If you’ve heard Allie X‘s CollXtion I, you’ll know she’s a star. If you’ve seen Allie X perform live, you’ll know she’s a star. Hell, if you’ve seen any shade of what The Artist Formerly Known As Alexandra Hughes can do, you’ll know that the X probably stands for one whopping X-factor that most can only dream of. We dream about it quite often, as it happens, so David Yates caught up with Ms X while she was in London…
So, you’re breaking ground now here in the UK. How are we working out for you so far?
It’s good, the show has definitely sold very well and I wasn’t sure how many fans I have here but apparently I have… at least 280! (laughs) I have some roots in England – my family lived here actually so it’s pretty cool to be returning to place that I came to a lot as a child.
I’m not super famous so to know I have support in this country is really great. It’s been a year since starting to perform Collxtion I and it feels like a great way to close that chapter and move onto the next.
About that, then. What can we expect from the next CollXtion?
I’m not talking too much about Collxtion II at the moment as I’m about to make some announcements about it, but we will say the sound has slightly evolved – I feel it there’s a little more colour in the songs I’ve collected for the record. And that’s all I want to say for now.
You mentioned in a previous interview that the songs for Collxtion II are reworks of old demos. What influenced that?
Sometimes it just works and sometimes it takes me like a year to bring a song into the right sonic world – that’s part of the reason why Collxtion II has taken a while. I would say the songs for the record were done in terms of being composed but then you get into the arrangements and the production and just making it live within the ‘X world’ can take a long time, sometimes.
Seems the ‘X World’ can be pretty trippy but we’re totally down with the optics. Is that something you consider when creating your music?
Visuals are sometimes in my head when creating a song – sometimes I create a song and it doesn’t feel complete until I find the right visual representation. There are many artists that I keep on my desktop folder with reference photos and inspiration and sometimes it’s different. I’ll be beginning a song and looking into that folder will inspire a title or something like that. But really they do work hand in hand for my projects anyway.
We clocked you retweeting a lot of fancy fan art. Is it odd to have this intimate connection with your fans all of a sudden?
I think the connection with my fans is still being developed. When I came out as Allie X, I would say I was a little more timid about connecting with people in general. As the project has progressed, I’ve found that we have our own unique language and how we communicate with each other. The concept of X is taking it into your own and creating from that place, as opposed to trying to emulate what I’m doing or be like me. My fans are very intelligent and very creative, and they understand that I want to encourage that.
“I’m kind of awkward, kind of weird compared to your average pop performer”
Also, we can’t ignore your use of the odd Michelle Visage gif. Does this mean you’re a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Yes! Actually I’m friends with Lucian Piane who is a judge and writes for the show. I was a voiceover on one of the challenges, it was for the finale I think. I’ve never told anyone that before because no one’s ever asked me about my connection with RuPaul!
We won’t ask you to lip-sync for your life… for now. Anyway, you bloody smashed it penning for people like Troye Sivan – what are your differences as a songwriter when writing for someone else?
A lot of the songs I end up taking for myself. I don’t always know what they’re for in the beginning but I read the lyrics more in production and make the changes. Sometimes when I’m writing for someone else I use a different tone of voice or change the pitch.
With regards to your own tone – what would you say is Allie X’s mission with her music?
What I sell is the X which is the unknown, and an easy way to interpret that is to be your own self. When I’m on stage I think I’m kind of awkward, I’m kind of weird compared to your average pop performer. Whenever I have to strut across a large stage – you know how that’s the classic female pop artist thing – I always feel a little weird doing that. So then I lift my legs up real high and make it a little more me but it just looks awkward!
Do you think your early reality show days has much to do with what the project is now?
I don’t really speak much of my past before I became Allie X, but I would say I have been shaped by many experiences and I certainly wouldn’t be the person or the performer that I am today without a certain upbringing.
So then: Old Habits Die Hard?
Well obviously old habits die hard is a common saying about those patterns of behaviour that you think you might have got a rid of but they come back to surprise you, slap you in the face, take you by the throat and drag you down. I mean, the attitude of the song and the melody… it’s kinda like a drinking song, it has this sense of triumph about it. But really that’s the idea of the song, like laughing at yourself as you fall back into something really bad.
What gets Allie X through the day?
Thinking about watching Netflix at night and eating a snack. I just started watching Louis Theroux – love me some Louis Theroux!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Did you say Frasier?!
I thought you were asking me about Frasier! I’m stoked! I’m actually a really big fan of Frasier, now my publicist is laughing! Guilty pleasure though, maybe almond butter.
That’s much less exciting to be honest. So, what’s a standard night with Allie X?
Did you just say something about a knife?!
A NIGHT, Allie.
Oh. Usually I would stay in watch a movie and go to bed early… the only time I can think of staying up late was in the studio. I don’t really go out or socialise.
And our question for everybody: favourite Beyonce song?
Jeez, hard question! Does that include Destiny’s Child days? Let’s say Crazy in Love, when that comes on I lose my shit.