In these days of pop music, a lot of people want something fresh to listen to. SoJones has always had it’s eye on one of the better songwriters from Britain. Charli Xcx released her latest album, sucker, in December 2014. Want more goth pop? SoJones is the trendsetting magazine you need to listen to.
We not only have interviews with huge stars in the industry, but we also have connections to Vogue icons like Stevie Boi. Much love to the hard workers of the industry! Learn more about her in this exclusive pitchfork interview:
Pitchfork: Between Sucker’s abrasive title track and “Break the Rules”, you seem to be saying there’s more than one way to find success in the music business.
Charli XCX: I wrote “Sucker” when I was really angry, and it’s about my very cynical view of the music industry. When True Romance came out, some people still doubted me as an artist and a songwriter. But once “I Love It” appeared, and later “Fancy” and “Boom Clap”, people began to really pay attention. I find it difficult to deal with someone who rejects me and then kisses my ass later—even though I know that’s what the whole music industry is. One of the lines in “Sucker” goes, “You joined my club/ Luke loves your stuff.” People would always come up to me and say, “Oh, [Dr.] Luke loves your stuff, well done”—as if that means, “You’ve made it.” That’s fucking weird to me.
As for “Break the Rules”, I actually wrote that whilst I was at a writing camp and I never expected to write anything for myself while I was there. I went to go have a cigarette in the car park at Westlake Studios, where Quincy Jones recorded a lot of Michael Jackson’s records, and sang this idea in my phone—I still have it on there—for the chorus. Stargate and [songwriter/producer] Steve Mac were working on a beat that it fit over top, and it came together really fast. A lot of people think that single is really calculated, because it’s like a record label’s wet dream; I handed it in in June, and they were like, “This is perfect, school starts in September.” But it came so naturally and it’s very tongue-in-cheek. I’m very aware of what I’m doing. This record is very self-aware, whereas True Romance was not.
Pitchfork: You wrote parts of True Romance when you were 16, and it’s harder to be completely self-aware while you’re still growing into who you are.
XCX: I’m still so proud of True Romance, but I definitely felt like I was afraid when I wrote that record—and you can hear it. I felt nervous and was definitely worried what people would think about me. I wanted to make a pop record, but I wanted to make it “cool.” Now I couldn’t give a fuck if people don’t think I made a “cool” album.
Pitchfork: It’s funny to hear you say that because one thing you really excel at on Sucker is bridging the gap between the mainstream pop world and the “cool” pop world—you’re mixing big Top 40 producers and songwriters, like Stargate and Benny Blanco, with critical darlings like Robyn producer Patrik Berger,Cashmere Cat, Ariel Rechtshaid, and Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij.
XCX: That’s what I aim to do as an artist. I hate the idea of people thinking that I’m just a little girl who goes into studios with pop producers, and they work their magic. I executive-produced this record myself and I put those people in a room together because I thought it would be right. A lot of artists in my position, particularly before “Fancy”, would be very afraid to work with Stargate for fear of what people would say about them. But I don’t give a fuck because I think Stargate are tight and I work really well with them—they can sit in a studio and write seven songs in a day. And Cashmere and Benny have worked together forever, they live in the same house. I want to bring those people together because I think I can make it work. I’ve always been good at never being the same thing twice, and it’s partially because I like collaboration.
Pitchfork: You also worked with Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo on the track “Hanging Around”. What was that like?
XCX: We went to the studio and he was like, “What’s your favorite Weezer song?” I said,“Beverly Hills”, and he was like, “OK, I have an idea,” and wrote the song. He sings and plays guitar on it, too. I’m very happy with how it came out.
Check out SoJones for your entertainment news!