The Woman Who Fell To Earth

A tantalising extract from our interview with Annie Clark aka St Vincent

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In this month’s Uncut, we speak to Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, about her the dramas and demons behind her sublime seventh album, All Born Screaming.

Now read on for an extract from our interview…



Reclining on the sofa in her grand Edwardian hotel suite, Annie Clark seems immaculately composed as she recalls the first strange stirrings of her seventh album.

“I had a sense that I wanted to be pummeled by music,” she says matter-of-factly, holding your gaze. “Who knows if I was reacting to things I’ve done in the past, or things that are around in the culture, but I wanted to be just pummeled. Shaken like a rag doll.” She pauses for a moment, maybe for effect, maybe just considering her words carefully, possibly pondering Brian Eno’s maxim that art is a safe space for violent experiment, a plane you can crash and then walk away from. “I really wanted to explore that feeling of digging your fingernails into your thigh,” she concludes. “You know, just so that it bleeds a little…”

She looks like she means business. At various times over the past two decades under her nom de guerre St Vincent she has manifested in strange guises, like some renegade Timelord or Thomas Pynchon’s elusive, apocalyptic world-spirit, V. One moment Bride-of-Frankenstein cult leader, the next cosmetically disfigured American gothic schoolmarm. From pill-popping suburban housewife via glamazon dominatrix to louche ‘70s hot mess…


Today on a drizzly spring evening in Holborn her dark hair is neatly parted and pulled back into a simple bun. Her white blouse and long black leather coat are offset by girlish white socks and black heels. She is, however, as sweet as Texan apple pie. “Making journalists crawl was as masochistic as it was sadistic,” she says with a smile and a shake of the head, recalling her youthful attempts to “deconstruct the promotional interview” (installing interviewers in escape rooms; recording stock responses on a dictaphone). “I ended up spending 12 hours a days in paint fume rooms. Nowadays I’m like, ‘Nah, don’t reinvent the wheel – let’s just have a chat…’”

There’s much to discuss. The shapeshifting mischief of her muse and her uncanny ability to flit from the margins to the mainstream and back again. Her restless, maverick ambition as a musician, schooled as a guitar prodigy at Berklee, still spurred by the example of everyone from Kate Bush to John Coltrane. And her sublime seventh album, All Born Screaming, which sees her finally release the monstrous, infernal gothic rock record she was honour-bound to make, ever since the moment in 2006 when she plucked her stage name from a Nick Cave song. 18 years since she became St Vincent, it feels like her defining record, a paring back to basics, a reckoning with fundamental facts of life.

“I think we’ve all been through quite a bit of loss,” she says of the season in hell the album recounts. “You know, with worldwide collective plague and all. One of the things that loss like that does, it acts as a clarifying force. Because it forces you to decide, well this matters and this doesn’t fucking matter. So let’s look at what matters and let’s go the long way through Hell. You come around to the realisation that we’ve only got one life, so we better really live it and not take anything for granted. All we have is love and all we have is the people we love. So let’s hold hands and walk through the fire together.”

Read the full feature only in the latest edition of Uncut – in shops now and available to buy direct from us here

All Born Streaming is available from Virgin Music/Fiction Records on April 26 and can be pre-ordered here


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