, I started making music completely by myself again. You know, the way that I used to when I lived in Toronto was making all the demos myself, and just building everything up from scratch, really slowly. In LA, you’re kind of just churning it out. It’s a machine. And I’m cool to write like that, but for writing for myself, I don’t think that works. That was a big realization. So being in Canada, yeah, I started to produce all my own stuff again, make all my own demos, and just really take time with the lyrics, and over the course of three months I ended up writing my favorite songs on the album.

What kind of headspace were you in at the time? Like mentally and emotionally, where were you at?

I was rested. I was rejuvenated. I wasn’t doing anything for the first little bit that I was there, other than just analyzing…I was trying to write, but I couldn’t. I was tapped. And then by the end of the summer, it all just started flowing out, and I got that magic feeling that I get. And when I get it I can see the whole picture. It went beyond just, “Oh I like this song, I’m excited about it.” It’s more like THIS is gonna be the first single on the album, it’s gonna look like THIS, gonna have a video like THIS, and it’s gonna work with the other songs like THIS, you know what I mean? I was just trying to make this album for two years and I never got that feeling until then.

Is there any particular song or songs that hold a special place in your heart or that you feel really attached to?

Yeah, yeah. A lot of these songs are ideas that I started, like I got the melody for the hook like two years ago or whatever—as far as 2013 with one of them. And I always knew that I wanted to finish it, but whatever reason the inspiration wouldn’t come. I’d say half the album is like that. So those songs feel really good, because I’m like, “I was right!” and I finished it, and it’s great, you know? So “Lifted”, that was the one from 2013, and “Vintage” is like the more pop-y or bop one, that’s the second song, and that one I had that melody for years. I really like “Simon Says” because my collaborator, Jungle George, he came up with that melody and showed it to me a long time ago apparently—I don’t even remember—and then we kind of stumbled across it at the last minute and I transformed it. Yeah, they’re all kind of like little babies I guess.

Is the process different for a song that, like you said, has been in the works since 2013, versus one that you just came to instantly?

Yeah, like “Need You” is an example of a song that happened in one session, and the demo production ended up being the final production because it was just right on, right away. But yeah, it’s completely different. I feel like a mad scientist with those ones that I mentioned that are years old, and the one thing you really need to crack is the production. That melody for my song “Vintage”, it was always so upbeat that I couldn’t find a production that made it feel like cool, you know, it always just sounded cheesy. And then finally, after toiling over it for an entire evening, I started at like 9 and by 3 in the morning I figured it out. It’s a good feeling.

I know that your previous album was out in 2015, so it’s been two years. How have you evolved or changed as an artist and as a person since then?

I’ve become more open with fans, I was really shy back then when I first started. I’ve become more jaded with the music industry, as happens to anyone who spends time in it. I’ve become more confident and bossy with my team, like I’m really a boss now, whereas I was more timid back then. Musically, I’ve changed a lot. My tastes have changed from being very multi-layered, sort of super electro, so a little more organic sounds and way more minimal sonically.

So now that the album’s out, what’s up next for you?

There’s a lot of videos, content planned, alternative versions, tour, press.

What are you most excited for?

I guess I’m just most excited to see how far I can reach with it, see how many people I can get. I’m really excited to make visuals as well, that’s always a thing that kind of gets me going. And just connecting with more fans, and traveling. I don’t know, I kind of know what’s gonna happen but I kind of have no idea, so we’ll see.

So this might be too far ahead, but do you think for the next album or next single you’ll want to escape LA again? Was that something where you realized that that was the fuel you needed?

I think I will, yeah. I don’t know the answer to that definitively, but what I know is that I have to get that magic feeling back. I’m steering the ship, you know, and it doesn’t matter what A&R says like “That’s a smash!”, or whatever, it doesn’t matter what anyone else’s opinion is, it just has to feel right within my head, and I have to be able to get that picture. And I think I forgot that, and when I remembered, and doing the productions by myself also, that’s really key. So I just have to put myself in a situation where those things could happen, and yeah, I do feel like that probably involves getting out of LA, at least for a little bit.

Stay tuned to Milk for more from Canada’s best and brightest.

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