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Allie X

1883 Magazine chats with Allie X about her new album Girl with No Face, the creative process behind it, and more.

What is Allie X’s new album Girl with No Face? In Allie’s words, “It’s basically the answer to the question; What does it sound like if you lock Allie X in a room to make her own record?” She says she doesn’t know if she will ever do it again, that it was “almost too difficult, but I had to do it at least once. And I’m so glad that it will now exist.” Not only is this album Allie’s words, but it’s also her production, her creative direction, and ultimately, the most self-reflective and honest piece of art she believes she will ever create. She took a huge risk artistically, to trust herself completely as the central creative, and didn’t really share what she was doing with her team.

This album has been perhaps a culmination of her life’s work – from a very young age, Allie always knew that she needed to create art that showed the world exactly who she was. When I asked her how she knew writing and producing music was what she was meant to do, she told me, “That’s easy, it comes from me. I’m not being a voice to someone else’s thoughts and creations.”

Growing up playing in musical theatre, she was always cast as part of the ensemble, and never in the lead roles. She wasn’t able to take on someone else’s character very well and wasn’t able to portray someone else’s wants and needs. Reflecting on the process of coming to realize what her artistic plight was meant to be in life, she says it needed to be “me representing myself–I’m the character.” Allie remarks that she is slightly jealous of the younger generation for having access to the technology that allows them to create their own beats from their bedrooms and wonders where she would be now had she had that ability, instead of studying classical piano.

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Girl with No Face is Allie’s fourth album, and no doubt the most ambitious undertaking of her career. Not only is it an artistic feat, but a technological one, as well. Girl with No Face was created from Allie’s parents’ home in Canada over a few years – naturally, this project took her much longer than usual. The process of making the album was a multi-step one, including learning how to obtain and also use all of the production equipment, doing “zillions” of vocal takes and learning how to crossfade. Allie says she needed to “crack” so many things and worked long hours in order to do so. In the very final stages of the production, she worked with Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who is best known for his work with artists like Poppy, Paramore, and St. Vincent. She made the album alongside her longtime partner, who was working on an album simultaneously. They have been dating for her entire career, and he says that this album is “the best introduction to who I am as an artist and as a person.”

The sonic and visual references for Girl with No Face come from the post-punk movement (think Joy Division and Kraftwerk) that started in the late 70s in the UK. At the time, synthesizers and drum machines were just being invented and they transformed what music sounded like. Allie finds the “attitude of limitless experimentation and the willingness of the public and of the press and of the radio to embrace it all” especially inspiring. She feels limited by current music trends and finds comfort looking back to a time where rebellion was really encouraged.

Throughout the process of making the album, she immersed herself in the genre; researching it heavily and watching documentaries. She says if the album had to be placed in a city, it would live in Manchester. Although Allie herself is self-proclaimed “so pop” and “never not going to be melodically driven,” she aimed to ignore current pop styles. She says she “trusted that by filtering these strong references through my own lens, we would end up with something fresh”. Allie’s current musical inspirations include the Belarusian band Molchat Doma, who blew up partly due to TikTok virality, and Caroline Polachek, who Allie says she looks to as a fellow trailblazer. 

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shirt Heaven Marc Jacobs dress Rencorporation by Ren Haixi shoes Syro jewelry Etah Love, Vitaly
shirt Heaven Marc Jacobs dress Rencorporation by Ren Haixi shoes Syro jewelry Etah Love, Vitaly
shirt Heaven Marc Jacobs dress Rencorporation by Ren Haixi shoes Syro jewelry Etah Love, Vitaly

Allie wrote the song Weird World, first and was really intrigued by the dystopian ideas that were coming out. “I used to be a dream girl, but the world interfered… at least now I know why… now I know I’m weird,” she writes in Weird World, a song about the uncertainty but also empowering nature of being able to see things for what they really are. Allie intertwines German lyrics throughout the song, and the bridge is entirely in German. This song marked a turning point in terms of the lens she was writing through. She says her previous album, Cape God (2020), was “more vulnerable and personal, but poetically so and abstracted through this concept of a place that doesn’t exist,” while Girl with No Face is “the most distilled version of my own feelings and tastes by far.” In Off With my Tits, another single from the album, Allie says she could not have explained this concept, even to a close friend, in any medium besides song. She feels it’s sometimes the only way to convey “specific, unexplainable” feelings. 

As the sole creative director for everything Girl with No Face, including promoting the album on socials, Allie feels like the current social media landscape is a double-edged sword for artists. On the one hand, she loves that it puts more power into the hands of the artist and allows them to control their own narratives, but at the same time, it transforms the process of releasing an album into a never-ending job. She is trying to create as much content as possible and constantly researching on TikTok and Instagram to find inspiration for her next short-form videos. She says her relationship with social media is unhealthy and says ”I’d already felt like I’d done enough, but I guess not–like I also needed to become a comedian, an editor, and a capturer of all content… all the time.” Now that the album is out, she would love to take a break, but the current social media landscape puts a lot of pressure on her to always be putting out more. 

Speaking of taking breaks, Allie describes her perfect Saturday as a comforting and relaxing one. She would ideally like to get most of her activities done during the day, maybe going for a hike, getting all of her errands done, and making the house smell really good. At night, she would enjoy eating a meal that she put a lot of thought into cooking for herself, and then settle in to watch a really good film with her partner while she cuddles with her dog. 

In the ethereal and uplifting album closer, Truly Dreams, Allie writes, “And if it’s not enough then, I’ll just keep my hopes and dreaming, With all my might, just listen, Truly dreams never die.” Allie is now looking forward to her close to sold-out Girl with No Face North American Tour, which kicked off in Chicago yesterday.

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top Sally LaPointe, Calvin Klein jewelry Vitaly
top Sally LaPointe, Calvin Klein jewelry Vitaly

Tickets for Allie X’s Girl with No Face North American Tour are on sale now.

Interview Cameron Coughlin
Photography Devin Kasparian
Styling & Fashion Editor Laura Spriet
Hair Levgeniia Kozlova
Make-up El DeBratto
Photography Assistant Jack Hyler
Styling Assistant Walter Prince

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