Grimes: ‘I Was Secretly Hoping ‘Visions’ Would Do Well’

Maturity, being weird, and having unreasonable confidence. Claire Boucher talks ‘Visions’.

Some ten months back, the very news that Grimes was signing to 4AD for the release of her ‘Visions’ album seemed like one hell of a big deal. Bear in mind this was before Claire Boucher took to tours on a bus with Skrillex, playing to thousands of people at Primavera and Reading Festival, making an ‘adults-only’ brand of jewellery and wearing a third eye for a set on Jools Holland. All that amongst the backdrop of an album gaining a greater spread of acclaim as each day passed. After an initial burst of critical applause, ‘Visions’ took a life of its own, and rightly so: It is Grimes’ metamorphosis; a promising, experimental musician developing wings and finding her voice. It’s relentlessly futuristic as a record, but it also harks back to classic songwriting styles. It’s unlikely that Grimes will ever make another album anything like ‘Visions’ again.

DIY asked Claire if she’s treated the experience of releasing ‘Visions’ differently to any records previous, and how she’s coped with being thrust into the limelight head-first.

Closing track ‘Skin’ seems to shed new light on your talents as a songwriter; there’s more of a confessional style here than elsewhere on the album, the vocals seem clearer. Was that intentional?
It was the last song I wrote on the album actually.  The album was done, and I made that song the night before I was supposed to go mix it, and I personally feel like it’s a lot more mature and cohesive than the other stuff on the album.  But yeah, I’m not sure how intentional that was or if it just happened naturally.  Once the pressure of making the album was alleviated I started making better music.

Did you ever anticipate the response this album would get? What has it allowed you to do that you might not have envisaged doing before?
I might have anticipated it a bit.  I mean, I thought it might utterly tank  - I couldn’t tell if it was too weird or too pop or if it was a good median - but I was secretly hoping it would do well.  Mentally, I always picture myself being as successful as possible at whatever I do, because I think even if you have unreasonable confidence that is totally private, it somehow translates into success.  You have to be humble in real life though, or you’re just asking to fail.  

You’ve travelled the world with this record. What’s the best or most surreal experience you’ve had?
I’ve done more crazy stuff this year than I’ve ever done in my life. I’d say touring with Skrillex was the most surreal… he’s one of my all time favourite artists and opening for him was so amazing and watching his show every night was even more inspiring. I also went to a Prince’s house with a bunch of models who were amazingly adept at being wasted in heels and I touched the owner’s Van Gogh painting, which was a little surreal.

Do you have any dream collaborators in mind for the next record or will you be inviting the same group of people in to help out with future material?
Well, I don’t think there will be any collaborations on this record, but I would love to produce for Azaelia Banks or G Dragon or Ellie Goulding.  I would love to write a song for Lana Del Rey or Sky Ferreira.  I would work with Doldrums or Majical Cloudz again too.

Grimes’ ‘Visions’ is second in DIY’s Albums Of 2012. Find out more here.