Feature: The Return, Rebirth, and Resurrection of Allie X

Allie X © Marcus Cooper
Allie X © Marcus Cooper
Allie X returns from the unknown as high camp infused horror comes together fully on her fifth album, ‘Girl With No Face.’
Stream: ‘Girl With No Face’ – Allie X

What I do hope with this album is that I can be honest with people about who I am, where I’m at, sort of stop hiding certain things about myself.

For exactly 98 weeks and a day, Allie X left the world in silence.

Two anticipation-filled years passed since her last sliver of music until her sudden Friday the 13th re-emergence with the enticingly eerie dark-pop single “Black Eye.” Now on her fifth album, Allie X has been re-birthed… or rather resurrected as the “Girl With No Face.” The release comes just two days past the four-year anniversary of her previous full-length album, 2020’s Cape God.

Analog synthesizers complimented by a late ’70s-early ’80s pop influence brings a retro feel to the record while experimental production work projects a futuristic sound. Still, the quick, punchy and oftentimes clever lyrics give a sense of modern times. Girl With No Face successfully establishes an ever so captivating sonic paradox.

'Girl With No Face', Allie X'S third studio album, released February 23 via Twin Music / AWAL
‘Girl With No Face’, Allie X’s latest studio album, released February 23 via Twin Music / AWAL

“It’s like staring in a mirror for a long, long time and everything starts to look kind of weird and scary,” Allie says on self-producing the LP. “I feel like I understand now what it is to maybe write a novel or be a painter – just super, super isolating and freaky.”

With pure devotion to her craft, the 38-year-old spent the past few years as the sole force behind this latest collection of music as she perfected each vocal, kick, snare, and nanosecond of sound. In fact, the album’s namesake almost didn’t make the cut until producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen stepped in to help polish the final sound of the record. Allie shares that the title track had been “a decades long journey” ever since her partner brought the demo to her back in 2014.

“I’m really stubborn with songs,” Allie says. “If I think something is worth it, I’ll pursue it ‘till the ends of the earth.”

Each track acts as a testament to the years of effort packed into 43 minutes of innovative synth-pop. The computerized “Hardware Software” gives voice to what one can only imagine is a motherboard brought to life, communicating via vessel of Allie X – beats bounce from circuit to circuit and then directly into your own CPU. “You Slept On Me” re-awakens the digital age-old question, “Why are you sleeping on Allie X?” and the self-proclaimed icon demands an answer, now!

Now the jury’s in
We all agree
While I was saving you
You slept on me
Time to get down on one knee
Tell me why you slept on me

I always say that one of the great privileges of being an artist is being heard, even if it’s by a small group of people. Just being heard and seen in a truthful way, it’s a true gift.

Allie’s willingness and ability to evolve from her past work and breathe life into her vision prompted her most experimental and cohesive work to date.

“If I’m going to have a sustainable long career, I can’t be chasing trends at all,” she says. “I really need to find my own voice.”

Girl With No Face‘s eleven tracks sound as though they were pulled straight from the soundtrack of a campy slasher film that exists only on a dust-covered VHS tape hidden in the musician’s basement. An entrancing aura devours all self-control and leaves you a victim of sporadic dance – all hail Allie X. The visual aspects expand on the otherworldly yet tempting atmosphere as the enigmatic musician sits hidden behind a split, uncanny mask on the album’s cover.

“There’s a lot of camp on this album… and a lot of horror,” Allie laughs.

With songs for future projects always on the back burner, she is pouring everything into ushering in her new soundscape. You may have missed her debut or her renaissance… but she is not letting anyone miss her resurrection. And you can be sure that she’s here to stay…

The world can hurt me I don’t mind
That’s cause I’ve got
Staying power
Minute or hour
I’ll wait you out I’ve got all night

— —

:: stream/purchase Girl With No Face here ::
:: connect with Allie X here ::
Allie X © Marcus Cooper
Allie X © Marcus Cooper


Girl With No Face - Allie X

Atwood Magazine: Was there anything about music that really moved you – so much to the point where you're like, ‘this is what I'm going to spend my life doing?’

Allie X: I don’t know what it was, but music always just felt… magical. It felt like it gave me some control over my life and I think as I grew up it actually did give me an element of control over my life. I could find a way to express feelings that couldn’t be expressed through words or conversations. I could make friends. I could make people like me. It was just always this really crucial part of my being.

It hasn't exactly been a full decade yet but next year will mark 10 years since Collxtion I was released back in 2015. Can you tell me about how your sound has evolved since then?

Allie X: When I started, I had already been trying to find a sound for so damn long. That was probably the hardest thing about becoming Allie X… is finding the sonics behind it. When I debuted and had some success and finally things started moving, I actually just continued to evolve and evolve and evolve and the sound kept just changing and changing. I think that’s just kind of who I am as an artist. I’m always discovering more and more and I’m so hungry to learn and I’m so hungry to change and evolve and be a better songwriter and a better producer.

This album is the most raw and analog of anything I’ve ever made. I think I’m just a really hungry, curious person and I wouldn’t say that’s a bad quality but it does make me somewhat of a chameleon album to album. You might listen to something from 2014 and then listen to something from now and go, “Wait, is that the same girl?”

Writing and having full control of this vision and everything, how did your approach in making this album differ from your past work, especially production wise?

Allie X: Not following trends was a big thing. I wasn’t listening to what was going on currently. I was just indulging myself in my own personal taste. I think not having any co-writers really allowed me to find my true voice as a lyricist. On writing past albums, especially Collxtion I and II,  I had trouble sometimes writing lyrics with someone else because I remember saying, “Oh, I’m such a slow lyricist, just give me time” and searching for words and searching for words.

And then it was funny because then when I wrote all the songs on Girl With No Face all the words, with the exception of maybe one song, came so easily. And I think it was just because it was so true to me. It’s not that I’m a slow lyricist, I’m just not really a radio lyricist. Making this world that was so authentic to me all of a sudden it became so easy to write the words.

Would you say there's a deeper sense of ownership that comes with taking that production role in addition to writing and shaping the vision of the album – being a part of every step of this?

Allie X: Yeah, I would say big time for me. I’ve always known that I had something in me, somewhat of a talent for production and arrangement. But I could never move as fast as the producers that I would work with in LA so there was also an insecurity there. It was really only when the pandemic happened and I had a bunch of time that I felt okay with doing that. It was a huge challenge but I think I did a good job. Many producers will tell you, it’s very difficult because you’re so much in a vacuum that you don’t even know what’s sort of good anymore or if you’re hearing it correctly. So I’m just proud that I finished it.

As for inspiration, whether it be lyrically, sonically or even visually – is there anything that had a really strong pull or influence on you?

Allie X: Probably the biggest influence was the musical genres (70s-80s era, post punk, goth, synth-pop, new wave) that I mentioned. They’re so rich and they gave me so much joy and those genres really became sort of a way for me to rebel and to vent in the commercial music world of Los Angeles that I’m embedded in. It was fun just diving into that and watching documentaries and listening to so many great albums. On the gear side as well, like learning about all the synthesizers that were invented and used in that time and the drum machines.

My other inspiration is – it’s always my inspiration – is just my feelings. But on this one I really felt like I just kept uncovering more and more layers of feelings because I was so isolated.

Allie X © Marcus Cooper
Allie X © Marcus Cooper

Allie X © Marcus Cooper
Allie X © Marcus Cooper

Does it feel therapeutic to put this into words, into sounds and put it out there?

Allie X: Yeah, it always does. I think especially this one because the process was so difficult and there were so many times where I questioned if I could do it and if it was ever going to get done. I got really sick in 2022 and that sort of stopped me for half a year and it just felt like it was never going to happen and it was sort of a courageous plight for me to have this really authentic thing that –  I almost died doing it. [laughs]

I always say that one of the great privileges of being an artist is being heard, even if it’s by a small group of people. Just being heard and seen in a truthful way, it’s a true gift.

One thing that I really want to talk about is this album as a whole experience. It's not just the music. You have the “Black Eye” music video, you put out the visualizers, the album art, the photography, the fashion… everything really brings Girl With No Face together. How do you think that these other media forms expand on your artistry or creativity? How does it come together and act as an extension to your music?

Allie X: It’s always an interesting process, finding that look or what that album cover is going to be. And it never fully comes together for me in a full circle until I see the visuals with the music. On the visual side I’m not a good photographer, I’m an okay stylist, I’m not good at hair and makeup… but I’m a strong creative director so I always creative direct. It’s always a very collaborative process. Making the music was all me but making the visuals was really collaborative.

Did you have any of these visual aspects in your head while you were working on the songs or did that come in later?

Allie X: I did, I always knew. I only had the name Girl With No Face at the very end as the album title but I always knew that I wanted masks. There was an artist I collaborated with and I’d sort of been speaking to him for years as I was making the album about collaboration and his name is Shalva Nikvashvili. I always knew that I wanted something in that realm, his work. He created some masks for me. I kind of build a moodboard as I’m building the sonics, but the best time for me to finish that moodboard is always when the album’s pretty much wrapped.

Allie X © Marcus Cooper
Allie X © Marcus Cooper

What do you hope that people will take away from this album?

Allie X: Obviously my work is pretty fantastical and I’m not ever going for a subtle sense of realism or anything like that. But what I do hope with this album is that I can be honest with people about who I am, where I’m at, sort of stop hiding certain things about myself. Just for my own health and my own enjoyment of life, give this really accurate, authentic representation of who I am and people can take what they want from it. They can dislike it or they can like it but at least it takes away the pressure from me of being something that I’m not. I just want to put something truthful out there.

— —

:: stream/purchase Girl With No Face here ::
:: connect with Allie X here ::

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Girl With No Face - Allie X

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